What is it?
Mahindra does have a strong SUV profile and now, upping the ante in the compact SUV segment, it has launched a more powerful Mahindra XUV300, the TurboSport. For those not in the know-how, Mahindra showcased the ‘XUV300 Sportz’ at the 2020 Auto Expo which essentially is the direct injection version of the 1.2-litre mStallion petrol engine that produces more power than the standard motor. So, how much more power does the TurboSport churn out and moreover, how is it to drive?
We got a chance to drive the XUV300 TurboSport for a couple of hours at a prepped Gymkhana course and here are our first impressions.
With the new engine, the TurboSport also gets a few exterior styling tweaks to differentiate itself from its vanilla alternate. First up, the front fascia gets the gloss black grille with red highlights and the new twin peaks logo at the centre. Further down, the chrome inserts at the centre of the bumper have been swapped for a bright red accent that gives it a stylish look. The other elements, like the LED projector headlamps, LED DRLs, tail lamps, and the overall design have been retained and are similar to the XUV300.
The design for the 16-inch alloys is new and the ‘TGDi’ badge on the front fender and red ‘W8’ lettering at the rear denotes the ‘TurboSport’ character. Then, there are three exterior shades to choose from. The Blazing Bronze that you see here is new and can be had in a monotone option or with a contrast black roof. The other two are Pearl White and Napoli Black which are offered with black and white roofs, respectively.
Is the cabin any good?
Where the standard XUV300 is available with a dual-tone black and beige theme, the TurboSport features an all-black theme. The dashboard, door pads, and even the leatherette upholstery have been finished in black. For a contrasting effect, there are silver accents around the infotainment system, centre console, and on steering wheel. The only other noticeable addition is the metal-finished pedals.
The TurboSport is available across three variants – W6, W8, and W8(O). The equipment list too, is shared with the standard XUV300 which means it comes loaded with features to the brim. It offers an electric sunroof, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, front parking sensors, a rearview camera, six airbags, and rear disc brakes.
Is it nice to drive?
On paper, the TGDi motor of the XUV300 produces 128bhp and 230Nm of torque and is mated solely to a six-speed manual gearbox. These are 19bhp and 30Nm more than the older 1.2-litre petrol unit and also make it the most powerful SUV in the lot. And for those who crave more, there is also an overboost function that kicks in post 70 per cent acceleration, thus pushing out 20Nm of additional torque. Mahindra also claims a zero to 60kmph sprint time of five seconds. Facts and figures done. Now, time to experience it!
The gymkhana track set by Mahindra looked tempting and had quite a few tight and tricky turns, straight lines, and water puddles. But, as luck would have it, it started to rain profusely! Nevertheless, we started our lap and instantly off the mark, the XUV300 reaffirmed the new power figures. It gives you a quick start and within approximately 50 metres, we were greeted with the first set of turns. The engine delivers a strong surge of power in the midrange when it's on boost and it doesn't feel strained when pushed to the redline. The steering is quick and with three modes (Comfort, Normal, and Sport) it makes turning the SUV into tight corners fun. However, we would have appreciated a little more feel and feedback from it.
That said, Mahindra has made no changes to the suspension and throttle response. Despite that, the XUV300 felt planted and when we pushed hard around the bends, the SUV never wobbled. Coming to the gearbox, the gear shifts are smooth when flicking between the first and second gear in the entire course.
Adding to the overall confidence while driving the XUV300 TurboSport around the gymkhana were the disc brakes on all four wheels. These had a good bite to them and boosted assurance and stopping power at high speeds.
Should you buy it?
Well, we have only sampled the XUV300 TurboSport in a closed and controlled environment. Very soon, we will be driving it extensively to bring to you a detailed review. Now, given the TurboSport is the fastest SUV in its segment and costs just Rs 35,000 more than the standard XUV300, it does make a strong point for itself and will surely entice buyers looking for a more performance-oriented version in the compact SUV segment. Moreover, the XUV300 was always been a well-equipped SUV with a spacious cabin and a five-star rated Global NCAP model in Mahindra’s stable.
Nonetheless, the XUV300 TurboSport is not the sole ranger in the locale and will have to fight it out against the turbo-petrol versions of the Hyundai Venue, Renault Kiger, Kia Sonet, and Nissan Magnite.
Pictures by Kapil Angane