Drive Review: Mahindra XUV500 diesel (2016)

Mahindra’s XUV500 just released in South Africa replaces the original version that had long become a regular sight on South African roads. Now this this thoroughly updated version takes it to higher levels with improved levels of standard equipment to ensure exceptional value for money, let alone that it well proved how well it can compare with various segment rivals in both on and off-road conditions.

Mahindra XUV500 tested in South Africa

Mahindra XUV500 tested in South Africa


Launched in 2011 to spearhead the Mahindra brand’s push into the highly competitive SUV segment these latest updates and improvements add lustre and appeal to the Mahindra XUV500 brand with styling enhancements and a cabin upgrade.

The Mahindra XUV500’s clean, contemporary lines now benefit changes including a smarter new grille design with a glossy black finish and subtle chrome accents, as well as a more prominent Mahindra badge and a lower air intake is reshaped for stronger visual integration with the grille with black mesh inserts on both for a more consistent appearance.

The headlights on either side of the grille are also new with a cleaner and more resolute appearance along with a new curved LED daytime running light signature. New and bolder fog lamps are mounted in restyled apertures linked to the lower edge of the headlights and the bonnet is redesigned, now featuring a wider and more expansive look that elevates the XUV500’s presence to a new elegant appearance.

Mahindra XUV500 (2)

The spacious cabin of the Mahindra XUV500 underwent some significant upgrades as part of the update. Perhaps the most obvious are the plush all-black leather upholstery and large, bright and clearly legible central 7” full-colour touch-screen display is standard on the W8 flagship for intuitive and suitable access to the XUV500’s comprehensive infotainment features. These include integrated satellite navigation with voice prompts, a multi-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and music streaming, iPod-compatible USB sockets and a reverse camera.

The display remains legible – even in bright sunlight – thanks to a reshaped centre stack cowling, while the hood for the three-dial instrument cluster positioned directly ahead of the driving position for a smarter and more cohesive appearance. Add the new black interior treatment with its silver accents and the and three rows of seats with accommodation for up to seven occupants – two in the front seats, three on the middle bench seat and two on the third seating row.

Mahindra XUV500 (7)

The flagship Mahindra XUV500 W8’s cabin is comprehensively equipped with the likes of auto-sensing headlights and windscreen wipers, fully automatic climate control air-conditioning, remote central locking, cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel standard. The seats are full leather upholstered, while electrically operated windows and exterior mirrors, a refrigerated centre console and charging points in all three seating rows are also included.

The Mahindra XUV500 has a comprehensive line-up of active and passive safety features, all in the interests of motoring peace of mind. The top-range W8 is fitted with dual front, side and curtain airbags, together with seat belts for all seating positions, side impact protection bars and crash protection crumple zones. The active safety systems comprise an all-disc braking system with ABS anti-lock control and electronic brake force distribution, as wells as an electronic stability program with roll-over mitigation.

Mahindra XUV500 (6)

This model retains its predecessor’s powerful and efficient 2.2-litre four-cylinder mHawk 140 turbodiesel engine that uses variable geometry turbocharging to produce 103kW at 3750 rpm, while an impressive 330Nm torque peak of  is attained at just 1600rpm and sustained to 2800rpm to  ensure athletic responses, excellent in-gear tractability and superior lugging powerAt 6.5l/100km for the combined cycle, linked to CO2 exhaust emissions of just 171g/km, the XUV500 is also frugal enough to offer a 1000km driving range between refuels from its 70-litre fuel tank in ideal conditions.

The mHawk turbodiesel drives the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, although an all-wheel drive version of the W8 model is available for those intent on more serious excursions off the beaten track. The all-independent suspension sees front MacPherson struts combined with a multilink rear set-up. The latter specially tuned by sports car maker Lotus for optimum handling and response. A power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system ensures confident and sure-footed control.

Mahindra XUV500 (1)

Impressive on the road where it cruises smoothly and even turns heads in its new style, we’d expect to see even more of these newlook smart, high value SUVs on the road, quite simply because the offer all that at a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for a similar vehicle from a traditional brand. Yes, it certainly is worth a second look…

Read our first drive impressions of the XUV500 here.

This review was first published in AutoWeek. by Mario Lupini. Find the latest copy of AutoWeek in shops now.

Base Price R359 995
Engine Capacity 2179 cm³
No. Of Cylinders 4-cylinders
Aspiration Turbo
Power 103kW at 3 750 r/min
Torque 330Nm at 1 600 r/min
Transmission 6-speed Auto
Drive type All wheel drive
Acceleration 0-100 km/h in N/A seconds (claimed)
Top Speed N/A/h
Fuel Consumption 7.0l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2 Emissions 183g/km


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