One very apparent observation, compared to my Figo, the SUV feels very comfortable over long journeys.
BHPian StepUP! recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
- Diesel >> Gasoline
- 1.4 >> 2.0 (43%)
- 68 >> 200 (194%)
- 160 >> 380 (137%)
- MT(5) >> AT(6)
That’s my story of an upgrade! Can’t hide my joy in getting upgraded from Figo TDCi to XUV7OO!
My 2012 Figo TDCi has clocked 1L km and drives like a dream! Still on the original clutch and key fob batteries! Couldn’t agree more – Figo is an overengineered car. She has Ford DNA. Tough build, superb chassis, big car feel, hydraulic steering to die for, composed ride and excellent dynamics. Being the first car “bought” by me, it’s very close to my heart. I will keep her to the glory and never trade in.
Why a new car?
Technically I don’t need it! So, can be termed an “itch”! We are a family of 3, with parents joining in occasionally, Figo serves the purpose. She has aged well. 10 yr old diesel car started playing tricks with my mind. I was always in two minds and just kept test driving cars I liked. Denial is the most predictable of all human responses. Until I test drove XUV petrol, prophecy was solved (Am I too much into Matrix’ Neo-Architect’s conversation?), and I immediately booked the car! Inexorably I knew this is the car I want to upgrade to. Nothing came close to it.
My better half is a CA. And if you know, it’s very difficult to convince a CA to spend 30L on a depreciating asset! But I did the herculean task. Probably she has given up on me!
Well, nothing specific but I wanted an upgrade in every sense – power, space, sophistication, safety, features and confidence in the brand are here to stay. I have two Figos – the one I drive and another which I bought for my father in 2017 – 1.5 ltr petrol DCT. No regrets but don’t want to add another abandoned child to the garage. Budget set was 30L. And yes – petrol only, justifies my running which is less than 8000 kms per year, keeps me at bay from DPF issues and erratic government bans on diesels. Plus, I already have my Figo.
Electric cars are on my mind but as of today, even after spending a crore does not solve the range anxiety problem. Even if there is charging infra, charging times are higher. Can’t imagine sticking in unexpected highway traffic jams in an electric car. It’s best suited for city drives.
This uncertainty is going to stay for the next few years. More you delay your purchase more you think to wait for electric cars and infra to come up. Which is why, quickly I took the plunge!
Cars I test drove (no offence meant to any car owners. Below are my perceptions).
- Honda City 1.5 NA: I like the way this car looks, exudes elegance. Spot on proportions, rev-happy i-VTEC, big on space and practicality. Perfect family car. CVT is well mated and smooth. However, I felt the interior quality is not up to the mark, car scrapped its belly during the test drive which reminded me of my Figo. The biggest fear I have is whether Honda will exit India. Looking at their lack of new products, half-baked attempts; don’t want to risk my 17-18L on the brand.
- Jeep Compass 1.4 Turbo: Dealership experience was exceptional. Test drove model S. Interior quality, build left me flabbergasted. The weakest part is the engine and gearbox combo. It felt yawn-inducing, S.L.O.W. Not an upgrade in terms of space. Prices don’t help either to ignore its shortcomings. And that way I am practical, I don’t get carried away by a brand’s legacy. Especially petrol Jeep has hardly any Jeep DNA, well I am not looking for one either. I am not an off-road guy. Even if I have AWD/4×4, I won’t take her off-road. I find that sight painful – proper 4×4 with twisted axles, car submerged in muddy waters and what not!
- Hyundai Tucson CRDi: Dealer didn’t have a petrol for the test drive. So, he got a diesel. Since it was launched, I always liked this car. Looked good, felt premium. Not so common on the road works for me. I engaged AWD and floored the pedal. Man, it’s a rocket! The way power is put down through that brilliant 8-speed gearbox is a pure class. NVH are very well controlled. If you want to buy a Tucson, it must be a diesel. When I got it in my parking space which is in the basement, all black interiors, though well put, looked gloomy. Similarities to cheaper Hyundais in terms of parts, layout, fonts didn’t help either. Lack of features is a bummer.
- VW Taigun 1.5 DSG: First thing I noticed is how ordinary/cheap the interior look and feel is. Didn’t give a feel of sitting in a VW car. In terms of space, not an upgrade. Engine and DSG combo are explosive but DSG failures remain a gamble. IMHO, it does not/should not command a premium like other VWs do. It looks very car-like, has no road presence. Didn’t test drive its cousin Kushaq. I am bored with VW’s designs. They launch Virtus in 2022 which resembles 2011 Vento. Not done. Same horizontal slat grill with 2-3-4 lines, VW logo slapped in middle, shoulder lines whisker here and there. Every car/SUV looks the same. There India 2.0 looks like India -1.0 to me. Instead of building on their strengths, they have dropped some and gained nothing new. Same design, same engines, same GBs. Somehow can’t stop relating it to Ford going Maruti way.
- Tata Safari: I would buy it solely for its looks! It commands respect on the road. Looks damn handsome to me. Especially Adventure persona edition. She felt tough, rugged during the test drive. Didn’t understand why steering is so hard. Interiors though look modern, lack the wow factor. No petrol option took it off the list.
- Kia Seltos 1.4 DCT: Killer engine gearbox combo! It drives well. Found it better over VW 1.5 TSI. Seat ventilation is so useful feature in summers. Seltos looks very handsome to my eyes. Loaded with features. The only turn off was space. It felt adequate. Enough has been said on its NCAP outcome.
- MG Hector 1.5 Turbo / MG Astor 1.3 Turbo: Both engines-gearboxes are slow to respond. Hector felt nothing special except it looked massive. I didn’t like its interiors. Not a fan of the in-your-face touchscreen. Astor, class apart interiors, but felt gimmicky.
And then XUV happened! It just pulled the right strings when I saw her on the road. Looks majestic in every color.
My 6 yr old daughter is so excited after she got to know the XUV has skyroof, it can brake on its own before collision, can steer on its own to keep in the lane, she can take a nap at the rearmost seats, it can seat 7, has big touchscreen etc. She already made plans with her cousin to go on a road trip! This is what we all admire! Don’t we? Cars bring people together.
Dealer and car booking experience
I went for XUV’s test drive on a weekend after it was launched. There was a long wait period for taking a 2 km test drive! Especially for diesel automatic models. Petrol manual was available without any waiting, so I chose to go ahead with it. Car looked good in person; interiors felt cohesive. Test ride was short, but I felt the 200 horses under the hood, instant response to the pedal. NVH was excellent too. Gearbox was sure slotting and clutch was light. It has a commanding view from the driver’s seat. I was impressed with the space on offer, the 360 camera, adaptive cruise control, sound system, sunroof, camera feeds while you switch on indicators, split touchscreen etc. I knew this is the car I have been waiting for – a true upgrade in every sense.
Went for another test drive after 2-3 weeks. This time took my wife, and we test drove petrol automatic. Auto box is quick to respond, wife insisted we buy automatic so that she can drive it occasionally. Though I intend to use this car on highways and really don’t need an automatic, chose one for the convenience it offered.
After much deliberation booked AX7 automatic in diamond white via Mahindra’s online booking on 18th Dec 2021. Didn’t feel L variant is good enough to spend another lakh. And AX5 lacked many features which I wanted – ADAS, TPMS, adaptive cruise control etc.
Delivery date showed May-June 2023! I read it multiple times to make sure it’s 2023 and not 2022! Expressed my discontentment with my SA Vishal. He tried to console me stating I will get it much earlier than promised. Anyways I was not in hurry to get a new car, I decided to wait. Also thought initial niggles will be ironed out by the time I get delivery. In the back of my mind, I knew I will get it earlier, I was expecting Diwali 2022.
The taxing wait period started. After I booked it, I incessantly kept on checking its status on the Mahindra website. Whenever I read people saying their delivery dates were preponed, I rushed and checked mine only to get disappointed! But then I realized there is no point in being a lunatic! I checked TBHP’s official review multiple times, went through every post. Checked YouTube videos on XUV petrol. And then I started getting cold feet on booking a petrol automatic. While I was realistic in expecting FE from this engine, I never imagined it to be as low as 5-7kmpl. Mind had 9-10 kmpl cut off. People were getting anything from 8-12 kmpl which relieved me a bit. Many times, I thought I should book a diesel. But then thorough thinking scrapped that thought. Diesel won’t match Petrol’s refinement. That 200 bhp figure had everything going for it. For 8000 or lesser kms per year, I certainly won’t need a diesel. Decided not to get too fussy on FE and instead enjoy this car – what I am buying it for!
And one fine day – 17th March, SA calls and tells me my XUV has been allotted! I was at my workplace, I jumped in my seat like a kid! Everyone around could see my excitement and happiness! Effectively my AX7 petrol automatic XUV got allotted in 3 months! Well done Mahindra!
Price break-up given by dealer:
- Ex-stockyard 20,28,622
- Insurance 91,983
- Tax, registration 2,72,145
- Extended warranty 26,549
- TCS 20,286
- Fastag 500
- RSA (optional) 2030
- Essential Accessories (optional) 50000
- OTR 24,92,615
Thanks to TBHP, I knew RSA is already included in the standard warranty. I was also aware of spare key and swipe indicators not being delivered.
I politely asked SA about the insurance amount being much higher. Usual tactics of buying insurance from outside won’t work in case of a claim. I politely said the same insurance I will get which has a tie-up with the dealership. And he knew, I am not going to budge. He agreed on buying outside insurance of my choice. I didn’t opt for optional accessories except for mud flaps, 3D mats, touch screen guard and car cover. This brought down my total OTR to 24,25,000. I am no good at negotiations or haggling. Couldn’t make the dealer throw some freebies.
I bought Tata AIG insurance – 16,40,000 IDV with below add-ons at Rs 66,888
- Zero dep
- Engine cover
- Key replacement
- Emergency transport and hotel expenses
I know the IDV is on the lower side, but I chose it to save on the insurance premium amount. I don’t see a point in keeping IDV higher when I have an RTI cover. Also, as confirmed by my insurance agent, IDV can be increased in subsequent years if I wish to.
I opted for Bank of Baroda for an 18L car loan. My CIBIL being 803, got the lowest floating ROI of 7.05%. Did PDI, didn’t have time to check everything as per TBHP checklist. But decoded VIN – it’s Jan 2022 manufactured car. ODO had 36 kms. MRF tyres showed 5221 stamp indicating Dec 2021 manufacturing. Checked for any paint damages but couldn’t see much as car was dusty. Sat in, fired her up! Checked AC, music system, sunroof etc. Pleasantly surprised to see my car had a spare key and swiping indicators.
On the auspicious day of Gudhi Padwa, 2nd April, brought my XUV home! I received the registration number on 26th Mar itself. The dealer was pushing me to take early delivery. But I decided to wait till 2nd April. There were 80 deliveries planned that day. As a result, there was no cake cutting or feature explanation. All dealer staff was busy, my car wasn’t cleaned properly, let aside polish, it had some stain on the passenger side leather dashboard, some minor pen marks on the body. I had anticipated this so didn’t bother much. All those marks got removed in the subsequent wash. We all went around 11.30PM, I was handed over documents which included invoices, tax paid receipts, payment receipts, booklet, and keys. Dealer had arranged garland, and coconut. After breaking the coconut, and clicking pics, we were good to go. I handed over a gift and some sweets to my SA.
XUV had a good amount of fuel left – DTE showed 100 kms. We went to the temple to seek the almighty’s blessings and returned home. Called it a day.
Odo while compiling this review: 1000kms including highways, ghats, city traffic.
- 200 BHP, smooth, refined mStallion motor (ok, I know it’s 197! Don’t kill me.)
- More than satisfactory gear shifts. Powerful engine masks its shortcomings (yet to test its potential due to run-in period)
- I never thought I will write this, but ultra-light steering (Figo’s HPS vs XUV’s EPS is a day and night difference!)
- Comparatively easy to manevour despite its size
- Commanding seating position and view from driver’s seat
- Excellent ride quality, ability to soak up bumps. Feels indestructible from inside
- Welcome gesture – driver’s seat lowers, moves back on the door opening, goes back to set position once the door is closed! Same thing repeats when the driver opens the door from inside after shutting off the engine (though I don’t get why it goes back to set position when there is no one seated, and car is locked, it can very well remain retracted, lowered?).
- Skyroof – extra-large, throws in a good amount of light
- Space in first and second rows
- ICE – lots of features, settings and customizations
- Convenience voice command offers, very useful features like TPMS, ADAS, auto headlamps and wipers etc.
Things which should have been better:
Lack of some features – No drive modes when diesel gets it, no ventilated seats, no sports mode with paddle shifters etc.• At this price point it should get full-size spare alloy wheel• Seats should have more under-thigh support• Some door handle remains flipped occasionally even after on move• Heavy bonnet requires hydraulic struts which are missing• A bit more boot space when 7 seats are up• Third row seat recline is possible only via the boot. Not cool!• Alexa takes 5-10 mins to activate after the vehicle starts
• Vodafone e-sim is unreliable affecting Alexa and other features requiring internet
I was promised a software version update with Android auto-activation and home visit for a features demo within 2-3 days post-delivery. Received a call from dealer’s customer care executive, asking for delivery feedback, SA knowledge, vehicle cleanliness etc. Though I had a few things to say, I ignored and rated them 9/10.
As KYC was not done, Adrenox app showed KYC pending. I observed AESB (auto emergency braking) is off, and the option was disabled in ICE at the time of delivery. KYC was done on 4th April, I was able to log in to Adrenox app, and could see the option activated in my car. Adrenox app is supercool. It has a lot of information and remote controls for the car.
On 5th April I went to service center to update the software. It took some 45 mins-1 hr. Post which android auto was enabled in my car. This entire 1 hr car’s engine was idling.
The demo happened on 13th April. It was quick. Alexa wasn’t responding. He disconnected -ve battery terminal for 5 mins and then reconnected. It did trouble because of network and issues. Signed out of the account and reconnected Alexa. It started working. Hope this never repeats. He was not clear on for how many years Adrenox subscription is free.
Received personal WhatsApp ping from dealer’s GM, giving all necessary contacts including himself. Nice gesture!
- To my eyes, XUV looks sophisticated. Considering its Mahindra, they have really toned down the styling, design language. New logo grows on you and looks good with the grill lines merging with bonnet, headlights giving 3D effect. The bulges on the bonnet give it some muscle. DRLs are massive, bright even under the bright sun. Mirror casing should have been more stylish.
- The tailgate is well executed. If you look closely, placement of twin peaks logo looks like an afterthought. It houses a rearview camera. I don’t like how they have placed XUV7OO, AX7 monikers. More thought should have gone behind it. Though I like the font chosen for XUV letters.
The taillights look good, especially during the night with swiping indicators. It looks like a jet on top and its mirror image below it.
Notice the bonnet scoop
- Move to the side and resemblance to XUV5OO is apparent. Not a bad thing at all. It looks way better and differentiates itself from 5OO. While 5OO has beefier wheel arches, 7OO gets none. Appreciate what Mahindra has done with door handles. Gives cleaner look. 18-inch 235/60 arrow shot alloys look good. I like the MX5 alloy design as well.
- Side profile looks good to my eyes. Roof caves in towards the rear. The shoulder line and whisker on the doors.
- New Mahindra logo grows on you over time.
- I quite like how the grill line seamlessly merges with DRLs. I feel the headlights could have been more chiselled. Current ones look unnecessarily fat from some angles.
- Shut lines are consistent, except around the bonnet area. Fit and finish is respectable.
- XUV gets warning lamps on the door. It misses out on projection lights.
- Headlamp gets follow me home function and remains lit for 5-10 secs after you lock the car.
- Rated GC is more than sufficient, and you never have to worry about body scrapping on bad roads, speed breakers.
- XUV gets underbody protection.
- Bonnet is heavy and lifting it can replace your dumbbells. Opening the bonnet automatically starts flashing the hazard light. Engine bay is clean. Gets proper insulation.
- You need a step to access the roof. Gets a shark fin antenna at the back. Rear is flanked with an integrated spoiler. It also hides the rear wiper spray nozzle.
- Skyroof (as Mahindra calls it) is massive. It lets in a good amount of air and light.
- Fuel lid is integrated with central locking and can be opened by a press when the car is unlocked.
- Door opens wide for easy ingress. Easy entry requires footsteps pertaining to the height of the car
- First glance at the interiors gives a wow feeling!
- Beige/white interiors and a massive sunroof lit up the ambience. Touchscreen like Mercedes looks lovely and is well executed. While the white portion is made up of soft leather, the top is hard plastic. The glovebox and other plastic bits are of acceptable quality.
- Indicator and wiper stocks are chunky, and of good quality. The front seats are broad and hold you in place with side bolstering.
- You get physical buttons to adjust AC, mode, fan speed, temperature control. The button pallet in front of the gear lever is tacky. There is a large space for a mobile phone and a slot to keep another.
- The rotary button like the BMW’s feels flimsy to touch and use. Though it works as intended.
- Must say, gear lever should have been more premium looking. The current one looks very mundane.
- Flat bottom steering is hick, good to hold and feather-light. It’s leather-wrapped and provides a good grip. Right side gets the buttons to operate cruise controls and various menus on the dashboard. Whereas left side gets buttons to answer calls, seek, select source of music, volume controls and mute.
Slot to keep mobile while charging
- Driver seat is powered with controls sitting on door. It gets 2 memory settings. The top button to adjust neck restraint is a dummy.
- Driver side door also houses ubiquitous window controls, outside mirror adjustment, rear window roll lock and auto mirror fold buttons. Only driver side window is one touch. It has space to store knick-knacks and water bottles.
- The sunroof control panel. Slight nudge on the button opens only the cover whereas a long dab opens the sunroof.
Close look at seat cover leather. Seat cooling is sorely missed!
The gaps where dashboard meets door
Top view of the glovebox. It’s cooled to the extent that it damped my notes in the wallet.
- Rear seat is wide enough to accommodate 3 healthy adults. Middle passenger gets a fixed headrest. Leg space is good. Thigh support is satisfactory. There is foldable hand rest with cup holders. ISO fix points given. Seat can be reclined but can’t be moved back and forth.
- Rear A/C vents with charging point, slot provided for mobile. No flow control knob here. Middle hump is not intrusive. There is a boss mode lever on the front passenger seat which can be operated from back seat for maximizing comfort.
View from the middle row
Sunroof lives up to its name
- Rear door gets a bottle holder, grab handle with piano black finish
- Third row occupants get individual cup holders with a knob to control A/C air flow. 12V socket is seen. Hooks to fasten luggage in case the need arises.
- Very little boot space with 3 rows up. Third row recline is possible via boot.
- Third row is ok for short adults and kids on longer journeys. With no space for luggage, the only option is to go for a roof carrier which isn’t possible with a massive sunroof.
Build Quality, Fit & Finish
- Doors, bonnet are hefty, have a good amount of weight associated with them. Tailgate, made up of composite, though feels lighter is in no way flimsy. Barring a few places, shut lines are consistent. When you are sitting inside, you do feel safe. The shell is built to last and can take abuses Indian road conditions throw at it. Haven’t experienced any rattle so far. Just like my Figo.
- On the inside, material used is satisfactory. Beige interiors are bound to get dirty over time but they do enhance the cabin feel.
Engine and Gearbox
- mStallion motor which makes 197 BHP and 380 NM is very refined. NVH are well controlled. Slight dab on the pedal and she rolls, well-controlled in a linear fashion. But don’t slot her in D or R immediately after the cold start. If you do, she jumps and scares the hell out of you! Let a minute pass and then she is docile.
- I do take off my foot and allow the engine to change gear or maintain rpms.
- Occasionally I drive my father’s Figo 1.5 DCT. If you are very observant, the difference between TC and DCT is apparent, in the way both boxes work. TC – you experience fluid drive and slight delay it causes whereas DCT drive feels instant. You don’t even notice it otherwise. But when you drive back to back, you can feel it.
- When the engine is caught off guard, say downward sudden slope on the road, gearbox drops a gear, and rpm shoots with engine whine. This lasts for a couple of seconds and becomes irritating. You have an option to slot gear lever in M and change gears. There is no sports mode provided.
- XUV is an excellent mile muncher and shines on the highway. She can make triple-digit speeds without breaking a sweat. In gear acceleration is class. Slight press of throttle and she overtakes in no time. I can only imagine at this point in time how hard pressing on the pedal will feel like. It would be for sure pinning in the seat feeling. Turbo kick is addictive on gasoline! Higher rev nature of gasoline aids in enjoying the power band. No drama, vibrations, creamy power delivery really elevates the experience. It leaves diesel engine miles behind in terms of refinement.
- I am yet to push her to limits owning to run-in period. Can’t wait to experience the rush!
Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)
- Being petrol it’s refined, you can hardly hear any engine noise in the cabin. I haven’t come across any vibrations on the pedal or gear lever. One thing though – the IRVM experiences slight vibrations distorting rear view a bit. This is not the case in my Figo. Not sure if it has to do with IRVM mount.
- At cold start, slight engine noise can be heard but that’s matter of few seconds. While idling at the signals, it’s hard to tell if the engine is running. I do hear engine inside the cabin when revs shot up above 2.5k due to selection of wrong gear. I suspect this has more to do with run-in period and eventually will smooth out.
- I find the engine tuning is not the way I experienced in test drive car. Test drive car had killer acceleration whereas in my car it is muted. Or may be I am gentle with my car while pressing pedal.
- Cruising on the highway at triple-digit speeds, with windows rolled up, feels like I am gliding! Soothing experience.
- Road noise makes way inside cabin above 100 kmph. Nothing disturbing though.
- XUV gets insulation sheets in all wheel wells. Bonnet gets full insulation and firewall insulation.
- Underbody protection is in place covering engine, gearbox which is a very welcome move.
Ride and Handling
- Ride is composed over all kinds of roads. It soaks undulations pretty well and inspires confidence to carry speed on broken roads or undulations.
- Large craters or potholes upset its stance if you try to ride over them at speed. But nothing concerning.
- During test drives, Safari felt more robust in taking bad roads.
- Thing to experience when you upgrade from low slung hatch to SUV – you no more slowdown at normal speed breakers, potholes. You just dismiss them with aplomb! Without scraping the underbelly or suspension bottoming out.
- One very apparent observation over Figo, XUV feels very comfortable over long journeys. The inside space around in every direction, tall sitting, long travel suspension, ground clearance really helps. You don’t get tired or fatigued even after a long hour’s drive. Even driving under the hot sun is no more taxing. XUV keeps us cool all time. Drives are stress-free.
- Equally holds true for passengers. We are very much satisfied on this front. Worth the penny spent. Don’t think I will go back to a sedan or a hatch for long drives.
- Steering is very light. I can nip in and out of the traffic gaps easily. Body roll is well controlled. And steering never feels disconnected. Well done Mahindra. Of course, driving Figo with HPS on the curves is a different story. But XUV isn’t far behind in its class. Ford’s engineers have definitely helped here.
- Now I find every other steering heavy!
Steering and braking
- Steering is feather-light. And somehow it does not feel disconnected like a typical Hyundai does. I am scared to drive this behemoth faster at corners even if it can. I let go off the throttle. Can’t really compare it with Figo’s brilliant HPS.
- Otherwise I find this steering smooth. Flat bottom is nice to have, twin pikes logo flanked in the middle. After I drove Harrier / Safari, XUV’s steering was a revelation.
- Brakes are satisfactory. I would have liked more bite. I am yet to experience hard braking scenarios but definitely it could have done away with more bite. Again comparing with Figo’s excellent brake set-up despite having only front discs; XUV brakes should have been more communicative and sharp. When ADAS brakes, it feels sharp.
- I haven’t driven this car in congested city traffic much. Mostly I have driven it on highway 70% and city 30%. MID shows 10-11 kmpl which is very good for a car of this size having 200 BHP turbo-petrol engine under the hood. I haven’t measured fuel efficiency by the tank full method. Adrenox allows you to maintain fuel diary recording amount of fuel filled in, amount you spent on it.
- Reading about fuel vapour issue on this forum, I have never filled her to the brim.
- Alexa vanishes after a few days. Alexa icon becomes unresponsive.
- Adrenox app is unable to store my insurance PDF file stating format is not supported.
Fingers crossed for niggle free ownership!
Keyword: Ford Figo owner upgrades to a Mahindra XUV700: Ownership review