The hype, buzz and buying mania enjoyed by XUV 500 was no less than what Tata Indica experienced when it was launched in Dec of 1998. To a great extent XUV 500’s consumer interest can also be compared with the Nano Excitement.
In Bollywood speak, XUV 500 is a Block Buster, with its producers, actors and distributors smiling all the way to the bank.
What made it such a huge hit, simply speaking it’s a ‘Great Value Buy’ muscular big car with puny price and to top it all, loaded with features. Indian car buyers definitely saw great value in XUV 500 and therefore lined up in front of the Mahindra showroom’s across the country, with pocketful of cash. However, we at ecardlr.com did some deep dive to find out and share with you the depth of this new animal called XUV 500.
STYLE & SUBSTANCE
There is little doubt about the XUV’S ability to turn heads. Wide stance, muscular arches along with dynamic road presence makes XUV a REAL SUV. It reeks of an attitude but with an air of sophistication.
Xuv 500's front (it reminds one of Jeep) is dominated by large grill with pronounced bumper having a number of angular cuts. A large hood on the bonnet provides it the necessary character along with large muscular wheel arches (which unfortunately are made up of fibre, unlike steel arches in most SUV’s).
Side profile is dominated by the strong shoulder line along with blacked-out B pillars. Door handles are inspired by the claws of Cheetah; inspiration behind the design of XUV though these don’t feel very sturdy to use.
There is no escaping from the bulk of the XUV; especially from the rear which looks like quite similar to the Xylo. Tail lamps look slick, though small, rear screen is not a very practical feature. Rear bumper is pronounced & has double exhaust pipe concealed neatly under it.
INTERIORS, SPACE & ERGONOMICS
Slip inside through the wide and large opening doors which along with low flooring ensures easy ingress unlike other SUVs’ where you need to climb up in order to get in.
Cabin is nice & well-laid out but unfortunately does not feel very luxurious. Two tone interior color scheme look nice, but nothing to go gaga about. Centre console design is intuitive thanks to large dials but the deep-red finishing may not be too everyone’s liking. Steering wheel is chunky and adjusts for rake along with the conveniences of mounted controls.
Instrument cluster feature hooded telescopic dials which look great but are not very readable due to small fonts. Air-con vents also feel low and are slightly flimsy to use, especially one on the sides.
XUV delivers plenty of space especially in the first two rows. Front seats are wide, nicely bolstered & very well cushioned. View from the driver seat is commanding, confidence building and won’t pose any difficulty for tackling the congested roads. Middle row has loads of room and will accommodate three adults in great comfort. Flat floor further will aid long travel convenience. Third row is tight, be it in terms of ; leg room, knee room & head room> Third row should be best left for the kids. Flat-folding middle and 3rd row makes up for the lack of the storage space.
POWER PLANT & TRANSMISSION
XUV is the first monocoque from the Mahindra. It also features very first transverse power plant layout. Engine displaces 2179 cc delivering a power output of 140 bhp along with 330 NM of rotating force delivered to wheels between 1600-2800 rpm.
Idle of the engine is refined thanks to double mass flywheel which reduces the rattle & vibrations. Though the engine uses 5th generation variable geometry turbocharger there is turbo lag at lower revs. Beyond 2000 RPM power surge is quite encouraging and the delivery is almost linear. Drivability is very good above 2000 RPM mark.
XUV is good highway cruiser & overtaking is not at all problem for this nearly 2.5 tonnes beast. Convenience of 6th gear means relaxed highway driving, this also helps adds to the cars fuel efficiency figures, which is futher complimented by mhybrid tech . mHybrid cuts off the engine after the car has been idle for a predefined period. All one needs to do to restart the engine is just tap the clutch and the car comes alive. Neat, convenient, practical and a pleasant surprise.
Engine is mated with 6-speed manual transmission. Gear box is not as slick as we would have liked & feels notchy to use. Extra effort is required to engage the gears properly & this along with a wee bit heavy clutch action makes city driving not so pleasurable experience.
XUV 500 uses McPherson with anti roll bar up front while multilink type hardware at rear is used to suspend the wheels. 235 mm of wide rubber is used to shroud the 17” wheels with all round disk brakes.
Ride quality is sorted but nowhere as comfortable as Tata Aria. The springs are not softly sprung & sharp bumps are felt straight away in the cabin especially at slow speed. The ride is far from the flat even as the speed increases.
XUV’s handling s well managed which is in contrast with its ride quality. The SUV holds its line & cornering it won’t be a problem as it shows the great poise with decent amount of the grip.
XUV comes with all round disk brakes & this provides very impressive stopping power. ABS as well as EBD further enhances the safety proposition of the car along with the dual air bags (6 on top-end version).
With the XUV 500 Mahindra managed to jolt the Indian car market and Indian car buyers from the stupor that had gone into. Penetrative pricing to a great extent helped them generate the buzz for the XUV 500 in a dull sleepy Indian car market. Pricing almost seems like a mistake, as it was just too mouth watering, however, we are sure there was a strategic intent for doing so. Great Price. Great Looks. Great Features. Real SUV, ensured Housefull Boards across all sales point.
Style and Substance : 4/5 Ride and Handling : 3/5
Interiors and Space : 3/5 Safety and Equipment : 4/5
Power Plant and Transmission : 3/5 Mileage : 3/5
Value for Money : 4/5