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Mahindra XUV500

Motoring Review

Mahindra improves its XUV500 offering

THE Mahindra XUV500 has been around for four years, locally, racking up some 5 000 sales since its introduction. Mahindra has now brought the updated version of this popular model to local shores and I had a chance to get behind the wheel recently.

Exterior revisions

The XUV500 isn’t exactly the prettiest car on the road, but Mahindra has implemented a few exterior design changes to make it more palatable. Up front, there is a new front grille with black mesh, a larger Mahindra badge; a new lower intake design also with black mesh inserts as well as redesigned headlamps, daytime LED lights and new fog lamps.

The bonnet has also been reshaped while in side profile the car has new 17-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, the lights have been changed to include what the brand calls “...a new internal tattoo design...” Overall the car is still no looker however it does appear improved.

Interior changes

The interior has also been revised with the higher-specified W8 model receiving black leather seats while also getting an infotainment update with a full-colour touch-screen with sat nav, Bluetooth, iPod/USB and reverse camera.

All models receive black interior bits with silver accents for a more conservative look than before. A colleague that drove with me spent time with the pre-facelift model and remarked that the fit and finish is much improved on the new model. I still feel that it looks and feels cheap in most areas however its saving grace is that it is cheap, I can’t think of another 7-seater SUV for less money.

What’s it like to drive?

I was pleasantly surprised by the drive quality of the car, the 103kW/330Nm 2.2 litre turbo dieselmotor pulls well and is quite refined while sipping fuel, and we drove around 200km at the launch and the fuel gauge didn’t move. With a 70 litre capacity and claimed consumption of 6.5 litres/100km the XUV has a claimed range of over 1000km.

The car is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox which does a good job of shifting with long throws while the clutch action is soft. The models that we drove were front-wheel drive however there is an all-wheel drive variant with for those looking for a more rough-and-ready SUV.

The suspension has been tweaked too, apparently with the help of consultants from Lotus, it is no Elise but it feels well-sorted, another massive improvement I am told versus the outgoing model.

Verdict

The updated XUV500 ticks all of the boxes for a revised mid-life model, it is improved in most areasand is seriously a good-value proposition if you’re looking at long term ownership and can excuse what is sure to be bad resale value. The extended service plan and the fact that it has seven seats make this a worthy competitor in its segment.

Service plan and warranty

The XUV500 range comes with a five-year/150 000 km warranty as well as a five-year/100 000 km service plan.

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