XUV 500 is the flagship SUV from the home grown automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (now known as M&M), started its journey in 1945 at a very limited scale. Later, it went on to make MUVs assembled under the license of Willy Jeep (civilian version of US Army Jeep). It became quite popular for its Jeeps in the country. While M&M has been making strides in many verticals of vehicle manufacturing like two wheelers, significantly redesigning and rebuilding the battery operated car Reva Electric, acquiring South Korea's SsangYong Motor company but the most news worthy chapter in M&M's success story is their global standard SUV - Mahindra XUV 500. It bagged all prestigious automotive awards in 2011 and 2012 in the SUV category including the first place in 2012 Desert Strom Rally, which is considered to be India's toughest rally.
After intensive research and surveys conducted in multiple countries, Mahindra's XUV 500 was completely designed and manufactured in-house at its world class research and development centre in Mahindra Research Valley, Chennai, India. It was launched in September, 2011. XUV draws its aspiration from the fastest animal on land - The Cheetah. Team at Mahindra spared no effort to create a majestically designed and beastly powered SUV. They in fact travelled all the way to Kenya to observe the Cheetah in wild. Crafted with diligence XUV has a strong resemblance to Cheetah bearing to its menacing front grille, whisker like slits along the front fender, imposing jaw-like honey comb grille, bulging out muscular wheel arches, bold flowing body lines, streamlined roof rails along the roof line connote a cheetah in motion and paw shaped door handles - all adding to the look of a truly cheetah inspired SUV.
For the first time an Indian SUV sports a transversely placed engine on the lines of some of the leading SUVs in the world like Land Rover, Freelander and Volvo. Transverse engine is more crash resistant allowing more space for crumple zone. Added advantage of transverse engine placement is the extra cabin space. XUV is also the first ever monocoque body SUV in India which means it is a single frame body versus a body joined to a chassis. This significantly improves the handling and makes the car safer. XUV 500 swiftly passed in European standard crash, quality, technology and emission tests. The prototype was tested for built quality, performance and safety standard in Australia, Europe, USA and South America along with harsh weather condition testing in Sweden and China. Only after 2.5 million km of rigorous testing did Mahindra start the production of the vehicle. These are some of the reasons which place XUV at the same pedestal as other global SUVs
XUV is equipped with some of the most advanced safety features available today - Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic stability program (ESP) strictly keeps the car on track even at the sharp turns and Rollover Mitigation identifies uncontrolled driving conditions and automatically applies brakes apart from reducing torque to the wheels to restore stability. Additionally both front and rear wheels have disk & caliper brakes for a more effective braking. Tyre-Tronics constantly monitors the air pressure in all 4 wheels and instantly notifies any reduction in pressure ensuring the right air pressure, hence, safety and mileage. All the four wheels have 17 inch alloys for better stability and performance. XUV's intelligent All-Wheel-Drive technology developed by Borg Warner (US based Powertrain Specialist), manages seamless transition from 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive to keep the vehicle in control even on slippery surfaces like heavy rain or snow. Monocoque body allows its all four wheels to have independent suspension to easily handle sudden potholes. Another impressive safety feature in XUV is NexTrac - an Interactive Torque Management System, which automatically redistributes the torque between front and rear wheels. Hill hold prevents the car from rolling backwards when starting on an inclined and Hill decent engages itself for a controlled decent down the hill. Smart headlights automatically come on wherever the car enters a tunnel or dark area and even houses static bending projector headlamps which automatically illuminate at the turns at night and dramatically improve visibility. Designed to handle all weather conditions XUV's auto-wipers come on whenever there is water on the windscreen and in the rain. Alert buzzer for situations like over-speeding, seat belt fastening, door open, low engine oil pressure etc.
XUV got a further refined version of Mahindra's famous 2179cc mHawk engine. Earlier versions of mHawk power Scorpio and Xylo. It's a common rail Direct Injection Diesel Engine with 5th generation variable Geometry Turbo Charger (VGT). It produces 140 bhp @ 3750 rpm and a torque of 330 Nm at a low rpm of 1600-2800 resulting in instant acceleration i.e. 0 - 60 kmph in only 5.4 seconds. But more power does not mean low mileage, XUV offers 15.1 kmpl as per ARAI certification which is good for a car of this size. It has a newly designed 6 speed manual gearbox by leading British company - Ricardo. There are two over drive gears for optimum torque and acceleration. Self adjusting clutch ensures that the pedal effort remains the minimum whether it's new or worn out. Engine also features a Micro-Hybrid function, which turns off the engine in 2.5 sec once the gear is shifted to neutral position and again resumes to life on pressing the clutch, resulting in better fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions
List of features goes even further. 6-inch infotainment display with Voice Command Module for Navigation, Music, Cabin temperature and other stats like distance which can be covered with remaining quantity of fuel, air-pressure & temperature of each tyre. Intellipark Reverse Assist with visual prompt on the screen makes parking the big car in congested slots. A fully loaded GPS Navigation in 8 regional languages which covers 1.5 million km of road with turn-by-turn voice guidance, location for over 5 million restaurants, ATMs, Fuel Pumps and movie theatres. Steering has Cruise, Audio, Phone and Voice command controls. Cruise control has an add on feature to slightly increase or decrease the speed without touching the accelerator pedal. ORVMs are electrically foldable. XUV offers a lot of space inside with 3 rows of seating, ample legroom and headroom to comfortably seat 7 adults. 2nd and 3rd row can be folded to make a huge flat-bed boot space. Driver's seat is 8-way adjustable. Glove box is huge and has space for keeping a laptop. A cooling box in the centre can house a couple of bottles for the entire group. Exclusive lounge lights create an ambient atmosphere inside the car. DVD player integrated music system has iPod, USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity. The contact list of the phone connected to Bluetooth can be accessed on infotainment display. Other frills include Umbrella Holder, Puddle lamps, Camping lamps. 4 speakers and 2 tweeters provide a surround sound audio experience. Sheer size, distinctly placed twin exhausts, and exterior design gives XUV an immense road presence. It stands tall with 200 mm of ground clearance. Mahindra is so confident of its quality that XUV comes with a 3-year or 100000 km warranty.
Variants and Price (India): XUV has two variants in 2-Wheel drive version and one in 4-Wheel drive ranging from Rs. 12,09,331/- to 14,76,736/-. In near future two more versions are expected - an Automatic version with 4x4 and twin-turbo, expected to generate a power of 170 bhp and 400 Nm of torque.