First look at the new Mahindra XUV700 in South Africa – A big step up – TopAuto
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Friday / 12 August 2022
HomeFeaturesFirst look at the new Mahindra XUV700 in South Africa – A big step up

First look at the new Mahindra XUV700 in South Africa – A big step up

Mahindra yesterday held the South African unveiling of the new XUV700, the replacement for the long-standing XUV500.

The new SUV is planned to go on sale in the final quarter of this year, and for the next few months will be going through local homologation procedures.

There will be at least two specification grades on offer in the domestic market and it’s expected to be available only in automatic guise, although the addition of a manual is not ruled out at the moment, said Mahindra.

We attended the unveiling at the Gerotek testing facility outside Johannesburg to put the newcomer through its paces around the high-speed oval as well as the dynamic handling track.

What to expect

The upcoming XUV700 impresses with a new look that is a clear evolution from the XUV500, retaining the six-bar grille but sporting redesigned Clearview LED headlights with thinner daytime running lights that extends further down the bumper.

It’s also slightly longer with a lower roof and more accentuated hip lines, wears restyled 18-inch alloy wheels, features flush door handles, and gets “arrowhead” LED tail lights that altogether lend the new Mahindra a sportier and more modern impression than its predecessor.

The well-needed upgrades continue inside, with an infotainment system comprising a 10.25-inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch media display running on the new AdrenoX operating system. This is paired with a 12-speaker Sony sound system and offers onboard navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto support.

More equipment fitted to these pre-homologation units were climate control, wireless chargers, panoramic sunroofs, electric front seats, driver drowsiness detection, keyless entry and start with smart door handles, and up to nine advanced assistance systems including smart pilot assist, lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring with a camera feed in the digital driver’s display.

The more affordable XUV700 AX5 – the mid-range model in India – was also on show and came with fabric upholstery, whereas the top-of-the-line AX7L got attractive leather seats, each specification also offering a cabin layout with space for up to seven occupants.

These models are leagues ahead of what the XUV500 had to offer and will help to make the XUV700 an attractive value proposition in the affordable SUV segment.

However, Mahindra said that while all of these systems will be offered in its new SUV in South Africa, it must still be determined which will be included as standard and which will be reserved for the pricier models.

What will not be compromised on is safety, though, with each new XUV700 boasting seven airbags making it the “safest car ever tested by the Global NCAP organisation,” said the manufacturer.

For power units, the new Mahindra can be had in a 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol or a 2.2-litre, turbo-diesel spec in markets around the globe.

These engines generate 147kW and 380Nm for the petrol and 136kW and 450Nm for the diesel, and pair to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Power is translated to the ground via a permanent all-wheel-drive system with frequency-selective dampers and the bumper angles measure 22.6 degrees on approach, 20.7 degrees on breakover, and 24 degrees on exit, with a ground clearance of 200mm.

As with the XUV500, the local market is only expected to receive the diesel powertrain.

Mahindra has not yet revealed the fuel consumption or performance statistics of these engines as these will only be made official once the cars have undergone homologation procedures.

XUV700 test drive

At the unveiling of the XUV700, we got the opportunity to take the new Mahindra around Gerotek’s high-speed oval at speeds of up to 130km/h, as well as around the dynamic handling track consisting of several kilometres of winding pavement summiting no less than two steep hills.

We were most impressed by the noticeable increase in power over the diesel XUV500 which got the newer model up to speed rather quickly, as well as the more responsive steering characteristics that kept it in a straight line without any readjustments needed around the banked racetrack.

What was also kept in high regard by attendees of the day is the Mahindra’s completely overhauled interior.

The reworked cabin layout with the large infotainment screen and few buttons brings the XUV range into the modern era and lets it compete with SUVs far above its price range when it comes to looks and design.

Build quality is good, but not great, and there are a few places where wind noise leaks in as you start reaching speeds over 110km/h. Slightly heavier doors would also have assisted in increasing the perceived quality of the model.

The leather and plastics are premium to the touch, though, the seats are very comfortable to sit in, and the lovely padded steering wheel completes the high-end finishes.

Whether you’re five or seven passengers, which we were at different points in time, there is also enough space to fit average-sized adults in the rear-most row which is usually reserved exclusively for children.

The XUV700 is a big step up from the model it replaces and it’s ushering in Mahindra’s new brand identity through the redesigned “Twin Peaks” badge.

Mahindra’s popularity has been on a strong uptrend in recent years, and its new SUV looks set to take that to a whole ‘nother level.

Mahindra XUV700

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