The XUV 300 is Mahindra’s third attempt at cracking the sub four metre SUV segment, however while the earlier TUV 3OO and Nuvosport were boxy ladder and body on frame SUV’s the XUV 3OO is a cute looking monocoque based SUV. Apart from the cheetah inspired looks, just how good is it to drive? We take the petrol powered variant for a spin to find out.
Based on the SSanyong X1OO platform, the XUV 3OO bears little resemblance to its sibling. Mahindra design engineers have worked on giving their little cheetah its own identity and not just a grille change like the Alturas G4. The result is a handsome and smart looking SUV that is all set to take on the competition that includes the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Tata Nexon in the sub four metre suv space.
The face gets a high set bonnet flanked by a chrome toothed slim grille and angular projector headlamps with daytime running lights which uniquely extend into the fog lamp housing in the bumper. The side profile retains the muscular haunches from the Tivoli which isn’t a bad thing considering the XUV 3OO is known as the baby cheetah. However the silver coloured roof rails and 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels lend a premium feel to the cars side view. At the back you will notice the oval shaped taillamps, roof spoiler and skid plate in the bumper which look interesting in the flesh.
On the inside, Mahindra’s idea of sticking to the basic layout of the SSanyong Tivoli isn’t a bad decision because the qualities of materials used are of the highest standard. The seats are well cushioned and the view out of the driver seat is impressive, however if you still desire for more, the driver seat can be adjusted for more comfort. The rear seat however could do with a bit more thigh support though comfort is good. On the flipside headroom and legroom is on the impressive side, with taller passengers finding it easy to get in and out of the vehicle.
The dashboard sports a black and beige colour scheme that feels airy. Sitting dead at the centre is a large 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes loaded with Android auto, Apple CarPlay and even doubles up as a reverse parking camera. The A/C controls sadly aren’t the easiest to use especially when on the move, the reason being the controls being placed too close and the red highlights may not be to everyone’s taste.
Most compact SUVs come tightly packed when it comes to space; but the folks at Mahindra have managed to curve out the maximum out of the 2600 mm wheelbase. Space at the front is good; the dashboard itself comes with a nicely designed cubby shelf for keeping your stuff. It also gets a large glovebox and door pockets to hold a 1-litre Bottle with ease. On the flipside Boot space stands at 257 litres that can be extended to 360 litres if the rear seats are folded down. However we did find the loading lip a bit too high for our taste.
In terms of features the XUV 3OO comes loaded to the gills with features such as push button start/stop, auto dimming inner rear view mirror, tyre position display, cruise control, electric sunroof with anti-pinch, height adjustable headrests, illuminated glovebox, front parking sensors, power folding wing mirrors with turn indicators along with rain sensing wipers and smart lights.
Under the hood is a 1.2 litre petrol turbo changed engine that produces 110 bhp and 200 Nm of torque. The diesel on the other hand is a 1.5 litre unit that churns out 115 bhp and 300 Nm of torque. Either of the two engines come mated to a 6-speed manual for now, though we have confirmation that an AMT gearbox will join the line-up in the future.
But since we drove the petrol, let us talk about the same. Push in the start/stop button which ironically is hidden behind the steering wheel. You will be forgiven for believing the motor to be a four cylinder. Fact is the smoothness that the engine delivers isn’t what you’d expect from a three cylinder do you..?
Jab down the accelerator pedal and the XUV 3OO surges forward with ease and first impressions are rather satisfying. All the 110 bhp and 200 Nm of torque from the motor is evenly spread and you won’t need much effort to get going. However if you do plan on overtaking a vehicle ahead of you, you will be surprised to know that it doesn’t need much effort as torque comes in as early as 2000rpm.
Because the torque comes as early as 2000rpm, frequent gearshifts are not really necessary. You can be embalming in and around town in stop and go traffic without the need of gear changing. But if you do need to drop a gear, the clutch and gear-shifting is practically light and easy to use.
Refinement levels in the petrol motor are quiet in its own way with only idle and flat out acceleration filtering into the cabin. On the whole the engine is far more refined than the KUV 1OO’s motor which it is based.
Turning radius is not really something you would associate with in an SUV, but the XUV 3OO’s 5.3mm turning circle mated to the light steering wheel makes for an absolute breeze. Getting in and out of tight spaces isn’t a tricky job at all. During the course of our drive, we managed to have our go by driving the car through a twisted narrow lane where it fared quite effortlessly
Ride and handling is another department the XUV 3OO scores. The car soaks and absorbs potholes and undulations thrown at it with ease. The suspensions that consist of Macpherson strut up front and a Twist beam at the rear has been tuned really well to offer the best comfort to its passengers.
Braking duties have been assigned to the disc brakes at the front and rear. However we did feel the braking could have been better in terms of bite and feel, not that it is a cause of worry.
Safety and security have also been paid attention to by the home-grown car manufacturer with many first in segment features offered once again. It gets 7- airbags, front parking sensors, Electronic stability program with roll over mitigation, hill start assist and tyre pressure monitoring system. ISOFIX child safety mounts, ABS with EBD and seatbelt reminder for all seat are standard offering.
The XUV 3OO is a modern age Mahindra that is built to last, though based on its SSanyong counterpart the design identity adopted by Mahindra makes it appear stylish and mature. The interior is more spacious than most rivals and also the long feature list makes for a great talking point. However it is all not that perfect as some materials in the cabin feel hard and plasticy, but having said that we would have liked if the driver right side armrest was placed closer to rest your right hand on and if the A/C controls were more ergonomically placed.
The petrol motor is punchy and we were surprised by the way it drives and last but not the least let’s not forget to mention the lengthy safety features list it comes with. Overall there’s no doubt that the latest sub four metre SUV from Mahindra is by far one of the best sub compact SUVs’ to come in recent times.
Prices for 2019 Mahindra XUV 3OO petrol (Ex showroom)VariantEx showroomXUV 3OO W4Rs 7,89,999 LakhsXUV 3OO W6Rs 8,75,000 LakhsXUV 3OO W8Rs 10,25,000 LakhsXUV 3OO W8 ( optional)Rs 11,49,000 LakhsXUV 3OO W8 dual tone ( optional)Rs 11,64,000 Lakhs
Prices for 2019 Mahindra XUV 3OO diesel (Ex showroom)VariantEx showroomXUV 3OO W4Rs 8,49,000 LakhsXUV 3OO W6Rs 9,30,000 LakhsXUV 3OO W8Rs 10,79,999 LakhsXUV 3OO W8 ( optional)Rs 11,98,999 LakhsXUV 3OO W8 dual tone ( optional)Rs 12,14,000 Lakhs