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Last 7 Days
By Kathryn Marshall
Quick Specs
Make
MAHINDRA
Model/Variant
XUV500
Engine
2.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Price
$29,900
Warranty
three-year/100,000 kilometre
See the full specs Read the full review
By Kathryn Marshall

So, where did you go on your date?

This is the biggest car I’ve ever driven. We left from from Sydney on a very warm Friday afternoon, headed for Newcastle to catch Nelly in concert.

I took three friends with me, all of which had never heard of Mahindra before, but by the end of the trip we were all impressed.

Ideal first date?

This drive was actually perfect for experiencing the XUV500 for the first time.

If I didn’t have to be back in Sydney for work the Monday, I would have taken this beast all the way to Byron just for fun!

Hot or not?

Hot! This SUV looks the business. The door handles are a bit interesting, there are side-rails to help hoist yourself up into the vehicle and the front of the nose is grilled-up (much like Nelly), giving it that rugged “I can handle any terrain” look.

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

The large, leather seats are very comfy and the layout of the dash and centre console is simple. It's only available with a six-speed manual gearbox but the gearshift is within easy reach and didn't take long to get used to.

The infotainment screen and steering wheel controls are comprehensive and easy to use. However the 6.0-inch touchscreen seems to have a lower-resolution which is not ideal.

My friends had ample space to spread out in the back seat and there was plenty of room in the boot for everyone’s bags - no one had to stuff their belongings under their feet.

Standout features?

This car surprised me again and again throughout the trip. Our phones were all running quite low on battery and just when we were starting to panic and have selfie withdrawals - running out of hope that we'd be able to post and 'gram on the way to the concert - we found a USB port for our phone charger.

Then just as we were about to run out of music to play via Bluetooth, we found an auxiliary input for my iPod. Happy days.

Annoying habits?

I noticed there was a delay in the display of the gear changes. There is a screen next to the speedometer that tells you which gear you’re in and it was, at times, quite slow to react.

It has sensors as well as a reversing camera, though the rear sensors are hyper-sensitive even with responding to rain.

Ready for a family?

This car is spacious, powerful, easy to drive and inexpensive – it would tick a lot of boxes for those with growing families seeking an affordable SUV.

High maintenance?

This car is very fuel-efficient, even for carrying four adults with the air-conditioning blasting for the entire trip.

Another consideration is the three-year/100,000 kilometre warranty, many other manufacturers offer an unlimited kilometre over a greater term.

Any deal-breakers?

The four-star ANCAP safety rating will raise a red-flag for many potential buyers. The XUV500 has six airbags, but they don’t fully extend to the third row.

Build quality is questionable in some areas. Though there is ample storage, some of the lids are flimsy with uneven shut lines.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

I honestly hope I get the chance to spend more time with this car. I feel like we developed a bond and there could be plenty of opportunity for more adventures on the horizon.

Keeping your options open?

If I were in the market for an SUV, I think this Mahindra would be worthy of consideration.

That being said, this is the first that I’ve driven and I would need to shop around to see how its competitors stack up.

I'd take a look at the Holden Captiva 7, the diesel is $33,490 before on-road costs and it has an automatic transmission.

Fiat Freemont is another seven-seat option, $33,000 for a diesel manual.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

This is a great-sized vehicle for a young family looking to upgrade to a larger car.

I found it comfortable both for a weekend away spending hours on the road, and it also proved suitable for everyday driving around town.






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