By Khulekani Dumisa
The Mahindra XUV300 SUV, which also wears the special Africa’s safest car badge, has just received a refresh for the year 2022, with most features happening under the skin. First launched to a global audience in May 2019, the XUV300 received a full five-star rating and the title as Safest Car Ever Tested by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP) in 2020. Soon thereafter, in 2021, Mahindra South Africa submitted their own locally homologated version for testing and received a thumbs up from the GNCAP and the title as Safest Car in Africa.
Class Leading Safety
“It is worth noting that the GNCAP tested the most basic specification level of the XUV300 for its safety rating, both in South Africa and India. This means that even the entry-level W4 models are fully Five-Star Safety compliant and meets the standards that has made the model the GNCAP’s top performer,” says Rajesh Gupta, CEO of Mahindra South Africa.
For the 2022 model year, Mahindra has retained all the dynamic and passive safety features that has won the XUV300 its safety accolades, but with added features and upgrades to the three existing specification levels and the addition of a XUV300 W4 Special Edition (SE).
The Mahindra XUV300’s exemplary safety credentials remain unmatched in its class. During the tests, the GNCAP submitted the XUV300 to various side- and front-offset crash tests. It awarded the XUV300 a score of 16.42 out of 17 for adult protection, giving it five out of five stars. The GNCAP also awarded the XUV300 with four stars for child protection, scoring it “Good” or “Adequate” in all areas of occupant protection, cabin intrusion and vehicle body deformation.
The entire XUV300 range is fitted with at least two airbags, electronic stability control (ESP), ABS-brakes with emergency brakeforce distribution and disk wheels on all four wheels. All models further have certified ISOFIX seat mounts for child restraints, which no doubt helped it to receive a very high rating for child and occupant safety. Lastly, all models are equipped with speed sensitive door locks, an impact sensing unlock function that opens doors in the case of a severe accident, a collapsible steering column and pre-tensioners and load limiters on the front seatbelts.
For buyers of the W8, the list of safety features grows substantially. The W8 models add to the high specification level a further five airbags, including a knee and side curtain airbags, for a total of seven airbags and a dynamic cornering brake control system that electronically distributes brake force to offer a higher level of dynamic steering and safety when the XUV300 is driven briskly.
The W8 also receives a panic braking system, bright warning lights fitted to the doors when open at night and Hill Hold Assist.
All models, including the entry-level XUV300 W4 now has a dark interior (instead of the ivory one) with black dashboard design and black seat upholstery. The upholstery is further upgraded from cloth to black leatherette on the W8 models.
A second significant upgrade has been made to the XUV300 infotainment system. A new high-output system with new 9” touch-sensitive infotainment system replaces the 7” infotainment system of old and all specification levels that are fitted with the touch screen (W4 SE, W6 and W8) offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Moving from the W4 SE to the W6, and you find more luxuries previously not available at this specification level. This includes a rear window wiper and demister and a comprehensive satellite navigation system. Mahindra has also added cruise control to the W6 specification level as a standard feature.
Stepping up from the W6, the W8 delivers on all the luxuries expected from a flagship. This new model features, amongst other things, dual zone climate control, a leather clad steering wheel, a tyre pressure monitoring system and sunroof. This model also has a self-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlamps and window wipers and additional height adjustment for the driver.
New wheel design
Mahindra’s design team has upgraded the wheel design with a new multi-spoke, diamond cut allow wheel of 16”. This alloy wheel will do duty on all but the entry-level models, with the W4 fitted with steel wheels and stylish wheel covers and the W4 SE featuring its own unique design of 16” alloy with black and silver detailing. A 16” spare wheel is now fitted to all models, which ensures a higher level of roadside safety and convenience than a space saver or tyre repair kit.
Petrol and diesel options
The XUV300 will continue to offer both a petrol and diesel option, except in the entry-level W4 that will only be available with a petrol engine. The turbo-petrol engine is Mahindra’s own three-cylinder 1.2 litre engine, which delivers 81 kW at 5 000 r/min and 200 Nm of torque between 2 000 r/min and 3 500 r/min.
The diesel engine is a brand-new four-cylinder 1.5 litre turbo-diesel engine that delivers 85.8 kW at 3 750 r/min and 300 Nm in a flat band between 1 500 r/min and 2 500 r/min. Both engine options are paired with a six-speed manual gearbox that drives the front wheels.
We have often lambasted the safety credentials of the segment that the XUV300 plays in, and it was reassuring to drive a car that is as safe and as affordable as the XUV300. Inside, it feels roomy and well put together. The move to dark interior dramatically improves the ambience of the interior.
Whilst quality scores top marks, the design does appear a bit dated looking at the set-up below the new infotainment screen. The infotainment screen size is generous but a bit on the dull side and laggy but user friendly. It also connects to Apple CarPlay via Bluetooth for extra convenience.
In the city, the XUV300 is comfortable and good to live with. There is minimal road noise that makes it inside the cabin compared to segment peers. The seats also offer additional comfort making long drives also comfortable.
The diesel engine offers quite a bit of a punch and mostly works well with the six-speed manual transmission. The clutch does take a bit getting used to with the bite point being high. The second gear lacks power at low speeds with the need to shift to the first gear for tasks that the XUV300 should ideally do in the second gear for smoother operation. That is easily forgotten on the open road with the torque that kicks in at fairly low speeds and remains available, and handy when tackling inclines or overtaking. There is seldom a need to shift to lower gears as the power keeps being fed through even at higher gears.
Overall, the drive experience in the XUV300 is fairly effortless, comfortable and relaxing.
The refreshed Mandindra XUV300 range is priced as follows:
- XUV 300 W4 Petrol R234,999
- XUV 300 W4 Petrol SE R244,999
- XUV 300 W6 Petrol R261,999
- XUV 300 W6 Diesel R281,999
- XUV 300 W8 Petrol R316,999
- XUV 300 W8 Diesel R336,999
All models come with a 5-year/150,000km warranty with the W4 models being offered with a standard 3-year/50,000km service plan which W6 and W8 models get a longer 5-year/90,000km service plan.
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