Mahindra & Mahindra dates back to 1945, when they started to produce the Willys Jeep in India under license. Soon after that, they started developing light commercial vehicles and utility vehicles. In 2002, Mahindra launched the Scorpio, which was also introduced in Europe as the Mahindra Goa a few years later. Last year, the XUV5OO (pronounced five double Oh) was launched. Mahindra had to stop accepting bookings (which were opened in just 5 cities across India) after just 10 days of launch. They received 35,000 test drive requests in the same time. The second phase of bookings saw more than 25,000 applicants, which were put through a draw! Bookings have been closed since then and you can’t buy the XUV5OO even if you have the money. So what is the Mahindra XUV5OO all about?
The Mahindra XUV5OO is offered in three variants – W6, W8 and W8 AWD. These variants are priced at Rs. 1.35 million ($26,039), Rs. 1.52 million ($29,294) and Rs. 1.65 million ($31,695) respectively (prices are inclusive of registration and insurance). The W6 and W8 variants use a front-wheel drive layout, while the W8 AWD has all-wheel drive, but this variant has been temporarily stopped.
Power comes in through a 2179cc CRDI diesel engine which produces 140 BHP of peak power at 3,750 RPM and 330 Nm of peak torque at 1,600 RPM. The 6-speed gearbox is not the best around, shift action is notchy. The XUV5OO is a 7-seater, but the last row is best for kids. With the last row in place, the trunk is almost unusable. A small survey has revealed that people are having many niggling issues with their vehicles including GPS, rear AC, night vision camera, infotainment system not working, just to name a few. Yet, the XUV5OO has taken the Indian market by storm.
In India, people are very conscious about the styling and design of a vehicle. If a vehicle looks good, it will sell well and that is where the XUV5OO excels. Detailing is over the top with the door handles shaped like a paw (the XUV5OO draws design inspiration from a Cheetah), motif engraved into the rear tail lights and a conversation mirror (above the rear view mirror which helps the driver look at the passengers while talking, pictured above). But that is not all, the equipment list is huge and puts even the Toyota Fortuner (a vehicle which costs at least $18,000 more) to shame. The XUV500 is also the first indigenously developed monocoque Indian SUV.
Some of the features include 6 airbags, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, projector headlights, LED parking lights, cornering lights, ABS, EBD, ESP, Rollover mitigation, Hill Hold control, Hill Descent Control, tire pressure monitoring, leather seats, touch screen infotainment system, DVD player, GPS navigation, climate control, all-wheel discs, cruise control, steering mounted controls and start-stop system to name a few. This is serious equipment for a car of this price. I can go on and on about the XUV500 after having driven it extensively, but we shall keep a drive review for another day. Meanwhile, Mahindra is working hard on increasing capacity. Soon, the XUV5OO will be sold in Europe too. Would you buy one?
Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the auto industry of India.