Text & Photos: Bhargav TS

2015-07-15 16.18.00

Couple of years back when Mahindra launched XUV 500, it became an instant sucess and the waiting period for the vehicle rose up to 6 months. Cheetah inspired new design and cost competitive attribute were the de-facto challenges and these proportionate with the waiting period. Since its lauch, in just 33 months the SUV sold 1 lakh units and gave Mahindra a big boost. As the competition picked up the sales of the SUV came down. To bring back the sales figures and to make the vehicle look fresh, Mahindra has now launched its new age XUV 500 with more cosmetic changes than mechanical changes.

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The refreshed model has evolved a lot and looks more attractive than before. The basic shape of the vehicle remains the same but the cosmetic changes are evident especially in the front. Instead of old body coloured grille it has got smaller glossy black inserts finished in chrome that resembles a chisel, similar to the new Scorpio. The grille is well integrated with the upgraded headlights with new Z-shaped LED light guides and equipped with cornering light which ensures there’s no surprise around a corner. This works really well during cornering and in tight roads. The engineers have also reworked the bumper and replaced the rectangular shaped fog log to L-shaped. The new fog lamp is positioned higher with an angular gloss black and chrome inserts now replace the cheetah inspired bumper and houses a new skid plate at the bottom of the front bumper. The bonnet is also redesigned with rounded corners and fewer creases.

Moving to the sides, the first noticeable change will be a chrome strip highlighting the SUV’s entire shoulder line. It has got new design for the 17-inch wheels and the rear view mirrors with integrated puddle lamps. In the rear there is not much noticeable change but it has got a larger tail-gate strip with a lot of chrome and the ‘XUV500′ badge have moved up, as the variant badge is placed at the back now. As a welcome move the W10 variant is equipped with anit-pinch sunroof.

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Once stepped inside the car, the whole of difference is felt as the interior is replaced with black and beige colour instead of the the previous black/purple and walnut/beige interior. The quality of materials used is better too and the fit and finish of the switches is also upmarket. The centre console is redesigned and equipped with larger 7-inch touchscreen and uses a new interface. Visteon-developed touch interface is smooth and updated with Blue Sense app that allows the passengers to hook up their phones to the system to control audio and air-con settings. The unit is also equipped with reverse camera output with parking guides that adapt to steering input. The seats are comfortable and comes with a six-way adjustable powered driver’s seat.

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The top-end variant of new XUV 500 gets keyless entry and stop start technology developed by Continental Automotive Components India. The Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) System in the New Age XUV 500 consists of an attractively designed key fob, backed by robust engineering to ensure the highest levels of safety. This system also provides an Electronic Steering Column Lock (ESCL) control via the PKE Control Unit and a Start Stop Button with an integrated immobilizer.

When the driver approaches the car and pushes the button on the door handle, the key, which is the identification device with the driver, communicates instantly with the receiver in the PKE system. The electronics identifies the driver as the authorised user and unlocks the door. The engine can be started without the key ever leaving the driver’s pocket: one push of the start/stop button is all it takes to deactivate the steering wheel lock and start the engine.

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Harikrishna Khandavilli, India Location Head for Business Unit, Body & Security said, “Continental’s sophisticated electronics upgrades the familiar driver authorisation system into a high-convenience Passive Start and Entry system. We are delighted to supply our PKE System to Mahindra’s New Age XUV500, making this the first time ever for such a system to be applied in a car manufactured by an Indian OEM.”

Under the bonnet, the engine and the other mechanics remain the same. The same 2.2-litre m Hawk engine continues to produce a healthy 140PS of power and 330Nm of torque. In the 6-speed gearbox, the company has altered the final drive ratio for improved acceleration. The officials said the the vehicles dynamics have also been improved by optmising the steering, dampers, springs and anti-roll bars. The upgraded suspension improves the ride quality and has good stability at high-speeds. Even in the bad roads the suspension works well and makes drive comfortable.

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New XUV 500 is equipped with brake energy regeneration technology in which additional electrical energy is generated through the alternator while braking or deceleration and preserved in the battery. This optimisation process of electrical energy generation leads to reduced fuel consumption. Also, during acceleration, the generation process is disabled which reduces load on the engine leading to improvement in vehicle performance. The company claims the fuel efficiency is improved and the ARAI figures claim 16 kmpl but in actual condition it should average 12 kmpl.

The refreshed and a long list of equipments in the new age XUV 500 will attract more new and existing customers to upgrade it as it has new look and improved cabin ambience. Mahindra has priced the new XUV500 at Rs 11.21 lakh (ex-Delhi) and its high end, feature-loaded variant, the W10 variant has been priced at Rs 14.99 lakh (front-wheel drive) and the AWD is priced at Rs 15.99 lakh.

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