REVIEW: Is the Mahindra XUV500 a viable alternative to the mighty Fortuner?

For R430 000 there is a vast list of new vehicles to choose from.

Be it a hatchback, sedan, MPV, or even a double cab bakkie. But the last couple of years the market swayed quite drastically towards SUVs and almost all automakers have been jumping on board to get a piece of the pie.

The trouble is that in the pursuit of wanting to be the best and offering the most comprehensive package, SUVs tend to become a bit expensive. You pay for all those features, and in some cases you have to fork out additional cash for said features.

As motoring scribes, we are often in the fortunate position of sampling nearly all the vehicles the market has to offer and, to a very large degree, it gives us great insights as to what’s on the table.

Take this Mahindra XUV500 W10, for example. It’s a big SUV, offers seating for seven people, is equipped with leather seats, has satellite navigation, a rear-view camera, hill descent control with downhill brake control, and a sunroof. Everything standard!

The list of features is long, but if anything, it highlights one thing: you don’t have to sell your left kidney to acquire one.

Affordable alternative

Given its size and position in the market, the XUV500 does, to some degree, compete against the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Everest. On the basis of the rivals’ entry-level automatic diesel models, the W10, is the XUV500's range topper, at R71 000 more affordable than the Everest and R87 000 cheaper than the Fortuner! Yet, it has a greater list of standard features and equally as much comfort. This W10 retails for R428 499.

Despite being down on power, the drive in the XUV500 is still pretty decent. It’s powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine that’s good for 103kW and 330Nm of torque, and that power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. Fuel consumption is rated as 7.4-litres/100km and on its 70L fuel tank you should see a traveling range of about 940km. 

We’re so used to wanting to have the finest; wanting to spend our money on the best names. There’s nothing wrong with it, but a greater understanding of the market will go a long way in making a sound purchasing decision. There’s a reason why the Fortuner is a best-seller in South Africa, but the XUV500 has to rate up there as one of the better value-for-money packages.

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