Mahindra XUV700 Test Drive Review
We do a detailed road test review of the Mahindra XUV700.
Car Tested: Mahindra XUV700; Road Test No. 1333; Test Location: Chennai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs 13.50-24 lakhs (est.)
Bold new design, a feature-loaded and practical cabin combined with punchy engine options make the XUV700 a value for money SUV
The wait for the Mahindra XUV700 has been really long and I am more than happy to say that it has been worth it. The SUV carries a huge burden of proving itself because of the brand name as well as the hype and we flew down to Chennai to check out the automaker’s latest offering at the Mahindra SUV Proving Track and here’s what I feel about the new XUV700.
MotorQuest – The Mahindra XUV700 was conceptualised towards the end of 2017 and the vehicle underwent extensive development and testing throughout the country. The anticipation for the XUV700 has been real and it only increased with test mules being spotted regularly since the last many months.
Exteriors – The Mahindra XUV700 is based on a new platform and the vehicle does look much better than what it looked like in those spy pictures which were leaked. Yes, it has some design cues from the XUV500 but overall I think Mahindra has done a pretty decent job with the design of the vehicle. The fascia is flanked by a rather bold grille and big teardrop headlamps which are LED units. Now, these headlamps do look a bit polarising and a sleeker design might have been the vehicle look even better.
The XUV700 looks bold, muscular & intimidating and overall commands good road presence
The XUV700 has a muscular profile with very prominent shoulder lines and a curve near the C-pillar (a la XUV500). The vehicle gets 18-inch wheels on the top variants and 17-inchers on the lower trims. The ORVMs are big in size and there’s a small camera mounted below the ORVMs. The XUV700 has a tasteful looking tail section as well. The vehicle does look better in darker colours. Compared to the XUV500, the XUV700 is 110 mm longer and 30 mm shorter (in height). Both the vehicles have the same width, while the XUV700’s wheelbase is longer by 50 mm.
Interiors – While the exterior does bear resemblance to the XUV500, the interior gets a completely different layout and better quality materials. The dashboard looks quite nice and Mahindra has made use of a number of materials and textures throughout the cabin but you will notice all the hard plastics everywhere. There are soft-touch materials at a few places though. Piano black inserts are also used abundantly though these are prone to scratches and smudges.
The XUV700 is well-equipped with features such as an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and dual-zone climate control
The XUV700 is loaded with features. You get a large screen with two 10.25-inch displays (instrument cluster and infotainment system), dual-zone climate control, keyless go, smart door handles, panoramic sunroof, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, electric driver’s seat with 6-way adjustment and memory function, AdrenoX connected car features and Alexa connectivity. The SUV does miss out on an auto-dimming IRVM though.
The infotainment system and instrument cluster have very good quality displays and the graphics look good but the user interface needs some improvement because we did face a number of bugs and Mahindra stated that the final production-ready vehicles would have these bugs sorted out. Some of the panels in the cabin also seemed to have inconsistent quality because the cars we drove were pre-production models. Overall, fit & finish levels are good and better than the XUV500.
The cabin is high on practicality, while the second row can be split 60:40, the third row can also be folded down
The front seats are lovely in terms of comfort. They are shaped very nicely, offer excellent support and are large in size as well. While the driver seat can be adjusted electrically, the headrest has to be manually adjusted and the button for headrest adjustment is a dummy. In fact, there are quite a few dummy buttons on the dashboard. The front seats do not get a ventilation function, a feature that we expected in this vehicle. The second-row seat also offers good comfort and headroom is nice too. Knee room is good enough but not too spacious. The rear seat gets a 60:40 split feature and only the left part of the seat tumbles down for access to the third row. While the 2nd-row seat has a reclining function, it cannot be slid back and forth. 2nd-row passengers get AC vents placed in the middle and also a USB Type-C port.
The third row is pretty average in terms of space, quite similar to the XUV500. Headroom is okayish and knee room is adequate for kids and short adults for someone who is taller than 5″7′ or so, it could be an issue. The third row also gets AC vents and a control knob for the blower speed. There’s a 12V charging socket on the right side too. With all the three rows up, boot space is negligible. With the third-row seats folded, there’s a significant amount of cargo capacity and both the 3rd and 2nd-row seats can be folded completely flat. The vehicle doesn’t get a powered tailgate and the tailgate is made up of fibre. Mahindra has also provided a generous amount of storage spaces all around the cabin and the doors also get big bottle holders.
Performance – The Mahindra XUV700 is being offered with two engine options. The first one is a 2.0-litre mStallion, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit unleashing 200 horses and 380 torques. This engine is brilliant in the way it delivers all the performance and never does it feel out of breath. It has a decent low-end response and the mid-range punch is quite strong. It pulls the XUV700 effortlessly and we did almost 180 km/hr on Mahindra’s test track very easily. The petrol engine could have done with slightly better refinement. On our test car, it felt a bit rough and was fairly audible inside the cabin as well. With the petrol XUV, you can expect a fuel efficiency range of 8-12 km/l.
The turbocharged petrol offers outstanding performance throughout the rev range along with superb in-gear acceleration
The SUV also gets a diesel engine which is a 2.2-litre mHawk unit. Now, this is offered in two states of tune, the first one is the 155 HP/360 Nm tune that is offered on the MX variant while the higher AX variants get a 185 HP tune wherein the engine delivers 420 Nm with the MT and 450 Nm with the AT. The engine is noisy but apart from that, no major complaints at all. It offers great driveability and feels quite eager. The additional punch does make its presence felt and I’m sure this is going to be the higher selling engine out of the two. The diesel engine also gets Zip, Zap, Zoom driving modes. Basically, Zip mode is like an eco mode, Zap mode is like comfort/city mode and Zoom mode is like sport mode, these modes alter the performance and there’s a custom mode too. With the diesel, you can expect 13-14 km/l.
Both the engines are offered with a 6-speed MT or a 6-speed torque convertor from Aisin. We drove the petrol AT and diesel MT variants. The clutch on the MT feels a bit too springy and has a long travel as well. The gearshifts also have a hint of notchiness. Meanwhile, the AT is quite nicely calibrated to the engine and it does its job well. There’s no S mode though but you get a standard tiptronic mode. The XUV700 also gets AWD which will be offered with the diesel engine.
Driving Dynamics – The Mahindra XUV700 feels very mature to drive and it also boasts of a better ride compared to the XUV500. The ride is comfortable and a bit plush though you do feel a slightly firm edge to it at times. The suspension stays pliant on bad roads and the bounciness that we have generally seen on older Mahindra vehicles is missing on this. While we couldn’t do a proper off-road test, we managed to put it through a few artificial challenges set up at the track.
The XUV700 boasts of sublime ride quality while the diesel variant also gets all-wheel-drive as an option
The steering is very light and effortless at city speeds and it weighs up decently at high speeds. However, it doesn’t offer the kind of feedback that you got from the XUV500 and this also feels a bit disconnected and artificial. But, the XUV700 is very easy to drive and manoeuvre even in tight spots. The vehicle comes with rear disc brakes and we found the stopping performance to be adequate.
Safety & Service – The XUV700 is loaded with 7 airbags (dual front, driver knee, side, curtain), ABS with EBD, Hill Hold Control, Traction Control, Vehicle Dynamics Control, Hill Descent Control, Rollover Mitigation, Brake Disc Wiping, Torque Vectoring by Braking and Electronic Brake Pre-fill. The vehicle also gets driver drowsiness detection and ADAS features like Auto Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition and High Beam Assist. We got to test most of these ADAS features on the track and all of them worked flawlessly. Mahindra’s sales and service network is quite widespread across the country now and the company does offer good service. The automaker is also known for promptly attending to issues and ironing out niggles if any.
Verdict – The Mahindra XUV700 is priced very attractively and it undercuts all of its rivals. In fact, it is priced at par with vehicles from a lower segment but the pricing for the higher variants is yet to be announced. The vehicle has evolved very nicely, it drives well, has lovely engines and comes with an equipment list hard to beat. Yes, few things could have been better but it is pretty clear that Mahindra has another big winner on their hands.
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – Hyundai Alcazar, MG Hector Plus, Tata Safari
Further Reading –