By Amanda Mfuphi
Mahindra has made massive strides in South Africa in recent years and have evolved their design language to produce good looking vehicles that appeal to the lifestyle customer who is interested in how the vehicle looks and what tech comes with it. It is therefore no surprise that the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa named Mahindra as the fastest growing brand in South Africa for 2022.
Eye-catching exterior design
We recently got the opportunity to sample the Mahindra XUV 700 AX7 L, which is the range-topping model in the XUV 700 line-up. The 7-Seater XUV 700 is a good looking SUV. The front-end adopts a bold and muscular look thanks to the large frame black grille with six chrome strips and large Twin Peaks Mahindra badge. The grille is flanked by C-shaped LED headlamps with sequential turn indicators. The front-end overall gives the XUV 700 a commanding presence on the road. The rear adopts arrow-head shaped LED taillamps, a boot spoiler and an antenna fin. The XUV 700 AXL 7 comes with a large panoramic roof and roof rails. The XUV 700 is also fitted with flush door handles that pop out when you unlock the vehicle then retract when you lock the vehicle. Our flagship XUV 700 is shod with 18-inch alloy wheels.
Premium interior for seven
Inside, you are met by a modern cabin with all the tech we’ve become accustomed to in modern cars. The XUV 700 AXL 7 has dual 10.25-inch screens for the infotainment (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and digital cluster. The XUV 700 also features a 360-degree surround view camera, dual-climate control, memory seats, a wireless charging pad and 3 USB ports (two Type-A up front and one Type-C in the second row). The cabin is also comfortable thanks to the space and the premium feel in the cabin provide by the large use of soft touch materials and leather on the dashboard, armrest and front door panels. You do still find the use of hard plastic in the cabin but this is not overbearing and its use still maintains the luxury feel in the cabin. Although coming with three rows of seats, we did find the third row heavily compromises luggage space when it is up and for practical purposes cannot be used if you need to store any luggage in the boot. The third row is easy to fold and it instantly produces ample boot space for a family trip of four.
From a tech and safety perspective, the XUV 700 AX7 L offers various driver assistance systems such as lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring systems, tyre pressure monitoring system, 7 airbags, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera view, and adaptive cruise control system. Some of the tech includes electrically operated seats with memory function for seat preferences, wireless charging and a 3D Sony sound system with 12 speakers.
Performance and driving impressions
The XUV 700 is powered by a 2.0 litre turbo-petrol engine that pushes out 149kW/380Nm and is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The XUV 700 presents a comfortable drive and 2.0 litre engine performs effortlessly when it comes to power delivery and we did not feel any noticeable turbo lag during our stay with the XUV 700. We did find the engine to present some noise (which is not a deal-breaker) in those initial gears but the noise whittles down on the high gears on the open road. We did find the engine to be on the thirstier side and not as efficient as we would have liked. The best we could only manage was 9.6km/L (10.4L/100km) with mostly city drive and a stint on the highway.
The XUV 700 AX7 L is priced at R559,999 with the XUV 700 range starting at R474,999 and the price comes with a 5 year/90 000km Service Plan.
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