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You get what you pay for with XUV500


A FEW years ago, when I drove my first Mahindra XUV500 and with its Burt Reynolds-moustache front grille and distinctive styling, I quite liked it.

But much like the rest of the world, the Indians have tried to go green and so Mahindra tweaked its SUV and packed it with fuel-saving micro-hybrid technology.

Some of the nifty features include stop/start, which admittedly didn’t work great and took some getting used to.

Powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, there’s plenty of low-down grunt courtesy of the 330Nm of torque and while it might be content on the open road given its higher ride height, there is a lot of wailing as it feels like you are surfing on a wave.

Okay, so it might not be the nicest companion on the black stuff. However, on the dirt it feels relatively comfortable and capable. The XUV500 shows a lot of promise. The spacious interior, which includes seven seats, an audio system with USB capability and cruise control means Mahindra is serious about packing its vehicles with creature comforts to give its customers more at a heck of an aggressive price. Even the navigation is a nice touch, despite it being shown on a screen the size of a cell phone.

I’m still rather fond of the XUV500’s styling and although it’s packed with standard features that won’t leave you wanting for anything, the fit and finish are still lagging behind. But with pricing that starts at R264 900, you get what you pay for.

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