Flashback to 2009 – Mahindra, with an investment of Rs 550crore, launched the much awaited Xylo. The company said they were aiming of capturing both the MPV / MUV market as well as some share of the C segment sedan cars. Did it happen? Well, the product didn’t really catch the fancy of the Indian consumer, blame the front end look for that, and only when Mahindra launched a cheaper D2 version did the Xylo started doing good numbers in the commercial segment. In the past six month (September 2011 to Feb 2012), the company managed to sell 12617 units (at an average of 2100 units per month). However, the future does look great for the Xylo with the new version overcoming the biggest drawback of the earlier one – the front end look!
Bunny Punia spends a week with the Xylo to see if has what it takes to get customers walking into Mahindra’s showrooms.
A BETTER LOOKER?
I like my things to be BIG and the Xylo came as a good change for me as my daily commute vehicle – 35km each way, from Delhi to Gurgaon. It looks massive and did give me an ego massage on the road and finally, with a new and pleasing front end, people didn’t really have strange looks on their faces when they saw the vehicle on the road, or at Gaadi.com’s parking for that matter! The earlier Xylo was criticized heavily for the way it looked from the front. The new one however changes this shortcoming completely. The Xylo now gets a front end very similar to the Genio pick-up and now looks much more appealing and pleasing to the eyes. The grille is new, the bonnet gels down in a more seamless manner and finally, the headlamps are changed to accommodate these new changes. The bumper gets a makeover and also gets chin rubber strips. The lamps also get blacked out surrounds and this is carried over to the rest of the body – blacked out B, C and D pillars for example!
We drove the top end E9 model and this also gets a rear spoiler, clear lens tail lamps etc. The side profile makes you realise that the footboards are new and the wheel arches have a blacked out theme as well. Overall, all these changes go a long way in making the Xylo look polished and should easily appeal to the private buyer as well. The huge size remains unchanged which means you will get your share of attention on the road easily.
The lower D2 and D4 versions run on 205/65 tyres mounted on 15-inch wheels while the higher E4, E8 and E9 versions runs on 215/75 tyres mounted on 15-inch wheels.
ANY BETTER INSIDE?
The feeling of being in something BIG gets carried onto the inside as well – step, or rather climb inside the Xylo and you are greeted with surprises of the good kind. First thing first – you and everyone who is with you, sit high and get a commanding view of the road around. You actually end up towering over hatchbacks and sedans on the road, giving them an inferiority complex! Additionally, there is loads of space, much more than its own cousin, the Scorpio. The E9 version comes loaded to the brim and this is what we had for test with us. There are changes made to the cabin, for instance, the new two-tone color theme which looks premium. There is leather usage as well and can be seen on the seats, steering and gear shift lever. Doors gets a new trim, there is wooden finish on the console and a new floor console. And the moment you grab the steering, the controls for the audio system, voice activated commands and cruise control system greet you – yes, the E9 Xylo comes loaded with all these technologically advanced features and gizmos! The driver information display is right there in the centre while the 2nd row gets two dedicated snacks tray. All the rows get dedicated cup / bottle holders and air-con vents. Phew!
Yes, the new Xylo indeed comes loaded with features and makes every possible way of impressing you. The only thing that lets you down is the quality at places – for the example, the way the arm rests function is a bit flimsy. However, that said, the stuff you get for the price more than makes up for the overall package and this combined with loads of space and comfortable seats means the Xylo will be the perfect companion for upto 7 people on a weekend trip!
HOWS THE DRIVE?
The new Xylo now comes with an additional choice of engine – the 2.2-litre diesel motor picked up from the Scoprio. This engine is only available on the top end E9 model and needless to say, lends a completely different character to the Xylo. The engine puts out 120Bhp of power (the E4 and E8 get the usual 112Bhp one) and is rated at 14.02kmpl as per ARAI for fuel economy. The engine is mated to a new 5MT320 gearbox which I personally felt to be smoother than the gearbox found on the E4 and the E8. That said, there is a bit of transmission judder in 1st and 2nd gear, especially when going down hard on the accelerator. However, as far as performance goes, this engine will delight you. 100km/h comes up easily and if you drive in a spirited manner, spinning the wheels in 2nd is easily possible too. The 280Nm of torque also means that even with a full load of passengers, you can easily ponder in traffic at low speeds in a higher gear.
The E4 and E8 models continue to come with the same 112Bhp / 26Nm mEagle engine and the D2 and D2 models (intended for commercial usage) continue to come with the 2.5-litre mDI engine generated 95Bhp of power and 220Nm of torque. The ARAI ratings for the mEagle and mDi engines stand at 13kmpl and 14.95kmpl respectively. Both the engines are sufficiently damped, reducing the overall NVH inside the cabin with the windows rolled up.
DOES IT HANDLE?
The Xylo was never a very good handling vehicle. This is a pure myth, trust me. I have lived my life with the earlier version back in Pune and used the vehicle on city roads, hilly terrain as well as the fabulous NH4 for over eight months and can safely say that once you get used to the body roll, you can drive it in a spirited manner easily. However, the passengers for that matter, do have to bear the brunt. Motion sickness was a common affair for the third row passengers over undulating roads but the new Xylo thankfully does away with this too with the help of what Mahindra calls as Extra Stability Technology. The re-caliberated dampers and bushings for the suspension do make a world of difference, especially when you are going fast.
As far as comfort goes, the suspension does its job ably. There is a fair bit of suspension noise and when driven alone, you do tend to get thrown a bit over sharp undulations. But drive the Xylo with more than two people on board and suddenly, the suspension feels spot-on. Steering is a tad on the heavier side but the plus point is that at triple digit speeds, there is now a fair bit of feedback and you feel in control easily.
Mahindra provides ABS as an option on the E4 and E8 version while the latter also gets air-bags as optional. The Xylo remains calm and composed during emergency braking manoeuvres.
WORTH THE DOUGH?
The new Xylo range starts at Rs 7.33 lakh for the base D2 version in BS-III configuration. The BS-IV model costs Rs 7.47 lakh. The top end E9 with all the bells and whistles can be yours for Rs 10.47 lakh and for this, you get features that are unique to this segment.
the Xylo has improved in many ways – three engine options, a better front end and segment first technologies. We reckon the E8 will be the highest seller for private buyers while the commercial segment will see the D2 ticking in well.
The new Xylo competes with the Tata Sumo Grande, Chevrolet Taveran Neo3 as well as the Toyota Innova. Infact, as compared to the latter, the Xylo is pretty cheap and terrific value for money. It might not have the sophistication, smoothness and high quality-ness of the Innova, but one look at the price differential and you are sold! As for the Tavera and the Grande – well, let’s wait and watch as to how many units they all do in March 2012!