Mahindra has had a presence in South Africa for over a decade now, and the automaker mainly sells its utility vehicles in that part of the world. The KUV100 micro SUV and the XUV500 luxury SUV are recently introduced vehicles in South Africa. A woman journalist of that country – Juliet Mcguire – took a spin in both the SUVs and here’s her impressions about the KUV100 and the XUV500. First, the XUV500.
The XUV500 sold in India is available with two engine options – a 2.2 liter turbocharged petrol and a 2.2 liter turbocharged diesel. Both engines are four cylinder units, with the petrol motor making 140 Bhp-320 Nm while the diesel puts out 155 Bhp-360 Nm.
A 6 speed manual gearbox is standard with the diesel, and is sold with front wheel drive and all wheel drive options. The diesel engine also gets a 6 speed torque converter automatic gearbox as an option. As for the turbo petrol engine, a 6 speed automatic gearbox is standard.
The XUV500 is a 7 seater, and is built on a monocoque platform. The SUV is feature-rich and one of the best priced 7 seat models in India. In India, the XUV500’s prices start from Rs. 12.88 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi. The XUV500 is available in a wide variety of variants, 12 at last count. It rivals the likes of the Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier and the Jeep Compass. The XUV500 will be replaced by an all-new model next year. The 2nd generation SUV will get a full design revamp along with new engines and gearboxes.
The KUV100 – India’s first micro SUV – is now available in South Africa as well. The SUV gets 2 engine options – both turbocharged, 3 cylinder units displacing 1.2 liters each. The petrol motor makes 84 Bhp-115 Nm while the diesel puts out 74 Bhp-190 Nm. Both engines get 5 speed manual gearboxes as standard and automated manual transmissions as options. A front wheel drive layout is standard on this monocoque, micro SUV which has a unique 6 seat format squeezed into a sub-4 meter form factor.
The KUV100’s front seat can accommodate three people, with a foldable bench seat that doubles up as an arm-rest. The rear seat is a conventional bench seat that can accommodate three. The KUV100 is meant to be an alternative to budget hatchbacks such as the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10. It’s spacious, drives taller and also has ample ground clearance. These factors make it a decent city runabout. In terms of dynamics though, it’s nowhere close to the likes of the Swift and the Grand i10, and the KUV100 does not feel very well put together. This is what the reviewer also says.