Driven #14: 2012 Mahindra Xylo

Folks in Mahindra have been really hard at work over the past decade or so. That is the period in which the company shook off their 'Jeep' heritage and, in the process, successfully developed and launched three indigenous models. Two of them, the Scorpio and XUV500 have been smash hits while Xylo, the other model, was a relatively moderate success. Inspite of possessing many qualities that compare favorably to the segment leaders, the Xylo never really sold as well as Mahindra would have hoped. Now that the company has launched a mid-cycle facelift of the Xylo, is that enough to propel this MPV to stardom? We found out with a test drive.


We always believed that one of the major reasons for the earlier Xylo not being popular with private buyers was its odd looks and proportions. In a single stroke of genius, Mahindra has transformed the looks of the Xylo, atleast when viewed head on. The highly detailed boomerang headlights with its chrome inserts and smoked portions add a lot of character to the Xylo and the redesigned 'family' grille perfectly compliments the stylish front end. At last, someone has told Mahindra that their dreadful 'rabbit tooth grille' has got to go and the management has listened. The bumper too is redesigned and comes with black plastic add-ons that makes the Xylo look a little low slung and sporty. The fog lamps look a trifle small though.

There are no significant changes done to the sides and rear and the Xylo still looks bulky and a bit odd from the rear three-quarters. But, it has to be said that blackening out of the B, C and D pillars, the addition of black plastic shrouds along the wheel arches and the chrome-lined protective cladding have did their best to hide the visual bulk. The rear spoiler is done neatly and plays its part in improving the looks too. The fact that our test car came with a full set of accessories like the 'chrome pack' for door handles and taillight clusters and door visors just added to the looks quotient. Special credits has to be given for the superbly designed stock alloys that looks wonderful.


Step in, or rather we should say, climb inside and the first thing that you notice is the huge amounts of space available, not only in the front and middle rows, but also in the third row. We have sat in almost all MPVs this side of 15 Lakh Rupees and when it comes to space, there is nothing to beat the Xylo. There is no change in the design of the dashboard too and the oddly shaped air-conditioner vents in the center console still looks out of place. The beige interiors with faux wood inserts and chrome accents look bright and airy. There are dedicated air-conditioner vents and hand-rests for all three rows and the occupants would feel comfortable sitting in any of them. Now that is a big victory over the likes of Maruti-Suzuki Ertiga and Chevrolet Tavera.

There is a new 'E9' variant added to the Xylo as part of the facelift that comes fully loaded with leather upholstery, steering mounted controls for audio and cruise control and a voice command feature for headlights, wipers and radio. The 'E8' variant that we drove is the most popular variant of Xylo and comes with all the essential features like Digital Drive Assist that displays a whole lot of information, twin Airbags, ABS with EBD, two DIN audio system with USB, SD and Aux-in and a reverse parking assist system that displays warning messages in the rear view mirror. Foldable snack trays behind the front seats, a spectacle holder in the roof and courtesy lamps add to the novel factor.

Fit and finish is poor in many areas and still remains a point of concern in the Xylo. Mahindra still has a long way and a few years to go to catch up with its competitors like Toyota and Suzuki in this particular area.


With this facelift, Mahindra has given the Xylo three engine options to choose from. The base variants that are intended for the 'taxi' market comes with the 2.5-liter mDI CRDe engine from the Bolero. The top-end E9 variant gets the mHawk engine from the Scorpio with 120 bhp of maximum power. The mid variants including the E8 that we drove comes with the tried and trusted mEagle engine that churns out a maximum power of 112 bhp at 3800 rpm and a maximum torque of 260 Nm between 1800 and 2200 rpm. The engine pulls strongly at low revs while the mid-range and top-end progress tapers down. Shifting gears needs a bit of effort as the clutch is a little heavy and the shifts are notchy and doesn't fall into place easily.

The earlier Xylo was known for its body roll in the highways and the new Xylo exhibited the same character as well, but it was a bit subdued compared to the older version. Mahindra has definitely fine-tuned the suspension for better highway characteristics. And it shows as the Xylo can cruise comfortably in the highway at moderate speeds. Push it above 100 km/h and the Xylo's weaknesses start showing up, its huge mass and high center of gravity playing spoilsport. It is here that the car-like handling characteristics of Toyota Innova is sorely missed. On the positive side, the suspension soaks up bumps and potholes effortlessly and the high seating position gives you a commanding view of the road ahead.


* Engine Type: mEagle Common-rail Diesel
* No of Cylinders: 4
* Displacement: 2498 cc
* Maximum Power: 112 bhp @ 3800 RPM
* Maximum Torque: 260 Nm @ 1800-2200 RPM
* Transmission Type: 5-speed MT
* Tires: 215/75 R15
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)

* Huge passenger space
* Feature loaded interiors
* Comparatively better styling


* Unsorted handling
* Interior fit and finish


As we said at the beginning of this post, the earlier Xylo already had quite a few characteristics comparable to the segment leader, the Toyota Innova. The facelift has only reinforced that point strongly. Spacious interiors, comfortable third row seating and proven engine options are the Xylo's trump cards. Add to it better styling and feature-loaded interiors and the Xylo makes a compelling proposition. With more than a couple of lakhs cheaper than comparable variants of Toyota Innova, the Xylo is terrific value for money too. Mahindra has another success story in its hands.

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