The interiors of the XUV500 are the place to be, it is a great proposition for all the moolah that you spend on it. The first two rows are spacious and the bells and whistles that come loaded with it are mostly found on vehicles that are a segment higher.
The interiors of XUV500 are designed ergonomically and a lot of features are added by incorporating a lot of buttons, without adding too many buttons. The XUV500 comes embellished with various bells and whistles, which are mostly available on cars that are a segment higher. Touch-screen, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control and six airbags are to name a few. Even the quality of plastics on the XUV500 is decent, though there are some bits that could have been better.
Space in sufficient in the first two rows, when you consider the head room and the leg room. The third row is a bit cramped for knee room, whereas the head room is still decent. The leather seats are also well strengthened with ample of support for your thighs. To our dismay, there is no space in the boot, unless the third row of seats has been folded.
The Mahindra XUV500 comes in two trim levels, one is the W6 and the other is the W8. The W8 is the top of the line model and comes loaded with all the frills. The W6 is the base model, yet it gets loads of goodies like 6-inch monochrome display with in-dash music system that plays music through its four-speakers, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, dual airbags, ABS, all disc brakes, electrically adjustable ORVMs, multi-functional steering and cruise control. This is indeed a long list, and the product is good proposition for all the money you pay.
The W8 model on the other hand has these features and all gets an addition of 6-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, six airbags, ESP and hill descent control, alloy wheels, telescopic steering, DVD player and tyre-pressure monitoring system. This is the only vehicle that is available in this price with so many features.
Maruti Suzuki pulled out a rabbit of the hat with the Ertiga. This is the first compact-sized MUV, and is built on the platform of a Swift. It has sufficient space in the first two rows and the fit and finish could have been a tad better for the price you pay, and most of the bits are a direct pick form the Swift.
Ertiga is based on the Swift platform and so are its interiors. These are a direct pick from the Swift. Except for difference in the colour, it resembles the Swift interiors. It seems that Maruti Suzuki wants to standardise the interior styling of its products. The quality of the plastics is decent; we do wish it were a bit better for the price it comes for.
The first two rows of the Ertiga are spacious and there isn’t much of an issue for headroom. The second row seats have decent kneeroom, while the third row is tight on space. It is meant for children. The front row seats are large and supportive, while the second row seats have decent support for the thighs. The boot is also decently sized.
LXi/LDi: This is the base variant of the Ertiga in petrol and diesel engine. Since it is the entry-level model, it is not loaded with too many features but power stee ring, body colour bumpers, manually folding OVRMs (outside rear view mirrors), multi trip meters, AC with heater, etc. come as standard.
VXi/VDi: This variant is placed above the LXi/LDi and it sports features like central locking, electrically folding OVRMs, keyless entry, adjustable headrests and body coloured OVRMs, door handles and many more. In the petrol you also have an ABS version that comes at an extra cost for safer braking.
ZXi/ZDi: Like other Maruti Suzuki’s other models, the ZXi and ZDi are the range topping models for Ertiga as well. This variant gets a number of premium features, which are not offered in the starting and mid-range models. These include Airbags, alloy wheels, outside temperature gauge on information display integrated into meter cluster, front seat belt with pretension and force limiter for driver and co-driver, steering wheel mounted audio controls, etc.
The 2.2-litre mHawk mill on the XUV500 is a tried and tested product, with high levels of refinement. There isn’t much of turbo lag and the gear ratios are also well spread out. It is the shifts on the transmission and the play of the clutch pedal that we aren’t in favour of.
XUV500 comes plonked with the 2.2-litre mHawk engine that also powers the Scorpio and the Xylo. Here however, the power has been bumped up to 140bhp and an extra cog has been added. The XUV500 churns out 140bhp at 3750rpm and produces a torque of 330Nm between 1600 to 2800rpm. Engine refinement levels are good, albeit it does get a bit loud as the revs climb up. The engine is peppy and is responsive to the throttle movement.
The XUV500 is drivable even when lugged into a higher cog, but things shape up better once past the 1900rpm mark. One needs to downshift for quick overtaking, and the sixth gear is a boon for cruising on the highway. The simple stick shift on the XUV500 feels notchy and even the travel of the clutch pedal is a lot. So, driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic can get painful. The XUV500 was the first vehicle in its segment to get a 6-speed manual transmission. As per the ARAI cycle, the XUV500 returns a fuel economy of 15.1kmpl.
Petrol and diesel options are available on the Ertiga. The 1.4-litre petrol is efficient and also has sufficient torque to potter around in city. The 1.3-litre multijet has some amount of turbo lag, but once within the torque range, the power is sufficient.
The diesel version of the Ertiga is powered by a 1.3-litre multijet, which also propels the Maruti Suzuki SX4, Fiat Linea, Tata Manza and Fiat Grande Punto 90HP. This engine has the variable geometric turbocharger that helps it to produce 89bhp of power at 4000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 1750rpm. This is one the largest seeling engines in the country and is one of the most tried and tested one. The engine’s NVH levels are moderate and there is some typical diesel clatter on cranking the engine. But it sort of settles down, once the engine warms up.
There is some amount of lag in this engine and it performs well only if the revs are kept above 2000rpm for best performance. One has to downshift to make those overtaking moves. The engine comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission that is slick with positive and short throws.
The Ertiga is also offered with a 1.4-litre petrol engine that produces a maximum power of 95bhp at 6000rpm and also a peak torque of 130Nm at 4000rpm. Most of the buyers are likely to buy the diesel version, but the petrol is a good option for those who will scarcely use their cars. This is a K-Series petrol engine with variable valve timing and also refinement levels are high.
This engine has good torque at low rpm despite being a petrol mill. This means that you can lug it into a higher cog and potter around, even in city traffic. The five-speed manual transmission on the Ertiga is slick like the diesel version and doesn’t feel rubbery. Overtaking isn’t a difficult ask in the Ertiga, whether in city or on the highway.
The ride of the XUV500 is well sorted and smooth like a premium SUV. The handling isn’t something you can boast about, but it isn’t bad either. There is some amount of body roll, but this taken care by the ESP in the W8 model.
XUV500 being a monocoque has driving dynamics than the older ladder on frame chassis. Being a monocoque, it has independent suspension. The front gets the McPherson type with anti-roll bar, while the multilink type with anti-roll bar springs the rear.
The ride suppleness of this vehicle is good and the suspension does a fair job of ironing out most of the jolts and rebounds on uneven roads. It crashes through potholes with a muted thud. The ride is smooth and well composed. The occupants aren’t jittered around.
Having softer springs and being taller, the XUV500 has some amount of bodyroll. The front-wheel drive version also has massive understeer, when pushed around the bends. However if you have the W8 model, then the ESP takes care of it. The all-wheel drive version is more fun to drive than the front-wheel drive as it doesn’t lose out traction.
Ride and handling, both aren’t a problem on the Ertiga. Both are good enough and nothing to worry about in the Ertiga, as it handles like a hatchback despite its size.
The ride of the Ertiga is fairly composed and smooth at low and high speeds. The suspension does a good job of soaking up all the road shocks without affecting the ride. The Ertiga glides through potholes with a muted thud.
The handling of the Ertiga is good enough for its size. The Ertiga is based on the Swift platform and its driving dynamics are good despite the stretch. There is some amount of body roll, and you won’t loose control unless something stupid is done. The steering wheel is also light at low speeds and it weighs up nicely as the car gathers speed.