2015 Mahindra XUV500 Test Drive Review
2015 Mahindra XUV500 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Mahindra XUV500 Facelift Review

Car Tested: 2015 Mahindra XUV500 W10 AWD

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 13.63 – 19.38 lakhs

The XUV500 is indeed a very impressive package, coming from an Indian automaker

The Mahindra XUV500 was launched in India four years back and it was a great feat by the Indian automaker. The vehicle came across as a huge change over other SUVs from the same stable and thanks to its aggressive looks and the loaded equipment list, the XUV turned out to be a runaway success for the company. Mahindra managed to sell at least 35,000 units of the SUV in the first year itself. The demand for the vehicle was so much that the company had to resort to a lucky draw system for buyers. The XUV500 received a minor facelift in 2014 which included only a few changes and now Mahindra has launched the 2015 XUV500 which is quite a significant update. The XUV500 continues to sell in good numbers even now despite the fact that it has got some worthy competitors. So, let us have a look at the 2015 facelift of the XUV500 to gauge what all has changed.

Motor Quest: Mahindra has always been known to produce rugged and robust vehicles and they have a very desi feel to them. The XUV500 is a radical change from its siblings and it is indeed a great buy. While other Mahindra vehicles like the Scorpio and Bolero cater to both urban and rural markets, the XUV500 caters largely to the urban market while a small percentage of sales head towards semi-urban markets.

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Changes to the exterior aren’t major but they are very much visible

Exteriors – Since the beginning, the Mahindra XUV500 has always been known for its cheetah-like front face which looks menacing and aggressive in a good way. The SUV has immense road presence and it certainly looks eye-catchy in most colours. The 2015 model comes with a new bonnet which is slightly contoured to give it a fresh appeal. The grille is also new and it is a glossy black unit finished in chrome while the bumper has been redesigned and there is a faux skid plate for that macho feel. The positioning of the fog lamps has been tweaked and now the lamps are placed at a slightly higher position and come in L-shaped enclosures. Another impressive addition is static bending headlights that also come with S-shaped LED parking lights that double up as DRLs. The bonnet now gets new hydraulic-assisted struts.

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Proportions remain similar, the Mahindra XUV500 does look butch

The side profile is largely the same and there are hardly any changes been made here. The design of the alloy wheels has been changed and the 2015 XUV500 gets 10-spoke wheels. The window surrounds now get a chrome trim which looks rather nice and premium in a subtle way. Moving to the rear, the changes are hardly noticeable. The number plate holder gets chrome while the tailgate is also mildly tweaked. The revised tail lights lose the over the top motifs but not completely. The lower part of the ORVMs comes with projector lights that flash ‘XUV500’ on the road surface and honestly this looks a bit unnecessary. The SUV is available in the following colours – Sunset Orange, Pearl White, Opulent Purple, Volcano Black, Tuscan Red, Dolphin Grey and Moondust Silver.

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Interiors of the XUV are nicely designed; they are loaded with tech

Interiors – The cabin of the XUV500 are far, far better than any other Mahindra offering. The build quality is good and the interior components are also made up of better quality then the outgoing model. The doors have a wide opening and hence ingress and egress is very easy and convenient. The steering wheel is just the perfect size and it feels good to hold. The layout of the dashboard is completely the same and it still features the long and vertical waterfall console. Mahindra has added a new W10 variant to the lineup and it boasts of features like electric sunroof, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GPS and video playback (video stops playing as soon as you cross a speed of 10 km/hr), reverse camera with a zooming function, keyless entry (one has to press a button on the claw type door handle), push button start, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, blue ambient lighting and auto up-down driver’s side window.

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The seats of the Mahindra XUV500 are very supportive even for long drives

The SUV looks imposing from the outside and the cabin is equally spacious

The cabin is now finished in black and it gets beige upholstery. Another interesting feature in the Mahindra XUV500 is the Voice Messaging System which gives out an alert when the handbrake is engaged, door is open or seatbelt needs to be worn. The instrument cluster now gets icy blue lighting and it is also easy to read, giving out a lot of information. The Mahindra Blue Sense app is also offered on the SUV but all our attempts to use it went futile as there is some bug in the same, no wonder it has received a rating of 1 star on the app store. The sunroof is a good addition and adds a feeling of airiness to the cabin when the cover is open.

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Instrument cluster looks cool; push-start button and sunroof are good additions

The space and comfort that is offered on the Mahindra XUV500 is really impressive. The seats are big and supportive and fitting five full-sized adults in the front two rows isn’t difficult or uncomfortable. The seats also come with perforated leather so that you don’t really feel hot and ventilation remains good. The floor is completely flat which means that rear seat passengers don’t have a reason to complain. The third row really falls short of leg space but it comes with its own dedicated AC vents, bottle holder and charging point. Boot space is negligible with all the rows in place, but the second and third rows can be split and folded to free up a lot of cargo space, offering lots of practicality.

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No mechanical changes made to the 2.2-litre engine which is a good performer

Performance – No mechanical changes have been made to the 2015 Mahindra XUV500 and it continues to be powered by the same 2.2-litre mHawk engine that draws 140 BHP of power at 3750 RPM and 330 Nm of torque from 1600 to 1800 RPM. Refinement levels are very good but the engine’s noise does manage to creep in inside the cabin, post 3500 RPM. There is hardly any lag felt even when the turbo hasn’t kicked in. Power is delivered in a linear fashion and the turbo kicks in at a shade above 1500 RPM, after which the XUV accelerates very nicely. The first and second gears are very short while the third gear is perfect for ambling around in the city. The final gearing has been tuned to provide better and fuss-free drivability.

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Driving the XUV500 is easy but an AT gearbox is sorely missed now

The XUV500 has more than enough power for both city & highway driving duties

The engine packs in quite a punch and hence overtaking other vehicles is very easy. Even at low-end RPMs, the vehicle surges ahead nicely and in a smooth fashion. The engine doesn’t feel strained throughout the rev range. The XUV cruises at 100 km/hr in the 5th gear at 2200 RPM, while in the sixth gear it is a bit below the 2000 RPM mark. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission which isn’t one of the best ones out there but the clutch is now lighter. Gear shifts are notchy and we would be happier if Mahindra could work on making the shifts slicker.

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Mahindra has altered the gearing to improve low-end response of the XUV

The XUV500 is quite heavy and powerful, but inspite of pushing the vehicle hard, we managed a fuel efficiency figure of 10 km/l and between 12-13 km/l under sedate driving manners. The earlier XUV had an ARAI-tested fuel efficiency of 15.1 km/l while the new model claims to put out 16 km/l thanks to a new alternator that decouples when the battery is fully charged. The car also gets a start/stop system which surprisingly works well. Mahindra had a great opportunity to plonk in an automatic gearbox in the vehicle, looking at the rising demand of auto boxes these days, but it seems that the company is reserving that for the next update.

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Ride quality is satisfactory while handling is quite good for a car of this size

Driving Dynamics – The 2015 Mahindra XUV500 comes with McPherson individual struts at the front while the rear gets multi-link coil springs. Talking about ride quality, it is better than other Mahindras like the Scorpio, but it isn’t excellent. The vehicle remains fairly stable over bad roads at moderate speeds, but if you hit a rough patch at a high speed then the vehicle does manage to discomfort its occupants. Parts like the dampers, anti-roll bars and springs have been tweaked and the ESP system is also the latest one available from Bosch.

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Brakes on the Mahindra XUV500 are powerful but a bit sensitive

The XUV is built on a monocoque chassis and it has decent handling capabilities. Yes, there is some evident body roll present but it isn’t as bad as the Scorpio. Feedback from the steering wheel is decent enough but it does not remain consistent over different speeds. The XUV500 comes with thick pillars all around, due to which rear visibility isn’t satisfactory. The tiny rear windscreen just makes matters worse. Forward visibility is great and the SUV has just the perfect body height. All four wheels get disc brakes along with ABS and EBD and hence the vehicle never runs out of stopping power. The pedals are positioned properly and the dead pedal comes in to be useful on highways, but the steering rod messes with your legs while you’re moving them between the pedals.

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Mahindra has made the XUV500 to be a very safe SUV, it’s loaded with safety tech

Safety and After Sales Service – The Mahindra XUV500 comes loaded with a lot of safety features. Every variant comes with dual front airbags and ABS as standard while the W8 and W10 variants also get side and curtain airbags. The SUV also gets other features like Electric Stability Program (ESP) with Rollover Mitigation, Hill Hold and Hill Descent Control on W8 and W10 variants. The XUV500 is undoubtedly the safest vehicle in its class and it has also bagged a 4-star rating from Australian NCAP. Talking about after-sales, Mahindra has a wide service network across the country. The company caters to a variety of customers owning different SUVs from the automaker’s stable. Most online experiences posted by existing XUV500 owners state they have had a decent experience with the company’s service, but what gets annoying is the number of frequent visits that have to be made to the service centres to solve the vehicle’s niggles. However, Mahindra has improved a lot in the past couple of years and we expect the new XUV to be free from any major irritants.

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A good package has been made even better now, Mahindra has done the right thing

Verdict – The Mahindra XUV500 has always come across as a very good package and this facelift just makes it better. While we are used to the styling of the outgoing model, we can’t deny the fact that the facelifted XUV500 managed to impress us a lot. With so many features, more than enough power, oodles of space and lots of road presence, this vehicle is for those who are searching for a comfortable cruiser with all the creature comforts at an attractive price. Like all other Mahindra cars, the XUV500 too strikes the value for money equation right away.

The Mahindra XUV500 is an excellent car and a perfect choice for someone who wants an SUV with all the bells and whistles but without breaking the bank. We must applaud the fact that Mahindra is working hard and trying to match European standards, if not bypass them.

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The Mahindra XUV500 comes with its fair share of bling too

What’s Cool

* Road presence is good and the small styling updates make it look fresh
* The cabin is quite spacious and the seats are large and supportive
* The engine churns out more than enough power for the city and highway

What’s Not So Cool

* Fit and finish is still not up to the standards set by rivals
* Minor niggling issues with the vehicle can be a cause of concern

Alternatives: Skoda Yeti, Tata Safari Storme, Renault Duster, Nissan Terrano

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The 2015 Mahindra XUV500 is the best car made by an Indian manufacturer

Mahindra XUV500 Specifications

* Engine: 2179cc, mHawk 140, Direct injection with VGT
* Power: 140 BHP @ 3750 RPM
* Torque: 330 Nm @ 1600-2800 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed manual
* Top Speed: 175 km/hr
* 0-100 km/hr: 13.57 seconds (AWD), 12.62 seconds (FWD)
* Fuel Consumption: 10-13 km/l
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson struts (Front), Multi-link coil springs (Rear)
* Tyres: 235/65/R17
* Brakes: Disc (Front, Rear), ABS with EBD
* Safety: Six Airbags, ESP, TCS, Hill Hold Function, Rollover Mitigation

Mahindra XUV500 Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4585 mm X 1890 mm X 1785 mm
* Wheelbase: 2700 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.6 m
* Ground clearance: 160 mm
* Boot Volume: 703-litres (with third row folded)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 70-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1740 kgs

Testers’ Note:

“The Mahindra XUV500 is easily the best car to have ever been made by an Indian manufacturer. This SUV has always been an excellent choice and the facelift induces that feel good factor in the Chakan made vehicle. When Mahindra launched the new Scorpio, I always wondered as to why they gave XUV’s equipment to the ‘Nothing Else Will Do’ car. Now it makes sense because the XUV gets even more loaded than before. Mahindra has done it yet again, the XUV is a fantastic car for its price.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“Initially I felt that the design looks a tad overdone especially the front fascia but it slowly grows on you with time. The additional features in the cabin make the XUV500 a very desirable prospect. Besides this monocoque chassis makes it drive very well with balanced ride and handling, body roll too is under control. This facelift will be a good boost for the XUV in terms of sales. A great effort from an Indian manufacturer.” – Javeid Khan, Deputy Editor, MotorBeam.

Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta

Further Reading

Mahindra XUV500 Automatic Review
Mahindra XUV500 vs Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster
Mahindra XUV500 vs Renault Duster vs Tata Safari Storme vs Skoda Yeti
Mahindra XUV500 vs Hyundai Creta vs Renault Duster – Video