Mahindra XUV300 Petrol AMT: First Drive Review
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We took a quick spin in the latest version of the XUV300 -- the petrol-AMT
A new year brings with it a new Mahindra XUV300! Well, not exactly. But there are three changes we wish to draw your attention to:
The value-for-money W6 variant now gets a sunroof.
The top-spec W8 (O) now gets connected car technology.
The petrol motor finally gets an optional automatic.
It’s the last change that we’re going to focus on in this report. But, before we do that, let’s recap what the XUV300 is bringing to the packed sub-4-metre segment.
Not an update
The XUV300 you see on your screen probably looks identical to the one launched nearly two years ago. That’s because it is. Save for an additional ‘Galaxy Grey’ shade offered in the top three trims, the XUV300 remains unchanged on the outside. It’s a similar story on the inside too; everything, from the slightly staid dashboard to the roomy rear seat and the tiny boot, remains unchanged. Quality levels are still the best in its class.
Quick Note: Mahindra BlueSense+
The top-spec W8 (O) gets Mahindra’s connected car technology, BlueSense+. In the XUV300 AMT, functionality is straightforward. Using the mobile application (available on both Android and iOS), one can track real-time location, geofence the vehicle, and access stats such as vehicle speed, tyre pressure, and climate control status. You can also use the application as a docket for all vehicle-related documents. For instance, it will alert you if your PUC or insurance policy is about to expire. Nifty, we say!
Unlike the Venue and Sonet, you cannot remotely start the XUV300 AMT, or its climate control feature beforehand. When you’re inside the vehicle, and your phone is paired with the infotainment, the BlueSense+ app starts to function as a remote control. You can use this to toggle audio sources and set the temperature on the climate control. It’s a cool party trick to have, but isn’t particularly useful, considering it’s quicker using switches or steering-mounted controls.
Driving the XUV300 Petrol AMT
We expected Mahindra to introduce the updated 1.2-litre petrol engine with the AMT. However, the XUV300 petrol continues in its 110PS/200Nm tune. It’s the torquiest engine in this space and is thoroughly enjoyable when paired with a manual transmission.
We recommend the petrol-AMT if you want nothing more than convenience on your daily commute. It manages to negate the hassle of dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic. The in-built ‘creep’ function lets the car crawl up to 8kmph without any throttle input so you don’t have to shuffle between the accelerator and brake pedal when stuck in a jam.
The AMT upshifts where you’d usually upshift in a manual car, and that’s how intuitively the gearbox has been tuned. Unless you stomp on the accelerator and force the gearbox to redline, the shifts are jerk-free (although noticeable). It doesn’t get caught off guard on inclines and slopes, and there’s no scary rolling forward (or backward) involved. The AMT is tuned well to select lower gears and keep your speed in check.
For highway duties, the AMT paired with cruise control will ensure a stress-free drive. If you enjoy driving in a relaxed manner, you’d be content with what the AMT has to offer. However, if you want to pick the gaps and continue moving in traffic, the slight transmission lag while downshifting could dampen the experience a bit.
The petrol-AMT is available in two variants -- W6 and W8 (O), priced at Rs 9.95 lakh and Rs 11.76 lakh (ex-showroom) respectively. As far as convenience goes, the AMT will give you no reason to complain. Therefore, we’re happier recommending this to the casual commuter or the relaxed highway cruiser.
If you’re smitten by the XUV300 for the performance it offers, you’d be underwhelmed by the AMT. A proper 6-speed auto or a dual-clutch transmission would’ve better complemented the engine's sporty credentials. Importantly, it could’ve justified the asking price, mainly because its rivals offer smoother and quicker automatics for roughly the same money.