• The Mahindra XUV300 is finding favour with more South Africans.
• It comes loaded with standard features.
• The infotainment system has a trove of hidden gems that makes the XUV300 a value-for-money offering.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
The Mahindra XUV could come across pretty plain and simple if you had to sneak a peek through its windows. I'm am still surprised that even though this vehicle has been in our local market for close to two years, people still stop me and ask about it, or to take a look inside.
The fascia is uncluttered, there are not too many buttons on the centre console, and it looks relatively straightforward to use. And, I rather enjoy a minimalist approach from automakers. The party starts once you hit the 'home' button on the infotainment screen, and you'll feel like a child opening a lucky packet.
There might not be too much else to write home about inside the XUV300, but that's not a bad thing. And in fact, there are little quirks that make the car attractive. There's the threaded rope behind the front two seats which makes for a smart space to tuck in teddy bears or dolls that happen to drive along with the kids. It also makes a great space for mobile tablets or drawing books and art pencil cases. Yes, that's normal in our family, even if we're just popping down the road to the grocery store.
2020 Mahindra XUV300 interior (Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post)
Treats on the screen
But it's when you take a look at the infotainment display on the dash where you realise you might want to ride shotgun to play around with all the treats on the screen.
There's a standard sat-navigation system which is user-friendly, and it's great to know you have that technology available in an affordable vehicle without any extra costs.
I remember in recent years when you wanted to find out about a specific feature in a vehicle, how we would page through the manual handbook in the cubbyhole. The XUV300 has an electronic manual loaded onto its infotainment, so when you're sitting in your driveway at home or parked anyway else, you can easily navigate through the car's handbook. Each category has a short explainer video for you to watch. And because Mahindra has safety high on its priority list, you can only watch these videos when the car is stationary.
The XUV300 is also very fuel-efficient, and probably one of the most frugal cars I have driven all year. The vehicle also comes with an eco-scoring system which rates how economically you drive and gives you a score out of 100 points; it also shows you an instantaneous score in real-time. So it shows how heavy your foot is on the accelerator, or how pedal-happy you are on the brakes. It does so by monitoring your speed, gear selection, acceleration, and idling.
There's also Apply CarPlay and Android Auto to connect your mobile device. This, too, can only be connected when the vehicle is stationary to keep the driver from being distracted.
So while it might look like a plain vanilla cake, there's a bunch of tasty treats inside.
2020 Mahindra XUV300 1.5TD W8 (Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond)