Now a few things I have to be clear about before you dwell deeper into this review. First, the car I will be talking about here is going to be the 1.5-litre diesel because Mahindra made us experience that particular vehicle only. The second, any review is not complete without the price and us telling you the cars price and if you should consider buying the car or not. The price of the XUV300 has not been announced yet and the Mahindra has said that it will be priced similarly to its competition. Phew! Now we are ready to start.
The XUV300! The name is bang on (hope the price is too). I’ll get to the design in a minute, but let’s just talk about the name and what the car means. For the past few years, we have been seeing and experiencing the Mahindra XUV500 and the image of that car is now very clear in my mind. We think of space, the cheetah-inspired front and a feature loaded cabin when we think of the XUV500. So on paper now that is all true about the XUV300 too. It is an SUV(which for Indians translates to more space than a hatchback), it’s got the similar and cool XUV500 fascia and a barrage of segment first features which I will explain in depth further. So does this combination come together and make a car that can go and do battle with the Maruti Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon and the Honda WRV? Let’s talk about specifications.
Specifications and Safety
The Mahindra XUV300 comes with two engine options, both of which are only available with a 6-speed manual gearbox. There is a 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine that makes 110bhp and 200Nm of torque and the 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder diesel that makes 115bhp and 300Nm of torque. Now there is no automatic on offer and Mahindra said that getting an automatic gearbox soon will be a priority. The monocoque suspension setup includes a McPherson Strut with Anti-roll bars at the front and a Twist beam with coil springs at the rear. The tyre size is 215/55 R17 with Alloy wheels and a full-size spare wheel with a steel rim. Now the base variants will not get the big wheels. To know more about the lower variants and the features and specs breakdown – click here.
Another cheetah inspired look! We know how much Mahindra loves their animals. The shark is the apex predator of the sea and the cheetah is the fastest mammal on the land. Imagine the day Mahindra combines the two and XUazzo1000 is born. Let’s forget about that now and concentrate on the baby cheetah. The Mahindra XUV300‘s headlamps integrate with the fog lamps forming a Cheetah-like tear-duct, the same the kind of design that we see on the facelifted XUV500. The pronounced wheel arches give the car a butch look but at the same time at the rear make it more difficult for passengers to get in. Its grille looks like a smaller version of the XUV500s and the sculpted bonnet along with the pronounced shoulder & body lines give the XUV300 a solid stance. The dual LED DRLs and bold LED tail lamps are a good and necessary touch but the rear taillights look very weird and do not carry the fierce and dominating look the car is trying to impose at the front.
Overall the XUV300’s design is a solid foundation for Mahindra to update and keep adding too.
Plush-is the first word that comes to mind. Plusher than many of its rivals at least. The Mahindra XUV300 get leather upholstery and soft-touch materials around the whole car. The leather-wrapped steering wheels. The car gets a lot of storage too. The 265-litre boot is small though and with the 60-40 split is not that great too. Let’s just get over the bad stuff. Ingress and Egress at the rear are difficult. Once you are in, there is enough legroom and headroom for someone with a height of me like 5’10 but the recline on the seat is just not enough. The adjustable headrests at the rear in this case really help the upper body and neck. While dual-zone climate controls are a good touch, rear AC vents are missing. We were testing this car in a moderate climate and the cabin does cool quickly enough but during summers this could be an issue for rear seat passengers. The all-around visibility is good and the sunroof is again a good addition to the interior. The rear windshield does seem to be a little small but here I could be nit-picking as the Vitara Brezza also does not have a really big windshield. The buttons, some picked from the Alturas are really good and quality is much better than other cars, Mahindra has also synced there infotainment with a lot of features. The front parking sensors alert and the rear parking camera work well. The speakers are not the best in class when it comes to sound quality and the Ford EcoSport does have better speakers. 1-litre bottles can easily be fitted in the door pockets while the front and rear row cupholders could hold an energy drink can easily. The car also gets 7 airbags which is a segment first. The instrument cluster also has got a lot of new features like wheels position and direction which is good to know before you start the car and set off in a wrong direction or if you are in a tight spot. To know more about the features in the XUV300 variant wise – click here.
The 1.5-litre diesel engine in the XUV300 is the same unit as the Mahindra Marazzo. But as been tuned for the XUV300 differently. Now the problem here is that it does not have it’s a single mindset. It should have been a torque monster as a Mahindra should be or even as the numbers say it should be. Don’t get me wrong, the car is adequately powerful. The problem is the small power band. Now you can tell me that a diesel engine has a low-rpm setup but when the power is only there available from 1500 to 3500 rpm, you are left wanting for more. But this is in the initial 1st and 2nd gear, Once the car gets moving. There is no problem. The XUV300 has a great ride and it’s highway cruising face comes up. You want to gain speed, throw it in 4th and smash the right side pedal and the torque reveals its face. Slot 5th, and now you are really moving and the car is ready to accelerate quicker, The electronically controlled variable turbocharger in the XUV300 takes a few seconds to realize the power demand but once the boost is ready, and you know powerband, the XUV300 is fun to drive. The performance comes with a good arsenal of features like 4 disc brakes (a segment first), ESP and steering mode (to toggle the sportiness of the steering) and to back it up. The XUV300 also does not mind going off-road a bit. We threw the car on rocky slopes and broken rocks with ease and the car soaked up the punishment well. At the drive, Mahindra told us that the unladen ground clearance is 180mm which we think is an underestimate because we took it off road. But if that is the case, we really think that it is low for this car. The cabin does get filled with engine noise at high speed but nothing very serious. The XUV300 drives great overall and even though official figures are not out yet and we will have to test the car’s mileage, it should return around 12km/l to 15km/l at least.
The features, specs and safety really make the Mahindra XUV300 a great package. The car’s verdict really rests with the price which will be announced on 14th of February. The car will be competing with the Vitara Brezza, EcoSport, WRV and Nexon. Bookings are open now and we think if the car is priced under 14 lakhs for its top-end model, it should be seriously considered by you if you are in the market for a feature loaded sub-four metre SUV.