The automobile market has been witnessing a steady decline in the demand for diesel-powered vehicles and this shift in balance is also seen in the SUV segment where oil burners were once the default choice. Traditional SUV manufacturers like Mahindra have decided to go back to the drawing board and create a state-of-the-art gasoline motor and in comes the 2-litre mStallion powertrain. It is the company’s first turbo-petrol that made its debut with the Thar in 2020, but the new XUV700 boasts an output of 197bhp, 85 horses more than its rugged sibling. We find out how it fairs in real-world driving conditions.
Mahindra XUV 700: Engine & Power
We strap ourselves in, fire up the 2-liter engine, and get to know the segment’s most potent gasoline powertrain. Is it impressive on paper, but it’s the fact that this engine is so quiet that you’ll notice it right away. It has 197 horsepower and 380 nm of torque. The turbo-petrol accelerated linearly as soon as the gear stick was shifted to drive mode in the AX7L automatic, the top model in the lineup. In spite of this, it has enough power and agility to make you feel like you’re in control of the XUV700 at all times. The turbo-petrol engine’s usual initial lag has been eliminated by Mahindra.
Under 1,500 rpm, the 2-liter heart behaves like a diesel engine, and the turbocharger starts pumping out additional power when it hits a needle speed of 1,800 rpm, ensuring the XUV700 is responsive even at low speeds. There is no power surge when driving the full-sized SUV in stop-and-go traffic and it has enough power to easily overtake in city driving.
That’s all well and good, but how does it perform on the open road? With its 2-liter turbo-petrol engine, the XUV700 is at its best at mid-range speeds, where the XUV700 breaks away and easily hits the high three-figures. Notably, the engine’s top-end grunt doesn’t diminish when it runs above its ideal operating range.
For city driving, the XUV700’s smooth and strong petrol engine pairs with a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission that shifts gears precisely when needed. Those who like to step on the gas pedal will find the transmission to be a little sluggish and lacking in excitement. The inclusion of paddle shifters would have solved this problem, but the XUV700 is a pleasure to drive on the freeway and during regular commutes alike. The diesel models have an optional all-wheel-drive system with four driving modes — Zip, Zap, Zoom, and Customer — that the petrol models don’t have.
Mahindra XUV 700: Space & Safety
Mahindra has thought of everything when it comes to comfort. The seats are soft, nicely shaped, and have a lot of support. There is a lot of shoulder room in the second row, and the bench is comfortable, but like most cars in this segment, the support under the thighs isn’t great. Mahindra chose to make the second-row bench fixed, so you can’t move it to fit your needs. However, if you’re sitting just behind the passenger seat, you can move it forward to get more legroom.
The third row does not have enough space, both in terms of legroom and headroom. At best, children can sit there. It does have a speed control for the fan and a 12V charging port (no USB port). Since the second-row seat only folds, it can be hard to get into the last row because the door is so small.
The XUV700 is the first vehicle in its class to come with an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). It has effective Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Autonomous Emergency Brakes (AEB), Blind View Monitoring, and a lot more. The XUV700 has 7 airbags, including a curtain airbag that provides protection for all three rows of seats. It also got 5 stars from the global NCAP for protecting adults and 4 stars for protecting children.
Mahindra XUV 700: Quality & Handling
The XUV700 is built on a new monocoque platform that is 80 percent stiffer than the XUV500. With an eye toward the future, the foundations can also be changed to fit a 48V mild-hybrid system. The new SUV is the first in its segment to have independent multi-link rear suspension with frequency-selective dampers (FSD). All of this means that the XUV700 stays on its feet when entering and leaving twisty roads. Since it’s a big SUV with an elevated centre of gravity, the body rolls when you turn corners, but the car stays stable. The XUV700 stays stable and sure of itself at high speeds and on long straights.
The SUV’s responsive and light steering wheel makes it easy to handle urban challenges like turning in the city or parking in tight spots without stress. On the other hand, the ride could have been more comfortable, especially at slow speeds when you can feel the potholes in the road. In retrospect, the XUV700 doesn’t sag when it drives over bumps or make people feel uneasy on broken roads.
Mahindra XUV 700: Design & Features
The XUV500 was based on the design of a cheetah, but the XUV700 looks more mature and muscular, like a cheetah that has grown up. It has a busy design with six lateral slats on the front grille and elongated DRLs that look like fangs. From the front, the SUV looks a bit more square. It has a strong-looking hood and a big bumper. The side profile does remind us of the XUV500, but it has new flush door handles and diamond-cut 18-inch alloy wheels that fit neatly into the body panel. Mahindra has decided to go with a tailgate made of composite plastic to cut down on weight.
The XUV700 has so much tech and gadgetry that the dashboard looks like the bridge of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. When you open the door, the seat moves back so it’s easy to get into the cabin. The twin 10.25-inch instrument cluster and the infotainment system, which is powered by Mahindra’s AdrenoX connect AI technology, are definitely the show-stoppers. The touch screen has a lot of personalization options, clear graphics, and wireless Android Auto connectivity, but the touch screen could have been faster.
The cabin, on the other hand, is made of high-quality materials like the leather strip on the dashboard and the piano black finish on the centre console, which has a wireless phone charger, dual-zone climate control, seat adjustment controls, panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera, and electronically adjustable seats with a driver seat memory function. The top-of-the-line XUV700 comes with a 12-speaker Sony music system with 3D surround sound. This is a special feature for music lovers. Even though it has a long list of features, it doesn’t come with ventilated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, or paddle shifters.
Even after the latest price increase, the petrol trims of the XUV700 are still priced very well, starting at Rs 12.95 lakh and going up to Rs 23.80 lakh, ex-showroom. It competes with both small cars and SUVs that are the same size as it is. The XUV700 is the most advanced SUV in its class in terms of features, comfort, and safety. However, the 2-liter turbo petrol engine is the real star of the show because it is both powerful and smooth. Mahindra has a market-changing product that does everything right.