Mahindra XUV700 AX7L AWD Review

May 18, 2024

Mahindra XUV700 Drive Review

As the Great person rightly said “This Decade belongs to TaMo and Mahindra

Now if you’re into the Indian car scenario for maybe some 20years now you would see how much times have changed and Indian audience’s requirements have been drastically changed. At those times everybody just wanted a dinky hatchback for point A to B running and even skipped basic amenities like power windows and air conditioning and now everybody wants a SUV with as many features as possible and are even ready to loosen their wallets for extra amenities like a panoramic sunroof, hifi surround sound systems and what not!, similarly even OEMs have completely changed their image in the market, MSIL now trying to move more upmarket with the help of Toyota by launching cars like HyRyder and Invicto, Hyundai once a bargain basement brand along with Kia becoming a premium OEM focussing on urban clientele but the biggest change which no one saw coming was our Indian OEMs especially Mahindra, once with vehicles like Classic Jeep, Armada, Bolero focussing more towards rural clientele and being a bit too crude for daily usage to one of the numero uno choice of urban clientele, if you recall with the help of Ford then they launched the Scorpio back in 2002 which was a giant leap in itself but the real game changer was the XUV500 launched in 2011, yes it had a few unfinished edges still nobody saw such a global level monocoque SUV from an Indian OEM. No doubt it was a runaway hit. I do have an experience of driving the XUV back then and I was really surprised with what it had to offer when I drove it on the then unrestricted Mumbai Pune expressway! The XUV700,although IMHO is a highly revamped XUV500 at its core but is totally different SUV in its nature!

Exterior Looks and Features
Even though it’s been nearly three years and lakhs of XUV700s are running on our roads, still everytime you look you’re impressed, the design is spot on yes some may find the front with its huge headlamp cluster a bit too much in the face and cheetah like reminding you of the erstwhile XUV500 but wasn’t street cred the thing people look when buying SUVs?!The side profile too doesn’t look too much elongated compared to erstwhile XUV500, and the 18″ alloys look smart. The rear too is nice and even though there’s no connected taillamp stuff going on here it’s just the way I like it, now I do want to add Mahindra should’ve given electric tailgate since it’s biggest rival the Tata Safari(an equally competent SUV IMO) offers it. The boot space though is too less with all seats up and if you spec your XUV with SkyRoof you can’t add roof carrier so it’s either 7Passengers or 5Passengers and their weekend luggage.

The door handles though different are reminiscent of the erstwhile XUV500s quirky cheetah claw style handles and are inspired from the Range Rover Velars’ flush fitting handles. Top end models get electronic handles while lower ones get manual spring loaded ones, I’m not too fond of the former since users have reported some issues with debris collecting inside ruining the motor though the car which I drove has been driven well over 24k kms in an year and it’s devoid of any issues.

Once you enter inside you’re welcomed with big,comfortable front seats(which from MY24 models is ventilated) and the continous pane containing twin screens reminiscent of the old gen of Mercs, while at it I must add even the seat controls and memory settings switches are grabbed from the Mercedes Benz and depicts a seat, and Mahindra even gave a dummy button for headrest control(which is obviously manual but in high end Mercs it’s electric), maybe they’re preparing the XUV700 owners for an upgrade to say a GLE
:-D! Finding a comfortable driving position for my 6″ frame and laidback position wasn’t a herculean task since there’s good range of adjustment including Tilt and Telescopic steering which itself is compact and easy to grip. Hornpad too is relatively reachable even while driving single handedly.

The touchscreen throws a plethora of menus which for those who ain’t very accustomed to would be too much but for Mahindra users it ain’t surprising since the original XUV500 too in its top spec W8 trim gave advanced ICE with features like SatNav, TyreTronics, Reverse Camera+Sensors back in 2011!

There’s an app library with apps like JustDial, India Today, Accu Weather etc to keep you entertained while you’re stuck in nasty jams in our ever congested city. Apart from that you get a very nice 3D Surround System with 12speakers by Sony and is equipped with various sound stages and is even equipped with Dynamic Sound Enhancement Engine(DSEE), I slightly tweaked the system being an audiophile and sound output was excellent, while driving I like to keep the volume on the lower side but even if you crank up the volume the speakers don’t crackle even in bass heavy music but what I liked more was the reproduction of vocals and mids, really one of the nicer sound systems this side of 30L along with MG Hector’s Infinity sound,also if you go to Sony India’s website they’ve a dedicated page explaining the surround sound system of the XUV700(ScorpioN as well). I’ll be attaching the link for the same for those of you interested

The air conditioning system is extremely powerful and perfect to cope our dangerous heat wave just dial down the temperature to 20°C or something and within 10minutes flat the entire car is cooled down, infact it would even get a bit too cold inside after a while, a real bone-chiller!

The only thing which I hated was Mahindra gave XUV every feature one could possibly ask except for an Auto Dimming IRVM which baffles me completely, I hope it’s fixed ASAP considering the new 3XO now comes with an electrochromic one.

I even briefly sat in the second row and found the seats to be quite supportive and comfortable for long distances with sufficient kneeroom even behind my own driving position, the headroom is okayish due to the SkyRoof and Theatre Seating position though but all in all a pretty comfortable experience.

Special point must be given to the headlights, I drove it over the pitch dark sections of e-way during night and once the Auto Booster kicks in you really get to see Diwali in front of you, it creates an almost daylight vision and you can confidently drive at triple digit speeds. Great job Mahindra!

Drive Review
The XUV700 I drove was the top of the line AX7L AWD model equipped with 2.2L mHawk CRDi Diesel belting 185BHP and 450Nm paired with 6Speed Automatic Torque Converter gearbox along with a BorgWarner on demand AWD system. The initial impressions are too good, you totally forget you’re sitting in a diesel powered Mahindra SUV(who would’ve thought this 20years ago?!), startup is smooth, NVH is superbly controlled due to excellent damping and a thick Acoustic windshield and even though you can tell it’s a diesel, the clatter inside ain’t annoying or intrusive of any sorts and once you switch on that Sony sound system even that little clatter disappears!

On the move XUV700 feels extremely nimble and manuevering this SUV on our narrow city streets ain’t a stressful job due to the extremely light, oily steering and good visibility aided by 360° surround cameras which can even double up as a DashCam and you can even click still photographs from it!

The ride quality is first rate too went over series of bumps and broken patches, XUV dismissed it like a piece of cake, even my dad who was sitting behind was extremely satisfied of the ride quality and that’s saying something considering he’s a very good critic!

Once you make your way through the city and get on some fast, open roads, XUV really shines through! Put the pedal down, just a fraction second wait and there’s a whooosh, if you have a really attentive ear you would hear the turbo whistle(which for large turbo diesels is really ear boggling for dieselheads) and speedo shows some silly speeds in no time at all, I agree the Turbo Petrol with its 200 odd BHPs would be even faster but considering the nature of XUV I would still choose the oil burner and with it you even get option of AWD helping you to manage the torque curve and avoid torque steer.

The only thing which could be better is the gearbox, yes it’s very smooth typical of a TC but shift speeds can be definitely improved, they feel a tad bit too slow even in Zoom mode and bogs down the engine a bit, I know Mahindra have kept a budget but still if somehow they could get their hands on the excellent ZF 9speed box which was used in erstwhile Honda CRV 1.6AT that would do real justice to the mHawk and the XUV IMO!
Even my friend(the owner of XUV) agreed and lauded my Tucson’s 8speed AT and said pickup of my SUV is even better than his coz mine is a 5seater and has a better power to weight ratio along with a faster gearbox.

Still, despite the slow gearbox the 0-100 is dismissed in 10.xx seconds which is pretty quick for a full size SUV.

The NVH as stated earlier is extremely good and even on concrete surfaces it is under control, the one I drove had a bit more tyre noise coz it was fitted with GoodYears and are quite worn out even after just 24k clicks. Michelins/Yokos would definitely do justice to this SUVs excellent sound deadening characteristics. There’s a bit of wind noise around the ORVM filtering once you cross 150kmph but nothing annoying. Under legal speed limit everything is calm and composed.

Dynamics are pretty sorted too but since I mentioned that this very XUVs tyres weren’t in good shape so shall reserve my judgement but all in all an acceptable,surefooted dynamics only behind the high end Europeans!

The steering could do with more feedback though, even in zoom mode it felt a bit light and numb around the dead zone, but as I said the excessive servo assistance does help you while manuevering this SUV in town.

If I have to sum up I would say I don’t know why but the XUV700 feels eerily similar to the erstwhile Santa Fe the pros and cons list are very similar and in general Mahindra seems to be in the same place Koreans were around the last decade, great looking cars with unending equipment list, extremely smooth engines, comfortable ride only marred down with slow steering and bit soft ride even at high speeds, but with the rate of development going on I see M&M right up there with the giants in a decade or so!
Thank you!

About the author, Aryaan Aneerudh

A car crazy person.

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