By Sala Masindane
It is well document that the amount of accidents that happen yearly in the country are based on many things which includes driver inability, lack of respecting road rules and other users on the road. There are many other reasons for a high accident rate but cars also play a role. Unfortunately, the safest cars are R500k and above. Well, not anymore, Mahindra seems to have a response to this and it is under R300k. We recently spent time with the refreshed Mahindra XUV300 W8.
It retains the familiar look and most the upgrades take place in the interior. The exterior design may have not been changed but it remains easy on the eye.
Step inside our tester, and you’re met with a new dark interior (instead of the ivory one) with a black dashboard design and black leatherette. The move to the dark hue has improved the look and practicality of the interior. Also making its debut is the new 9-inch touch display infotainment system that replaces the 7-inch infotainment system that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. It adds convenience when navigating the traffic of Gauteng.
Overall, execution may feel a bit dated in comparison to its competitors but Mahindra should be commended for the quality of materials selected for the cabin. Space is generous across the compact SUV although the boot could be a tad larger. Other standard features on the W8 include dual zone climate control and sunroof among other things.
The entire XUV300 range is fitted with at least two airbags, electronic stability control (ESP), ABS-brakes with emergency brake force 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 seat-belts.
Performance and drive
Powering the refreshed XUV300 is a brand new four-cylinder 1.5 litre turbodiesel engine that delivers 86 kW/300Nm and is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox that drives the front wheels. The 1.5-litre diesel engine possibly leads the segment and 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. Once you are on the open road that is easily forgotten. Our stint yielded a commendable fuel consumption of 5.6l/100km from the claimed 4.8l/100km with mostly city driving which means fewer trips to the petrol station in these tough times.
The XUV300 is priced from R259,999.
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