Mahindra seems to surprise us and the shocker of a price tag (Rs 11.9 lakh) for the starting variant has only increased interest for the XUV700. We have been waiting for this SUV for years and Mahindra now is making up for lost time with a product that manages to live up to the hype. With this pricing, you might be wondering, who is the XUV700 going up against? Well, with 5 seater and 7 seater variants the plan is to rival the compact SUVs and also the three-row SUVs in one go. Hence the XUV700 comes with multiple variants, options to have a 5 seater or 7, two engine options, and also optional features divided into packs. We drove the fully loaded AX7 version in both diesel and petrol automatic form for a full day to find out how good the new XUV700 is.
ExteriorThe XUV700 is a smart design and carries the best of the XUV500 but in a new avatar. You recognize it as a Mahindra but it is easily distinguishable as the new one. It is bigger than the XUV500 at a length of 4695mm and also quite wide with a width of 1755mm. It looks big and muscular along with being designed just about right. It is not designed with too many lines or tries too hard. I love the front-end the most where the new logo looks fantastic along with the LED headlamps with the new light signature and the DRLs coming down from them. It gives the XUV700 a strong visual identity. The grille is finished in black and while huge, looks proportionate and comes finished with vertical bars.The side is smooth in design and the smart door handles (an option) adds to the clean look since they remain hidden in the body work and pop out when unlocked. The SUV stands tall while the AX7 gets 18inch alloys. There is of course cladding, a skid plate and roof rails but it is not done too much. The rear though is much different from the XUV500 with massive angular tail-lamps. We do like the way it looks and it does have a presence.
InteriorThe interior shocked me and how it is different from the earlier XUV500. Mahindra has gone in for a pure luxury SUV look which it has carried off. I love the clean dash along with the light colours used. The wood finish to the soft-touch dashboard is very well executed while below the twin displays, you get physical buttons too. The quality and design is the best I have seen on any Mahindra yet and it belongs to the premium SUV class.Back to the tech and features, the XUV700 packs in two 10.25-inch displays joined together and again it’s done very well. The driver display is digital and you can change the view or access a lot of information including the ADAS autonomous tech which we will talk about later while it also has the around view monitor which shows the view of the side in which you have put on the indicators. The touch screen is reasonably slick and is easy to use while display clarity is very good. The infotainment system comes with in-built Alexa and it understands English or Hinglish too while you can pretty much control all features.The touch screen also has wireless smartphone connectivity along with a 360-degree view camera with a 3D feature- the display again is something we see on SUVs costing Rs 50 lakh plus. Other features include dual-zone climate control, the largest panoramic sunroof, powered driver’s seat with memory, wireless charging, air purifier, electronic parking brake, etc. The XUV700 is a connected car and also has in-built apps- around 60 of them!One of my favourite bits is the Sony 3d audio system with 12 speakers including a subwoofer and the sound quality, in particular, is brilliant to say the least. Space is pretty good with a large cabin along with ample legroom and headroom in the second row, however, some more thigh support would have been better and individual captain seats are not available as well. That said, do note you can move the front passenger seat for more space being on the second row with a lever. The third row is decent in space too.
SafetySafety is an important consideration and here the XUV700 gets 7 airbags, the surround-view monitor, 360-degree cameras with sensors, traction control, hill-hold control, roll over mitigation, etc. The talking point though is the autonomous level 1 tech which is first in class. The ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) has features like forward collision warning or auto emergency brake where it will brake after the first warning of a potential collision. Then there is a lane departure warning and lane-keep assist where the car beeps and corrects the steering even. There is also Adaptive cruise control where it follows the car in the front and you do not need to use the brakes or throttle. There is also traffic sign recognition plus speed alerts which you can customize by having it in the voice of your loved ones or even booster headlamps which come on after 80 kmph to add in poor lighting conditions.
DrivingThe XUV700 gives you two options with a 2.0l turbo petrol which develops 200PS/380Nm along with a 22.l diesel which in AX variant develops 185PS/450Nm for automatic diesel while the manual AX diesel makes 420Nm. There is 155PS/360Nm diesel for the MX trim too. We drove the top-end diesel automatic and first impressions were positive. This version gets AWD too. The diesel, while a bit noisy at start, settles down well and becomes refined at speed. The 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox is well adapted too. We drove the SUV in the city and here the engine was smooth along with the torque made the driving experience effortless. Lag is minimal at best and instant overtaking is easy. There are no paddle shifters but you can shift manually via the gear lever.
The low-speed ride is superb too along with the ease of driving which the steering gives you. Despite its size, the XUV700 is easy to use in the city. The big change is with the handling too where body roll is down and compared to the XUV500, it is a huge leap forward. The high-speed stability is impressive as well as we drove it at high triple-digit speeds with ease. Off-roading with the diesel was also impressive with the XUV700 since due to its ground clearance and torquey engine, going anywhere is not an issue.
VerdictThere is no doubt that the XUV700 is an impressive vehicle with very few flaws at all. Plus add in the pricing and it becomes a very tempting offering. For us, the new styling, the interior, and the features along with the dynamics is what makes it a big change from the XUV500. Prices for the AX7 tested here are not out but it will undercut rivals and that means the XUV700 is a highly recommended SUV that will change this 10-25 lakh space. What we like- Fantastic pricing (of the 5 seater variants), features, technology, value, engine and performance, interiors, looks, 4WD What we do not- no paddle shifters, no 6-seater variant with individual captain seats