At the name revealing event of the Mahindra XUV300 yesterday, the company claimed their new compact SUV (so far known by its code S201) would offer fun-to-drive performance and first in segment hi-tech features. We didn’t take this with a pinch of salt and instead started our research. While they gave us (all media houses) just one cabin picture for reference, it still helped us crack this – the XUV300 will be the first mass segment car to get ‘smart steer’ tech.
We zoomed into the cabin picture and saw a strange icon right below the audio system. The same icon is present in the Ssangyong Tivoli as well. For the uninitiated, Mahindra owns a majority stake in Korean car maker Ssangyong and the baby XUV is heavily based on the Tivoli. This Korean SUV also gets a feature they call as ‘Smart Steer’ and the same is represented by this icon. So what does this system do?
The smart steer is a lot like your driving modes. The Nexon gets Sport, City and Eco driving modes which alter the performance of the engine. Likewise, the smart steer technology alters the way your steering behaves. Drivers can pick between Normal, Comfort and Sport and the switch to activate / toggle between the modes is located in the central fascia, under the touch-screen interface and hence the icon. As the names suggest, these modes will probably make the steering feedback sharper / duller or will weigh it up more or less depending on the mode you pick. Either which way, the XUV300 should be a great car in terms of dynamics we feel. Way to go Mahindra!
This sub 4 m SUV will be launched in the second half of Feb’19 and will lock horns with the segment leader Vitara Breeza. It will also rival the Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon and its own sibling, the TUV300. Mahindra is clearly marketing this as a premium compact SUV and hence it might carry a higher price tag as compared to other options. But with so much on offer, including as many as 7 airbags, all four disc brakes, dual zone climate control etc, the XUV300 will justify its price tag. It will be offered with a choice of a 1.2-litre turbo petrol and a 1.5-litre turbo diesel unit – both the engines will come with a manual gearbox to start with and the diesel will churn out the highest torque in the segment. Talk about fun-to-drive performance, eh?