REVIEW | Mahindra's XUV300 compact SUV is a real value proposition for SA buyers

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 • Mahindra launched its highly-anticipated XUV300 earlier in 2022. 
 • The vehicle was set to arrive in 2019 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
 • If you're looking for a good compact SUV, the XUV300 has several highlights. 

Mahindra keeps on surprising and delighting South African car buyers, and it's no different with their latest XUV300 which makes for a compelling argument as a decent compact SUV offering in the local market. 

Their product design and quality progress have been steady, so their styling is now as good as past models. 

It's taken a while to get to SA due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but since it's arrival, it has been making waves for the Indian automaker.

2022 Mahindra XUV300
2022 Mahindra XUV300

The XUV300 is a fundamental value proposition, it has all the not-so-basic bells and whistles, and they work well and are easy to use. The car feels solid, and the materials in the cabin are not shabby or cheap looking. Performance and handling are on par with its direct competition (rivals are mentioned at the bottom of this article).

REVIEW | Mahindra XUV300 1.5TD W8 holistically impressive as range relaunches in SA

The exterior of the XUV300 is well balanced and neat, and although some may say bland, I think it will age well. It is different enough to stand out but not too different from being controversial. I personally like it.

2022 Mahindra XUV300
2022 Mahindra XUV300

Inside is functional more than luxurious. The lower or W6 trim level offers air conditioning, electric windows, power steering with Smart Steering, premium black fabric trim, electrically adjustable side mirrors and central locking. There are plenty of cup holders and nooks and crannies.

The W8 specification level adds dual-zone climate control with three pre-set memory settings, keyless access with a start-stop button and automatic headlights.

2022 Mahindra XUV300
2022 Mahindra XUV300

The infotainment system, which is very easy to use, has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration on the W8 and has in-built turn-by-turn navigation with regional maps as standard across the range.

The BlueSense App tracks the driver's driving patterns and scores them on a set of environmentally friendly metrics to help one drive more economically. It is a fun way of learning to drive smoother and, consequently, more economically.

There are two engine choices: a new three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbo-petrol unit, which delivers 81kW at 5 000 r/min and 200Nm of torque between 2 000 r/min and 3 500 r/min. 

The second engine option is a four-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo-diesel that delivers 85.8kW at 3 750 r/min and 300Nm in a flat band between 1 500 r/min and 2 500 r/min. This is the one we drove, and I recommend it as it delivers a combination of good economy and above-average performance.

2022 Mahindra XUV300
2022 Mahindra XUV300

The manual box translates into pleasant pulling power and drivability with expected fuel consumption of around 6.0 litres/100km in general town and country driving. The car's behaviour on the road is at least on par with the competition. I liked the set-up and felt it had just the right amount of stiffness without sacrificing comfort.

The W8 trim is really pleasant and translates into value for money motoring. You also get peace of mind with a great warranty and service plan. The other point in the brand's favour is that they have a small local assembly plant, so you effectively get the factory back up.

2022 Mahindra XUV300 rear legroom
2022 Mahindra XUV300 rear legroom

Pricing is from R255 000 for the W6 petrol model to R337 00 for the 1.5 TD W8 we tested.

All versions of the XUV300 have a five-year / 150 000km warranty, 24/7 standard Roadside Assistance, plus a maintenance plan for five years or 90 000km.

Suppose you're in the market for this type of vehicle; in that case, you might also want to consider the following cars: 
 - The recently refreshed Ford EcoSport Active model
 - Fiat 500 X
 - Citroen C3 Aircross
 - The best-selling Suzuki Brezza or Toyota Urban Cruiser
 - The very tough and frugal Renault Duster
 - And, the Volkswagen T-Cross.

This article was first published in the District Mail community newspaper, a division of Media24.

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