We Put Safe, Slick & Sophisticated Mahindra XUV300 W8 to the Test

Look at it and you’d be forgiven for believing that this Mahindra XUV300 is the love child of an Evoque and a Tiguan. Because essentially, it is. That’s a significant achievement all on its own. Considering the level of quality, design and build requited to even pull off being compared to such lofty expectation.


XUV three-double-oh’s edgy design language adds to an impressive spec level as it chases its slice of a madly competitive compact SUV segment. Headlined by cool daytime running lights, it has an aggro grille. Its accentuated by a long 2.6-metre wheelbase in a short 4 metre overall length and stubby overhangs. And punctuated by Maserati-like LED taillights and skid plates under a floating roof with slick rails atop. This flagship W8 rides on neat new 17” diamond cut alloys too.

The most important improvements to this upgraded model are however largely invisible. See, all XUV300s are now 5-sar Global NCAP safe. They pack pre-tensioner and load limiter front seatbelts, and certified ISOFIX child restraint mounts. Add speed sensitive door locks with impact sensing unlock, a collapsible steering column. And ESC ABS anti-skid disc brakes all round and with emergency brakeforce distribution.

This flagship W8 however adds a further five airbags, including a knee and side curtain bags to the mix. But wait, that’s not all – W8 also gets dynamic cornering brake control, panic braking and bright door-open lights. Hill Hold Assist too. Remember, that only adds to the base W4’s already 5-star safety score.


Access to XUV300’s now darker contemporary cabin, rather than the old hearing aid beige trim, is keyless. ‘Crafted around the driver’ it has leatherette-clad sculpted-back pews to set you down in a command position thanks to six-way adjustment for the driver. You’re behind a thick-rimmed height-adjustable multifunction steering and backlit LED dials with an info screen.

Now boasting a new high-output 9” touch-sensitive infotainment, there’s still CarPlay and Auto smartphone mirroring, voice control, navigation, an aux port and dual USBs. Add Bluesense, to score your frugal driving and store the data on your mobile, to keep you entertained.

There’s also cruise and dual-zone climate controls, anti-pinch power windows and a glass sunroof, while a reversing camera with parking sensors, auto wipers and headlights and tyre pressure warning. The boot has three floor height choices behind 60:40 folding rear seats. Plenty car, no?


Press the button to start and the 86 kW 300 Nm four-cylinder turbodiesel purrs to life to deliver a comfortable and a surprisingly sophisticated drive. It’s not the quickest thing on the block, nor is it the crispest handling, but then you don’t really notice that. Chic XUV 300 gets on just fine and stars on fuel economy in a slick and contemporary package.

Yes, the Mahindra XUV300 operates in a tough market. But it’s always been a bargain and considering it costs all of R13K more than what it did pre-lockdown, its Indian roots certainly combat inflation, too. This W8 1.5 Diesel for instance, sold for R324K in 2019. Which was already more than R30K off what you‘d have settled for a direct Indian-built blue oval rival. Today the Mahindra the difference has more than doubled to over R70K. The mind boggles!

Never mind its edgy appeal and splendid spec certainly make this Mahindra worth a second look. And it’s the cheapest 5-star Global NCAP safe car on the market. All of which should make this contemporary car an essential consideration, if you just happen to be shopping for a hell of a lot of family car for not so much money. It may not be perfect, but XUV300 certainly will do the job better than well. — Michele Lupini

Images: Marcella Lupini. data: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mahindra XUV300 1.5TD W8
Engine: 86kW 300Nm 1496cc turbo diesel I4
Drive: 6-speed manual FWD
0-60  km/h:       4.84 sec
0-100 km/h:       12.13 sec
0-120 km/h        14.65 sec
400m:             8.2 sec @ 120km/h
80-120km/h:       10.29 sec
VMax:             175 km/h
Fuel:             4.8 l/100km
CO2:              135 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 150K/5y 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R337K
RATED:            7
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