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Mahindra Xylo E8 (Old)

7th Dec 2009 8:00 am

 The Xylo is the new kid on the block and Mahindra has pulled out all the stops in attempt to make it the king of the segment


  • Make : Mahindra
  • Model : Xylo

The attempt to stamp M&M’s SUV DNA on an MPV and a conscious endeavour not give a generic van-like shape has resulted in a mish-mash of a design that’s, to put it mildly, a bit odd. The trademark M&M grille (which gets a silver tooth in the centre) looks out of place under the drooping bonnet and the skyscraper proportions don’t do the Xylo’s looks any favour either.

To be fair, there are lots of interesting styling elements like the angular front lights and shapely ones at the rear as well but they look far better in isolation. The Xylo’s upright A-pillar gives it more of an SUV stance and it lacks the sleekness of the longer and distinctly ‘monospace’ Innova. The idea was to save on length and use as little road space as possible and in this regard the Xylo makes good use of its vertical shape. This is, after all, an MPV that’s been designed ‘inside out’ and it shows.

The Xylo’s body-on-frame construction is an evolution of the bolero(one reason it can keep costs low) that Mahindra claims is 30 percent stiffer than the Scorpio’s chassis. The independent front suspension uses double wishbones and coil springs. It also gets an anti-roll bar in the front but not at the rear. The rear suspension is a non-independent, live axel with coil springs, a notch up from cart-like leaf springs.

Step inside the Xylo and the gargantuan space is apparent at the first instance. You are greeted by a modern-looking dashboard whose showpiece is the large central console. It bulges out with two large vents and atop it sits Mahindra’s Digital Drive Assist System (DDAS) information display pod. The DDAS, which looks like it’s been slapped on as an afterthought, is a storehouse of information and M&M has gone overboard to cram as many features into it as possible. However the overall fit and finish of the interiors is a bit of a letdown. Sloppy rubber beadings, queer-coloured bits and large gaps in the joints spoil the ambience. Interior quality is one area where the Xylo just hasn’t kept pace and feels a generation behind the Innova.

Jump into any seat and it is very comfortable. Be in no doubt, this is the most spacious MPV by far in every dimension. The seats, especially those in the first two rows, could rival your living room for comfort. The seats provide excellent comfort, however you can’t slide the seat back and forth like in an Innova.

The rear bench and second row seats can be flipped for additional luggage space and the generous spring loading makes it so easy to operate the seats. With individual air con vents, an armrest, cabin lights, cupholders and butterfly opening rear windows (if you want fresh air), it’s far from economy class at the back.

Xylo’s tall stance and an overweight engine which sits high up in the nose have given the Xylo an unduly high centre of gravity.The soft suspension does the handling no favour and body control is as sloppy as an ocean liner. At low speeds, the ride is terrific and potholes are gobbled up with ease. The Xylo’s long wheelbase gives it a plush ride but the problem is that there is a constant, heaving and bobbing movement from the suspension which, on a less-than-perfect road, just doesn’t settle down. Introduce the Xylo to some corners and it feels like the rear springs have been turned into marshmallows. There is lots of body roll (there’s no rear anti-roll bar) and the rocking motion can be quite disconcerting.

The Xylo is nowhere near as agile as even the Chevy Tavera, let alone the Innova. And while the brakes are not grabby and function well in an urban environment, more bite and feel from the pedal are needed on the highway. Emergency braking can be a bit scary as well with the rear end stepping out, especially when unladen. The saving grace, dynamically at least, however, is the steering. It’s well-weighted and provides enough feedback, a big change from the video-game-like feel the Scorpio has. 

Mahindra Xylo E8 (Old)
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