20110929

Mahindra 'rise's onto global stage with XUV 500

True to its latest ad campaign that symbolizes ‘Rise’, Mahindra’s fantastic rise in the last couple of years shows no signs of slowing down. After low-key acquisitions of Indian manufacturers Kinetic and Reva that saw the company venture into hitherto unknown segments like two-wheelers and electric vehicles, the most recent high-profile takeover of the South Korean manufacturer Ssangyong moved Mahindra on to the global stage. All this resulted with Mahindra becoming India’s most valued automaker displacing Tata Motors from the top position. Amidst all this growth though, Mahindra had a problem and a big one at that. There was hardly a model in the company’s existing lineup that can compete on merit with other automakers in the advanced global markets. It is this fact that Mahindra hopes to change with the launch of its all-new crossover XUV 500 (pronounced as XUV five double oh).

Get over the initial struggle of pronouncing its complicated name and you are in for a shock. A shock, that is going to be a pleasant one for most of us but one that has the potential to be rude for quite a few of us too. Having been in development for more than three years now, Mahindra did an excellent job all along of hiding the identity of the vehicle up until the launch event. The numerous spy-shots of the test cars that came up in various websites and blogs did little to reveal its design and detailing. Now that it is finally launched, the XUV 500 looks mighty impressive and worth the long wait. And the biggest surprise of all has been the killer pricing with the three variants W6, W8 and W8 AWD priced at 10.8, 11.95 and 12.88 lac rupees respectively. At this price, the XUV 500 is not only going to make the Tata Aria, its chief competitor, run for cover but is also going to make life tough for Toyota Innova and Mahindra’s own Scorpio.     

The styling of the XUV 500 is certainly a hit or a miss. In what has become the norm now for Mahindra, the company has yet again messed up the front end with the floating rabbit-tooth grille and the awful bumper with unconventional cuts and honey-comb meshes. There are a few other quirky design elements as well like the hump between the C and D pillars and the kink at the rear between the windscreen and the number plate. Nevertheless the overall stance of the XUV 500 is extremely impressive and there are a few terrific design elements like the trapezoidal projector headlamps with integrated Daytime Running Lights (DRL), the slingshot taillamps and the hugely attractive profile which looks to be influenced by the Range Rover Evoque and Mitsubishi Outlander. On the whole, the XUV 500 is a pretty good effort for an Indian company and quite remarkably, has an identity of its own.

Spare a casual look at the interior shots of the XUV 500 and I am sure you are going to be bowled over. The quality, the fit and finish, the materials used, the scooped-out twin-pod instrument cluster, the waterfall center console with touch screen and neatly laid-out buttons, the leather seats and quite simply everything about it looks and feels premium and lends a touch of class that is never seen before in an Indian automobile. If you thought the Tata Aria was loaded with features, think again. The XUV 500 comes packed with features such as six airbags, ABS, ESP with rollover mitigation, Hill hold, touch screen DVD player with in-built GPS and navigation system, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, tyretronics, puddle lamps, laptop holder in glove box, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering and the list just goes on and on.

Powered by the 2179 cc mHawk direct injection diesel engine with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger with a maximum power output of 140 bhp at 3750 rpm and a maximum torque of 330 Nm at 1600-2800 rpm, the XUV 500 has a lot of grunt. Being a monocoque construction, its fair to expect the XUV 500 to have car-like handling characteristics without the unsettled high-speed behavior of body-on-frame SUVs like the Scorpio and Safari. All-wheel disc brakes combined with features like ABS, EBD and ESP will ensure that the vehicle comes to a stop as impressively as it goes. So, the XUV 500 looks to be a decent effort by Mahindra in cracking the global crossover segment. Though it may still not be as perfect as its global peerrs, its as impressive, if not more, than the Tata Aria. And with those killer prices, the XUV 500 has rung the death knell for a whole lot of other models in the price range.

2 comments:

  1. @ Mahesh - Thanks for your comment. Keep reading the posts and give your feedback.

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  2. Thats amazing & wonderful car

    ReplyDelete