New Model MAHINDRA XUV500
Mahindra recently introduced its XUV500. And with this model, the company enters what it calls the “high-end” SUV segment. Has Mahindra succeeded in creating a vehicle that can match its competitors in terms of comfort, refinement and elegance? Well, it has certainly created a vehicle unlike any we’ve seen from the company before
Text: GG van Rooyen
When we tested the Mahindra Scorpio recently (issue 88, page 22), we were impressed by its 2,2-litre diesel engine. The oilburner, which had been created in conjunction with AVL Austria, was quiet and refined. Sure, the 2180cc engine generated a modest 88 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, but it performed its task of propelling the Scorpio exceptionally well. There was virtually no lag and it revved very pleasantly.
In fact, the engine was the Scorpio’s best feature. The bakkie scored well when it came to handling and comfort, but the powerplant was the star of the show. Here was an oilburner that could compete with diesel engines from European and Japanese manufacturers.
The good news is that this great engine has found its way into Mahindra’s new XUV500. Moreover, the 2,2-litre mHawk has been tuned to perform better in this SUV. It offers 103 kW and 330 Nm of torque. As with the Scorpio, there’s very little lag and it revs well. Getting up to speed isn’t a problem, and overtaking on a busy highway isn’t a life-threatening activity.
An automatic version of the XUV500 is apparently in the pipeline, but for now, you’ll have to settle for a manual shooter. Not that that’s a bad thing. The six-speed gearbox works well with the engine and is smooth enough.
Overall, the XUV500 is a pleasure to drive. The engine responds nicely, the pedals don’t have that dead feel that many cheaper vehicles’ do and the gearbox isn’t notchy or niggly.
But what about the rest of the vehicle? If Mahindra wants to compete with plush and well-specced SUVs, a good engine and gearbox aren’t enough. The XUV500 needs to be easy on the eye and offer all the modern accoutrements that buyers expect.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in our opinion Mahindra’s SUV is quite a looker. The design is bold and elegant, and easily survives comparison with its competitors.
The XUV500 also has all the comfort and safety features that one could ask for. The W8 version (available in both AWD and 4×2) boasts top-end features such as an infotainment system with a touch screen and DVD player, climate control, eight-way adjustable seats, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers. Safety features include ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, an electronic stability program with roll-over mitigation, hill hold and hill descent control.
Despite the good performance and loads of kit, the XUV500 remains very affordable. The basic W6 model retails at R239 900. The 4×2 version of the W8 costs R269 900, while the all-wheel-drive model retails at R289 900.
The interior finishes, it has to be said, leave a bit to be desired. It is covered in brown leather and faux-wood finishes that South African buyers won’t be very fond of. It would look great in basic black and grey. Despite this, though, the XUV500 is a classy vehicle that offers a lot of car for a very good price.
XUV500 W6 R239 900
XUV500 W8 (4×2) R269 900
XUV500 W8 (AWD) R289 900