What is it?
A subcompact 2+3 front-wheel-drive crossover from Mahindra which shares its underpinning with the SsangYong Tivoli. A contender in the same class as Haval H2, MG ZS, and Tata Nexon.
Not your typical Mahindra
Remember how the Tivoli was the first "normal" car made by SsangYong? Well the XUV 300 is somewhat similar, being the first Mahindra in Bangladesh that does not look like a dressed-up work truck.
The designers did a decent job at hiding its Korean heritage, with the new front and rear facia giving the car its own distinct look. The car's Tivoli lineage becomes more obvious from the side and can be seen even over the giant vinyl sticker. The painted A and C pillar gives the car a nice floating roofline and while the boxy front makes it look rather handsome.
Officially, the W6 trim comes with steel 16-inch wheels but the nice folks at Mahinda will swap them out for alloys free of cost. What is less nice is the car's build quality, as the provided press car had poorly applied wraps on the window frame while the passenger side rubber door seal was cracked in several places. It should be noted the issues seems to be limited to cosmetics only, as the car's 5 stars Global NCAP safety rating makes it one of the most the safest vehicle in its segment.
Plenty of headroom
In our TUV 300 review, we praised the car's ample rear headroom. The XUV retains that, with an interior that is mostly identical to the Trivoli. This isn't a bad thing, as the two-tone interior is a nice upgrade over the hard plastic of the TUV. The storage situation is quite good, but the cupholder situation is absolutely off the charts, with the car having 10 of them.
For those who like music, the XUV's Bluetooth pairing is one of the best we experienced in this price range and the car's four speakers are a nice upgrade over the typical two found in budget reconditioned JDM's. That said, the absence of tweeters in the W6 model does make songs with bass a bit wanting.
For navigation, the car's trip computer comes pre-loaded with local maps with voice support, meaning you can find your distant relative's house without having to call them 15 times.
In terms of boot space, the small rear deck and high trunk lip make hauling large items a bit challenging, though the former can be addressed by rolling down the rear seats.
How does it drive?
A common problem with small displacement Indian diesel is they feel underpowered. Not this one. Flooring the pedal will result in wheelspin, followed by rapid acceleration. The turbo kicks in at 2500 rpm, after which hitting triple-digit is possible within 8 seconds.
The steering has 3 settings, comfort, normal, and sport, with each mode having a noticeable change in wheel feedback. On the topic of driving, the car's unusually high ground clearance and sophisticated suspension allow it to traverse Dhaka roads with ease. During our road testing at 300 feet, we were unable to scrape the car's underbody in any of the under-construction section, despite being reputedly encouraged by the Mahindra staff to do so. One issue with the car is its lack of a low/crawl gear in the AMT gearbox, which makes climbing step ranks a little bit difficult.
If you are looking for a well-equipped, safe, family car on a budget that is good on fuel and can be driven on Dhaka's road with relative impunity, consider this. The car is surprisingly fun for what it is.
Engine: 1.5-liter Turbo Diesel (85.8 kW, 300 Nm)
Transmission: Six-Speed-AMT, FWD
Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchor, rear parking camera and sensor.
Features: Automatic door locks, multi-function steering wheel. 17.78cm infotainment system, front USB Charging port, LED tail lamps, climate control, roof rails.
Price: 25,50,000 Lakh
Photos: Akif Hamid
For details, contact Rancon Autos Ltd.