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Mahindra’s Bollywood Blockbuster, the XUV500


Mahindra might be a small Indian motoring company here in South Africa but back on home soil it is a power player in the car market. The company aims to set up a strong foundation here in South Africa, offering customers quality products at affordable prices. I got behind the wheel of the latest XUV500, the companies first urban SUV to see just what exactly the car is all about.

The XUV500 has been around for about four years now, this latest model has been given a mild facelift to bring it more in line with current trends. The most noticeable upgrade to the styling can be found up front. The newly designed bumper features a new grille accompanied by enhanced head lamps and fog lamps. Even the bonnet has been given a more flattened look.

Down the side the changes are minimal and the XUV500 retains its strong character line which runs the full length of the profile. This new model does feature newly designed wheels and chrome binding which runs below the window line, this adds to the styling appeal. The rear end features an added splash of chrome along with slightly redesigned tail lights.

Inside the XUV500 I found the large 7-inch colour screen to be ergonomically placed. It offers an array of compatibility functions and displays all infotainment options as well as vehicle information and reverse camera display. What’s more is that it features upgraded graphics for a better user feel. One of the main changes to the interior is the colour scheme. The previous version featured a dark red/purple trim whereas the is new model now has a more acceptable beige and black colour layout. Mahindra has also improved the feel of the plastic buttons. They don’t feel cheap and flimsy anymore. As for the space inside, well there is lots of it. The seats are relatively comfortable and the rear luggage compartment is large enough for most applications.

Out on the road the Mahindra really impressed me with its drive. Its 2.2-litre diesel engine features the 5th generation variable geometry turbocharger and has an output of 103kW and torque of 330Nm of torque. I managed to average about 8.0 litres/100km over my time with the car. Work the 6-speed manual gearbox better than what I did and I’m sure you could bring that figure down. Mahindra has also tweaked the suspension and traction control system for added comfort and safety.

Thanks to the face lift, the XUV500 has now become more mature and a better overall package yet remains a good buy, from R262 995. Sure there is still room for improvements with regards to build quality but all the comfort features are there, along with the practical applications. We can very easily lift our noses up to vehicles that don’t come from Germany or Japan however, looking at the rate in which the XUV500 has improved and the company’s ability to listen to the market and its customers I have a feeling that it won’t be long until we are comparing cars like this to those from up north.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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