The new 2018 Mahindra XUV500 is here, and in its newest avatar, it has received some really comprehensive changes. The exterior has been re-embellished; the interior has also been enriched with some new features on the instrument console, as well as more safety aids. The engine has been tuned too, and is now more powerful. We took the much loved Indian seven-seater out for a 200 km spin for this exhaustive review, and here’s what the new 2018 XUV500 feels like on the go.
New 2018 Mahindra XUV 500 Video Review
New 2018 Mahindra XUV500 Engine, transmission and performance
The 2.2 litre mHawk engine on the XUV500 has been tweaked to produce 155 PS of peak power at 3750 rpm and 360 Nm of peak torque between 1750-2800 rpm. The new engine has seen several improvements, including a new sixth generation electronic Variable Geometry Turbocharger for better low end response and improved performance. The engine comes mated with a six speed transmission and a six-speed automatic. There’s another 2.2 litre petrol with 140 hp of power produced at 4500 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 2000-3000 rpm. It comes only in one variant, with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and has been priced at Rs 15.43 lakh ex-showroom Mumbai. For this review, we drove the 2.2 litre diesel with 6 speed manual transmission, in the top of the line W11 Option variant. We’ll talk about the petrol version once we have driven it.
The 2.2 mHawk engine on the XUV 500 was always a very capable, refined unit, though with the new improvements, it has received a very perceptible shove at the bottom of the barrel. The engine is very responsive to throttle inputs, and its absolute highlight has to be it its responsiveness even at idling engine speeds to throttle inputs. The new eVGT works really well, and the XUV500 does move forward with some intent when you dab the right pedal, even at 1000-1200 revs. The turbo spools up properly at 1500 revs, beyond which your inputs on the right pedal are rewarded with a proper, reassuring shove. The response thereon from the engine is fantastic, and the XUV500 feels alive all the way to 4000 revs. The tacho is redlined at 5000 rpm, though the performance fades away as the needle nudges the 4K mark.
The low and mid range performance of this engine is really appreciable, and should make it a fantastic city car, as well as a capable highway cruiser. The truckloads of torque at hand allow you to overtake without having to shift down, and that spells great comfort and confidence. The engine by itself feels very refined though the noise does manage to intrude the cabin post 2500 revs. Mahindra have done a lot of work with NVH control and inside the cabin, and that’s very apparent as there’s very little road noise, tyre noise and ambient noise inside the cabin, but the engine noise could probably have been cut down a bit more. It’s not too loud to be called annoying or unpleasant, but the cabin at lower engine revs is surprisingly quiet and with some more effort, this could have been an example for the class. Mahindra have also worked on reducing the induction noise from the turbo, and overall, one can tell that the cabin is quieter than before. The new XUV 500 is a joy to drive, with the responsive engine mildly showing you back on those quilted seats every time you mash the right pedal with enthusiasm.
The motor is mated with a six speed transmission, where the ratios are well spread out. The six speed manual, however isn’t the smoothest boxes out there and there is a fair degree of notchinees and rubberiness to it. It isn’t too bad to moan about, but we believe the shift action could definitely have been slicker. The clutch isn’t too heavy though it isn’t too light either. Short to medium trips in bumper to bumper traffic would be OK, but long trips where you need to work the clutch extensively may spell some discomfort.
Mahindra is claiming an ARAI fuel efficiency of a little less over 15 kmpl. During our test run, we got an efficiency figure of about 9 kmpl in the city and about 12-13 kmpl on the highway. Both numbers taken together, you would get about 10-11 kmpl, which is pretty decent for such a big motor lugging such a heavy weight and offering such good performance.
All in all, the XUV500 engine is decidedly a step up in terms of real world performance. It feels more linear, feels more responsive and is more refined. Coupled with the SUV’s sorted dynamics for its size, it feels like a fun to drive machine and would invite motoring lovers behind its wheels a bit more than before.
New 2018 Mahindra XUV500 Design and Styling
Mahindra has made a whole bunch of changes to the exterior of the car to make it look smarter and a bit more premium. Up front the radiator grille has been restyled and now has a piano black mesh with chrome studs to lend the fascia a more upmarket appeal. The overall finish and build quality could have been a bit better here though. The headlamps have been restyled as well and now get a new set of LED DRLs on top of a set of projector units. Front fog lamps are surrounded by shiny black plastic and also have a chrome vertical inlay on the side. The bottom of the front bumper also gets a faux skid plate in satin silver as well as black under-cladding that runs across the car.
On the sides, the changes include new 18 incher diamond cut black-silver alloys exclusive to the top of the line W11 (Option) variant. There are 17 inch alloys on W9 onwards while the W5 and W7 variants get steel wheels. Bottom of the doors get a chrome lining over a black plastic and the roof gets a set of two-tone silver-black ski racks.
At the rear, the vertically stacked combination lamps, which we never liked much before, have been replaced with a bit more horizontal layout. The tail gate itself has been restyled, and now has a roof mounted spoiler on top with a high mount stop lamp. The registration plate recess gets a chrome applique on the top variant. There’s a new set of fog lamps and the bottom of the car now gets twin exhausts for a dash of sportiness.
Overall, the XUV500 is still every bit recognizable as an XUV in terms of proportions and in terms of details too, to a large extent. The changes made to the exterior, however, do lift its appearance and make it look a bit more upmarket and premium. What Mahindra has done with the looks works in the flesh, and the updated model, with refreshed looks is going to help push the sales of the model to an extent.
New 2018 Mahindra XUV500 Interior and features
In addition to the changes made to the exterior, the vehicle has received a plethora of changes to the interior as well. The most prominent of these is the new quilted leather seats on the top of the line W11 variant. The leather seats, which are finished in a tan, or in other words, a rich beige shade look very nice, and definitely raise the luxury quotient of the cabin. The dash has also been finished in all-black now, and also gets soft to touch faux leather treatment for the dash with sporty stitching.
The centre console is now finished in piano black, though the controls and the buttons remain the same. We really believe that Mahindra would have done well with improving the feel of the buttons here. The plastic buttons feels rather low-rent and don’t have a very solid, quality feel about them. They last though, as the previous editions of the XUV500 have very ably demonstrated.
The centre console has also received some updates, the most talked about of which is the ability to connect with an Android smart watch using the Mahindra BlueSense app. You have to pair your phone with the watch and then pair the instrument console with the smartphone – and then you’d be able to control the following things using the Smart Watch.
- Audio controls
- Climate control
- Emergency Assist
- Location services
- Tyre-Tronics (TPMS)
- Fuel Statistics
- Door Ajar
The infotainment system also gets its output through the new Arkamys Audio system, which sounds quite nice for the segment until you don’t blast the volume too high. We tested the audio, and found it pretty good. Don’t try to push the bass or treble too high though, or you’d disappointed. It’s not the system for an audiophile, but it’s above average and everyday users would love the clarity and depth to the mid levels.
The front driver’s seat is now six-way power adjustable for the driver, and comes with Lumbar support. While leather-wrapped and powered, the front seats aren’t the most comfortable we have come across, and could probably have done with a bit more thigh and back support. They’re fine, though over long distances you do feel that they’re not the most relaxing seats you’d come across in the segment.
The space at the middle and third row seats remains the same, though the car now gets a new anti-pinch sunroof. The cabin now also gets a blue ambient light around the main roof mounted light panel to radiate a lounge like ambience. While the idea is good, the light itself, upon closer inspection doesn’t look like a high quality unit.
Overall, the equipment level is pretty good and the car comes quite loaded with features. The fit and finish inside the cabin is par with the class, though there’s nothing too astounding to praise either.
The full variant wise features list of the new 2018 XUV 500has been provided below
XUV500 W5 variant
- HVAC + Dual AC
- 15 cm Infotainment System with USB and Bluetooth
- Micro Hybrid Tech
- Follow me home headlamps
- ABS with EBD
- Dual Airtbags
- Projector headlamps
- One touch indicator
- Power ORVMs
- New Radiator grille with silver studs
- Rear Demister
- Tilt adjustable power steering
Mahindra XUV500 W7 Variant
- 18 cm touchscreen infotainment system with Navigation
- Android Auto and EcoSense
- BlueSense App for smartwatch connectivity
- Piano back centre console
- Arkamys Sound System
- Emergency Call
- LED DRLs
- Automatic climate control
- Auto lamps
- Auto wipers
- Blue lounge lighting
- Parking sensors
Mahindra XUV500 W9 variant
- Lumbar support
- Electric sunroof with anti-pinch feature
- ESP + rollover mitigation system
- Voice messaging system
- Power folding ORVMs
- 17 inch alloy wheels
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Reverse camera with guide lines
- Front fog lamps
- Hill Assist
- Telescopic Steering
Mahindra XUV 500 W11 Variant
- New quilted tan leather upholstery
- 6-way power adjustable seats
- Connected apps on instrument console
- Bonnet with hydraulic assist
- New soft touch leather dashboard
- Brake energy regeneration
- Illuminated scruff plates
- Side and curtain airbags
- Logo projection lamps
- Chrome applique on tailgate, door sills and window line
- Aluminium pedals
Mahindra XUV 500 W11 Option Variant
- 18 inch diamond cut alloys
- AWD option for AT and MT
New 2018 Mahindra XUV500 Ride, comfort and handling
Mahindra claims to have tuned the suspension on the XUV500 for a plusher ride. They also claim to have worked on the steering for a more precise feel. While the former is true, the latter doesn’t feel too promising. Let us explain.
The ride quality on the Mahindra XUV500 has definitely improved. It now rides better at slower speeds on broken surfaces. While the low-speed ride quality isn’t best is class, it’s definitely better than before and feels better damped, taking out those sharper, raised surfaces more ably. It could probably have been even cushier at lower speeds while dealing with broken patches, but it’s good enough to prevent us from complaining. It’s still slightly firmly sprung, and the advantages of that fact are to be reaped when you push the car hard.
The XUV500 has always had decent handling for the class, especially when compared with the seven seater Tatas which were its primary rivals. It still feels pretty solid at high speeds and even around bends. Quick lane changes or handling uphill or downhill courses is something the XUV500 does with reasonable ability. We quite like the reassurance the XUV500 provides, and in its newest avatar it feels more poised. The braking has improved too with discs on all four wheels on top variants. It’s not the best in class braking but is definitely better than before with scope for improvement.
What we didn’t like at all was the steering. It feels uncannily inert and springy at dead centre. It should also have felt more solid, heavier for such a big car. The lack of feel at the steering wheel is a dampener for what is otherwise a car with good poise. We wish the steering had more positive character and weight – the XUV500 would have been better for it.
Overall, the ride and handling on the XUV500 is pretty good, and it handles the Indian conditions rather well. It definitely isn’t for the out and out speed enthusiast, but for the kind of practicality it offers with its seven seats and the tonnage it hauls, we really have to appreciate what Mahindra have achieved with this one’s ride and handling characteristics.
The XUV500 is an appreciable step up from the version it replaces in every respect. It’s not just a cosmetic job and changes made to the engine, suspension and NVH control are very perceptible. Despite having received more features, and being a better car, the XUV500 is now available at a slightly lower price than before which is a fabulous thing.
Here’s the price range of the Mahindra XUV500 rivals in general
- Renault Duster 7.9 – 12.8 lakh
- Hyundai Creta 9.29 -14.68 lakh
- Tata Hexa 12.5 – 17.9 lakh
- Jeep Compass 15.2 – 22 lakh
- Tata Safari Storme 10.7 – 15.9 lakh
Of all of those machines, the Tata Hexa is XUV500’s closest competitor. Now, being priced between 12.3 lakh (W5 diesel MT) to 17.8 lakh (W11 Option AT AWD) – the XUV500 undercuts the Hexa marginally. The XUV500 is better built, performs better, is better equipped and is decidedly a better product than the Hexa. The others don’t offer seven seats, while the Storme is just feels too heavy and old to be discussed here.
Looking at the seven-seater SUV segment, we cannot think of another option that comes close to the XUV500 for what it can do. So then, the 2018 XUV500 is still what it always has been, albeit perceptibly better – the best seven-seater SUV you could buy for that price!
Well done, Mahindra!