Exclusive: First drive with Mahindra’s new mini Xylo!

Plenty of spy pictures of the new Mahindra mini Xylo have been floating around online, with the vehicle due for launch later this year. CarToq, thanks to an avid reader and well-wisher, brings you an exclusive sneak preview of the mini Xylo.

The CarToq member not only got a fresh set of pictures of the Mini Xylo, but he has actually driven the vehicle. The vehicle he drove, he says, had a 3-cylinder diesel engine, but Mahindra did not divulge the cubic capacity or the power specifications of the engine. The vehicle retains its rear-wheel drive configuration. The three-cylinder diesel is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

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Spy Photo: The Mahindra Mini Xylo will be under 4 metres in length and will be a 5-seater

Looks

The mini Xylo that our reader drove was completely masked, and so very little of the external detailing was visible to him. However, on the insides, he confirmed that the mini Xylo is a 5-seater only, with the complete boot section of the present Xylo removed.

The area behind the rear seat has two small quarter glasses and the boot space is comparable to a large hatchback, or slightly more due to the height of the Xylo. At the rear, there appear to be some modifications to the tail-lamp design, and the reverse lamps are integrated into the bumper. The spare wheel has now been moved to the boot door, as there isn’t enough space under the vehicle, after shortening the length.

The Xylo our reader drove is obviously a pre-production version and the interiors were similar to the present Xylo. However, he found the car to be slightly lower than the present one, and we think that is because of the use of smaller wheels and tyres. From the pictures they look like 14-inch wheels.

In profile, the area up to the C-pillar is identical to the present Xylo, which means this is going to be a very spacious vehicle, as the front and rear seat legroom will be the same as the present Xylo – and that’s very spacious.

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Spy Photo: The 14-inch spare wheel will be mounted on the sideways opening boot door of the mini Xylo

Ride and handling

During the short drive in the Xylo, the vehicle apparently was very refined and did not feel underpowered at all. The shorter length and the lesser weight definitely play a role here. The car felt pretty compact, though the driving position is quite high, giving a good view of the road. When driving in a straight line, one can forget it’s the mini Xylo, until one glances in the rear view mirror and notices the short length.

The people associated with testing the mini Xylo said the vehicle consistently gave them mileage of over 18 kmpl, making this an extremely fuel-efficient vehicle. We think this will not only find favor with individual buyers and small families, but will also have the city-taxi market sitting up and taking notice.

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Spy Photo: The Mini Xylo's boot section will house a small quarter glass. Boot space is comparable or even better than the largest hatchbacks.

Price and positioning

At the moment, there’s nothing else like it in the market, except probably for the Premier Rio, which sells in miniscule numbers. The Rio is based on the Chinese Zotye and is priced ranging from Rs. 5.25 lakh to Rs. 5.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune). It hasn’t really caught on and lacks a BS-IV complaint version which means it cannot be sold in Metros.

Mahindra, on the other hand, will be looking to capture a large chunk of the market, as the vehicle will be BS-IV compliant right from launch, and the bigger Xylo has already become quite popular. The key lies in the pricing of the vehicle. We think that if Mahindra could price the vehicle from just under Rs. 4 lakh up to Rs. 5.5 lakh, it will be quite popular, as it opens up a whole new segment of vehicles in the Indian market. And being under 4 metres in length, it qualifies for excise duty sops similar to small cars, allowing for very aggressive pricing.

CarToq expects this vehicle to be launched at the end of the year. At present, it’s only going by the name “mini Xylo”, but we think Mahindra will have a fresh name to differentiate this vehicle from its larger sibling at launch.