Mahindra’s XUV300 is an impressive car for more reasons than one. For starters, it was already a global product. Then there is the fit and finish which is very unconventional for a Mahindra vehicle and I mean that in a good way. And now Mahindra is offering it with an automatic option. Now, an automatic option is always good, but what Mahindra is providing along with it is an AMT gearbox. Will this basic automatic gearbox fit well with the XUV300’s otherwise premium image? To answer this question, we’ll tell you five things that we liked about it and two things that we didn’t.
1. How is the AMT?
Let’s start with the crux of the matter here – the AMT gearbox. It is by far the least intrusive automated-manual we have encountered in this segment and Mahindra has done a very good job with it. At low speeds, the way it responds to the throttle is commendable and the back-and-forth motion between gear changes is surprisingly minimal.
The only thing we do not like about this AMT is the built-in creep function which could have been more refined. Designed to help us with crawling ever so slowly in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the slightest push on the throttle ends up with you jolting forward. It’s best, then, to cover the brake pedal when driving in traffic.
2. Space and Plenty of it
I am going to start with the back seat because the XUV300 pretty much boasts of segment-best legroom, thanks to its generous wheelbase. The seats are supportive as well and you will find more than enough headroom. What’s disappointing though is the lack of under-thigh support. The lighter colours give a better sense of airiness and there’s the added advantage of an adjustable headrest and three-point seat belt for the middle passenger.
If your purchase depends a lot on how many features your car has, then the XUV300 will keep you satisfied. The top-spec variant that we have here is loaded with segment-first features including seven airbags, dual-zone climate control with memory function, front parking sensors, heated mirrors, and disc brakes for all four wheels. Other noteworthy features include a sunroof, cruise control, push-button start, leather seats, hill hold function and a seven-inch infotainment system with smartphone mirroring tech and navigation.
4. Refined Punchy diesel
Powering the diesel XUV300 is the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that also powers the Marazzo and it’s an engine that we are fond of. Making 115bhp and 300Nm of torque, the most impressive thing about it is that it churns out maximum torque from as low as 1,500rpm which is always good for low-speed drivability.
Naturally, the XUV300 is effortless right from the word go – be it the low speed pulls or highway passes, any manoeuvre is done with ease thanks to the strong bottom-end and mid-range. This engine pulls particularly hard in the mid-range, with a steady flow of torque right until 4,000rpm.
5. 17-inch wheels and still rides well.
With 17-inch wheels and the steering mode set in sport, the XUV300 turns in pretty quickly for a compact SUV and thanks to the wide track, you also get a much-planted feel.
Low-speed bumps and undulations are dealt with minimal vibrations and a lot of plushness. Similarly, the ride remains composed at highway speeds and the bump absorption is well controlled allowing you to cruise at higher speeds.
1. Boot Space
One does expect to head outside the city with a compact SUV and travelling means carrying a lot of luggage. This is one area where the XUV300 struggles as compared to its competitors. With just 259 litres to play with, it seems like Mahindra used up the entire wheelbase for the legroom and forgot about the boot. With four or five people travelling, carrying all that luggage will be a massive struggle in the XUV300.
2. Not exactly value for money
Now, this compact SUV segment is very engaging and there’s plenty of competition here. So does the XUV300 offer good value? Compared to this W8 option AMT (12.69), the top-spec Brezza AMT is more than Rs 2 lakhs cheaper and the Nexon diesel AMT is over Rs 1.5 lakhs cheaper and while it may boast of more features, the price difference is significantly high making it a not so good value-for-money proposition.
The XUV300 boasts of plenty of features, has a powerful engine mated to a well-tuned AMT gearbox and drives very well too. It’s a little tight on boot space and does not exactly offer the best value in comparison to its competitors but on its own, it offers everything and more than one might expect from a car in this segment.
Pictures - Kaustubh Gandhi