Mahindra has launched what could possibly be the most impressive Indian vehicle yet, in the South African market.
Renowned for its bakkies, which do a brisk trade each month, Mahindra’s latest offering is the XUV300, a compact crossover competing with the likes of Ford’s EcoSport and Hyundai’s Creta.
The XUV300 was designed with input from famed Italian design consultancy, Pininfarina, and wind tunnel tested in Italy. There is also technical cooperation from Korea, as XUV300 and the SsangYong Tivoli share a common platform.
Although the XUV300 is designed to allow some degree of gravel travelling, it remains a front-wheel drive vehicle primarily engineered for urban driving. Powering this Mahindra is a choice of two turbocharged engines. Both of the XUV300’s engine options drive the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, with no automatic transmission available.
The boosted 1.2-litre petrol is good for 81kW and 200Nm, whilst the slightly larger 1.5-litre turbodiesel is powers up 86kW and 300Nm – numbers which should prove more than adequate for those who require competent overtaking acceleration to pass slower trucking traffic.
Mahindra is being ambitious in its positioning with the XUV300 and as such standard equipment levels are generous. There are two grades, with W6 denoting the most affordable XUV300s and W8 being the more luxurious.
The W6 vehicles feature LED daytime running lights, steel wheels (which should prove more durable for those who regularly journey on potholed or gravel roads), a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen with Satnav, dual airbags and ABS.
Upgrading to W8-specfication adds five additional airbags, a sunroof, electronic stability control, fore and aft parking sensors with a reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring and 17-inch alloy wheels which feature tyre pressure monitoring. Convenience items include cruise control, hill-hold assist and electrically folding wing-mirrors.
In terms of practicality the XUV300 has a 259-litre luggage capacity and 180mm of ground clearance, which should be sufficient for travelling along most Karoo gravel roads.
Pricing starts at R249 999 for the 1.2-litre in W6 specification, with the diesel retailing at R274 999. The more comprehensively equipped W8 grade 1.2 will sell for R304 999, with the range headlined by that specification grade as a 1.5-litre turbodiesel, retailing for R324 999.
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