Tiguan Allspace

XUV700 renaissance begs comparison to Tiguan Allspace

We were looking forward to the all-new Mahindra XUV ‘Seven Double Oh’. The one said to take the brand into a brave new era behind the company’s sexy new twin peaks logo. Having not yet had a close-up experience, we immediately pored over it… and we were stunned.

Quantum shift does not describe it effectively enough. Mahindra has transformed itself in supreme style with this new flagship. We needed to somehow quantify this brand revolution. So we found another freshly revised 2-litre turbo seven-seater five-door SUV to help us do just that.

Volkswagen’s latest iteration of the Tiguan Allspace is the perfect yardstick. But first let’s get back to the Mahindra. We’ve enjoyed watching this brand progress from humble beginnings in South Africa. We were already impressed by the XUV500 that came before this 700. As ever that went together with the regular Mahindra rider. It was still beset by crap quality.


XUV700 totally rewrites Mahindra rulebook

Someone must have read that. This all-new XUV700 totally rewrites the Mahindra rulebook. Enough to warrant us putting it up against a rival we’d never have imagined doing, just a few months back.

Volkswagen’s clever Tiguan has always been a great all-rounder. Versatile, practical and supremely family friendly, it looks the part inside and out. Now another little nip and tuck on top of those few smart upgrades applied during lockdown, sets this handsome and good looking sport ute apart.

This Mahindra’s face is also good enough to rival the Volkswagen for the first time. XUV700 is set apart by a striking grille and that new Twin Peaks logo. We think it’s more of a chrome butterfly as it splits those bold DRL headlamps. XUV700 possesses a strong presence in an authentic, SUV stance that promises strong vehicle dynamics.

Tiguan Allspace

XUV700 is good enough to rival Tiguan Allspace

We’re not all that sure about those new smart door handles on the 700’s prominent haunches. They feel a little plastically and can stab you in the side if you’re not paying attention when approaching from the side. Too blunt to cut, they do bruise! And they still possess a plasticky feel.

Moving aboard, the Mahindra took our breath away. Quite literally. 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.”


XUV700 revolutionises Mahindra cabin

Step into the all-new XUV700 and its all change. So much so, that you may 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.

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 brings CarPlay and Auto, and Sony immersive 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.

Tiguan Allspace

Touch & swipe mars fine Tiguan inside

No such trouble getting in and out of the Tiguan. But we had to look at pictures to figure what’s new outside. Not much. Not that it needed it. Step aboard and VW liked to think that its virtual, flexible human-machine interface based infotainment moves the game further forward. We did not like it when we first came across it. We still don’t.

Seems Volkswagen now agrees. It will soon return to conventional knobs and buttons after universal condemnation of this stupid touch and swipe technology. It may look sexy, but that’s where it ends. The sooner a good old school interface returns, the better.

It’s also frustrating to paddle though layers of virtual windows to find a menial function many other cars manage to do at the touch of one obvious button. Diverts your attention off the road too. If you master it, the multifunction steering wheel or those dastardly pads will control the infotainment, Info display, a great audio system and the rest. If.


XUV700 & Tiguan Allspace well matched in size

It’s a pity, because the rest of the Tiguan cabin is pretty darn cool. 30 cool ambient colour lighting options, great seats and neat finishes make for a very pleasant driving space. Add a most practical sliding 40:20:40 split rear bench, great cabin space and a large boot too.

Talking about space, these two are pretty well matched. Even if Mahindra fails to quote boot size and some other crucial dimensions. Don’t let the Indian’s superior height fool you, the Vee Dub competes very well. It’s it is easier to access through bigger doorways, but Tiguan is also 33 mm (that’s an inch) longer and rides on a 39 mm longer wheelbase.

The Mahindra makes up by being 51 mm broader. You really do notice that inside. Especially with that 70 mm extra height. Six of one and half a dozen of the other, but we will call the Mahindra the winner. It adds a little more in more crucial areas. But its close.

Diving under the skin, it’s once again tit for tat. The XUV700 for instance 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. The Tiguan has VW’s less athletic 132 kW 320 Nm lump under the bonnet. But all is not lost.


Mahindra m-Stallion vs VW TSI

The Mahindra is heavy. Very heavy, in fact. It spins the scales up to almost two tonnes. So the barely 1.6 tonne all-wheel drive VW come back a bit against the stopwatch. To produce those alarmingly close acceleration figures below. See, these two are more evenly matched that you’d ever imagine, but the Mahindra wins again.

Spec wise, it’s also surprisingly tight between these apparently vastly different 2-litre turbo petrol powered 5-door 7-seater SUVs. From driver aids to safety spec and even those dimensions. The Mahindra does have a small service and warranty plan advantage, with a full 5 years and 100,000 km or more both sides.

The Mahindra has all-independent multi-link suspension with frequency selective damping that delivers pretty well on the promise of superior ride comfort and strong dynamics. We detected improved handling on the VW too, although stability could be better. It remains a touch unsettled by bumpier roads, has a touch of launch failure

We also found the auto handbrake intrusive. Hopefully you’ll get used to that too. The Tiguan is frugal and handy on the road. It also offers a most competitive parts basket if you ever intend to keep it long enough to escape its 5-year service plan. And when you do part with it, it will also look after you well. VW’s famous for maintaining value.

Tiguan Allspace

Price is the biggest XUV700, Tiguan mismatch

The VW is well up to any family’s needs with great versatility, practicality. It also looks the part — probably far better, actually, than its price suggests. The VW however suffers its silly touch and swipe controls and enough overbearing nannies to suggest it’s still suffering a severe dieselgate hangover.
Price is however the biggest mismatch between these two cars. We had come to expect a Mahindra to be a bargain. Especially considering those famous Mahindra fit, finish and styling nuances and compromises. But now the Indian company has all but completely annihilated that deficit. Yet its pricing remains sharp as ever.

Yes, you can still downscale to a 1.4T powered Tiguan for just a little more than this fully stacked XUV700. But then the same goes for the Mahindra, which does not compromise on engine spec on its over hundred grand cheaper starter XUV700 AX5.

That leads us to conclude that Mahindra certainly has raised the bar with this new XUV700. Enough for us to even dare compare it to the effervescent Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. And the Mahindra does that better than well. It’s the better car all-round. – Michele & Giordano Lupini

SHOOTOUT: Mahindra.               Volkswagen Tiguan
          XUV700                  Allspace 2.0TSI
          2.0T AX7 L              4Motion R-Line
Output:       149 kW 380 Nm       132 kW 320 Nm
Engine:       2l turbo petrol I4  2l turbo petrol I4
Drive:        6-speed Auto FWD    7-speed DC Auto AWD
Length        4,695 mm            4,728 mm
Width         1,890 mm            1,839 mm
Height        1,755 mm            1,686 mm
Wheelbase     2,750 mm            2,789 mm
Weight        1,960 kg            1,642 kg
Max Trailer   2,500 kg            1,800 kg
0-60 km/h:    4.30 sec            4.34 sec
0-100 km/h:   9.04 sec            9.48 sec
0-120 km/h:   12.16 sec           13.26 sec
0-160 km/h:   21.49 sec           24.94 sec
400m:         15.0 s @ 160 km/h   16.9 s @ 134 km/h
80-120 km/h:  5.84 sec            6.69 sec
120-160 km/h: 9.32 sec            10.83 sec
VMax:         190 km/h            200 km/h
Fuel:         8.7 l/100 km        8.9 l/100 km
CO2:          195 g/km            201 g/km
Range:        675 km              650 km
Warranty:     5y 150K             3y 120K
Service:      5y 100K km          5y 90K km
LIST PRICE:   R559K               R774K
RATED:        9                   8
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