This, the Mahindra XUV300 is generally referred to as the baby XUV500. But, as we see it, this Tata Nexon and Vitara Brezza competitor, is more than just that. In the most basic sense, it is a shortened and Indian-ised version of the Ssangyong Tivoli. Which is good, because the Tivoli being a proven European product, does put concerns regarding the 300’s reliability, safety, and quality at bay. At least somewhat. So, does it make the XUV300 a worthy buy? To help you decide, here’s a list of five things that work in its favour, and three that don’t.
This is the top of the line W8 version. And according to the CarWale app - which is a handy tool, so download it if you haven’t already - the XUV300 price is listed as Rs 11.5 lakhs ex-showroom for this trim.
But, for this price, you get keyless entry and start, automatic headlamps and wipers, two-zone climate control, cruise control, a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, a comprehensive driver information system, and a touchscreen multimedia system. The latter, as is the norm, comes with USB and AUX playback, Bluetooth telephony, Apple CarPlay and it's Android-cousin. And yes, there’s a sunroof as well. The only SUV in its class to get one... for now.
Now, given the tall stance, the XUV 300 might not be the best car for your tiny Pug to jump into. But your parents would love it. Because arthritis or not, one can just slip onto the seats, front or rear and be comfortable.
It’s also a practical cabin, this. Apart from roomy and comfy seats, there’s good head and knee room, you get storage and cup and bottle holders all around. And you also get a central armrest with storage for both the front and rear passengers.
The Mahindra XUV300 comes with two engines. The 1.5 diesel is a lovely thing. It is refined, smooth and surprisingly quiet for a diesel. And it has a solid mid-range as well. Be it driving in the city or cruising on the highway, the diesel with its 6-speed manual gearbox is a good fit. And it’s efficient too.
The petrol we have here is agreeable as well. Like the diesel, this one is refined and torquey too. And though it has some turbo lag, it only feels pronounced because the kick close to 2,000rpm is a little too potent.
But, even without the turbo on the song, one still can’t term the XUV300 performance as underwhelming. It’s right on the ball. But, it’s between 2,000-3000rpm that the petrol XUV feels is at its best. It won’t set any quarter-mile records, but it does get you to three-digit speeds with ease. And in pretty quick time. Plus, like the diesel, XUV300 petrol has a slick-shifting gearbox as well.
Four things define comfort over all else. Seating comfort, light driving controls, a pliant ride and good visibility.
The 300 has it all, but not in equal measure. The visibility and the ride are really good. There are hardly any blind spots, and no matter whether you show the XUV broken Tarmac or a dirt trail, it’s more than up to flatten it all.
The seats are good too. Not the best we have seen, even for its class, but you can spend long hours in them. And like a cherry on top, it has light controls too, be it the steering, the clutch or the gear shifts.
Seven airbags. Stability control. Traction control. Cornering Lights. ABS. Did we say seven airbags? Only one in its class to get it. Need to say more?
The boot on the XUV is tiny. As you can see it can’t hold the 85-litre bag. And with the 65-litre suitcase, there’s barely space for a soft bag. Not good, and for an SUV, not good at all.
No Petrol Automatic
Yes, we like the manual gearboxes on the XUV. These are slick-shifting boxes with a reasonably light clutch operation. But, not having a petrol automatic is a miss. Especially for petrol, which will extensively be used in crowded cities.
No Rear AC Vents
The XUV seems to have it all! But then you step in the rear, and on a hot day like this. You reach for your set of vents at the back. And there’s none! That’s no good.
So, there you have it. The XUV300 might be a bit pricey, but it is still a worthy buy. Now if I had to choose, I’d take the diesel. But the petrol too is very impressive.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi