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Review: updated Mahindra XUV 500
Driven August 2013
Even though the mood in the Indian automotive industry is glum, the SUV segment seems to have escaped the clutches of receding sales numbers. And that’s mainly because of the Mahindra XUV 500, the Renault Duster and the Ford EcoSport.
Launched a couple of years ago, the XUV took over and ruled the sub 20-lakh SUV segment for a bit. But the product lacked finesse . But now, there’s a tweaked version. Is it any better?
Speaking of the cabin, the features are all there – climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, satnav, steering controls and cruise control, present on this car just like on the old one. All that you’d ever need, which is good. But the plastic quality is, well, iffy. The plastic quality is not the best and the fit and finish too could have been better. The white cabin lights, carried over to the new version, look a bit downmarket.
Mahindra's boffins have fiddled with the steering and it has now lost its vagueness and the feedback too is good. Not too light to aid easy manoeuvring within city limits, but not too much of a worry either. With that, the handling is much better than the previous model.
The springs and dampers have also been worked on, and the ride is more settled now. The suspension setup stays the same, with McPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear. Although the front struts crash over sharp bumps and the noise enters the cabin.
The brakes too have been worked on, and the XUV is now more confident under panic braking. And that’s proven by the 80-0kph braking distance of less than 30 metres on a wet road.
The powertrain continues unchanged, with the same 2.2-litre diesel block putting out a healthy 140bhp and 330Nm of torque. Power delivery isn’t very linear, but won’t surprise you too much with a sudden surge of power. The engine sends drive to a six-speed manual 'box. Like the earlier model, shifts are a bit notchy.
The XUV manages to hit 100kph in 12.54 seconds, before topping out at 175kph if you give it the beans. As for economy, it’ll do 9.8kpl in the city and 13.5kpl on the highway for every litre of diesel. Not unimpressive for a SUV this sizeable.
Outside, the new one is almost similar to the previous model with only the front fog lamps being reshaped. And we think it's a bit of a styling overdose, especially at the front.
The updated XUV starts at Rs 14.48 lakh for the W6 variant and if you want the fully-loaded W8, you will have to shell out Rs 16.37 lakh. And if you want an all-wheel driven W8, you’ll have to pay up Rs 17.67 lakh (all prices on-road, Mumbai).
With the update, the XUV now drives better. But it’s a sort of a lost opportunity, with the plastic quality and the fit and finish leaving you disappointed.
4cyl, 2179cc, 140bhp, 330Nm, 6M, FWD, 0-100kph: 12.54sec, 30-50kph (3rd): 4.02sec, 30-50kph (4th): 6.50sec, 50-70kph (5th): 5.91sec, 80-0kph: 29.72m, 2.95sec, city kpl: 9.8, highway kpl: 13.5kpl, top speed: 175kph
(All performance runs in wet conditions)
Rs 16.37 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
The update betters the driving dynamics but is a letdown if you wished for a plusher cabin
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