Mahindra & Mahindra has launched the new XUV500. A facelift rather than an all-new SUV, the 2018 model looks more premium than the one that it replaces, the chrome studded grille making a big difference. The grille surround is a mix of gloss black and chrome.
Retaining their shape, the head lamps have been treated to a subtle change. The projector low beam hasn’t changed, what has changed are the elements. On top is an LED daytime running lamp strip. Below, the bumper has been treated to subtle changes. The chrome fog lamp housing has changed shape.
On the top-spec XUV500, marking the sides are the smart-looking 18-inch dia alloy wheels and chrome strips on the doors. The roof rails are new; it is a different matter that they look subtle. Rather than the seemingly unending tail lamps in the earlier model, this one gets tail lamps that look just the right size and the right shape. The tail gate also has been redesigned.
The interior of the 2018 XUV500 looks upmarket. Finished in black with quilted leather seat upholstery, the cabin of the SUV looks smart. The dash has a nice soft feel to it and so do the plastics on the door. The centre console, finished in black with silver elements, contains a touchscreen Android infotainment system. Laced with sat-nav and a reverse camera, the system is equipped with BlueSense app. Capable of being synced to an Android or Apple smartwatch, the BlueSense app allows audio to be controlled. It also allows climate control. Information like tyre pressure can be viewed too.
The commanding driving position offers a good view of what is ahead. The good-looking seats offer good comfort but they could do with more support. The amount of room in the front and rear is good, but third row occupants do not have much space.
The 2.2-litre common-rail, turbo-diesel engine has been tweaked to deliver 15bhp more. Peak torque output has gone up by 30Nm. Producing 155bhp, the engine, laced with an electronically controlled variable geometry turbo rather than a vacuum controlled one of the earlier model, results in a stronger performance than the earlier version. While the response at lower revs has improved, the boost now seems to come in a little early. A strong pull exerts itself as the rev needle climbs past 1800rpm and continues almost all the way up to 4000rpm. The six-speed manual gearbox may not be the most quick, but does cog swapping in a determined manner. Routing power to the front wheels, the SUV does a good job of the city traffic. Out on the highway, it exhibits an ability to munch miles. Also available with a six-speed automatic gearbox that can route power to the front wheels or to all four wheels, the XUV500 hasn’t changed much in terms of ride.
Tackling surface irregularities with ease except for the sharp ones, the XUV500 has improved in the area of handling. It feels a bit tighter, and the body-roll is better controlled. Priced at Rs 12.32 lakh ex-showroom Delhi for the basic W5 version, the 2018 XUV500 comes across as more premium. Not only does it feel more luxurious, but also gains in performance. With an ability to seat seven people, the XUV has started to make more sense.
Pros: Performance, premium feel
Cons: Top-spec auto, all-wheel drive variant feels overpriced