The Initial Driving Experience :-
After the usual Indian rituals of taking the vehicle to the temple and performing 'a thank you God for the world so sweet' - i decided to try out all the features!!
We decided to go the next day to our farm which involves also a drive via the mumbai pune express way.I am listing some of the experiences i felt below :- Mechanical Stuff
:- The engine is super and very responsive even at low revs - the turbo lag is hardly felt ( only if you think in super slow motion you can feel a turbo lag ) , unlike the Aria which really breathes only after 1600rpm. I loved the gearing though i found the 1st and second a bit notchy, but once the engine was warmed up it wasnt bad really. All other gear shifts were super smooth. The clutch feels slightly longer but probably thats more because i drive a civic otherwise. Also I felt the vehicle jumps in the second and third gears, so i realised i need to smoother than what i am used to with a civic. Gear and clutch setup is different in different cars and it takes a little driving to get used to. By no means i am saying they were bad, its just that they are different. it really doesnt feel like a diesel the engine is happy to be revved and the pick up is just as good as i would expect normally - no sluggish diesel behavior!! Offcourse its running period and i aint revving it hard and testing its limits. The engine is surprisingly silent and the NVH i wud put best in class in this segment - probably the fortuner felt a bit more noisy than this or is it just me. The steering is super smooth and light - though i felt compared to the civic it requires half a turn more. But what was shocking was the turning circle. You got to the experience the turning circle. I found it even better than the civic which i really wasnt expecting for an SUV of this size - ok may be an exaggeration but its really segment topping. I found the brakes adequate too but then comparing to the civic i found the civic better. But the civic is really tuned to my needs and the XUV is not , so i am certain this is more of my feel of the brakes and the set up. But overall the brakes are good enough but only time will tell as i have put the car to its limit or braked hard. The suspension is good and definately better than fortuner , but i found the Aria has better ride quality than XUV. There is no feel of rolling which u feel the moment u enter the Xylo :). 100 kmph in 6th gear and under 1800rpm was a nice surprise - is the engine even running ? Electronics :-
Let me start with the cruise control - works like a breeze and its such a pleasure to use in the expressway - i never exceeeded 100 kmph on the express way in 6th gear - so being safe and taking care of the cheetah baby during its running in period. So what was the mileage shown after a 90 km run only 24. 8kmpl. I was shocked but really i dont want to beleive this at the moment as i need to be doing the traditional full tank to full tank test. Hey but thats not bad even if the fuel gauge is wrong by a few kmpls really and that too for a car which hasnt done its running in yet !! But really this was more downhill driving in a expressway at a leisurely pace, so ill wait for some more time before i go gaga on its fuel efficiency. All the other electronics worked fine in the car and i did try hill descent ascent etc. I am not a big audio buff when it comes to in car entertainment - i have a bose at home and for pleasure listening i prefer that really. But the set up in XUV is decent and does all it says in the manual. Nothing special to comment about except that everything works as intended so far. But i seemed to have spotted something all the reviews so far have missed - i couldnt find a direct way of keeping the infotainment running but keep the radio/dvd off. the only way is by the mute button which really pauses the system when in dvd mode or mutes it when in radio mode. Thankfully muting this does not affect GPS navigation - you can hear GPS navigation. I have asked the Mahindra RM if there is not a simple way of putting the audio system off while keeping the rest of the infotainment system on ? There has to be something here or am i am just being stupid :)
The navigation also works fine and no problems in getting a gps lock immediately - no issues whatsoever!! Rear sensors work fine and i am not bothering with a reverse camera. The interior red lights are groovy and a nice touch - Disco station ehh!! Blue tooth and voice control works fine, especially when i try a fake UK accent on it :). Start stop works as the manual says. The sensor based lights work fine havent tested the automatic wipers yet. Space/ Ergonomics :-
The XUV 5OO is a comfortable 5 seater with a lot of boot space. The third row is really for short people and kids. 6 footers dont even think. But the second row makes up for more than enough leg room and comfort. Kids enjoy the third row and when folded down and cushioned they can even sleep on it!! Yes i am safety conscious but this is a practical reality. You can only get in to the third row from the left side of the second row. The third rows folds well and makes it a nearly flat space for luggage. I have ordered for the roof carrier as i think it will be handy with the long trip planned shortly. In term of seating ergonomics no complaint as such but the thigh support could be marginally better as compared to the sofa/louger in the safari second row. The driver handrest position could be slightly higher but most of the other stuff are there where they need to be. I found the light and wiper stalks a bit flimsy from the look but only time will tell how they last. also u cant open just the boot from the driver side - though it can be done using the remote key.
The boot lock can be opening from a little pulley provided in the boot door internally for emergencies. Also the fuel hatch can be opened manually using an internal hatch if the electronics goes kaput. So i think Mahindra knows its strengths well :). The AC is absolutely chiller and i found it much better than my civic - it chills in no time and the climate controls work fine. The AC effect is great in all rows. The infortainment provides nice visuals too. The interior quality can be better at places but those are already well reported everywhere ( like the holder above the chiller ). For the price I wouldnt complain!! There is no boot space if you keep the third rows up, ohh may be you can keep a comb ? Ohh well a laptop bag might fit. Minor Offroad Tryst :-
I was very worried initally with taking a new vehicle through rice field bunds, but the vehicle has more than enough ground clearance to manage and the FWD didnt cause any problems driving through grass 8 feet tall.
I was initially apprehensive with the approach angle but it served me more than easily. I just had to be careful as i thought the plastic mud flaps wud hit the ground but they didnt. All in all no problems here too.
Next time ill try to get a pic of what i mean by this minor offroad tryst, but really its no comparison to hard core offroading. Some general Notes :-
1) Side Mirrors fold in automatically on locking the car.
2) The beeps work differently when u lock a car with any door left slightly open - serves as a good alert.
3) Looks of the vehicle is really subjective , as i have seen both extreme reactions - i find it nice , though i must say a Aria looks more royal and this one looks more rugged.
4) Driver window is one touch down but not up. Other windows dont have one touch function.
5) The steering adjustment doesnt have a large range but serves ok for the range i need.
6) The projector headlamps work fine and work well on turns.
7) Rear view mirror inside isnt that great with limited visibility. But the external mirrors have a large range - more than adequate.
8) Lots of cubby holes inside, but the glove compartment is smaller than what you would expect.
9) There is a gear indicator which tells u which gear you are in - useful for 'people who dont feel the car'
10) with the automatic light on from the stalk u cant go the upper - it stays in dipper - doesnt matter really as at night team u will switch the stalks to the regular position.
Ok a rather long post and i am sure i havent covered all aspects yet, so please feel free to shoot questions and ask me to add items i might have missed. I havent driven much yet so you will need to also give me the oppurtunity to build on this as i munch on more miles. Some pictures will follow shortly and more after this weekend. Please note my experience with the car is still very limited, however i will try to do an honest and rational write up going ahead.
Also to add some niggles which i mentioned in general XUV 5OO thread :-
My little share of niggles as following :-
1) At the cold start i find the 1st and 2nd gear slightly notchy however once the engine warms up, its pretty smooth - this is with the synthetic oil ( btw
i have a Civic too so u know what i am comparing to )
2) Tyre electronics gave an error once - stopped and restarted - seems to have sorted itself - but something to keep an eye.
3) Perimetric alarms have gone off on itself 3-4 times but stops on its own - again need to keep an eye if there is a particular trend when this happens.
4) Had some creaking noise from the rear door, but mahindra have fixed it - heard in some forums it might be the actuator - but a mechanic told me its a loose wire.
I can live with the above as i decided to book a fairly untested car in the market ( untested in the hands of the owners ) . in any case the mahindra RM is aware of the niggles and doing his best to help. I am sure those will be sorted.
Thanks for Reading