Mahindra launched the XUV 5OO in 2011. This was the first product from Mahindra that took the SUV segment by storm and also showed the world the real New Age Mahindra and its capability. The XUV 5OO has single-handedly transformed the way the world sees Mahindra…from a basic SUV maker to someone who can make world class premium SUVs. Mahindra has been extensively exporting the XUV 5OO to many global markets and has seen the demand grow. Mahindra gave the XUV 5OO some minor updates all this while until now. Now, the car gets its biggest refresh till date. We drive the 2018 Mahindra XUV 5OO W11 Automatic to get you this extensive and detailed roadtest review, read on…
Food for Thought
Mahindra exports the XUV 5OO to 26 countries, including South Africa, Australia, Chile, Italy and New Zealand. When the XUV 5OO was initially launched in 2011, the Company had to resort to an allocation system to meet the local high demands. The XUV 5OO is more well known and better sold model than even the Scorpio in some international markets. The XUV 5OO and the Scorpio were the only two SUVs that were adapted to meet the NGT ban in Delhi. The Super XUV which is the rally version of the XUV has won a lot of accolades including the Desert Storm and became the 1st diesel SUV to win the Indian Rally Championship.
Mahindra has done a very refined and clever refresh to the 2018 XUV 5OO on the outsides. The front face gets a total update, the front grill is an all new one, which is wider and a lot bolder in styling with the six lines of chrome dash buttons signifying the family Mahindra grill styling. The grill also gets prominent chrome surrounds on the top and bottom, kind of outlining it and enhancing the aesthetic value on the face of the XUV. The headlights retain the old basic shape, but get a total revamp inside them. The DRL now are placed on the top in a kind of ‘dash’ styling, projector headlamps are in place, along with turn lights which go in neatly here. The front bumper also gets restyled with sharp lines defining its shape and horizontal fog lamps neatly placed inside glossy black (piano black) inserts. The bumper gets its lower section unpainted and also has the faux skid plate in silver.
The bonnet retains the soft character lines and the muscular flex design. The sides are more or less same as the older XUV, the major changes here include the chrome side cladding strip in chrome that is placed on the running board and the all new Diamond Cut alloy wheels 235/60 R18 Tubeless Tyres. The Cheetah door handles are retained and the electric auto folding wing mirrors with turn indicators are in place. The XUV also retains the silver roof-rails. The XUV 5OO W11 that we tested comes with an electric sun roof.
The rear section is totally refreshed; in fact this is the section that looks very unlike the older XUV. The tailgate gets an all new design and styling. They are all new and now triangular in shape, smaller and wider in design, unlike the vertical strip types the older XUV had. The inner half of the tail lights are placed on the tailgate section. There are stop lights also placed on either sides just above the all new restyled rear bumper. The rear spoiler now gets larger in size and so does the thick chrome band rear license plate area on the all new tailgate.
Like the exteriors, the interiors too get a major update on the 2018 XUV 5OO. Step inside and you instantly can make out the huge transformation that the cabin has been given compared to the older one. The dashboard gets a complete overhaul with the top getting leather, with hand stitched lining which is soft to touch offering a premium feel. The steering retains the four spoke design with all the multifunction buttons on it and manual adjust for height. The twin-pod instrument cluster now seems clearer, sharper and easier to read. The center dash gets a lot of piano black treatment along with faux metal cladding. There is an all new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen in place with connectivity to Android Auto, sadly no Apple CarPlay yet.
This new infotainment system comes with USB, Bluetooth, FM Radio and AUX connectivity and also includes GPS system. The sound system comes with Arkamys Sound to enhance the quality. Mahindra has also included a bunch of Apps on this unit that include Gaana, Cricket Live, Zomato, Bookmyshow etc. You also get World Time and a handy calculator built in to this neat little infotainment system. Then, Mahindra has also got the segment first smartwatch connectivity feature, where you can wirelessly control the infotainment system, climate control, music, etc. using your smartwatch as the remote.
The seats on the W11 XUV get a premium tan leather upholstery with special quilt stitching. The driver’s seat gets electric adjust while there is manual lumbar adjust on both the front seats. The ambient lighting now gets a shade of cool blue. The slot type auto shifter comes with thumb type tiptronic on it. The center arm rest gets slide feature to adjust it as per your comfort, and also retains the large, cooled storage space under it.
The 2nd row and last row seat configuration remains unchanged, but what has changed is the overall quality and fit finish, which is far superior and feels a lot more premium over the older XUV. Comfort level is top class and the cabin can make you feel as if you are in a living room at times.
Engine – Transmission – Suspension
Mahindra has got its best engines on the 2018 XUV 5OO. The vehicle comes powered by the 2.2 litre mHawk 55 Diesel engine and also a 2.2 litre mHawk Petrol engine option.
We drove the Diesel Automatic, hence we will speak more about that in our review here. The 2179cc 4 cylinder Diesel engine on the XUV makes 155BHP and belts out 360Nm of torque. This is the 6th generation of the mHawk engine, and now it gets an electronically controlled Variable Geometry Turbocharger (eVGT), the older engine had an Vacuum assisted VGT. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
The older XUV also had the option of the 140BHP engine, now all the models will come with the 155BHP engines. The power output (155BHP) is higher than the older 140BHP engine, and it is noticed instantly while on the move. The XUV pounces ahead in style and the auto shifter supports the power delivery with crisp and precise shifting at all speeds. The XUV is fun to drive and has all the typical SUV traits in its drive style.
The engine responds very nicely to the throttle inputs, and the automatic version is a huge boon in todays traffic snarls. The ride quality has also been upped and so has been the braking, which is now precise and not very hard as on the older one. Yes, the XUV does understeer on sharp cornering and does have the vertical movement, but then that’s the fun part of driving an SUV. An SUV should drive and feel like an SUV and this one does all that in style. The Auto gearbox has the creep function that’s handy in traffic situations to move this 2.5 tonner of a beast.
Full marks to Mahindra for upping the ride quality and the overall drive feel on the 2018 XUV 5OO. This SUV is a lot fun to drive around the town, you instantly are given way by the traffic ahead of you, autorickshaws stay a mile away from you and you feel you are a kind of a Hulk when driving the XUV. And yes, the one we drove came with an All Wheel Drive system to make you feel further invincible.
Mahindra has added a lot of safety features to the 2018 XUV which includes six airbags, ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability with Rollover Mitigation System, All wheel disc brakes, Hill hold and hill descent, tiretronics, reverse camera with sensors to name a few.
The XUV 5OO was a revelation from Mahindra when it made its first appearance in 2011, this latest major update has brought it up in today’s times. The vehicle now feels, and is a lot more premium and better. The overall quality, fit finish, paint and feel is a lot better over what the older XUV was. The mHawk 55 engine with the eVGT is the major surprise point which excels in all departments. Yes, we also managed to get around 18 kmpl on this beast on our highway run. And then there is a lot of brand loyalty that Mahindra has, that makes the 2018 XUV 5OO a very viable, practical and modern 7-seater SUV to go for.