What you’ll like:
• A well-engineered, contemporary SUV with a value-for-money price tag
• More mature styling. Front end no longer looks garish
• Acres of space on the 1st & 2nd seat rows
• Competent engine delivers fantastic urban driveability, as well as fast highway performance
• Balanced ride & handling package
• Safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP with rollover mitigation, ABS + EBD and all-wheel disc brakes
• Expansive feature list (sunroof, touchscreen ICE, powered driver's seat, cruise control etc.)
What you won’t:
• Absolutely no luggage capacity with all the seats in place
• Cramped 3rd seat row is best suited to children only. A sliding middle row is sorely missed
• Interior quality, although better, still has a lot of scope for improvement
• The clutch is lighter now but has a long travel range & high resting point. Gets cumbersome in traffic
• Niggles & issues, as reported by existing XUV500 owners
• Mahindra's inconsistent sales & service experiences
I got into the driver's seat, adjusted it, started driving and almost forgot that it's the new age XUV. Then I braked and WHOA! The brakes are significantly sharper and start biting aggressively right from the start. Tushar pointed out that there is about half an inch of dead play in the brake pedal if you are really observing. For first 10-15 minutes, I was constantly misjudging the amount of force I was applying and as a result was getting thrown forward when braking.
The pre-facelift clutch is not as soft as many would have liked and causes fatigue when you are driving for 10-12 hours a day during road-trips. In normal driving of max 2-3 hours a day, I don't feel any issue with the clutch. The clutch in the new age XUV is a tad lighter, maybe 10 odd percent.
The steering feel is exactly as before. The steering rod still rubs against the left foot if you are steering with the clutch depressed. This is a design issue from day 1 of the XUV and should have been solved at least now.
The gear stick is as long as before and the travel hasn't changed. Would have preferred it if the gear stick would have been a tad shorter. The slotting in first and second gear is still notchy, although a bit less.
The webcast talked about new drivetrain ratios. I did feel the acceleration be stronger in 5th & 6th gear from 80 till 120 kmph. But there is a possibility that I felt the change as I was looking for one (the power of suggestion).
I checked the ride at moderate speed on paver blocks and mildly broken roads. It has improved. You don't get tossed around laterally as much as earlier.
The high-speed ride on highways is very much similar to earlier. Firm and comfortable. No bounciness. I just felt that the damping ratios of the struts have been tweaked marginally.
Tried braking from a relatively high speed and the vehicle came to stop without any drama. Just as earlier.
The 3 pedals (ABC) are at 3 different heights from the floor, with the clutch set highest. This causes a small gap under the left thigh for me with the left foot resting on the clutch. During extra-long drives, this causes the left leg to ache a bit. In the new age XUV, it's the same thing as before. Would have preferred it if the clutch would have been closer to the floor, with lesser travel.
The test vehicle had Bridgestone Duellers. These are supposed to be much more silent than the JK Elanzos that I had. But on the concrete Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the road and tyre noise was quite high even with windows rolled up. So I doubt there is any change to cabin insulation.
Due to the road/tyre noise, it was impossible to hear the engine. So, not sure if it is more refined/silent then before.
Even though the engine was in its run-in period, it pulled brilliantly all the way up to 3000 RPM without protesting audibly. My XUV is much more silent due to the Michelin and I can hear the engine much more in my car. Around 3000 RPM, it does sound loud.
The suspension is not silent, even in the new age XUV. On uneven roads, you can hear it working.
The pre-facelift XUV crashes into potholes with the struts bottoming out accompanied with a loud thud. Did not get a chance to try the same thing with the new age XUV. So won't be able to comment.
The empty rear seats vibrate when the car is in motion in the pre-facelift XUV. No change in new age XUV.
The dashboard seemed more tightly screwed together and did not creak/rattle on bad stretches.
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