When you think Mahindra, you tend to think agricultural machinery, basic 4WDs and India – or they could just be the largest automotive brand you’ve never heard of. That’s all about to change, with the launch of the XUV700 (pronounced seven oh oh, by the way).
Built from the ground up on a completely new platform, and together with the larger Scorpio the car maker recently launched, the new model represents a strong statement towards the value conscious SUV market.
Available in two variants, the AX7 and flagship AX7L, the XUV700 is set to deliver presence, performance, dynamics, modern technology and global safety standards, according to Mahindra. We reckon they might be on the money too.
Both models feature dual 10.25-inch HD displays, one for the instrument cluster and the other, infotainment. Connectivity through wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also available and the AX7L features a 12-speaker Sony 3D immersive sound audio system.
Invisible smart door handles (on the AX7L) and five no cost colours, as well as LED clear-view headlamps with automatic boosting and LED daytime running lights also feature, with a 1.3m long panoramic sunroof on offer in both variants.
Underneath the skin, the XUV700 has been structurally enhanced with the use of high-tensile and ultra-high tensile steels that increase the toughness and torsional rigidity, while reducing the overall weight of the vehicle.
Ride comfort is improved with all round multi-link suspension, featuring frequency selective damping (passive active suspension). Both versions of the XUV ride on 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels and 235/60R18 tyres.
Powering the new model is a new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 149kW at 5000rpm and 380Nm of torque from a low 1750rpm. Drive is provided via an Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.
Available only as a seven seater, the interior space comes with leatherette seating, with power adjustability on the driver’s seat, via a door mounted control pad. The second row seating offers 60:40 split, with one touch tumble operation.
There are ISOFIX mounts on the two outer second row seats and three top tether points. Third row seating is okay for kids or small adults. ABS and EBD feature, alongside a suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
The package includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and assistance, and auto high beam. The AX7L adds blind view monitor (built into the instrument cluster), and 360-degree surround view.
There is no doubting the exceptional value offered in the XUV700 range, especially when you consider it’s priced at $36,990 for the AX7 and $39,990 for the AX7L. That’s drive away, and there’s a 7-year 150,000km warranty and 7-years roadside assistance.
Sitting inside the XUV700, your view is dominated by the two large screens. One thing a number of its more expensive rivals could learn from is the use of physical buttons for the climate control and some of the more frequently used functions.
It’s a nice tangible touch, and everything is laid out well. The seats, while firm, are comfortable and easy to adjust via the door mounted switches. Build quality seems good, although we did notice a few trim pieces not quite fitting correctly.
That said, there were no squeaks or rattles present. Backseat passengers may find the rear bench a little flat and hard, although there’s plenty of leg and headroom. The full length sunroof makes the space airy and non-claustrophobic.
On the road, steering is light, and while it does offer limited feedback, it’s fine for general urban driving. You only really notice that lack of engagement when pushing hard, and let’s face it, you’re not really out there to cane an SUV.
Visibility is excellent, with a fairly high seating position. Row two is also slightly elevated, allowing good forward and side visibility. There was minimal road noise during our test, on a mixture of roads, including country, urban and freeway environs.
The suspension seemed to handle most things reasonably well, although there is some pronounced body roll when cornering hard. Overall though, our first impressions of the XUV700 are positive.
Our test vehicle was provided as part of a media drive program by Mahindra Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Mahindra XUV700, visit your local Mahindra dealer.