The XUV 500 started a new chapter for Mahindra & Mahindra when it was first launched back in 2011. It saw unprecedented popularity as the company had to stop taking bookings owing to a huge demand. The seven year long journey has been very fulfilling for the Mahindra flagship SUV and this includes a new generation that came in the year 2015. Now the company has launched a facelift of the car to keep in tune with the changing times. The car has already been launched starting at a price of Rs. 12.32 lakh and this time around the XUV has come with a Petrol variant as well.
A lot has changed on the outside, especially the front has a completely new look. The grille is completely different from before; it is wider and has a lot of chrome. The LEDs which had a separate housing in the outgoing car have now been nicely integrated into the projector headlamps. The fog lamps also get a refreshing new chrome bezel. The big changes on the profile include door sills with chrome and new 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels. The rear too has become more attractive than before with the tail gate getting a new design along with integrated split LED tail lamps as well as a new spoiler. In terms of dimensions the XUV looks as intimidating as it ever did, maybe more owing to that new front grille.
In comparison to exteriors the changes on the inside are somewhat limited. They come with a premium new tan and black theme comprising of new quilted tan leather seats. The dashboard now gets soft-touch leather a new piano-black center console. The fit and finish is certainly better than before but still not the best in the segment. A case in point is the handbrake lever which strangely is not straight and is tilted towards the driver. The touch screen system is there but its size can certainly be bigger looking at the kind of space the XUV offers. The response is decent and the system is compatible with Android Auto. In fact the company has also introduced a smart watch connectivity feature with the new XUV where a lot of controls can be activated using a smart wrist watch. Mahindra says the Arkamys Enhanced Audio has made the music experience better in the SUV. The seats are comfortable but the second row of seats still cannot be slid forward to make more space in the last row. This leaves the 3rd row very cramped and is ideally suited for kids. The top variant of the XUV continues to get a sunroof.
The turbocharged 2.2 liter diesel engine continues to do its duty on the XUV 500. But now it has become more powerful. It’s now called the mHawk155 engine which means it now gives 155 bhp and higher torque of 360 Nm. Mahindra says the new 6th generation electronically controlled Variable Geometry Turbocharger (eVGT) has improved the low-end torque further, to ensure an even more pleasurable urban driving experience. There are 6-speed transmissions on offer both on the manual and automatic. However, the petrol comes only in automatic and that too in the top most variant.
Ride & Handling
The enhanced suspension of the new XUV500 promises a plusher ride. Mahindra claims to have worked on the characteristics of the suspension to make it more suitable for the Indian road conditions. Refinements have also been made in NVH levels which results in a quieter cabin in the car. However owing to its tall dimensions expect some body roll when traveling the XUV 500 especially on the middle and last rows. It is high on safety features with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP with Rollover mitigation, hill hold and hill descent control and disc brakes on all wheels.
The XUV went virtually unchallenged when it was first launched. Now a lot more and impressive cars have hit the segment including the Tata Hexa which feel more modern. The gap between the XUV and other cars like the Hexa and the Jeep compass had certainly reduced and this one surely feels like a more modern car. This facelift is an honest attempt by Mahindra to change with the times but still some more enhancements could have been dine to the car. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for a new generation to see that. In diesel five variants are on offer and the good thing is apart from the base variant all others get automatic options as well. The base automatic is priced at Rs. 14.78 lakh (ex-Mumbai) while the top variant will set you back by Rs. 18.98 lakh.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars