Here we have two Mahindra XUV SUVs, the 300, which is a great car, and the 500, which is also a great car, but bigger than the 300. So when Mahindra recently launched the XUV700 in India, one would think it also a great car, but bigger than its numerically-inferior siblings. And one would be right.
The XUV700 comes in four trim levels, the MX, then in ascending order of features for a price, – available in petrol or diesel, the AX3, AX5 and AX7. The entry-level MX is a five-seater, while the AX3 and AX5 are available as five- or seven-seaters and the AX7 is strictly seven seats.
Looking at it, the first impression is that a big unit – more a rugby hooker than a wing. It gets a new logo as well, somewhere between a bowtie and butterfly – a bowterfly? The large grille is blacked out and the fang-shaped daytime running lights give the car an aggressive visage, a stance further enhanced by the 17” to 18” wheels and high sides with stepped windows.
The petrol engine is a 2.0-litre turbo with direct injection that produces 147kW and 380Nm. It comes with either a 6-speed auto or a 6-speed manual box. There are two diesel options, both 2.2-litre turbo diesels with CRDi. The first gives you 114kW and 360Nm, available in MT only, while the higher tune version gives you 136kW and 420Nm with the AT and 450Nm with the MT.
Inside the XUV700 is the most advanced vehicle Mahindra has ever built. A stunning panoramic sunroof may stop you from shopping with Alexa for a few minutes. It is also the most connected, with more than 70 functions you can access, even with your phone. Infotainment is on large touchscreens, going from big to huge as you move up the range.
Safety is also huge with this large vehicle, with internal tests suggesting it will get a 5-star NCAP grade. Front and side airbags galore will keep you safe in a crash, but there are lots of tech to help you avoid a nasty bump.
The car comes standard with radar and a camera to detect obstacles, avoid a crash and help you arrive safely. It allows tech smart pilot assist, forward collision warning, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and lane keep assist. You also get driver drowsiness detection, auto booster headlights, personalised safety alerts and an electronic park brake.
But while bling is nice, tyres on the track have the final say. The XUV700 set a series of new Indian National 24 hours records at the Speed Endurance Challenge at Chennai, in spite of torrential monsoon rains, averaging over 170km/h over the track and the diesel MT doing 4 256km in that time.