The Mahindra XUV500 was launched in September 2011 and received a crazy response with huge amount of bookings. It was a massive hit for Mahindra. The XUV500 stands tall and proud with looks that shame other offerings which are priced at almost double the cost. It has massive road presence and stuff like the LEDs integrated into the head lamp or the bulging rear simply add to the whole package. The side profile is more natural and at more than one instance, it did remind us of the Mitsubishi Outlander! You also notice the muscular design lines above the wheel arches, the typical Mahindra grille and the twin exhausts which give a proper hint of this vehicle’s capabilities. Other interesting bits include the funky ‘paw’ door handles and the sexy tail lamps with motif engravings. It won’t be wrong to say that the XUV500 easily generates more attention than its main rivals in this price band, the Force One and the Tata Aria.
Inside it does have seven seats but due to its limited length, the last row is best suited only for kids. Also, with the third row in place, there is next to no boot space left inside. Secondly, at places, the fit and finish of the plastics isn’t really upto the mark – these two things are just about the only negatives we found in the SUV and hence wanted to mentioned them first. The good part starts now – step inside and you are shocked with the package Mahindra has managed here. From the extreme design lines to the feature list and space, the XUV500 simply surpasses its immediate rivals as well as others priced at almost double the cost easily. The top end W8 model is loaded to the brim including leather seats and touch screen system for various functions. Thoughtful features are the conversation mirror for the driver, flowing central console, chilled box under the driver arm rest, cruise control, voice command for audio and cruise system.
The XUV500 has a 140 hp diesel engine. It is also mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and a similar speed automatic is expected next year. Twist the key and the engine starts with a rather muted sound and clatter – thanks to all that NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) packaging possible by various changes including the dual mass flywheel. Expect 12 kmpl.
This is truly a highway vehicle and the engine literally sleeps in 6th cog. The amount of torque and power generated is so huge that pedal to metal in lower gears, one needs to take note of the torque steer – easily felt through the gear lever. The XUV500 also comes with the start-stop feature that works when the vehicle is stationary in neutral for over 2.5 seconds.
The suspension is easily the new benchmark in the SUV segment. On straights, the long wheelbase and aerodynamic front meant that it felt reassuringly stable even at its top speed of an indicated 195km/h. Around the hills, the ESP gives you that extra confidence and this combined with low centre of gravity and minimal body rolls make the SUV a joy to flick around corners.
The XUV500 on the other hand not only surprises by being so accomplished but also walks away with the cake due to its pricing – from Rs 10.80 to Rs 12.88 lakh. The icing on the cake that the XUV500 walks away with is the long list of standard features – due to limited space, we simply cannot name them here. For a detailed look read below..