Since initially being granted the privilege of looking after a long-term test car, I have had a surprising number of firsts: first Chevrolet (at least for some decades) with an Aveo; likewise for Dodge with a Journey V6; the first Suzuki, also a V6 ;and now another first with a Mahindra.
When Mahindra & Mahindra imported its first mainstream model to South Africa, the Scorpio in 2004, I was impressed with their ruggedness, interior space, economical diesel engines and very importantly, value for money. These days there are quite a number of Mahindra models in the range and the XUV 500 that we will be using over the next 12 months is the flagship of the line-up.
This isn’t the all-wheel drive version but the front wheel drive W8 so I will have to turn down the invitations to go 4×4-ing with the double cabs and four wheel-drives when those get tested. What I do have though, is the new automatic version that uses an Aisin six-speed transmission and, as we have often said, turbodiesel work very well with auto transmissions. I look forwarded to seeing if this holds true for the XUV.
The pearl white seven-seater arrived on a Friday afternoon after being driven down from Gauteng which meant it already had over 2 000 km on the clock. I will therefore have to make a booking soon with Mahindra Goodwood as the protocol is to replenish the oil after 5 000 km to flush out initial iron fillings and related dirt.
An impressive and easy-to-use infotainment system with reverse camera, Sat-Nav and good quality audio is, as ever, a welcome addition and this unit’s radio reception proved top notch when travelling over du Toitskloof mountain, which normally presents many signal issues. With the USB stick inserted and car loaded up, off the XUV went on its first trip to the farm where we took it relatively easy over the mild but rocky gravel roads. Apart from picking up a few kilograms of clay thrown up from the wet winter roads, the XUV had no trouble whatsoever negotiating these roads.
We had asked Mahindra SA to fit a tow bar in case of towing duties and have already borrowed a trailer and carted a load of oat hay with more similar chores to follow. Even with 550 km of trailer towing out of the 1 870 km covered, we see an initial and impressive fuel consumption figure of 8,85 L/100 km. The W8 model is packed with numerous features that we will explore over time, and that includes putting the seven seats and the tow bar to good use.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 2 870 km
Fuel consumption: 8,85 L/100 km
We like: bags of cabin space
We don’t like: interior door handles that are awkwardly placed