Long-term test (Update 1): Mahindra XUV500 2,2 CRDe W8 AT
A tradtition with my long-term test cars is that I spend some extra quality time with the vehicle by sleeping in the back while camping. Of course, this is possible only with selected SUVs, crossovers and double cabs. The XUV500 ticks the box by having flat-folding rear seating. It was a successful experiment, although it took a while for the cool blue mood lighting to go “lights out”.
As I mentioned last month, the slow air leak from the left rear tyre, flagged early by the efficient tyre monitor, led to the discovery of a four-inch nail that our local service station quickly pulled out before plugging the tyre with the wheel still on the vehicle.
While over-inflating the tyre before pulling out the nail, the pressure monitor got quite agitated with the warning light glowing. When the car clicked over to 10 000 km (it arrived with 2 100 km on the odo), an alert also popped up on start-up that the car was due for a service. This was premature, however, since, after the oil change at 5 000 km, the next service is due at 20 000 km, or 12 months. We went back to the dealer, where the computer was promptly reset.
I had to swap my usual small Venter trailer on one farm trip for a three-metre rig carrying a large load that totalled 700 kg. This added drag could be felt by the 110 kW engine, but stability and gravel-road traction was not compromised at all. What did suffer was the fuel consumption, which shot up from the previous 8,30 L/100 km to 11,35.
After 6 months
Mileage now: 10 650 km
Fuel consumption: 8,90 L/100 km
We like: great steering (hydraulic, naturally)
We don’t like: invalid service alert
Long-term test (Introduction): Mahindra XUV500 2,2 CRDe W8 AT
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