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The Mahindra XUV700! It is simply the most-anticipated SUV to be launched in India this year. The Seven Double-Ohh was on everyone's mind whether or not they were looking at buying an SUV in the near future. We folks in the media minted this opportunity for months by writing stories, posting spy images, and speculating about the features that the SUV will come with.
Well, the time for speculation is over. The Mahindra XUV700 has been launched in the Indian market and prices start at a mind-boggling Rs 11.99 lakh. Safe to say, Mahindra hit this one straight out of the ballpark and in the process put a wide grin on the faces of those who were looking at purchasing a mid-size SUV in the coming months.
Well, Mahindra has won the pricing war hand-down and many have already made up their minds to purchase the SUV. But, is it any good? Was it worth all the hype? Is it the best SUV purchase in that price range? How is it to drive? Well, we got to drive the SUV for a few hours at Mahindra's brand new SUV testing facility and we have the answers to these questions. So, read on.
Mahindra XUV History
Before we dive deep into the lengthy features list and the powerful engine options of the Mahindra XUV700, let us take a look at the SUV's history and background. In the initial stages of its development, the Mahindra XUV700 was destined to be a successor to the venerable XUV500.
The XUV500 was the first Mahindra SUV to be based on a monocoque chassis and it went on to become the face of Mahindra in many international markets. It came with a lot of features and went on to win several accolades as well. This happened way back in 2011 and Mahindra kept updating the SUV over the next few years.
Developing such an SUV in-house, Mahindra's R&D capabilities by a large margin and it was quite obvious that the successor of the XUV500 had some pretty big shoes to fill. Earlier this year though, Mahindra made some changes to its product nomenclature and revealed that several new SUVs are in the making. Well, the Mahindra XUV700, as it turns out, is one among them.
It is an important SUV for Mahindra and just like the XUV500 did back then, this one too comes with several segment-first features, and some of the features are taken from a couple of segments above!
Design & Style
At first glance, it is really easy to recognise that it is an XUV while at the same time, one can also recognise that it is not the 500. The designers have brought out the essence of the XUV500 and have seamlessly integrated it into a bigger and more muscular SUV, and that is a job rather well done.
The SUV has a more butch and tough stance, while boasting of thoroughly modern elements. Up front, the SUV features a dual-tone grille with multiple design elements. At the centre is Mahindra's new logo for SUVs. It is flanked on both sides by multiple Black slats and a total of six twin slats finished in Silver.
The grille does give the front-end a rather uplifting look and is flanked by the LED headlamps and DRLs. The erstwhile XUV500 had a boomerang shaped bit of Back plastic in the bumpers. Mahindra seems to have used that as inspiration for the LED DRLs on the XUV700. Hence, the headlamps extend into the bumper.
The fog lamps are at the bottom of the bumper and the faux skid plate is finished in Silver, giving a good contrast to the Blue shade of the SUV. The bitch, muscular stance is carried over to the side profile as well. The size of the SUV is seen clearly and we absolutely like that.
It features flared wheel arches, a chunky shoulder line and a sloping roof line. The A, B & C pillars are blacked out and one of the highlights have to be the flush door handles. This feature is usually found on supercars. Along with making the XUV700 look great, these door handles increase the feel-good factor. They feel nice to operate as well.
The other highlight of course are the dual-tone alloy wheels. Mahindra has employed a unique dual-tone finish where the spokes 10-spokes get sculpted lines in them, and that's a really nice touch.
At the rear, the design becomes really elaborate with the large split LED tail lamps. At the top, the SUV comes with a shark-fin antenna and a spoiler with sharp edges. There is a sharp protrusion and taking the centre on it is the new Mahindra logo. The edgy protrusion is also found on the tail lamp.
Underneath it is the XUV700 and AX7 badging. Yes, we drove the top-spec, full-loaded AX7 variant and we have a lot to say about the features. Under the bumper is a faux bash plate finished in Silver. On the whole, the Mahindra XUV700 looks polarising at first, but it grows on you pretty quickly and you begin to like it.
Cockpit & Interior
Getting inside the Mahindra XUV700 is an experience in itself thanks to the aforementioned flush door handles. Upon opening the door, you are welcomed by a plush leather interior decked in white. The seats certainly look welcoming with more than adequate bolstering.
The dashboard looks thoroughly modern thanks to the infotainment and instrumentation screens. But it also has a premium touch with leather trim and soft-touch plastics. The attention grabber though is the huge glass slab. Now this looks like something that belongs in a vehicle that costs 4-5 times as much. Kudos to Mahindra for bringing this tech at a nominal price tag.
The ‘glass slab' consists of two 10.25-inch screens for infotainment and instrumentation. However, only the infotainment display is a touchscreen unit. These screens are powered by Adrenox, which is said to be the best in the UI/UX design arena.
The Infotainment unit comes with a long list of features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is also Amazon Alexa enabled, so you can voice out commands to the system. It also gets over 60 connected features and even gets its own e-SIM card for internet connectivity.
Pairing your phone to the Infotainment system is a straightforward process and it is easy to do so. However, we did find that the system was lagging at a few places. This though, is nothing to worry about. The cars we drove were all pre-production models and these little details will be fixed before the cars go into full production.
Listening to music in the XUV700 is a next-level experience thanks to the exclusive Sony sound system. This is the first time that Sony has officially provided speakers as an OEM supplier and as always, the Japanese brand has done a brilliant job. The setup includes a 13-channel DSP Amplifier and 12 custom-designed speakers.
The total audio output is rated at 445 Watts RMS, and together with Sony's Sound Building Blocks and 360-degree Spatial Sound technology provides an incredible aural experience.
There is a Silver-coloured strip that looks like it begins from one of the front doors and ends at the other. At the centre, right underneath the infotainment screen are dual AC vents. Beneath it are the controls for the climate control and below this is the centre console.
The centre console too looks premium thanks to a few elements finished in Piano Black. In front of the gear lever is a wireless charging spot for your mobile phone and next to the gear lever are the electronic parking brake and hill-hold buttons. There is also a rotary selector knob to control the infotainment screen.
The steering wheel is thick and chunky and feels great to grip. The new Mahindra logo on it looks fancy and so do the steering-mounted controls finished in Piano Black. The three spokes on the steering wheel feature a nice Silver outline to it and the whole setup feels premium.
Mahindra has used faux-wood trim in the door panel. In the same trim, are the boomerang-shaped levers to open and lock/unlock the door. Only the driver's seat is completely electrically adjustable and the controls for the same are mounted on the very same door panel. The floor carpets have an attractive pattern etched into them along with the XUV700 logo.
At the rear, the Mahindra XUV700 takes the premium quotient a step further. The same luxurious elements are carried over to the rear as well. The seats look inviting and provide more than adequate levels of comfort. The legroom, knee room, and headroom are all great and this leaves absolutely no room for complaints.
The XUV700 comes equipped with AC vents for the second and third-row as well and it also gets an air purifier. The second row gets a fold-down armrest with built-in cup holders. We can easily envision passengers in the second row being the happiest over long drives.
Then there's the third row. The space in here feels much better than the space in most other SUVs in this segment. However, we still suggest that this space is best left to the children. Adults will struggle to sit here while on long journeys.
When all this is put together, it is quite obvious that the Mahindra XUV700 provides a premium and special experience to its occupants.
Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space
Much has been said about the comfortable ride quality of the XUV500. Its successor then must have a much better ride quality and the XUV700 pulls this off quite well. Mahindra's new proving grounds located on the outskirts of Chennai has several stretches of roads that are made to simulate real-world driving.
On these roads and on the high-speed section, the XUV700 impressed us mightily with its comfort levels. The dual-zone climate control, AC vents for all three rows, spacious interior, panoramic sunroof, etc., all come together in increasing the comfort levels for the occupants of the Mahindra XUV700.
Mahindra is one of those brands that infuses practicality into all of its vehicles and the new XUV700 is no exception. There are loads of little storage spaces to place your stuff. The door pockets are large and it also gets a specific space for wireless mobile phone charging.
With all three rows of seats up, the boot space of the Mahindra XUV700 is decent at best. However, there is lots of flexibility here with the second as well as the third row getting the split seats folding down feature. With all the seats folded down, it almost turns into a flatbed. The Mahindra XUV700 gets a fuel tank capacity of 60-litres.
Engine Performance & Driving Impressions
The all-new XUV700 is offered with both petrol and diesel engine options. Now let us talk a little about both motors. The petrol unit is a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that pushes out a whopping 197.2bhp (200PS) of power and 380Nm of peak torque.
This gasoline engine is paired with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. Performance is brisk as well, with a claimed 0-60km/h acceleration time of 5 seconds.
On the other hand, is the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel unit. The car we drove was equipped with this engine that produces 184.4bhp (187PS) of power. However, the torque output is different for the manual and the automatic gearbox. The manual variant puts out 420Nm and the AT variant produces 450Nm of peak torque.
The Mahindra XUV700 has two drivetrain configurations. One is front-wheel-drive and the other is the 4-wheel drive setup. We drove the front-wheel-drive variant paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Now the strange thing is that the diesel variants get the driving modes but the petrol variants do not.
There are a total of four driving modes: Zip (Eco), Zap (Comfort), Zoom (Sport/Dynamic) and Custom (Individual). We started driving the car In the Zip mode. In this mode, the throttle response feels laggy, but it saves fuel. In the Zap mode, the throttle response improves a little and this is the mode that we will recommend buyers to use while puttering around town.
It was after this that we switched to Zoom mode. The throttle response became sharp and the maximum potential of the car be utilised in this mode. We ended up driving the XUV700 in this mode for the rest of the day. The power delivery in the Zoom mode is linear at the start, but there is a sudden boost in power if you floor the pedal and this will push you back into your seat.
The XUV700's diesel units have a very strong mid-range and the SUV feels fast. The rev-limiter kicks in at the 4,300rpm redline mark. The XUV700 builds up speed, but it takes some time to do so. But let me tell you one thing, the SUV reaches triple digits quickly and can handle well at high speeds too.
Thanks to the updated suspension set up by the company, it keeps the XUV700 planted through corners. Also, the body roll is much lower when compared to other SUVs in the same segment and that is where the XUV700 will rise and shine.
Mahindra's new test track had different setups to simulate varying road conditions and this includes broken roads. We did drive over these uneven roads and the SUV absorbed the bumps and potholes without breaking a sweat.
Initially, we did feel that the steering wheel could have been more responsive, but at the end of the day realised that it is not that bad after all. The steering wheel felt light at low speeds and slightly stiffened up at higher speeds.
A special mention of the clutch has to be made here. It is surprisingly light for a diesel vehicle, and will not tire one out in stop and go traffic. The pedal action of the clutch is not too much and the gear lever too doesn't have long throws, thereby giving the driver a sporty driving experience.
The Mahindra XUV700 is the first Indian car to feature ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and we got to experience this as well. ADAS brings with it features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, driver drowsiness alert, lane-keep assist, and autonomous emergency braking.
Autonomous braking is one feature that is a bit scary at first, but then it works like a charm. So, when the vehicle detects an obstacle in front of it, irrespective of the speed, it will pop a message on the instrument cluster that will say 'Possibility of A Collision.'
Even after this alert, if you ignore the message and get too close to whatever is in front of you, first the steering wheel will start vibrating and then suddenly the brakes will be applied. At first, as I mentioned it is pretty scary and the entire brake pedal goes down all the way to the floor. But it is a very good safety feature and promises to keep the occupants safe.
As far as mileage is concerned, we could not test the fuel efficiency completely since we had the car with us only for a few hours. However, on the track after doing all the possible tests and the high-speed runs, the MID screen displayed a real-time fuel efficiency figure of between 7.5 to 10km/l.
We will be doing a proper road test review soon and will let you guys know more about the real-world fuel efficiency of the all-new XUV700. Braking is decent and the car responds well to every input on the brake pedal. Thanks to better suspension, the SUV doesn't dive much while braking.
Key Features & Safety Features
The Mahindra XUV700 comes with a long list of features and many of them are first-in-segment. The large number of features makes the SUV a value-for-money buy for people.
Mahindra XUV700 Key Features:
- 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment
- Premium Music System From Sony
- Amazon Alexa
- Android Auto & Apple CarPlay
- Ambient Lighting
- Dual-zone climate control
- Air Purifier
- 10.25-inch screen for instrumentation
- In-built navigation, 3D map, Live Traffic Updates
- AdrenoX App-Based Controls
- Electrically adjustable seats
These are just a few of the many kep features on the Mahindra XUV700. As far as safety goes, the XUV700 definitely seems like a winner. There are a total of 7 airbags and one of them is placed under the steering wheel to protect the driver's knees in the event of a crash.
Mahindra XUV700 Safety Features:
- 7 Airbags
- Front Collision Warning
- Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Lane Keep Assist
- Smart Pilot Assist, Driver Drowsiness Detection
- Electronic Locking Differential
- ABS + EBD
At the end of the review, I'm astonished to find that the word premium has been used 11 times. Usually, that would make me go back and think of synonyms to replace that word with. But if the Mahindra XUV700 had to be described in one word, ‘Premium' would be it and so, I am gonna leave the word there.
It makes the premium features more affordable and in that, is much like its predecessor, the XUV500. We like the fact that Mahindra took the effort to bring so many luxury features to the mass market and that too at an astonishing price point.
Well, if this is anything to go by, we have our eyes, ears, and thoughts hooked onto the upcoming Mahindra XUV900. Bring it on, Mahindra!
Written by Stephen Neil; Reviewed by Promeet Ghosh