Watch Expert Review of Mahindra XUV500 Automatic Transmission
It’s been four years since the first XUV debuted on Mahindra showroom floors. The XUV5OO was a huge departure for Mahindra. It had forayed into developing a properly upmarket offering; a diametric opposite to their stronghand - building rugged, purposeful, apocalypse surviving UVs. Over the course of these four years, the XUV has carved quite a niche for itself. Very few cars come close to the level of kit offered on the Mahindra at a similar price point. Earlier this year, M&M decided to up the anter. The facelift XUV got a revised face, a new theme for the interior and some new tech as well. It ticked all the right boxes then, except for one. You see, when one spends more than 1.5 million rupees for a vehicle, expecting it to shift gears by itself - is a reasonable expectation to have. And finally, a few months after the launch of the facelift, the XUV5OO gets an automatic transmission transferring powers to the wheels.
The automatic variant is identical to the facelifted XUV5OO which we reviewed back in July. The automatic transmission is available in three trims: The W8 (FWD), W10 (FWD) and the W10 (AWD). The one you see in pictures is the W10, front wheel drive variant. Like I said, there’s no distinguishing the automatic from it’s manual counterpart from the tiny badge that sits on the boot. Additionally it misses out on Keyless Entry, the Start-Stop Button and the Micro Hybrid Tech as well. None of the omissions are deal breakers in my books. Let’s get cracking with what’s different then, shall we?
Driving the XUV5OO Automatic
I enjoyed driving the XUV5OO when it came to us earlier in the year. The dimensions, although slightly intimidating at first, are easy to get used to. My biggest gripe with the XUV was the clutch. The long travel on the pedal made me frown whenever I spotted patch of bad traffic. Well, the automatic takes care of that bother now, doesn’t it?
The XUV automatic continues to be powered by a 2.2 litre mHawk engine that produces 140PS of power and 330 Nm of torque. Mahindra have chucked out the six speed manual and replaced it with a torque converter automatic. The gearbox is manufactured by Japanese component maker - Aisin Seiki.
The gearbox has a gated shifter, which means there's no shiftlock button to be pressed while shifting from P to D (or vice versa). Slot the long gearstick in drive and simply lift off the brake to get the XUV going. It gets a crawl mode wherein it’ll crawl upto speeds of 10km/h without any accelerator input. It is an absolute boon in bumper to bumper traffic to say the least. While the gear indicator does not denote what gear the car is in when in Drive, you can check by quickly shifting to Manual.
The gearbox does select gears really well. Every time I shifted to Manual to check what gear it was in, the gearbox had selected the exact same gear I would have; had it been a MT. While it doesn't swap cogs as quickly as say a DSG; it does just fine. The shifts are nice and smooth, devoid of any jerks of any kind - with the box upshifting at around 1800 rpm.
It also gets a manual mode which can be engaged by pushing the gear lever away from yourself. You can then ‘shift’ using the little toggle switch on the knob. Once in ‘M’, the little gear indicator will read out the actual gear you are in. If you attempt a shift that the gearbox thinks is incorrect, the gear indicator simply blinks without a gear shift. That said, manual mode will let the engine rev up to a higher rpm. However if you don’t change gears, it will upshift at around 3500 -3700 rpm by itself. Conversely if you lug the car in too high a gear at too low a speed, the gearbox will downshift to the appropriate gear. The manual mode isn’t very engaging, nor particularly useful in day to day scenarios. To be honest, I’d just leave it in Drive.
The gearbox does get a Sports mode. However, if you need to get a move on quickly, all you have to do is stomp on the accelerator. This activates kickdown and the gearbox will downshift a gear and give you the acceleration you need. Key to note, under full throttle - shifts happen around the 3500rpm mark as well. This makes the manual mode pretty redundant. Unless there's a specific reason (like being stuck in muck) you want the XUV to hold the gear it's in, just leave it in Drive. It is just as smart as you are.
While the performance is no complaint, we don’t particularly like the noise the engine makes under hard acceleration. The gearbox revs the engine a bit too high and the sound is very coarse and not to mention - not pleasing at all. However, to Mahindra’s credit, the 2.2 lite mHawk with oodles of torque on tap makes the gearbox’s job tad easier.
The automatic makes the already versatile XUV even more versatile. The gearbox and the engine compliment each other beautifully and the ratios are next to spot on for everyday use and highway touring as well. Now, the automatic variant costs a full lakh more than the manual version. Is it worth it? Well, if you will be driving inside the city most of the time, then yes. The joy of not having to shift between 1st and 2nd in bumper - to - bumper traffic is unparalleled. If city usage is limited, save the lakh - go for the manual.