India loves big cars, and if it is going to be stylish and feature loaded, we will adore it even more. Mahindra, one the oldest SUV manufacturers in India, seems to have understood this concept quite well. When they finally came up with their first monocoque SUV, the XUV500, they ensured that it had the right mix of brawn and brain. History books were rewritten as we witnessed the success story of the XUV500. It has been ruling the Rs 12 to Rs 15-lakh SUV segment ever since its launch four years ago.
However, products need to change with time to avoid becoming outdated or obsolete and Mahindra has hence launched facelifted version of the XUV500, showing that it likes to stay abreast with the changing times and the look of the new car is proof for this train of thought. We spent some time with the 2015 XUV500 to find out if Mahindra has got it right again or if they have gone a bit too far!
After slapping onto the Xylo a face that only its mother could love, Mahindra’s styling department have rediscovered their mojo with the Mahindra XUV500 in India . The nose is dominated by the latest iteration of the Mahindra family grille that has expanded from the chromed sabre-tooth to a jaw full of canines. Google Jeep Grand Cherokee and you will see the inspiration for the grille but the execution is all Mahindra’s and it will work for the Indian audience. The bumpers have deep slashes below the headlamps which cut down on visual mass while also adding to aggression. These aren’t air vents though, they’re blanked off with the vents being behind the honeycombs on the grille and airdam. The numberplate holder is neatly integrated into the bottom of the bumper and I expect it to stay there; if you recall the Scorpio’s number plate had to be shifted as it was obstructing the flow of cooling air. Four years in the making, 2.3million testing kilometers, 250 prototypes and a Rs 650 crore investment will ensure these issues won’t crop up.
The projector headlamps are similarly highly detailed and this would have been the first Indian SUV with day-time running LED lamps if not for the Force One. It also gets cornering lamps which basically means the fog lamps (which is angled outwards) comes on when the steering wheel is twirled. The profile is dominated by the muscular haunches that cover 17 inch alloys shod with 235/65 Bridgestone Dueler road tyres (of note, there aren’t any ungainly wheel arch gaps). The rear haunch is particularly interesting, a distinctive character line that eats into the shoulder and window line and is supposedly inspired by the haunches of the cheetah ready to pounce on its prey in the Savannah. In fact a lot of the communication of the XUV revolves around the Cheetah (which is not found in India by the way) whose paws were also the inspiration for the vertical door handles. That’s not it for African themes; the taillamps have this strange tribal motif and the colors too were chosen after parking XUVs in the Masai Mara and observing how it looked under the sun and in the wild. The Cheetah/Africa bit is stretching the point but fact is there is no bad angle to the XUV, unlike the Scorpio where the designers forgot about the rear.
If you really want to have a feel of what the interiors of Mahindra XUV 500 have to offer there is a suggestion try to get a look inside the Mahindra XUV 500 in a dark place, and the mood lighting inside the car will blow your mind. The red lights thrown at strategic places inside the car make it an eye candy amongst its competitors.The car has a 6 inch colour touch screen infotainment system. Along with this one gets GPS navigation with touch screen and audio support that can operate in as many as 8 regional languages, now that is impressive. Also for the GPS you get coverage of about 1.5 million kilometres off road in around 1200 cities.The turn to turn voice guidance system can help one in locating over 5 million touch points including restaurants, ATMs, fuel pumps and Movie theatres as well. The audio system in custom built and speakers are built by Onkyo, the car has four speakers and 2 tweeters. The music system gets the new age CD/MP3/Ipod/USB connectivity and also Bluetooth connectivity. The Mahindra XUV 500 steering wheel features include voice commands, cruise and audio controls for comfort and convenience. You can also control the infotainment system without taking your hands off the steering wheel through the voice commands. The car uses blue sense technology and also allows you to access your phonebook as well as make and receive calls.
For the more intelligent drive, the Mahindra XUV 500 gets smart rain and light sensors which turn on automatically when required. The car also has a DVD playback in the infotainment system. Now let us talk about the speedo console, it is well lit and not too flashy. There are some additional features like tyre-tronics, intellipark with visual aid on the infotainment system, digital immobiliser, digital trip and tachometer. The car gets a glass embedded antenna. It has the standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel.IF this was not enough it also has fully automatic temperature control and dual HVAC, along with Leather upholstery with centre armrest with cup holders. Driver’s seat gets lumbar support adjust and 8 way adjustable seats including height; and also the ORVMs are power adjusting and power foldable. The front row seat belts also get height adjustment. There is remote tail gate opening and the Flip-key has the remote central locking system. Reading lamps are provided on all three rows along with a power outlet for each of the three rows. The Mahindra XUV 500 is equipped with rear demister along with follow me home lights. There is an illuminated key ring and puddle lamps which make it easier to get in and out of the car under dark conditions.The second row seats are 60:40 folding and the centre console between the passenger and the driver gets a cold storage. The glove box also has a laptop holder. The interiors are dual tone which are very elegantly crafted to sooth the minds of the occupants. There are two colour combinations namely theme of dark and theme of light as mentioned by a Mahindra official. The car has concealed lounge lighting with waterfall-style central bezel.To conclude we can say that the interiors of the car stand up to the claim of the company saying “elegance in form, elegance in function”. The car also has chrome scuff plates on the first and second row.
No mechanical changes have been made to the 2015 Mahindra XUV500 and it continues to be powered by the same 2.2-litre mHawk engine that draws 140 BHP of power at 3750 RPM and 330 Nm of torque from 1600 to 1800 RPM. Refinement levels are very good but the engine’s noise does manage to creep in inside the cabin, post 3500 RPM. There is hardly any lag felt even when the turbo hasn’t kicked in. Power is delivered in a linear fashion and the turbo kicks in at a shade above 1500 RPM, after which the XUV accelerates very nicely. The first and second gears are very short while the third gear is perfect for ambling around in the city. The final gearing has been tuned to provide better and fuss-free drivability.
The engine packs in quite a punch and hence overtaking other vehicles is very easy. Even at low-end RPMs, the vehicle surges ahead nicely and in a smooth fashion. The engine doesn’t feel strained throughout the rev range. The XUV cruises at 100 km/hr in the 5th gear at 2200 RPM, while in the sixth gear it is a bit below the 2000 RPM mark. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission which isn’t one of the best ones out there but the clutch is now lighter. Gear shifts are notchy and we would be happier if Mahindra could work on making the shifts slicker.
The XUV500 is quite heavy and powerful, but inspite of pushing the vehicle hard, we managed a fuel efficiency figure of 10 km/l and between 12-13 km/l under sedate driving manners. The earlier XUV had an ARAI-tested fuel efficiency of 15.1 km/l while the new model claims to put out 16 km/l thanks to a new alternator that decouples when the battery is fully charged. The car also gets a start/stop system which surprisingly works well. Mahindra had a great opportunity to plonk in an automatic gearbox in the vehicle, looking at the rising demand of auto boxes these days, but it seems that the company is reserving that for the next update.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Being a monocoque is another reason why the XUV500 does not wallow like usual SUVs. Now being sprung on new springs and tweaked shock absorbers the ride and handling is said to have also gone up a notch. Since the test ride was restricted to Mahindra’s test track in Chakan we could not test the XUV500’s handling dynamic to the limit, but it seems fairly firm and flat through the corners of the track.The suspension felt slightly firmer than the older model, and we expect it to have less body-roll than before, but we’ll need to drive it on our usual roads to confirm that. The steering had the right weight but could have been more direct.
The steering of the XUV500 facelift has good feel but could have been a bit more direct.The 2017 Mahindra XUV500 comes equipped with the latest generation ESP from Bosch (ESP 9) which offers better control under severe braking condition. This along with disc brakes on all four wheels gives the two and a half tonne SUV the desired stopping power.While the new Brake Energy Regenerator improves fuel economy and also lowers CO2 emissions. Mahindra boasts of improving the fuel economy from 15.1kmpl to an ARAI certified 16kmpl. But with the summer sun in all its glory, the air-conditioning on and after some enthusiastic runs, the XUV500 onboard computer didn’t cross the 10kmpl mark.
Braking system is constituted by disc brakes affixed in front as well as rear. Other than this, the SUV also gets pivotal braking features such as anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution. Among the safety features the SUV may not feature a string of safety fitments but it comes equipped with a few prominent safety features like dual airbags for driver and passenger, side curtain airbags, electronic stability program with rollover mitigation, hill hold and hill descent control, side impact beams and crumple zones for crash protection.
The Mahindra XUV500 has always come across as a very good package and this facelift just makes it better. While we are used to the styling of the outgoing model, we can’t deny the fact that the facelifted XUV500 managed to impress us a lot. With so many features, more than enough power, oodles of space and lots of road presence, this vehicle is for those who are searching for a comfortable cruiser with all the creature comforts at an attractive price. Like all other Mahindra cars, the XUV500 too strikes the value for money equation right away.
Mahindra Xuv500 W6 Fwd Ex-showroom Price is 13,97,805/- and On Road Price is 16,53,638/- in New Delhi. Mahindra Xuv500 W6 Fwd comes in 7 colours, namely Sunset Orange,Opulent Purple,Volcano Black,Dolphin Grey,Coral Red,Moondust Silver,Pearl White.