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Old 10th February 2014, 12:50   #1
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Thumbs up Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

I am happy to introduce my pet, Purple Cheetah - also known as Mahindra XUV 500 W8 FWD Opulent Purple - the first diesel, the first cross-over/soft-roader/SUV or whatever it is called, and the last, but not the least, the first Mahindra in my life.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-4.jpg

After driving my XUV 500 for 3,484 km, I like the following:
  • Amazing power [140 bhp] and torque [330 Nm] of 2.2 litre mHawk engine.
  • Cruise control: I find it extremely useful during my marathon drive. My right leg is spared of pain and sprain.
  • Double-barreled headlamps with projector low beam, LED parking lamps, static bending lamps: no dark spots in front of my XUV 500.
  • Tyre-pressure monitoring system ensures peace of mind and cautions against punctures and tyre bursts.
  • Comfortable seats that ensure bird's eye-view of the road ahead.
  • Large fuel tank of 70 litres capacity that ensures uninterrupted marathon drives.
  • Excellent safety features with 6 air bags, all disc brakes with ABS, ESP, hill hold and descent control.
  • Eco-friendly and wallet-friendly feature called micro-hybrid technology that automatically switches off the engine after 2.5 seconds in the neutral position with clutch pedal released and switches on, when the clutch pedal is depressed: very useful for the city-driving.
  • Dash-mounted MapMyIndia navigator on a large 6-inch touch-screen LCD monitor: I can easily follow the directions apart from voice guidance.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-7.jpg

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-8.jpg

I dislike the following:
  • Lack of auto-window up on the driver side: very annoying, while driving out of toll plazas.
  • Lack of protection from double-cranking.
  • Lack of instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, average speed and trip time in two trip meters. Trip meters display the distance only.
  • Driver is the only unlucky chap in not having a handle above his window. All other passengers have handles provided for their windows.
    My previous car Linea that cost about half of my XUV 500 had all the above 4 features/accessories, but a global SUV doesn't have them.
  • Irritating reflection of central faux wood on the windshield during the mid-day.
  • Not so powerful horns. My Thunderbird 500 has better horns. My Purple Cheetah just meows, as Cheetahs cannot roar!

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-9.jpg

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I took delivery of my XUV 500 on 30 December 2013 from India Garage, Anna Salai, Chennai. Since then, I did not drive XUV 500 to any temple until 8 February 2014, when she visited one of the temples of modern India, viz., Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Limited [MVML], Chakan, which is her birth-place. It was my wish that my XUV 500 should visit her birth-place first before she visits other places of worship. My wish became a reality after some days of suspense.

First, I wrote to the customer care of Mahindra expressing my wish and requesting for their permission. But, I did not get any response for my emails. Then, I wrote to Mr Anand Mahindra and Mr Pawan Goenka. I received super-fast favourable response from Mr Pawan Goenka. Immediately, Mahindra admin machinery started to work in full swing and it was agreed that we could visit Mahindra Chakan plant on 8 February 2014. Later, I booked our rooms at Hotel Sapna, JM Road, Shivaji Nagar, Pune.

Our journey to Pune started at 11:30 pm on 6 February 2014 so that we could check in at the specified time on the next day at the hotel. As mentioned earlier, I used cruise control extensively and the drive was totally free from stress and strain. We encountered fog at Kolhapur. We took about an hour's break for our morning wash and ablutions and breakfast at Sai Food Court, about 30 km away towards Pune and continued our journey. We reached Hotel Sapna at 12 noon on 7 February 2014 and took rest. When I was entering Pune, Adhikari, a Mahindra admin staff, contacted me and confirmed our programme.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-plant1.jpg

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On 8 February 2014, we were ready for our drive to Mahindra Chakan plant by 8:45 am. Adhikari called again and ascertained our programme. He was kind enough to guide me as to how to reach their plant at Chakan. He assured that we would have smooth sailing through the gate number 1 of their plant. I started driving towards Mahindra Chakan plant as guided by MapMyIndia navigator without any issue. We reached the gate number 1 of Mahindra Chakan plant by 9:45 am, where we were issued with the visitor identity cards. We were escorted to the admin block adjoining the press shop, where we met Rajesh Dubey, Adhikari and Sunny Lopez. We had tea and chatted for a while. Later, Sunny Lopez gave a presentation of Mahindra group, their products and making of XUV 500. We were informed that photography was not permitted, but we could click some photographs at some 'permitted' locations. Similarly, the paint shop was out of bounds for visitors in view of requirements of dust-free environment.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-plant4.jpg

The plant visit started at 10:30 am. We visited the press shop first, where a coil of sheet-metal was cut and stamped and pressed into required part. Heavy-duty Schuler presses were used to cut and stamp the sheets to form various body parts.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-plant5.jpg

Then, we visited the body shop, which was located in another block. Sunny Lopez escorted us in a XUV 500. My son and daughter accompanied him. I followed their XUV 500 in my XUV 500 with wife and another daughter. In the body shop, the stamped parts were put together by means of manual and robotic welding to make what they call 'body-in-white'. After completion, the 'body-in-white' was moved mechanically inside an overhead bridge with enclosure [seen in the photograph below] to the another block that housed the paint shop, which we did not visit.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-plant6.jpg

The painted bodies then arrived at the assembly lines comprising T [Trims], C [Chassis] and F [Final] lines. As the names indicate, the interior trims were fixed followed by underbody 1 and 2 lines where engine, transmission, axles and wheels were fitted, and finally all the fluids and fuel were added and tested. After completion of the making, three stages of quality tests were performed by different teams and groups. The first one was called FAI [Final Assessment Inspection], then CAI [Customer Assessment Inspection] and finally, RFI [Ready For Inspection]. After successfully passing all these tests, the brand new XUV 500 would be taken to road tests before handing over to the logistics agencies for transit. I witnessed filling all the fluids and fuel of 15 litres at the plant itself. Mahindra dealership was expected just to wash and deliver to the customers.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-plant7.jpg

The plant visit was over at 1 pm. We were hosted with lunch at their canteen. After thanking them, we returned to our hotel by 3 pm.

We checked out and left our hotel at 11:30 am on 9 February 2014 and reached our Bangalore Basaveswara Nagar home at 1 am on 10 February 2014. En route, we clicked some photographs of Suvarna Vidhana Soudha at Belagavi. My Purple Cheetah recorded a fuel efficiency of 15.6 kmpl for the entire trip, thanks to cruise control.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-plant8.jpg

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My Purple Cheetah drove from Chennai to Bangalore on 11/12 January 2014 and recorded a fuel consumption of 14.0 kmpl, perhaps due to climbing of 3,000' altitude. My previous car Linea also consumed more fuel for Chennai to Bangalore trips than the trips in the reverse direction with the same timing and route.



Now, it's time for flashback.

HOW I SELECTED MY XUV 500?

On 28 October 2013, I had test-driven XUV500 W8 FWD variant at India Garage, Anna Salai, Chennai along with my wife. Reuben, XUV500 Experience Executive, also accompanied us. In fact, he suggested that we go for a big round all the way from Anna Salai [Mount Road] to the Beach Road via Island Grounds, and then through Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, Cathedral Road, Gemini flyover, and finally, back to Anna Salai. The total distance was about 13 km comprising bumper-to-bumper traffic at Anna Salai and relatively free Beach Road. I drove in the first 4 gears in different speeds. I did not find any turbo lag at all. The ACC was bone-chilling. The engine pulling power was excellent. I tried hard-braking at couple of places on the Beach Road and I did not hear any grinding noise. The braking efficiency was very good. My wife liked XUV500 very much, more than my Linea, due to comfortable seat and ACC! I found that XUV500 W8 FWD overtakes my Linea in many respects. At that time, Arctic Blue was my favourite colour.

I had the second and the third test-drive on 31 October and 1 November 2013 respectively. I liked the micro-hybrid technology that automatically puts the engine in standby mode 2.5 seconds after stopping in neutral without pressing the clutch pedal. XUV5OO roars back if I pressed the clutch pedal again! This feature is a boon in city signalized junctions that saves the precious fuel. Contrary to popular beliefs, XUV5OO was easily maneuverable as compared to Linea. Reuben, XUV5OO Experience Executive of India Garage, managed to take a U turn in our 24' wide narrow street! My daughter liked Opulent Purple. So, I may go in for that colour.

I test-drove XUV500 W8 for the fourth time on 2 December 2013 through Anant Cars, Mysore Road, Bangalore. I almost decided on XUV500 W8 FWD Opulent Purple. But, I wanted to test-drive its competitors too before the final decision. The sales executive informed me that Mahindra would be offering the maximum discount for December, which would be announced within a couple of days.

On 4 December 2013, I test-drove Renault Duster [THP-RXZ-E3 PLUS - 110 PS top variant] at Renault Mysore Road [Trident], Bangalore. I did not find any turbo lag on the highways. I did some off-roading on a potholed, rough access road to Bangalore University's campus. Duster simply swallowed all the speed-breakers, potholes, craters and rough terrains. I would not have driven my Linea there. I felt handicapped because of lack of ACC, hand-rest and dead pedal. No speed-sensitive automatic central locking too. I had to press a button to central-lock all the doors. My requirements for upgrade, ESP and cruise control were also missing and cannot be expected atleast for another year. The horn was useless. My Thunderbird 500 has more powerful double-horns. The reverse parking sensors emit only beeps without any visual display. When asked about the face-lifts and variants with additional features, the sales executive said that they were expected by December 2014 only. The excellent ride and handling qualities pale into oblivion by lack of essential equipment and features in this 1.5 million rupee compact SUV. As regards to discounts, Name:  rupeesymbol.gif
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After Duster, I test-drove Tata Safari Storme VX at Concorde Motors, Mysore Road, Bangalore, on the same day. I liked the commanding driving position, which ensures bird's eye-view of the highway! Storme got the right of way all along the Mysore SH! I took 2 U-turns easily thanks to small turning radius. But, then, the truck lacked multi-information display, ACC and dead pedal. Gear-slotting was not smooth. I met Somu, who looked after my Linea during the 5 services there. He is now service controller there. According to him, there were no complaints on Storme. He assured me of the best service, if I buy Storme!



After all these test-drives, my ranking was:

1. XUV500 W8 FWD Opulent Purple

2. Renault Duster [THP-RXZ-E3 PLUS - 110 PS top variant]

3. Tata Safari Storme VX

The rest is history.

My buying experience with India Garage, Chennai, was not a pleasant one. I don't want to go through those bad moments once again by writing them in detail. The details are already available here (Mahindra XUV500 : Test Drive & Review) and here (Mahindra XUV500 : Test Drive & Review).

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Here are the details of my XUV 500 and its price:

Make : Mahindra

Model : XUV500

Variant : W8 FWD

Engine capacity : 2.2 litre mHawk

Maximum Power: 140 bhp [103 kW] @ 3,750 rpm

Maximum Torque : 330 Nm @ 1,600 - 2,800 rpm

Fuel : Diesel

Booking Date : 14 December 2013

Color : Opulent Purple

Delivery Date : 30 December 2013

Dealer & City : India Garage, Chennai

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On the contrary, the delivery experience was pleasant. The details are here (Mahindra XUV500 : Test Drive & Review) and here (Mahindra XUV500 : Test Drive & Review).

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-c.jpg

I upgraded to Mahindra XUV 500 W8 FWD from FIAT Linea 1.4 FIRE Emotion Pack. So, all my likes and dislikes, appreciation and criticism and bouquets and brickbats on XUV 500 are with reference to Linea.

The good and bad about its equipment levels

I selected W8 variant because of electronic gizmos and gadgetry. Here, my XUV 500 scores 8 out 10 notwithstanding the absence of the essential features like automatic window-up on the driver side, instantaneous fuel consumption, average speed and trip hour details in trip meters.

How many km I drove at the time of writing this review

3,484 km.

My usage pattern

My maximum usage is on the highways. Driving within the city is negligible as compared to my mega trips.

Exterior styling & design

I like the Cheetah-inspired exterior styling and design concept. Here, XUV 500 scores 8/10 again. We watched the film on not once, but many times before deciding on XUV 500.

Overall build quality and fit & finish

My XUV 500 is another Linea, when it comes to build quality and better than Linea in fit and finish. XUV 500 scores 9/10 easily. I like the solid doors that close with a thud just like Linea. The quality of painting is superb. All the components are made sturdy and heavy-duty needed for Indian roads. I don't find any uneven panel gaps, poor quality plastics and bad workmanship.

Interior design & quality

Although handle on driver-side window is sorely missed, XUV 500 ticks all the boxes of my requirements. I find the leather seats of XUV 500 more luxurious and comfortable than Linea's. Driving long stretches like Bangalore to Pune is less tiresome than driving Linea. Provision of the six air bags for the safety of the driver and passengers is the icing on the cake. My rating: 9/10 again.

Interior space and comfort

After the first test-drive, my wife said, we will buy this! The only complaint was absence of height-adjuster for seat belts in the second/third rows. Since, we don't use the third row often, it will be kept folded down and used as luggage compartment. Again, XUV 500 gets 9 out 10.

Air conditioner, seat support, ergonomics and other noteworthy interior points

We find the ACC bone-chilling, seats more comfortable than Linea's, very helpful puddle-lighting, lounge lights creating theatre-like atmosphere. Same 9/10 here also.

Engine performance & driveability in the city

I don't find any turbo-lag at any range. The powerful, torquey engine is brilliant. But, driveability of XUV 500 within the city is not an easy task due to its big body. To confess, I am still getting used to drive my XUV 500 in Bangalore and Chennai. During one of the test-drives, Reuben, XUV500 Experience Executive of India Garage, Chennai, managed to make a U-turn in our 24'-wide street without any external help! My rating: 8/10.

Engine performance & driveability on the highway

The Cheetah's strength rules supreme on the highways both on the performance and driveability departments. Overtaking any vehicle is an easy task, thanks to the 140 horses available on tap. XUV 500 shoots like a rocket especially in the third or fourth gear. Driving in the sixth gear with cruise control on a highway is a blissful experience. I award full 10 out 10. I can't ask for more.

Special comments on the engine

XUV 500's mHawk140 engine beats India's national engine FIAT 1.3 MJD in delivering the maximum power with excellent fuel efficiency sans the nagging turbo-lag, IMO. It fully deserves 10/10. All along, I liked petrol engines. After test-driving XUV 500, I started loving diesel engines!

Gearshift / transmission quality, smoothness and response time

I find the gear-shifting smooth. I find the response time adequate. My rating: 8/10.

Fuel efficiency : City and Highway

My XUV 500 records a fuel efficiency of 9 to 10 kmpl in city and 14 to 16 kmpl on the highways with cruise control set at 100 kmph speed. My rating: 9/10.

Suspension & ride quality

I am satisfied with the suspension and ride qualities. My XUV 500 swallows bad roads and rough patches and does not transmit them to the cabin, scoring 8 out of 10.

Handling, on-road behaviour and grip levels

Thanks to the 17" 235 mm-wide tyres, my XUV 500 grips the road like a vice. XUV 500 behaves like a car in handling due to its monocoque design. XUV 500 behaved perfectly alright on the corners. I did not feel nervous while cornering at 100 kmph speeds. Again, 9 out 10 for handling.

Steering, braking and high speed stability

Linea remains unbeaten when it comes to responsive steering and high speed stability. But, XUV 500's steering, braking and high-speed stability are adequate considering its higher centre of gravity. The Purple Cheetah scores 8 out of 10.

The feature I like the most

Cruise control. My right leg is spared of pain and sprain!

The feature I miss the most

Auto-up of the driver-side window. I miss Linea, while coming out of a toll plaza.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-d.jpg

My previous car Linea had taken us to 23 states/UT in India plus Bhutan. I do hope that my XUV 500 would follow suit. I shall constantly share my experience with XUV 500 here from time to time.

Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-e.jpg

My sincere thanks are due to Team-BHP for helping me in becoming a owner of a XUV 500.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 14th February 2014 at 15:23.
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Old 11th February 2014, 21:45   #2
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Default Bangalore To Chennai

Left Bangalore Basaveswara Nagar home at 1:30 pm and reached Chennai Royapettah home at 9:00 pm today with one hour break at Aryas, Vellore. My XUV 500 recorded the best fuel efficiency so far in this trip.

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Last edited by J.Ravi : 11th February 2014 at 22:18.
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Old 13th February 2014, 06:50   #3
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Default Chennai>Pondy>Pillayarpatti>Trichy>Chennai

Purple Cheetah had another hectic day.

Self, wife, Purple Cheetah left Chennai home at 7:00 am yesterday, reached Pondicherry at 9:30 am, attended a function, lunched there, visited Manakula Vinayakar temple, visited a relative, reached Karpaga Vinayakar temple at Pillayarpatti at 8:20 pm, just 10 minutes before closure, had darshan, reached Trichy at 10:30 pm, had steaming idlies and vadai curry and coffee for dinner at Shri Sangeethas, left Trichy at 11:00 pm, had a power-nap for one hour at Vikravandi toll plaza from 1:30 am to 2:30 am and reached Chennai home at 5:00 am today.

On the picturesque ECR:

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Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah-img_1210.jpg

At Pondicherry beach road:

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Trip details:

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Last edited by J.Ravi : 13th February 2014 at 07:01.
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Old 14th February 2014, 15:49   #4
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th February 2014, 16:09   #5
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Great to see this thread.

I, too, am considering moving from my civic to the W8 version (purple colour as my daughter likes it similar to yours). I will use the pics to show my family how the purple colour looks on road.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 14th February 2014, 16:11   #6
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Ravi Ji, a big congratulations. A perfect replacement for you Linea.

I must say that you are a passionate owner and your request to visit the factory proves that.

Wishing you much more long drives, BTW did you left place to be covered in XUV
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Old 14th February 2014, 16:25   #7
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Straight from the heart review and what a maiden trip for the Cheetah - Take a bow sir! Looking forward to see many regular updates on the ownership experience (as on your Thunderbird 500 thread). Wishing you many happy miles with this one.
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Old 14th February 2014, 16:33   #8
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Congrats Ravi Sir on the XUV5oo.
The car looks smashing in the purple colour.
I loved reading your earlier Linea review. I had followed that thread silently for the past few years and I was really sad when you sold your car.
Also, I have an interesting observation - why many ex-Fiat owners, especially Linea and Punto owners go for XUV5oo? There are many examples in this forum itself.
Enjoy the car fullest, congrats again and drive safe.
Regards,
Sreehari
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Old 14th February 2014, 16:51   #9
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Default Re: Chennai>Pondy>Pillayarpatti>Trichy>Chennai

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Purple Cheetah had another hectic day.
left Trichy at 11:00 pm, had a power-nap for one hour at Vikravandi toll plaza from 1:30 am to 2:30 am and reached Chennai home at 5:00 am today.
Cool Senior. Your review is top notch. Liked your pics and Style of writing. Hope you enjoyed the drive to Pune.

BTW looks like you one hell of a person, who truly lives to Drive

Keep it coming and Safe driving though.
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Old 14th February 2014, 16:58   #10
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Congratulations on your acquisition on the XUV! Fantastic review and surprising part and a overwhelming part was your factory visit (Birth place like you aptly put).

What better than the seemingly empty stretch between Tumkur Kolhapur to test the cruise control abilities. Glad that it ensured a pain free drive with your right leg taking a much needed rest.

I wish you all the best and many more miles of happy motoring!
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Old 15th February 2014, 14:15   #11
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Congos for the Purple Cheetah! Your expertise shows how its an excellent choice especially for those with a craving for gadgets! Driving with CC definitely lends to a better sense of ease

SO! Charlie goes to the chocolate factory!

Great to see how Mahindra leans out to its customers! Those press machines at factories sound like cannons firing away every time a die is cast, and the welding robots look like an army of ninjas by the speed and precision they work with. Its indeed a pleasure see how these machines are built and brought to life there!

Heres to wishing you a million happy miles with the Purple Cheetah!

Cheerio
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Old 15th February 2014, 16:55   #12
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Congratulations sir. Hope your pet will keep you happy always. Have you been to any other car manufacturing plant before this visit?
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Old 15th February 2014, 17:17   #13
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Congratulations!! It is a good car, and will serve you well, and get you lot of attention on the road.I say this as i own the same colour.
Drive safe and Enjoy!!!
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Old 15th February 2014, 18:24   #14
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Contrary to popular belief, the ground clearance available from the bottom-most part of stone-guard is 200 mm. My erstwhile Linea measured 165 mm from the similar place. However, the ground clearance available below the mud-flap is just 160 mm.

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_______________________________

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section.
Thank you very much, GTO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hajaar View Post
Great to see this thread.
Thanks a lot for the appreciation, hajaar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
Ravi Ji, a big congratulations. A perfect replacement for you Linea.
Thank you so much for the compliments and wishes, rkbharat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puneet.S View Post
Straight from the heart review and what a maiden trip for the Cheetah - Take a bow sir!
Thanks a ton for the appreciation and wishes, Puneet.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shk 8896 View Post
why many ex-Fiat owners, especially Linea and Punto owners go for XUV5oo?
I know atleast 5 erstwhile owners of Linea/Punto upgraded to XUV500 and 3 present owners of Linea are seriously considering upgrading to XUV500. With just 2 models, FIAT does not give any scope for their customers to upgrade within their portfolio. Thanks, shk 8896.

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Originally Posted by Twinn View Post
Your review is top notch. Liked your pics and Style of writing.
Thank you Twinn for appreciation.

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Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
I wish you all the best and many more miles of happy motoring!
Thanks a lot for the kind wishes and compliments, paragsachania.

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Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
Congos for the Purple Cheetah!
Thanks a lot for the wishes, GrammarNazi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxTorque View Post
Have you been to any other car manufacturing plant before this visit?
Yes. We visited FIAT Ranjangaon plant twice. The details are here (Cara Mia Fiat Linea!). Thanks, MaxTorque.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRock View Post
Congratulations!
Thank you very much, DocRock.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 15th February 2014 at 18:32.
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Old 15th February 2014, 20:44   #15
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Default Re: Mahindra XUV500 W8 FWD: My Pet Purple Cheetah

Congratulations Ravi,

Really nice to read your experiences visiting the plant.

XUV is indeed wonderful, whenever my kids spot this vehicle the first reaction would be "Cheetah inspired". I ended up buying T-JET, though my first love was XUV5OO and did not want to stretch my budget just for the weekend use.

Happy driving...
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