2013 Mahindra XUV500 review
- Published On: 30 March 2017
- 6 min read
Does Mahindra's big seven-seat, monocoque SUV impress?
Mahindra worked on making its popular XUV500 a better package, thanks to a host of improvements. The car will also be sold with a new W4 base trim.
On the outside
There’s no doubt the Mahindra XUV500 does turn heads; it’s got a muscular stance, strong road presence and looks every bit a proper luxury SUV. Walk over to the front and you’ll notice a traditional Mahindra seven-slat grille flanked by a pair of projector headlamps that widen their spread at parking speeds and work as cornering lights on tighter corners. Daytime-running LEDs are standard too.
Mahindra’s designers did go a bit overboard with the detailing on this car though. The faux air vents just below the headlights are too fussy and the oversized wheel arches are out of sync with the rest of the design and they make the wheels look small. This is further accentuated by the bulge in the beltline above the rear wheel arch. The rear tail-light also feels a bit overdone with fussy detailing on the lens.
The 4x4 XUV500, which weighs 1865kg, and is on par with the smaller Scorpio, could have been lighter. Weight of the car has been kept in check with the inclusion of elements like a plastic fuel tank and plastic fenders, and the use of high-tensile steel for over 30 percent of the body structure.
On the inside
The SUV comes with hill-descent control and hill hold on top-end variants and a differential lock on the AWD model for limited off-road use. In terms of safety, the Indian SUV gets dual airbags as standard across the range with the top models additionally featuring ESP, rollover mitigation and curtain airbags. The base W4 SUV variant gets a more basic infotainment system with four speakers and CD and MP3 compatibility, and no monochrome display screen as seen on the W6 variant of the XUV500. It misses out on kit like rain-sensing wipers, automatic cornering headlamps, front fog lamps, telescopic steering adjustment, automatic climate control, powered wing mirrors, cruise control and steering-mounted controls. However, you still get features like projector headlamps, LED parking lamps, dual airbags, ABS with EBD, disc brakes all round, dual-tone interiors, tilt adjustable steering, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, remote central locking and a price that puts it in the same range as Renault’s Duster.
The instrument cluster, with chrome-ringed dials and circular centres, looks great, but is not the easiest to read. Other nice bits in the SUV include smart, high-quality air-con vents that work well to direct air flow, the chunky steering that’s quite nice to hold, and the air-con and audio system dials on the centre console that have a high-quality feel. The other buttons on the centre console don’t feel as good though. The interiors may lack the finesse offered by the competition and the fit and finish may not be the best but it is quite acceptable and something you can live with.
The front seats come with generous bolstering and adjustable lumbar support. However, the cushioning is on the firm side and the backrest feels a bit narrow near the shoulders. The middle row has enough legroom for six-footers to stretch out, even with the front seat pushed back. The seats themselves are very generously cushioned and the flat floor makes this SUV one of the best for travelling three abreast. Third-row passengers don’t have it as good though; leg- and kneeroom are severely limited and headroom is quite tight too. With all seats in place, there’s practically no luggage space. However, the last and middle rows do split and fold flat to convert the XUV into a serious load-lugger and the relatively low floor makes loading easy.
The biggest selling point of the XUV500 is its phenomenal list of features. The W8 variants get a colour touch-screen that displays GPS data, radio and AUX/USB settings and also doubles up as a DVD player. There is voice activation too and the top variants also get a handy tyre-pressure sensor. All models feature steering-mounted controls for the audio system, rain-sensing wipers, light-sensing headlights, parking sensors and even cruise control.
The mHawk engine is one of the strengths of the XUV - the punch it delivers both in the city and on the highway, is a good reason to buy it. The Mahindra XUV500 shares its 2.2-litre mHawk engine with the Scorpio. The six-speed manual gearbox is mated to a dual-mass flywheel that minimizes transmission rattle at low speeds. Power jumps from 120bhp to 140bhp while max torque is up now to 32.63kgm available between 1600-2800rpm. Driveability is quite impressive too, and overtaking slower cars is pretty effortless. The XUV500 sprints to 100kph in a brisk 12.34 seconds; 20-80kph in third gear takes 12.36sec and 40-100kph in fourth takes 13.26sec.
From behind the wheel
Low-speed ride is good too, but sharper bumps can rattle the SUV, which crashes through potholes. At higher speeds, surface imperfections can catch the XUV500 out and it does get ruffled by the odd stretch of broken tarmac taken at speed. Overall, the XUV bobs and pitches about a bit more than we’d have liked. Handling is a marked improvement over the Scorpio but it is still a long way off from the likes of Renault’s Duster or Nissan’s Terrano. The car features disc brakes all around, while ABS and EBD are standard across the range.
The XUV500 is pretty fuel efficient, returning 10.2kpl in the city and 14.3kpl on the highway. The relatively low kerb weight, tall gearing and some clever engine tuning have made the XUV the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class.
Is it worth the money?
With the XUV500, Mahindra has gone all out to pamper its customers. The XUV500 has a fantastically spacious middle row and more equipment than you know what to do with. Performance is quite decent too and that just adds to the feeling of power SUV owners crave for. Customers, so far, have lapped up the big Mahindra – it’s good value for money – making it hard to resist.