Back in 1996 when – in a different lifetime – I was on the staff of Playboy magazine, I tested a Mahindra for a week. It was sort of a Jeep CJ-y thing imported by an aviation company of all people, and powered by an asthmatic, nat-asp Peugeot diesel.
Not bad off road, but just dire in every other respect.
But that was 23 years ago.
Now with an official presence in SA going back about 15 years, Mahindra has been forging a solid reputation for good things like value and durability. Especially with its bulletproof bakkies, while there seems to be a quiet cult developing around the Thar.
But this titanic Indian outfit is aiming higher. Its new XUV 300 compact SUV should be with us around April, and it promises to be one slick little package, while I’ve just spent a (delightful) week with Mahindra’s flagship: the XUV500 W10 auto.
Now this machine is no longer “pretty good” – for an Indian car. It’s good. Very good. Period.
So much so that I’ve recommended it to a few people. And I try not to be too promiscuous with my recommendations.
Space like life is short, so in brief the XUV has been around since 2012, but late last year its upmarketness was cranked up with resdesigned front and rear among other stuff.
The halo version is now a W10, not W8, and it’s just loaded with nice-to-haves.
Climate control (of course), cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, six airbags, tyre pressure and temperature monitors, seven-inch colour infotainment system, ESP. You get the drift.
This sizeable seven-seater is no longer available in AWD – limited demand apparently – but it’s still capable on rough roads, while perceived quality is tip top. Plus, it’s a relaxed and wieldy beast in urban or open-road environments.
The five-year/150 000 km warranty and five-year/100 000 km service plan are enticing too. And the boot badge bearing the legend “Automatic” is a quaint touch. I haven’t seen one of those for years – but that’s probably only old-school thing about this SUV that now plays so convincingly in the grownup league.
Mahindra XUV500 2.2CRDe W10 Auto Specs:
|Engine||2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel|
|Average Fuel Consumption||7.4l/100km|