The Mahindra XUV500, designed and developed completely in-house, is a quantum leap forward and remains M&M’s first serious attempt at developing a global product that would be as much at home in Melbourne as in Mumbai. The price Mahindra is asking for it is definitely Mumbai though. Prices start at Rs 10.83 lakh for the upcoming XUV500 W4 variant, going up to Rs 14.55 lakh for the top-end all-wheel-drive W8 variant (all prices, ex-showroom, Mumbai).
Mahindra vehicles may not be the Gold Standard when talking ride quality, but the XUV500 is a significant step forward for the company. Low-speed ride is pretty good, but sharper bumps can rattle the SUV, which crashes through potholes. At higher speeds, surface imperfections can catch the XUV500 out and it does get ruffled by the odd stretch of broken tarmac taken at speed. There’s a fair amount of suspension movement on uneven surfaces and the ride is never flat or consistent. Also, sharp edges and potholes can be felt and the suspension doesn’t isolate passengers as well as it should. Overall, the XUV bobs and pitches about a bit more than we’d have liked. Handling is a marked improvement over the Scorpio but it is still a long way off from the segment best such as the Renault Duster or Nissan Terrano. While the steering does offer acceptable feel, it doesn’t feel direct and accurate as some of its competitors. The big problem is the way the front-wheel-drive XUV500 behaves under hard acceleration. There’s a fair amount of torque steer when you floor the right pedal and on a loose surface, the steering kickback can be pretty vicious.
Powering out of tight corners, the weight transfer to the rear wheels make the XUV’s steering go a bit woozy. Also, the 235/65-R17 tyres squeal without too much provocation and could do with more grip.
The Mahindra XUV500 features disc brakes all around while ABS and EBD are standard across the range. What is slightly disconcerting, though, is the slightly wooden feel of the brake pedal in the first few millimetres of travel. The brake booster and ABS have been recalibrated on newer cars and this has improved brake feel a bit.