I had some doubts before the Mahindra XUV300 arrived in our fleet before lockdown, but it has been proving me wrong.
Despite not being able to drive much, and with the closest grocery store merely two kilometres away, the most I can enjoy about the car is its view outside my window and the fact that it's hardly even using any fuel.
Having driven the XUV300 a couple of times since its local launch last year, it's definitely changed my perspective of the Indian automaker's products of late. This particular vehicle is proof that the brand has been listening to customer feedback and improved vastly on their build-quality, as well as fit-and-finish.
While it's not a complete stunner as one would expect from perhaps an exotic sports car, its looks are more than suffice and dare I say, even appealing to the eye. It sure turns heads every day as those who brave the trip outdoors for the essential run to the store.
The fact that it's an Indian product still takes most people by surprise and said people always have been keen to enquire about the XUV300, way before lockdown. They want to look and touch the car inside, think it's a good-looking vehicle and want to know what it costs, and how it runs on fuel.
Image: Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post
Inside there are leather seats, so despite the material being off-white, it's not too much of a concern when you have a toddler as it's effortless to wipe clean. The fascia is clean and uncluttered, the fit and finish on the two-tone dash is a huge step up from previous models, and plastics are good and sturdy. There aren't any gaping gaps between panels, and nothing feels like it's going to fall apart either - which is usually an issue with more affordable vehicles. Not this one.
It's also incredibly spacious in the rear for passengers, and there are straps behind the front seats instead of pockets. My daughter always has books and stationery as carry-ons whenever we go anywhere, along with a stuffed teddy, and these straps make for great space savers for these items when we're on the road. Plus, it's easy for her to reach out of her car seat too. There's also a decent-sized boot, plenty of large cupholders and smaller compartments all over inside the car.
The 1.5-litre diesel version we have on long-term test hasn't been to the fuel station in a very long time, not just because we live right outside a shopping mall, but because it is genuinely fuel-efficient. Mahindra claims a 5.0-litre/100km fuel consumption, and since the only driving we're doing now is less than four kilometres per trip to the grocery store, and those trips are usually a slow drive, fuel consumption is even lower at 4.6-litres/100km.
It has 86kW and a generous 300Nm which is a boon on the open road and for quick overtaking. Gear changes from the six-speed manual gearbox are smooth and fast, and the car is always enthusiastic to get going.
I can't wait to get behind the wheels again as I have become a bit obsessed with seeing just how much I can lower the fuel consumption. I'm also keen to see how wear and tear pan out during the next couple of months.