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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the Mahindra XUV300 W8 Diesel

If any of you watched my video on the Mahindra KUV100 or even the XUV500 for that matter, you will know that I am not a fan of the two cars. Mahindra were certainly not happy with me, but I stand by my review of those cars. Needless to say I was rather apprehensive about getting the Mahindra XUV300 to test this past week. But geewiz, I am glad to report that I do not hate this car. In fact, I might even like it a little.

LOOKING OUT

It is hands down the best looking Mahindra that I have seen. It takes on newcomers Volkswagen T-Cross, Hyundai Venue and Citroen C3 Aircross as well as the very established Opel Crossland X and Renault Captur to name but a few. It is a segment that is ever-growing and becoming more and more popular as people need to start buying down. The XUV300 can confidently stand among this crowd and not look out of place.

Mahindra XUV300

LOOKING IN

Now this is where I am left even more impressed. Bearing in mind that I had the top of the range W8 on test, the interior is a rather pleasant place to be. The light faux leather makes for a very premium feel, although, for families and long term use, this will certainly become a bit grubby. But for now, while it is all new and fresh, it looks smashing. It is also hella spacious in there. Especially leg room for the rear passengers. Unfortunately, it is let down by the size of the boot. It is a mere 249-litres which is around 100-litres less than any of its rivals. It is far too small. Even for someone who doesn’t have kids. One big grocery shop and you are full up.

It is obviously specced to the brim being the fancy pants model and all that so you can expect things such as a sunroof, cruise control, dual zone climate control, electric windows all round, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, seven airbags, a reverse camera, and even a sensor that will inform you when the spare tyre has lost air. I could go on, but this post will become too long.

Mahindra XUV300

UNDER THE HOOD

This ranger topper is powered by a 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine and boasts impressive performance figures of 86 kW and 300 Nm of torque. Although a bit grumbly at start up, the engine feels refined enough once you are up to speed. It is certainly punchy enough. My only issue, again, is with the Stop/Start system. To be fair, I hate every Stop/Start system and wish manufacturers would do away with them. But when they are more intrusive than normal, it just about kills me. The issue I have is that you have to always remember to turn it off. I usually only remember the minute the engine shuts off at a traffic light. In the XUV300, I press said button and this should usually start the car up again, right? Not the XUV300. Nope, the car has to be restarted with the push of the Start button. If you aren’t aware of this fact, you will find yourself, like me, stuck at a traffic light, holding everyone up as you try to quickly restart the car and get going. Once used to it, you be fine, but I just don’t understand why it is made to annoy.

Fuel consumption is claimed at a low 4.8l/100 km. You will probably sit closer to 6.3l/100 km, but it is possible to keep it lower than that if you try hard enough. The overall drive is a pleasant one. Especially on the highway. Cruising speed makes for a smooth and comfortable drive.

FINAL SAY

I base my final opinion of a car on whether or not I would recommend it to friends and family. This can result in hurting manufacturer’s feelings. But I am not in the industry to mind their feelings, I am here for consumers. My original gripe with a few Mahindra models I drove was that the price point was just far too high for what was being offered when compared it its direct competitors.

I am so thrilled that this model comes in far cheaper than most of its rivals which then makes it a great value-for-money offering. It also comes standard with a five-year/150 000 km warranty and five-year/90 000 km service plan.

Look, it won’t be my first choice in recommendation within this segment, not by a country mile. I would more than likely recommend a second-hand car before I recommend this. BUT, if someone came to me having test driven it and loved it and their budget only stretched to afford this car, I would happily give my blessing (how powerful am I?). It sounds patronising and I don’t intend it to be, but I think Mahindra is headed in the right direction. If you consider that you can get yourself an XUV300 for just R234 999, sure it is the entry-level, but it has the same turbodiesel motor as this W8 but just with less features, it is fantastic value-for-money.

PRICING OF THE MAHINDRA XUV300

XUV300 W4 1.5 Diesel: R234 999
XUV300 W6 1.2 Petrol: R 249 999
XUV300 W6 1.5 Diesel: R 274 999
XUV300 W8 1.2 Petrol: R 304 999
XUV300 W8 1.5 Diesel: R 324 999

Mahindra XUV300

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