Mahindra XUV300 Diesel Automatic First Drive Review
The Mahindra XUV300 Diesel Automatic now joins the likes of the Vitara Brezza and the Tata Nexon to offer an AMT gearbox. We spent some time with one.
With the congestion on our roads increasing like never before, the demand for automatic cars has been on the rise. In such a situation, where most car buyers are obsessed with fuel efficiency, AMT is the go-to technology for most manufacturers as it is cost efficient, doesn’t lower the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and at the same time, spells a lot of conveniences. In the hot-selling compact SUV space then, the Mahindra XUV300 Auto Shift now joins the Maruti Brezza and Tata Nexon, to offer a clutch-less, diesel-powered option for those who don’t like to trouble their left limb too much. Nodding your head already? Don’t. This AMT is different.
How Different Is It?
Paired with the 1.5-litre diesel engine which cranks out 115 Bhp and class-leading 300 Nm of torque. The 6-speed manual transmission is now fitted with a Marelli-sourced (Previously Magnetti Marelli) actuator that makes use of an actuation pack with TCU solenoid valves, a 12V DC motor and sensors. The mechanism also brings crawl function and an anti-rollback mechanism integrated with the ESP, so that the car doesn’t roll back while driving uphill. The system has also been tuned to hold a lower gear and offer maximum engine braking while driving downhill in Auto Mode.
The other unique thing about this system is a Mono Stable Shifter which, unlike other automatic systems where one rows the stick vertically, allows the stick to stay in the centre, for it to be readily slotted into reverse, manual/auto, and neutral. It makes the entire process of switching between modes and gears easy, quick and effortless. That isn’t the only novelty about this Auto-Shift or AMT system though, it is unlike any other AMT systems which play in this price bracket. Read on…
Besides the AMT system, the only thing different about this XUV300 is the badging on the rear tailgate. Since pricing and variant details are yet to be revealed, the one we were driving was the top-spec W8 (Option Pack). This confirms the fact then that the clutch-less kit will be available with the fully-loaded variant.
To tell you about the experience behind the wheel, Mahindra has spiked the fueling in the initial stage to negate the effect of lag until the turbo takes over beyond 1,500 rpm. This ensures that when the XUV300 has to climb an incline from a standstill, it claws up readily and without hesitation. Even on a flat surface, getting off the line feels as smooth as a proper automatic without any reluctance felt in the momentum. On the move, part throttle shifts are super smooth, quick, progressive and never result in a head nod for the occupants, which makes this system such a Star.
The brilliantly refined engine and the dollops of torque it offers also helps in this effect, where, the coming together of this AMT system and the motor results in an experience which is seriously close to a proper automatic. If the engine is ticking over 1,500 rpm, power is readily available and a mere dab on the right pedal is all that is required to make a move on. If the need to take manual control is felt, sequentially shifting through the 6-speed gearbox is a joyful affair too.
The only time when the Marelli-sourced system reveals its true nature and results in a mild nod of the head is when you gun for it in Auto mode and the gearbox takes a little while to upshift in the higher echelons of the rev range. On the other hand, when the right foot demands additional ‘Go’ at cruising speeds, the system kicks down into a lower gear quite swiftly. During both these situations, the system still feels very refined and modern, and in our honest opinion, is the best AMT system we’ve experienced to date, mounted on cars priced under INR 15 lakh.
Is This The Best Automatic Diesel Compact SUV?
For how brilliant the Marelli-sourced system is, paired with that punchy, gem of a diesel motor, the Mahindra XUV300 Diesel Automatic or Auto Shift is ‘THE’ automatic diesel SUV to buy in its segment. It offers a refined experience along with the convenience that tags along, and needless to say, the XUV300 is also one of the most feature-packed vehicles in its segment. Not enough? The diesel engine feels the most energetic and punchiest in its class, the vehicle on its own is well-built and finished, and the AMT system won’t rob the XUV300 of its fuel efficiency number by more than a kilometre per litre or so, or ask for too high a premium either. Or so we hope. Stay tuned and we’ll bring you more pricing and variant details from the official launch.