XUV700 brings quality to expected Mahindra bargain

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Mahindra promises that its all-new XUV ‘Seven Double Oh’ takes the brand into a brave new era. To be honest, quantum shift does not even begin to describe it effectively enough. This new flagship brings unexpected style and class to the bargain brand.

We’ve enjoyed watching Mahindra progress from humble beginnings in South Africa. Well, if you can call that brash launch in a Lanseria hangar some 20 years ago humble, that is. We were more recently impressed by the XUV500 that came before this 700. As ever that went together with the regular Mahindra rider. It still suffered crap quality.

XUV700 totally rewrites Mahindra rulebook

Someone must have read that. This all-new XUV700 totally rewrites the rulebook. Boasting the brand’s sexy new twin peaks logo on its striking grille, this Mahindra XUV700 even has a face good enough to rival the best for the first time.

We see the new badge as more of a chrome butterfly. It splits those bold DRL headlamps. To give XUV700 strong presence in an authentic SUV stance that promises strong vehicle dynamics.

Whilst very fancy, we’re not so sure about those new door handles on the 700’s prominent haunches. They feel a bit plastically and can jab you in the side if you’re not paying attention when approaching. Too blunt to cut, they do bruise…

XUV700 cabin took our breath away

Moving aboard, the Mahindra quite literally took our breath away. It’s nothing at all like any of its predecessors. Allow us to quote what we said about the XUV500 a year or three ago: “Of course, there are compromises when a car costs half of what some similarly equipped rivals do,” we wrote.

“Fit and finish is noticeably down on those cars. “It’s a bit too plasticky in there and we’re not sure if all those trinkets will last in a tough environment. “But the offset is nowhere near what you’d expect at the price difference – especially in this fully-stacked W10.”

Step into the XUV700 and its all change. You may even be forgiven for believing that you’re sitting in an early Merc GLE. No, really. Even the logic of Mahindra’s new Mercedes-like super screen twin high-definition 26 cm digital cluster and infotainment reminds you of those pre-My-Mercedes GLEs. And those are still very good cars.

XUV700 looks, feels, touches like a Merc

That’s just the start of the Mahindra XUV700 cabin revolution. It looks, feels, touches, and operates just like a Merc. OK, not all the surfaces are soft touch. But you’d hardly ever touch the harder bit, so who cares? Clever. Somehow we think there must be an old GLE sitting stripped out in the Mahindra skunkworks garden. A good cue, however.

The highly customisable system accommodates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an immersive Sony 12-speaker 3D sound. There’s wireless charging and ours even had the optional Skyroof. Happily the main touchy-feely stuff is backed by real buttons.

We’d have liked a bit more adjustment on the driver’s seat, which lacked enough rake and the passenger sits too high. So access is difficult. The root of this problem lies with lack of steering adjustability. It may be little tight to access, but its broad and tall cabin makes XUV700 cavernous inside.

a new 147 kW 380 Nm turbo petrol

Diving under the skin, the XUV700 comes with Mahindra’s all new 147 kW 380 Nm 2 litre mStallion GDi 2 turbo petrol turning the front wheels through a six-speed automatic. But it’s heavy. Very heavy, spinning the scales up to an EV-like almost two tonnes.

Boasting all-independent multi-link suspension with frequency selective damping that delivers pretty well on the promise of superior ride comfort and strong dynamics.

We have come to expect Mahindras to be bargain buys over the years. If still a bit cheap at that price, considering those infamous fit, finish, and styling compromises. Now the Indian company has however delivered a car without any real compromise. Yet its pricing remains sharp as ever.

Mahindra certainly has raised the bar with this new XUV700. It does just about everything better than well, at a price that you may not believe is possible… – Michele & Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mahindra XUV700 2.0T AX7 L
Engine: 149 kW 380 Nm 2-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 6-speed Auto FWD
0-60 km/h:        4.30 sec
0-100 km/h:       9.04 sec
0-120 km/h:       12.16 sec
0-160 km/h:       21.49 sec
400m:             15.0 s @ 160 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.84 sec
120-160 km/h:     9.32 sec
VMax:             190 km/h
Fuel:             8.7 l/100 km
CO2:              195 g/km
Range:            675 km
Warranty/Service: 5y 150K/5y 100K km
LIST PRICE:       R559K
RATED:            9
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