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We drive the Mahindra XUV500 W10 auto

Packed with standard spec, the updated XUV500 offers value-for-money for those looking for an affordable 7-seater SUV…

Last year Mahindra gave its largest SUV, the XUV500, an update that included more style, more features and more range options. Last week we spent some time with the updated XUV500 to see for ourselves…

Style tweaks

You’d have to be quite familiar with the previous XUV500 to spot the style changes to its exterior, but Mahindra has redesigned its front and rear. Its front face now features a new grille with sharp-cut chrome headlights, and a new lower bumper. At the rear, changes to the XUV500’s design are more obvious, where a new tailgate, new combination taillights and a larger roof-mounted rear spoiler add to its new visual signature.

The Mahindra XUV500 might not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to its looks, but it certainly has a style of its own and with its value-for-money price tag, you can’t expect anything too glam. In white, which was the colour option on our test unit, the XUV500 looks bold and contemporary enough to compete in its segment.

Two new models

There is now a choice of three automatic model variants in the XUV500 range: the W6 auto (R359 999), the W8 auto (R403 999) and the range-topping W10 (419 999). Those looking for manual transmissions still have the base model W4 6-speed manual option which starts at R299 999, as well as the W8 6-speed manual for R374 999.

Our test unit (the range-topping W10 6-speed auto), comes with a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine that offers 103 kW of power and 330 Nm of torque. For a big (7-seater) SUV it does a decent job on the highway for long distance driving and provides a comfortable and relaxing driving experience, however overtaking and powering up inclines takes a bit of planning. Overall, I enjoyed the sturdiness of it on the open road – driving in the city, around parking garages and narrow roads can be a challenge and it can start to feel a tad clunky, but that’s something you soon get used to.

Extra features

The XUV500 is loaded with standard features and this is where potential customers may pay extra attention. While it was already considered a value-for-money product, Mahindra’s range-topping W10 model has a beefed up list of standard spec to entice potential buyers with.

All variants offer electric windows and side mirrors, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel with electric power assistance, remote boot lid opening, follow-me-home and lead-me-to-vehicle headlamp functionality and foldable second and third row seats.

The W6, W8 and W10 models have alloy wheels, cruise control with a multi-functional steering wheel, a conversation mirror (deleted on the W10 with sunroof), reach adjustment to the steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, puddle lamps and fully automatic temperature control (FATC).  In addition, the W6-grade features premium cloth upholstery. The W6 variant is now available with automatic transmission. The W8 and W10 models are also equipped with a 7″ full colour infotainment system with voice commands.

The top-spec W10 adds the electrically adjustable driver’s seat, while the W8 and W10 has mobile charging points in the front two rows and reading lamps for all three rows of seats, ice-blue lounge lighting, Tyre-tronics tyre pressure and temperature sensors on all tyres, foldable side mirrors and a reverse camera with dynamic assist.

Conclusion

The Mahindra XUV500 might not be the best-looking 7-seater SUV around, but it certainly is one of the most affordable, especially when considering all that it offers in terms of standard spec. One can’t be too choosey when shopping around in this price bracket, and let’s face it, with South Africa’s tough economic climate, budget buyers are likely to consider value-for-money over looks these days.

Pricing

Mahindra introduces the new XUV500 with a full five-year / 150 000 km standard warranty and five-year / 100 000 km service plan. All XUV500 owners will also receive Roadside Assistance for the full five years of the vehicle’s warranty and service plan.

The Range:

Mahindra XUV500 W4 6-spd manual: R299 999 (incl. VAT)

Mahindra XUV500 W6 6-spd automatic: R359 999 (incl. VAT)

Mahindra XUV500 W8 6-spd manual: R374 999 (incl. VAT)

Mahindra XUV500 W8 6-spd automatic: R403 999 (incl. VAT)

Mahindra XUV500 W10 6-spd automatic: R419 999 (incl. VAT)

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