It feels like forever after the numerous test mules, teasers and rumours but now we finally get to see it. The SUV from the Indian manufacturer which completely shook up the market back in 2011 finally gets a replacement. Christened as the XUV700, this all-important SUV has a lot riding on its shoulders. With a stellar starting price of just ₹11.99 lakhs, the Mahindra XUV700 is not only ready to shake up the SUV segment but also the majority of the car market include ng compact SUVs, mid-size sedans and even luxury cars which cost twice as much! Let’s find out if it delivers on its promise:
Take a look at the XUV700 and you’ll immediately notice its familiarity with the current-gen XUV500. The overall design, however, is all new and it is quite purposeful and aggressive without overdoing it. The front features a gloss black grille with vertical chrome slats.
It proudly carries the new ‘twin peak’ logo which will be now seen in all the new Mahindra SUVs. The clear lens LED headlights are accompanied by C shaped DRLs and dynamic LED turn indicators. The side features smart door handles which retract in to maintain a clean look. It also gets 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. The rear features arrowhead LED taillamps.
The interiors are packed to the brim with features. The dashboard is dominated by two 10.25 inch HD screens that are housed in a panel. The dashboard features soft-touch panels all around. The interior gets a white theme with leatherette seats. Other details include a brushed aluminium finish running across the dashboard and an open-pore wood-like finish on the door pads.
The two screens are crisp, clear and loaded with all the features that you will ever need. The Adrenox infotainment system gets wireless smartphone connectivity, a programmable rotary dial for various functions, 60+ connected car features and inbuilt Alexa for voice commands. The system can be paired with a 12 speaker Sony 3D sound system as a part of the option pack and it is simply fantastic. Other features include a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, dual-zone climate control, push-button start-stop, air purifier, 360-degree camera with blind view monitor, electronic parking brake, auto booster headlamps and personalized safety alerts.
Enter the XUV700 and the driver seat will move backwards for ease of access. The driver seat is well-bolstered and has a range of adjustments including electric adjustment, memory function and lumbar support. The second row is spacious and easy to get in. Even the middle passenger would be welcomed thanks to no floor hump in the middle.
The third row is best suited for children as adults wouldn’t be able to sit in it for longer journeys. You do get some convenience such as blower control and a charging port. The boot space with all the rows up is nothing great however it is much better than the XUV500. The 2nd and 3rd rows can be folded to liberate an immense amount of space.
We got our hands on the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine which produces 185hp and 420nm of torque in the manual guise. This engine is a strong performer and the numbers clearly make their presence felt in the real world. There is plenty of torque lower down the rev range and it doesn’t lose any steam even at higher RPMs. City commutes are easy and the engine doesn’t lug much. Out on the open highway, the power delivery is linear and quick. One can easily touch 200 km/h without even realizing it!
The diesel engine gets driving modes called as Zip, Zap and Zoom. These driving modes alter the engine and steering. The Zip mode is for extracting the maximum efficiency, the Zap mode is for city driving and the Zoom mode is for extracting the maximum performance from the engine. The NVH is vastly improved too and you don’t feel any harsh engine noise entering the cabin. The gearshifts are not the segment-best but good nonetheless and the clutch is light as well. The diesel engine also comes mated to a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission which not only adds to the convenience but also adds an extra 30 nm of torque!
Ride and handling
The ride and handling have vastly improved over the xuv500. The handling is way more sure-footed now and the well-damped suspension is confident at low and high speeds. The stability is rock solid as well when we got to drive it at triple-digit speeds. The steering is light and easy to use in the city however it doesn’t weigh up as one would like at triple-digit speeds.
The steering does feel easy and precise though. The XUV700 gets frequency selective damping which ensures that the SUV doesn’t feel unsettled over high-speed bumps. Body roll is evident but it still handles well for its size and height. The XUV700 will also get an option of AWD which comes in quite handy when you venture off the road. Mind you, this isn’t a hardcore off-roader but it provides you extra grip and confidence when you’re off the beaten path.
Mahindra has gone all out when it comes to active and passive features. Going by how Mahindra SUVs have performed in the crash tests, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the XUV700 get a 4 or 5-star crash safety rating. It gets the usual ABS, EBD, ESC, TCS, HLA, TPMS, ISOFIX child mounts and 7 airbags.
However, Mahindra has given the XUV700 a whole suite of autonomous driving aids. It gets forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, smart pilot assist, lane keep assist and driver drowsiness sensor. All of these functions were demonstrated on the track and they work very well with no glitches whatsoever.
It is hard to not recommend the XUV700 for those who are looking for a competent SUV. Its performance figures can shame cars twice its price, the safety features packed in it is unheard of in the segment and the price can shame many compact SUVs/ crossovers as well! Mahindra has shaken the industry with the pricing of the entry-level variants and we can’t wait to see what the XUV700 has to offer once it launches in October. With all these strengths paired with the prices, the XUV700 is going to fly off the shelves for sure.