By on April 21, 2012

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, a website covering the auto industry of India.

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33 Comments on “A Look At The Mahindra XUV5OO...”

  • avatar

    Jeep called (after their lawyers stopped laughing). They want their grille back.

    P.S. Is that actually a Suzuki?

    • 0 avatar

      I thought it looked more like a Kia Sportage. And since Mahindra made Jeeps (capital J) under license, it seems like they are used to the 7-segment grille…

    • 0 avatar

      > Jeep called (after their lawyers stopped laughing)

      Their lawyers will stop laughing immediately after they realize the Prius starts in India at 53,000$

      So this SUVs costs 12,000$ in American money.

      That changes the game a bit, doesn’t it?

    • 0 avatar

      Mahindra and Jeep both inherited their grille design from Willys Motors, that being the case, there’s probably no basis for a claim. Remember when Chrysler tried to sue GM over the slatted grille on HUMMERs? The court threw it out, since HUMMER evolved out of American Motors, by way of AM General, which also used to own Jeep, so it was the same lineage for both brands.

  • avatar

    i don’t think Suzuki have an SUV this big… it’s 4,000lb and looks to be all Indian (monocoque, engine and manual box)

    i think the gauntlet has been thrown down to the chinese – i’m not sure if the Chinese have an SUV this impressive which is disappointing as they’ve been in the game longer

  • avatar

    “Would you buy one?”

    No. I can’t think of a single reason why anyone else in the United States would, either.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a reasonably-sized SUV with a [presumably efficient] diesel and a stick shift; for at least some buyers, those features would be sufficient reason, since there is no alternative.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t assume anything about the diesel, other than that it’s dirtier than a ’79 Rabbit. In all likelihood it’s a thinly disguised version of one of Mahindra’s agricultural engines. Besides, the snide diesel exceptionalist crowd will always gravitate towards VW; don’t they offer the Tiguan with a diesel anyway? The way this vehicle was assembled will probably even make VAG products look like they’re made of diamonds by comparison. There would be no reason to order a vehicle like this with a manual except for sheer pretention.

      • 0 avatar

        No Tiguan diesel available in US. Closest thing to this coming to the US would be the recently announced GLK250.

        >> There would be no reason to order a vehicle like this with a manual except for sheer pretention.
        Oh, please. I’d buy with a manual because I prefer to drive a manual. XUV5OO is only available with a manual.

      • 0 avatar

        Meh. Mahindra couldn’t get their act together enough to federalize their small pick-up, which should have had at least a significant niche market handed it with the demise of the Ford Ranger. This thing won’t make it Stateside either.

    • 0 avatar

      Here is a good review of the XUV5OO:

      I would consider buying one (subject to pricing, safety, quality and reliability…)

  • avatar

    Why on Earth are there two check engine lights? Isn’t one enough?

  • avatar

    Looks like a Suzuki Gran Vitara with a bad grille.

  • avatar

    This looks great for the Indian market where there probably isn’t much competition, but I wouldn’t see this standing up to a forester or liberty/patriot/compass–Particularly at the prices listed in the article.

  • avatar

    All the comparisons (to other vehicles) drawn by the commentariat won’t change one simple fact: Mahindra is plugged into the Indian market. “Imports” arriving to India have found out just how picky the Indian consumer really is. I think it’s fascinating to see what sells in India.

  • avatar

    Indian tastes are sure… interesting.

  • avatar

    What a strange looking vehicle. It might even sell in Europe for the wealthier members of the artsy ironic hipster anti-car crowd despite its size – owning an Indian vehicle clearly means that you are humble and ecologically sensitive.

  • avatar

    Looks a bit like the Isuzu’s long forgotten Axiom, with really bad aftermarket grille. I second that Indian tastes in automobile is… unique, to say the least. I’m not sure it’ll be a sell out (or even sell any) in other parts of the world. It’s been greatly optimized for the Indian market, better keep it there.

    • 0 avatar

      I could see the XUV500 doing well in some markets, mostly in the developing world. In North America, the virtues of the M&M would probably be lost on most people, and its shortcomings would likely cripple perceptions and sales.

      Local tastes often don’t travel well. How many truly American designs have sold well in Europe, Asia, or Africa, (or even South America) when they’ve been offered?

      • 0 avatar

        The biggest impediment to vehicles designed for the US market in developing nations is cost. Hand-me-down cars based on full amortized previous version platforms of US vehicles sell well in South America due to low cost.

        Europe and Japan have plenty of money, but different tastes, wildly different fuel costs, and different needs based on space and infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar

        What virtues would that be? I don’t think it will sell at all in Indonesia. The look’s too polarizing, Indonesians are “badge snobs” that tend to prefer brands they already know (i.e. Toyota) and somehow seem to be willing to pay through the roof for that, ignoring significantly cheaper vehicle with similar or even more features from lesser brands. Of course resale value plays a big part in this as well.

  • avatar

    And the winner for world’s worst grille design goes to…

  • avatar

    I can’t get over how unsophisticated this design is. Adornment without meaning. Complete disregard for proportion, the foundation of good design. This car is the very reason why designers go to school…to learn how to not make stuff like this.

  • avatar

    Grille looks like a Mexican wrestler’s mask.

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