Mahindra South Africa has released a thoroughly updated version of its popular XUV500 sports utility vehicle (SUV).
First launched in 2011, the XUV500 has spearheaded the Mahindra brand’s push into the highly competitive SUV segment with a thoroughly modern, powerful, spacious and well-equipped vehicle.
The XUV500, with its cheetah-inspired styling, high comfort levels, seven-seater cabin and muscular turbodiesel drivetrain, has since become a regular sight on South African roads.
Now, a series of significant updates and improvements are set to add new lustre and appeal to the XUV500. The upgrades include a complete overhaul of the SUV’s aesthetics, with particular emphasis on the front-end styling. In addition, the interior execution has also been upgraded.
“The XUV500 is a significant vehicle for Mahindra, because it emphasises the brand’s intention to extend its product range beyond its tried and tested utility vehicles,” says Sanjoy Gupta, chief executive officer of Mahindra South Africa.
“Combining contemporary styling and smart, spacious interior with a powerful and efficient turbodiesel drivetrain, the XUV500 has become a popular, value added option in the highly competitive SUV segment. The array of improvements is significant inside and out, ensuring that the New Age XUV500 will be even more appealing than before,” he concluded.
EXTERIOR: A FRESH NEW FACE
The Mahindra XUV500’s clean, contemporary lines have already been turning heads since the vehicle was originally launched in SA. However, the design has now been significantly enhanced for the 2015 model year.
The most compelling changes are to the front of the XUV500, where the grille, headlights, bonnet and fog lamps have all undergone a substantial redesign.
The new grille design is smarter, utilising a glossy black finish with subtle chrome accents, as well as a more prominent Mahindra badge, while the lower air intake has been reshaped to provide a stronger visual integration with the grille. Black mesh inserts are consistently applied to both the main grille and the lower air intake, creating a more consistent appearance.
The headlights on either side of the grille are also completely new, with a cleaner, more resolute appearance and a new, curved LED daytime running light signature. New, bolder fog lamps are mounted in restyled apertures that are linked to the lower edge of the headlights.
The bonnet has also been redesigned, and now features a wider, more expansive look that contributes to the front end’s cleaner, more contemporary design approach. The result is an expressive and dynamic cheetah-inspired ‘face’ that elevates the XUV500’s on-road presence to a new level.
The redesigned front-end styling is accompanied by new, stylish 17-inch alloy wheels. The multispoke wheels are shod with 235/65 R17 all-terrain tyres. Also of note are the revised door handles, which now feature a more open, user-friendly design.
At the rear, the tall longitudinal tail lights benefit from a new internal tattoo design, while the tailgate is garnished with a more prominent, chromed Mahindra applique. While these changes are more subtle than at the front, they also achieve a cleaner, more elegant appearance.
INTERIOR: AN EMPHASIS ON STYLE
The spacious cabin of the New Age XUV500 has undergone some important upgrades as part of the model update. Perhaps the most obvious improvements are the plush all-back leather upholstery and the large seven-inch, full-colour touch-screen display located in the centre stack.
Bright and clearly legible, the new touch screen is standard fare on the W8 flagship model, and provides intuitive, convenient access to the XUV500’s comprehensive infotainment features. These include integrated satellite navigation with voice prompts, as well as a multi-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and music streaming, iPod-compatible USB sockets, and a reverse camera.
The display remains legible, even in bright sunlight, thanks to a reshaped centre stack cowling, while the hood for the three-dial instrument cluster positioned directly ahead of the driving position has been seamlessly integrated into the upper contour of the dashboard for a smarter, more cohesive appearance.
Add the new black interior treatment with its silver accents, and the XUV500’s interior has never been more inviting. Of particular note is the presence of three rows of seats, offering accommodation for up to seven occupants – two in the front seats, three on the middle bench seat, and two on the third seating row.
The XUV500’s cabin is also comprehensively equipped. As the flagship model of the range, the W8 benefits from advanced features such as auto-sensing headlights and windscreen wipers, fully automatic climate control air-conditioning, remote central locking, cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel.
The seats are upholstered in full leather, while electrically operated windows and exterior mirrors, a refrigerated centre console, and charging points in all three seating rows are also included.
SAFETY: REASSURING PEACE OF MIND
The New Age XUV500 has a comprehensive line-up of active and passive safety features, all in the interests of motoring peace of mind. The top-range W8 is fitted with dual front, side and curtain airbags, together with seat belts for all seating positions, side impact protection bars, and crash protection crumple zones.
The active safety systems comprise an all-disc braking system with ABS anti-lock control and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), as wells as electronic stability program (ESP) with roll-over mitigation. The W6 and W8 versions of the XUV500 also feature Hill Hold and Hill Descent Control.
DRIVETRAIN: POWER AND EFFICIENCY
The New Age XUV500 retains its predecessor’s powerful, efficient turbodiesel drivetrain. The 2,2-litre four-cylinder mHawk 140 turbodiesel engine makes use of a variable geometry turbocharger to produce 103 kW of maximum power at
3 750 r/min.
The impressive torque peak of 330 Nm is reached at just 1 600 r/min, and sustained to 2 800 r/min, ensuring athletic responses, excellent in-gear tractability and superior lugging power.
At 6,5 litres/100 km for the combined cycle, linked to CO2 exhaust emissions of just 171 g/km, the XUV500 also counts efficiency among its talents. Combined with a
70-litre fuel tank, the Mahindra offers an operating range in excess of 1 000 km between refuels, depending on driving conditions.
The turbodiesel engine is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox driving the rear wheels, although an all-wheel drive version of the W8 model is available for those intent on more serious excursions off the beaten track.
An all-independent suspension sees front MacPherson struts combined with a multilink rear set-up. The latter was specially tuned by sports car maker Lotus for optimum handling and response. A power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system provides ensures confident, sure-footed control.
PRICING, SERVICE AND WARRANTY
The New Age XUV500 is available through Mahindra’s national dealer network. Recommended retail prices are as follows
XUV500 W4 R262 995
XUV500 W6 R304 995
XUV500 W8 R339 995
XUV500 W8 AWD R359 995
The pricing includes a five-year/150 000 km warranty, and a five-year/100 000 km service plan. Services are at 20 000 km intervals or every 12 months, whichever comes first.