Came back from the test-drive of the XUV 700 Diesel manual today. here are my observations.
1. NVH, excellent. The car is silent (by diesel standards) inside out. You hear the engine, but not the fatigue inducing types.
2. Speaking of the engine, as always with Mahindra's, engine is a hoot. From the inside feels refined and doesn't feel underpowered at all. The slick shifting manual gearbox ensures you experience the rowdy character of the engine to the fullest. Accelerates like crazy. Holds speed very well and also can pick itself up and run from very low speeds at high gears. Yeah, I meant the in-gear acceleration is excellent. Also, the drive modes can make it suit your mood for the day.
3. The music system is excellent too. The sales advisors played some random pop or something genre (me being a metal head and relatively OLD
) which are favorites among youngsters, sounded excellent to me. I am not an audiophile though. BUT, to an average metalhead excellent, I will enjoy my music in this car.
4. Now that screen, That's a crisp screen and laaaaaaarge. The driver info is crisp and clear too, with cameras showing blind spot when using indicators etc. Lots of customizability. And they have crammed in everything they can possibly. Even apps like Justdial? Why? In the era of Android Auto and Apple Carplay. The issue is when you start using it, you feel Mahindra has not thought through this. May be not as well as they would've liked. Some more time was needed to refine it.
Let me explain.
Feels like, Mahindra first decided they'll have a big screen and also a screen controller on center console. You start playing the music, where will you go for volume adjustment? Natural tendency is to reach for the screen or have a rotary knob near the screen. But that function has been moved to the rotary knob next to the gear lever. Annoying.
When you change the drive mode, there is a custom mode where you can select your preferred setting for each of the engine, brakes etc. etc. Now when in that menu, you are not sure how to change it. No highlighting of the menu header and then when you want to change the setting, you have to scroll it, not click, which is not consistent with other menu selections which is clicking not scrolling. Not a deal breaker, Some refinement would've helped or can be brought about in a software update, but annoying.
5. Speaking of annoying, the ride quality. No where near what I was expecting after reading all the reviews of how XUV has now at par with TATA and how they may have bettered it. Not disappointed, but may be my expectations were high. On a smooth highway, Its excellent, manages to stay planted unlike the XUV500, previous XUV 500 owners will know what I mean by that. Also dynamically very good, like the previous XUV500, as in not nervous when changing directions. But things change when you enter inner roads. The undulations on the road are not ironed out like some of its competitors. There is side to side movements, more than what I was expecting and vertical movements too. Add to that, a not so comfortable middle row seats, again my expectations were very high, XUV700 just didn't make the cut, ride comfort wise. But, from the drivers seat, the dynamics, its a different story. Inner roads or smooth highway, dynamically sorted, nothing to complain. If at all, in the inner roads due to the bounce in the suspension may need corrections mid corner if driven spiritedly, else for a laid back drive, no complaints whatsoever.
6. The Ambience. The leather (or is it leatherette) seats felt nice. The steering, the top of the dashboard etc felt good. Even the sunroof makes the cabin feel airy. But then, all the black bits, looks cheap. Outright cheap. The switches, the AC controls, steering mounted controls for display and audio controls finished in gloss black, looked cheap. I am talking about the perceived quality here. I felt the ambience of the cabin was particularly brought down by the cheap looking glossy plastics. Looks too plasticky. If you have seen cheap plastic toys in black. To use, those switches felt normal/decent. But this definitely is a negative mark for the Mahindra from me, for the perceived quality. That goes for the black bits on the outside too. Those things may be very good quality plastics, but it looks cheap. Perceived quality. Thats the biggest let down for me.
7. The tech. I used limited ADAS features which I felt was useful, like lane departure warning. Road sign reading. Auto emergency brake warning. And in all those, It performed well, warned me when changing lanes, couldn't verify if it read the road sign and also warned when we got close to the vehicle in front. I know ADAS is going to be compulsory in the future, I hope, we can keep the settings at warning and not always on and spoil the fun of driving all together. And that 360 degree camera, I don't know what's with all the cry about a vehicle not having it. If you have to rely on cameras to know the perimeter of you vehicle, then you shouldn't be allowed to drive. Didn't even notice it was there. I use mirrors for backing up and the XUV mirrors served me well on the test-drive.
XUV 700 is a huge step ahead for Mahindra, Its apt that they did not name it XUV 500. In every way its superior to the predecessor. Its built well. It drives well, rides decently. NOTE, I say decently despite me not liking the ride cos, for most people, they'll never encounter "inner roads" all their lives. Its either city roads or smooth highways. Loaded to the brim with technology and priced to kill the competition. What's not to like? yes, the perceived quality. And a wee bit uncomfortable middle row seats. BUT what's life if not for a little compromise here and there. XUV 700 is a great package. Worth every penny you shell on it. If you are in this market segment, you should have ample reasons to not pick one.
- I am in the market for a car?
- What cars am I looking at?
Well, starts with Nexon, XUV, Big TATA twins. Taigun and Kushaq.
- Will I consider XUV700?
1. Waiting period.
2. I travel a lot for my work, and it involves a lot of driving in the inner roads, Here I was let down by the XUV.
3. I can compromise on a lot of things, and tech, but not on perceived quality and ride. After all, I have to live with it for 5-7 years.
- Will I recommend XUV 700 to friends and family?
DEFINITELY. I will ask them to make it the first or second vehicle on the list.