2018 Mahindra XUV500 Test Drive Review - India's Own Premium SUV
Does the added features and luxury translates to the premiumness in the new Mahindtra XUV500? We find in our Test Drive Review.
2018 Mahindra XUV500 Review. (Image: Siddharth Safaya/ News18.com)
Indians a particular affinity towards big and bulky muscle SUVs, especially in the rural region. While Mahindra has long served such buyers looking for a budget 7-seater SUV with the successful Scorpio, the increasing spending capacity of buyers across India made Mahindra to launch a more premium SUV, slotted above the Scorpio – the XUV500. Needless to say, the decision was rational enough and the XUV500 became an instant hit in the domestic market, making it the only premium SUV by an Indian manufacturer priced below Rs 20 Lakh.
But there were many things missing from the XUV500 and one may argue if it was truly a premium SUV? To answer all these doubts, Mahindra has now updated the XUV500 and added more premiumness. But does it still get what we call the premium value? Here‘s our test drive review of the 2018 Mahindra XUV500.
The Mahindra XUV500 was always designed to look like a premium SUV, with a more balanced approach. The idea behind the XUV500 was to make it look like a proper SUV, yet not that aggressive. The facelift of the Mahindra XUV500 carries the same design language, but in a more refined manner. There’s a new front grille, with a lot of chrome throughout the grille. The LED DRL's, headlamps and teardrop fog lamps, all have been re-profiled. The top spec model gets a dual-tone skid plate and 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels. The rear has also been redesigned with a new tail gate and triangular tail lamps.
However, it is the cabin of the new XUV500 that has received a much needed update, not in design, but in styling. The XUV500 now comes with dual tone interiors and has tan-coloured leather seats that adds to the premium value of the SUV. The centre console now gets a piano black treatment, with chrome inserts and there’s the soft touch trim on the dashboard and the doors.
The rest of the cabin looks the same with the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a nice user interface and animation. The steering wheel with mounted controls, instrument console and AC controls are all the same. XUV500 is a feature rich car and gets an electronic driver seat, sunroof, 6 airbags, AB with EBD and more. We found the placement of key hole and hand brake lever odd.
The front seats offer a nice and wide view of the road ahead, and are comfortable for a long journey, giving enough cushion to your body. The middle row is wide enough to seat 3 adults with ease, while in the third row, only 2 adults can adjust. Practicality wise, there are enough cubbyholes to keep your stuff around. Also, the 3rd row seats can be flat-folded to increase the boot space.
Coming to the engine, the XUV500 facelift is available in the 2.2-litre diesel and a 2.2-litre petrol option and there are both a manual and an automatic gearbox on offer. We test drove the manual diesel unit that now generates 153 bhp instead of earlier produced 140 bhp. The torque is rated at 360 Nm, and is peppy enough for a fun filled drive. The 6-speed manual gearbox stutters while starting, but has long gear ratios, meaning you don’t need to downshift while overtaking in traffic.
There’s bit of body roll, which is obvious considering the height of the XUV500. The steering is nimble to operate, but has a bit of understeer, which can be a bit of trouble while taking a turn from standstill. The ride quality is not a trademark of most of the Mahindra cars, but the plush seats make up for the otherwise average suspension.
Mahindra XUV500 successfully bridges the gap between a compact SUV and a premium 7-seater SUV priced above Rs 20 Lakh. Although there are few negatives like the plastic quality and the driving dynamics, but then, these can be ignored by a buyer who just need an affordable SUV with all the features. With this facelift, Mahindra has now increased the desirability quotient of the XUV500. You get a good looking SUV with a premium cabin, 7-seats and a sunroof, all under Rs 20 Lakh.
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