By Khulekani Dumisa
The SUV segment is amongst the busiest in South Africa, consequently every player wants a piece of it and buyers are spoilt for choice. 7-seater options are limited however, especially in the R400,000 and below range. This is the area that local manufacturer Mahindra is hoping to exploit with the Mahindra XUV500, which is priced from R299,900.
Recently we drove the top of the range XUV500 W10 to explore whether the consumer has a viable 7-seater in this offering from Mahindra. The Mahindra XUV500 range has been refreshed recently with updates to the front and back styling of the car. Upfront there is a newly designed grille and LED lights. Similarly at the back, new combination taillights and a larger roof-mounted rear spoiler have been added to the XUV500. Inside, the dash has been reworded and in our test W10, there is a touchscreen infotainment screen with navigation and a full climate control system. Connectivity is also facilitated via USB and Bluetooth, both which work very well. There is also with picture and video viewing functionality on the W8 and W10 variants. Although at lot of hard plastics dominate the interior, these communicate quality and durability rather than cost cutting.
The Mahindra XUV is not short on standard specifications and drivers of our test W10 can look forward to a sunroof and a push-button Start/Stop system, electric side mirrors, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel with electric power assistance, remote boot lid opening, follow-me-home and lead-me-to-vehicle headlamp functionality. As if that is not a lot, other features include: cruise control with a multi-functional steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, charging points in the front two rows and reading lamps for all three rows of seats, ice-blue lounge lighting, Tyre-tronics tyre pressure and temperature sensors on all tyres, foldable side mirrors and a reverse camera with dynamic assist.
Powering the XUV500 is a mHawk 2.2 turbodiesel engine with 103 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. The engine is by no means quick off the mark but provides sufficient power to deliver a good and comfortable city drive as well as competent performance on the highway. Drivers will be able to go about in city traffic with confidence, as well as perform overtaking manoeuvres in highway traffic without worrying about whether there will be sufficient power to execute these perfectly.
Space and comfort
The biggest talking point about the XUV500 is the space in the vehicle and its practicality. There is ample space in the cabin and both the front and middle row passengers have decent legroom. Three adults can comfortably share the middle row bench. The last row of seats is however best suited for small children. Although the left back passenger door that is used for accessing the last row of seats is generous in size, it is not quite easy to jump in there, especially for adults. Nonetheless Mahindra must be commended for bringing a 7-seater option to the segment at relatively affordable prices. Owners will also enjoy a generous boot when the last row of seats is down but boot space becomes very limited when the last row of seats is up. For owners needing all the seats, a trailer option will have to be considered.
The pricing (inclusive of VAT) for the XUV500 is as follows: Five models are available from launch, namely:
Mahindra XUV500 W4 6-spd manual: R299,999
Mahindra XUV500 W6 6-spd automatic: R359,999
Mahindra XUV500 W8 6-spd manual: R374,999
Mahindra XUV500 W8 6-spd automatic: R403,999
Mahindra XUV500 W10 6-spd automatic: R419,999
Prices include a five-year / 150,000 km standard warranty and five-year / 100,000 km service plan. All XUV500 owners will also receive Roadside Assistance for the full five years of the vehicle’s warranty and service plan.
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