We drive the petrol automatic XUV700 extensively to find out how good it is
When the Mahindra XUV700 was launched later last year, we had multiple reasons to be excited about it. One of them was the powertrain choices being offered. The SUV has a torquey diesel engine and a powerful petrol engine to choose from. To add more spice, both engines come with manual and automatic transmissions. We had driven the diesel automatic extensively on the track and the normal roads, during our first drive in October. Now, it’s the petrol automatic that has shown up for us to live with for a couple of days. Here is everything we got to say about it, after driving it for over 300 kilometres, and 3 days.
We had talked in detail about the XUV700’s design ethos after our first drive. The unit with us differs no bit in design, from the one we had driven on Mahindra’s test track. However, having lived with it for a few days, here are a few observations on the overall experience offered by the various areas of this design.
- The XUV700’s door handles are pretty fancy. They feature a pop-out mechanism that lets them tuck in comfortably, into the bodywork when the vehicle is locked. The entire scenario looks fancy and desirable but is not always the most ergonomic. To lock/unlock these ‘physically’, you would have to press them with a force that cannot always be called ‘negligible’! Though we had felt the handles to be kinda ‘breakable’ during our initial stints, living with the XUV for a few hundred kilometers proved our fears wrong.
- Mahindra’s new Twin Peaks logo had premiered on the XUV700, and it has done good and bad to the car! The good part was that the XUV 700 hints at the future of Mahindra SUVs, and the logo at the future brand image. These would thus make so much sense together. The bad part however, is regarding the identity. A brand new logo on a brand new product (with limited numbers out on the roads yet) essentialy meant us confronting the “Looks cool, what car is this bro?” question multiple times from the laymen. We would definitely need more XUVs out for people to actually familiarize the car and the new motif.
- The vehicle’s clear-view LED headlamps have decent aesthetic appeal and commendable efficiencies. The throws and beam intensities are laudable. These feature C-shaped DRLs which contribute a fair chunk to the XUV’s overall visual appeal.
- Ditching metal completely and fabricating the entire tailgate out of fiber has done good to the end user. Forget the aero and weight advantages it delivers on the performance front, the tailgate being light is a blessing each time you would want to open it, especially when there is no motorised closing function on offer.
Other notable highlights of the design are the signature 6 slat grille with judicious use of Chrome on it, LED fog lamps, carefully designed bumpers, neat lines, 18-inch wheels with 235/60 rubber, LED tail lamps, and a neat rear bumper with no desperate efforts gone in to stuff faux exhausts. I always knew this design would look the best in darker shades, like the one that’s in the pictures here.
The cabin design, and features on offer on the petrol AX7L are almost identical to those we had previously seen on the top-spec diesel. Our test car was a 7-seater and the second row was a very comfortable place to be in. The third row, however, is still the best on the Tata Safari and we would prefer the XUV as a 6-seater.
There are a lot of features offered inside the XUV’s cabin. From a large touchscreen infotainment system to a panoramic sunroof and a wireless charger, you get them all. The only major missing one would ever spot inside, and crave to have sorted, would be the seat ventilation. The absence of this does have pronounced impacts on the occupant comfort on hot sunny days. Things are definitely worse if you accidentally leave the glass roof’s sun curtain open while parking in the sun!
The infotainment system on the XUV 700 is absolutely brilliant. The audio quality offered by Sony’s 3D audio system is phenomenal. The touchscreen, essentially a part of Mahindra’s ADRENOX cockpit engine, is responsive and nearly flawless in its operation. The interface is neat and well laid-out.
However, we could spot some usability issues in it. As you go deeper into the menu and its options, getting back to the previous screen could get confusing. Mahindra should have given a proper ‘Back/ return’ button. We also had an instance when the system gave us a few bugs and forced us to start over. However, the manufacturer could get these fixed via OTA updates soon ( It seems the car we drove still had the pre-production version of the software, and hence had just Android Auto activated and not Apple CarPlay).
Let’s get to the real meat now. We have got our hands on a petrol XUV. Under the hood is a massive 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine, a fairly improved version of the Thar’s mStallion powerhouse, that can churn out a massive 200 hp and 380 Nm. Though there is a manual too, we chose to drive the automatic this time. The AISIN -sourced 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission gels in beautifully with the engine.'
In other mechanicals, the XUV 700 is built on an all-new monocoque platform. Earlier codenamed W601, the new platform has been developed and tuned to perfection. There is a high focus on dynamics and with no compromises made on the ride comfort, a fact well underlined by the use of FSDs.
How Does It Drive?
The petrol-powered XUV 700 would excite you with its performance. The power builds up in a thoroughly enjoyable fashion once the turbo kicks in. There is no spontaneous outburst of torque. The XUV remains sweet and predictable in its performance. It pulls effortlessly and scales speeds with ease. The gearbox keeps pace with most driver behaviours. The shifts are quick but not aggressive.
The vehicle can get to serious speeds quickly. Mahindra’s engineers claim it to do 200 kmph, and we dare not to disagree. It does feel quick (0-100 could be under 10 seconds) and the recent Endurance Test by Mahindra and EVO India, proves it can endure huge miles and long hours too.
There is just one state of tune to the engine, and the car misses out on the drive modes that the diesel counterpart has. This means that the engine behaviour depends solely on the throttle inputs. This engine deserves praise for its refinement. It is smooth and silent. You feel minimal vibes even when you push it hard.
The suspension on the XUV 700 is well-engineered. The high-speed stability is impressive. XUV also behaves well around the corners. The steering offers a good connection to the road and the suspension guards it against ‘floating’ when pushed around corners. Thanks to the McPherson Struts and rear multi links, with the brilliant FSDs. The diesel XUV ranks a tad higher in corner manners, apparently due to the additional chunk of weight at the front axle. There is definitely some body roll felt but isn’t too intrusive. Braking too is well sorted.
A Major Concern
The key concern about the petrol XUV 700 would be its fuel efficiency. A 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine itself would be thirsty! An automatic box would only make things worse. Somehow, this is almost the reality here! Though Mahindra claims the engine’s new-gen turbocharger to be fuel-efficient and the car to deliver around 13.5 kmpl, the maximum our test car returned was 7.3 kmpl when driven efficiently. When it was pushed hard and the max juice extracted, all we could get was around 6 kmpl.