Owner Review

2014 Mahindra Xuv500 (AWD) Review

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I leased one of these for a year (2013-2014) and put 60,000km on it, before handing it back.

I picked this vehicle as it was the cheapest new 7 seat car on the market at the time. I was in the market for a Captiva, but after a test driving both (and partly due to the poor pre-sales experience I received from two different Holden dealers), I went with the XUV.

The absolute worst thing about this vehicle is it's resale value. Mainly because no one knows what it is. It was fortunate I included (and exercised) a hand-back option on my lease. Otherwise it's best to consider this vehicle as a long-term commitment.

The interior, like the exterior styling, has no shortage of character. From the textured plastics to the switchable "mood lighting", terms such as "unique" and "quirky" come to mind, not all in a negative context. The wood grain centre panel on the dash is not ideal. Extending right up to the windscreen, it's way too glossy for that location and in direct sunlight it creates a lot of glare. I seriously considered putting a vinyl wrap over it, but wearing sunnies was an effective (lazy on my part) solution.

The middle row seats feature ISOFIX child seat anchors. These are much more secure than the traditional tether strap. All flooring is totally flat, which is excellent for passenger space and comfort. Not so much for driver comfort, as all manner of toys, drink bottles and other floor-dwelling objects have unrestricted roaming ability during cornering and braking. Fortunately the driver's under-seat hardware manages to block the larger items from rolling forward to interfere with the pedals. All seat rows feature a power socket, plus there are 2 USB sockets in the front, so no more arguing over who gets to use the device charger!

All rear seats are spacious, providing plenty of room for adults in the 2nd row. Teenagers of contemporary height will fit comfortably in the two 3rd row seats, which separately fold flat to become the cargo space floor. This design is very effective. However one poor execution is a small panel at the base of these third row seats that covers the hinge: on my vehicle these regularly became damaged as they did not locate properly as the seats were raised. All was cheerfully repaired under warranty as needed, but the poor design issue remained.

Overall driving comfort is quite good. The engine is solid and responsive. Stop-start mode is annoying at times, but can be disabled. The 6 speed manual is pleasant, other than a little notchy in shift. The clutch is very light and forgiving. Forward lighting is impressive with DRLs, LEDs and cornering lamps all featuring.

One serious disappointment was the performance of the cruise control. It was up to the task of holding speed, but not nearly responsive enough when adjusting speed up and down using the buttons. Allegedly the 2014 MY update was to address this issue, but this needs to be verified.

My vehicle had a number of electrical failures in the first 12 months, requiring the XUV to be towed more than once. When the underlying fault was finally located and rectified, no further problems arose. While inconvenient at the time, All was covered under warranty, no questions. Local service & support effort was outstanding, with national management in regular contact regarding warranty issues and loan vehicles provided during warranty repairs. The dealer network really needs to be expanded to further improve service. Vehicle firmware was upgraded regularly, each time adding features and fixing bugs. It was clear to me that this manufacturer is taking its future in our market seriously.

Would I buy one? Not yet, but ONLY because of current resale value. I expect this will improve as the brand develops here.