Mahindra XUV5OO (Five Oh Oh) got extremely popular when it was initially launched in 2011, because of its cheetah inspiring looks and innovative design. It got so popular that bookings far exceeded Mahindra’s production capacity and M&M had to resort to lucky draws to decide who gets to own one. But then soon the first batch of XUV5OO customers started to complain about the poor build quality of the vehicle- braking issues, hard gearbox and so on. While Mahindra never officially admitted the faults, it is believed that these critical issues were eventually resolved after about 2 years. Models built after 2013 were of better build quality though they had same look and feel.
Image Courtesy : Srinidhi Hande
XUV500 had several innovative features to boast about- corner lights- which lit up the corner while making sharp turns, illumination under the mirror to light up the walking path, lots of storage space and utilities like charging points even for second and third row passengers, a mirror that can help quickly check if all passengers have boarded, an off centre hand brake lever, unconventional design for AC vents, door handles and so on. It was a winner in all departments and virtually didn’t have much competition.
XUV5OO got its first major upgrade in 2015- improvements included refined front headlight assembly with curvy DRL, new alloy wheels, optional sun roof in top end variant and new colour options. I had driven the earlier XUV500 W6 few times and recently got to drive the new facelift when Carzonrent upgraded my Creta booking to XUV500. So I was disappointed I couldn’t check out Creta, but it gave me opportunity to understand the new XUV better.
The refreshed front look easily grabs attention to an already macho looking vehicle. Rear tail lamp is a lot cleaner now- Chinese symbols that existed earlier seem to be missed. Side profile has no change, except new alloy wheel design. Rear gets more chrome.
On the inside, the new all blue interiors is charming. Rest of the interior changes are pretty subtle and you won’t notice them unless you can compare with the previous model. W8 was the top model earlier, now W10 is top end, comes with sunroof.
Image Courtesy : Srinidhi Hande
Ride quality has improved a bit-new XUV500 is even more fun to drive around. But keep in mind it is a huge vehicle and needs lots of fuel. Expect a practical fuel economy of 10 kmpl under normal load and AC, irrespective of what ads claim. Depending on variant, you will have yearly insurance premium of 50000-70000 INR, besides other expenses. So you need to be sure you will have enough use for this car all through the year. If not, you are better off buying a cheaper car and renting big SUVs on need basis.
For Delhi, NCR markets, XUV5OO is also available with a 1.9 litre diesel engine which offers same power as its 2.2 litre counterpart. This has come at a perfect time when Diesel SUVs with 2 litre + engines are banned for few months as a pollution control exercise.
Should I buy one?
If you have a budget of up to 20 lakhs and looking for a good looking, 7-8 seater, highly utilitarian SUV, then you can definitely consider XUV5OO. Transmission is still hard, but that is the case with almost all SUVs (Only Innova is lot smoother but that is not SUV). If you are fine with 5 seats then Creta is a good alternative. You might also want to wait for launch of Hexa from Tata Motors (Hexa is refined version of Aria crossover). XUV is available in automatic option, sunroof option, 4×4 variant etc, so you will not feel that your vehicle misses some features your peer’s SUV might have.
Just a word of caution- if you are hard core 4×4 enthusiasts, consider extending your budget to buy a Pajero or evaluate alternates like Tata Safari Storme and Scorpio 4×4. Though XUV500 is 4×4 capable (select variants), it isn’t positioned as a hard core off road vehicle. You can definitely do occasional off road drives, but maintenance cost will be high if you end up damaging vehicle parts. Keep in mind that with all seats up and car loaded with 7/8 people, luggage space will be seriously short. You will need roof carrier.