By Lebohang Kobeli/Khuleni on Wheels
There is no doubting that the SUV segment is busy from all angles. Well known players and new players want a slice of it. Mahindra may not be an easily recognizable name in South Africa but it is a global player with 240,000 workers in over 100 countries. Mahindra has also joined local manufacturers, establishing a plant here late last year. The introduction of the new XUV500 together with two new models in its line-up is therefore no surprise.
The XUV500 was launched in South Africa back in 2012 and is probably one of the most recognizable Mahindras having done well locally for the brand. Also, attracting buyers is three-row seating space and an affordable price. Noting the success of the previous generation, the W6 Automatic and W10 range-topper have been added to offer more choice in the range.
The new XUV500 has a completely redesigned front and rear styling. Upfront, there is a brand new grille, which reinterprets the brand’s 7-slot design with chrome highlights and a larger chrome surround. There are also new light-strip daytime running lights at the top of the redesigned headlamps. The lower bumper has been redesigned with new fog lamps and the lower air intake now has a silver lower bash plate. On the side, the XUV500 has been treated to additional chrome detailing at the lower edges of the doors and redesigned the D-pillar.
Owners will see most updates at the back where a new tailgate, new combination taillights and a larger roof-mounted rear spoiler have been added to the XUV500. You will also find a wider and more prominent number plate enclosure with chrome detailing and integrated reverse camera (on certain models) and new rear reflectors.
Depending on the model you choose, the interior of the new XUV500 is equipped with an infotainment system, with air conditioning controls or a full climate control system. On W8 and W10 variants, this infotainment system also includes a full turn-by-turn satellite navigation system with voice prompts as standard. The system also offers USB connectivity, with picture and video viewing functionality on the W8 and W10 variants, Bluetooth hands-free cellphone connectivity and an iPod and AUX connection.
There is new chrome detailing, which includes illuminated chrome scuff plates, vertical chrome inserts on the centre console and detailing on the air vents and steering wheel. Also new is the sunroof and a push-button Start/Stop system in the Automatic W10 version. Consumers, especially in this segment, will enjoy that all versions of the XUV500 SUV offer electric windows and 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 and foldable second and third row seats.
Those needing more creature comforts will have to opt for W6, W8 and W10 models which have alloy wheels, cruise control with a multi-functional steering wheel, a conversation mirror (deleted on the W10 with sunroof), reach adjustment to the steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, puddle lamps and fully automatic temperature control (FATC). In addition, the W6-grade features premium cloth upholstery. The W6 variant is now available with automatic transmission. The W8 and W10 models are also equipped with a 7” full colour infotainment system with voice commands.
The top of the range W10 adds the electrically adjustable driver’s seat, while the W8 and W10 have mobile 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.
Mahindra have opted to refine their reliable mHawk 2.2 turbodiesel engine with its fifth-generation turbocharger. The mHawk-engine delivers 103 kW and 330 Nm of torque. If comfort was ever a thing for you in the XUV500, Mahindra has revised the suspension to offer greater comfort and improved handling. The suspension upgrade and additional noise damping on the 2018 model aim to reduce the noise, vibration and harshness inside the cabin. The car was really easy to drive, plus with its good ground clearance one feels the high stride ride which sets in quite well. The car does not feel cheap however use of too much plastic is evident. Leg room is there, seat comfort as well. Gear shifts are hardly felt thus that being a thumbs up.
During our drive we encountered traffic often, yet the XUV 500 managed to perform well without any rolls. A good look out is the independent suspension which made the ride very comfortable.
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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