Another day, another compact SUV right? But for Mahindra, the XUV300 is a big step up in terms of styling, performance and value-for-money, and in my opinion this is one of the best products to come from the brand to date.
Here are three things that WoW readers might love about the Mahindra XUV300…
1. Trendy, city-styling
If Mahindra hasn’t been your first choice for styling and trend, what with so many bold and popular competitor brands to choose from in this busy compact SUV segment, the XUV300 showcases a huge leap forward for the brand. I like what Mahindra has done with the XUV300, particularly from the front where chrome detailing and a sleek-looking grille give it a sense of sophistication and class. From the side, it’s far less bulky-looking and better proportioned than some of Mahindra’s other products, while the rear shows character with distinct tail lights and a nicely sculpted tailgate.
On the W8 model, the design is accentuated by LED indicators in the heated and folding side mirrors, dual tone roof rails, 17″ wheels and silver front- and rear skid plates.
For now customers have three different exterior colours to choose from: Dynamic Red, Pearl White and DSat Silver.
2. Punchy urban driving
Customers have two engine options to choose from: the 1.2-litre three cylinder turbo-petrol derivative (although this is yet to arrive in South Africa), which offers 81 kW of power and 200 Nm of torque, or a four-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo-diesel option, which offers 85.8 kW of power and 300 Nm of torque. I’ve been driving the latter and I have to say that I really enjoyed the level of power and refinement this punchy engine has to offer. It feels quirky and responsive in the city, and powerful enough on the open road. Driving at high speeds offers little to no road noise while overtaking slow moving vehicle takes very little planning and zero intimidation. I found that its six-speed manual gearbox (offered on all models and transfers power to the front wheels) is one of the best gearboxes I’ve experienced on a compact SUV in this pricing category, and is probably one of my favourite attributes of this car. There’s so much satisfaction that comes from this slick and quick-shifting gearbox and it makes driving in the city even fun at times – I didn’t ever feel that I was missing an automatic gearbox, which is surprising when it comes to driving SUVs in the city.
If you happen to venture onto some gravel roads the XUV300’s high ground clearance of 180 mm allows for some impressive off road driving dynamics too.
The XUV300’s W8 option is jam-packed with features that not only keep you safe, connected and comfortable on the road, but also help save you some moola at the pump. The XUV300 proved to be extremely fuel efficient over my week’s test drive, returning an impressive average of 6.7-litre/100km from its turbo-diesel engine. Despite numerous treks to the airport and back, as well as a mini road trip to Stellenbosch and commutes in the city and around the suburbs, I returned my test unit with around half a tank of fuel left in it.
The quality of its interior also surpasses expectations. The W8 offers a luxury-like cabin with plush white upholstery (contrasting with a black dashboard), and super comfy seats that are well bolstered at the sides to keep you supported and snug behind the wheel.
The W8’s 7-inch infotainment touchscreen houses Android Auto and Apple CarPlay while two USB points (one for connectivity, and one specifically for phone charging) can be found further down. An additional information screen between the colour-customisable LED-lit instrument cluster is available for the driver’s ease-of-use, and electric windows with express up- and down function with anti-pinch technology is also standard on the W8 trim. There is a glass tilt-and-slide sunroof, also with anti-pinch technology, cruise control and an integrated voice command system with steering-mounted controls.
Mahindra has also added additional driving aids, including its Tyretronics tyre pressure warning system, front and rear parking sensors, a reverse parking camera with parking assistance and automatic rain-sensing wipers.
The W8 specification level includes 7 airbags, while also adding ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, cornering braking control and discs on all four wheels. It also gets warning lights on the front doors, hill-hold assistance, an anti-theft alarm system and seatbelt reminders on all seats.
With its good looks and exciting new features, along with impressive standard specification for its W8 unit, the XUV300 offers customers a lot of bang for buck. Whether customers will feel as enthused about the step up in style that Mahindra has debuted on this newcomer, remains to be revealed in the number of sales to follow.
XUV300 W6 1.2 Petrol: R 249 999 (Incl. VAT)
XUV300 W6 1.5 Diesel: R 274 999 (Incl. VAT)
XUV300 W8 1.2 Petrol: R 304 999 (Incl. VAT)
XUV300 W8 1.5 Diesel: R 324 999 (Incl. VAT)