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Old 4th May 2017, 19:54   #1
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Default My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05153.jpg

The Long Search

Disclaimer: There are a bunch of opinions expressed in this review, but they are just that: opinions based on my experiences. Others may have radically different opinions about the same things. There is no intention to offend anyone in what follows below.

Back in early 2015, I started feeling the need for a new car. My 2006 Swift VXi had served us well for 9 years and was now closing on 1 lakh kms. Although it was still working great and was perfectly maintained, it had no safety features to speak of. I did not feel comfortable taking it on the highway with family. Also, my parents were planning to come stay with us, so we needed a car with more space. The idea to get a 6-7 seater was born. This was not to be a daily driver. This would be mostly used on highways and on weekends. Maybe one long drive each quarter and some usage within city on weekends. I was expecting annual usage to be around 7-8k kms a year. I would be keeping the car for about 7-8 years.

Primary requirements (non negotiable)
1. Safety: Atleast 2 airbags and ABS.
2. Ride Comfort: Ride must be comfortable and pliant since this was to be a family car.
3. Space: The middle row must be spacious since that is where the family will spend most of their time. Wife's orders based on her experience with the Swift.
4. Driver ergonomics: I wanted a higher seating position. I have found it to be more friendly to the lower back, improves visibility on the road, and reduces glare from high beam of oncoming vehicles. Also seat height adjustment was to be must.
5. Auto transmission: This was not part of my original criteria when I started. But got added later and became must have.
6. Reversing aids: Reversing camera and/or sensors for safety reasons. This can be added aftermarket, but I wanted to have it integrated into the car, and not have to install another display in the car for this.
7. Fog lamps, rear washer and wiper: again must have for safety reasons.
8. Low waiting period: Once I have decided to get something, I can't wait for it to arrive. The maximum I would be willing to wait for was 1 month post booking.
9. Wide middle row: Should be able to accommodate 2 adults and an infant car seat. This was not a requirement initially but was added later when we were expecting our second child.
10. No jump seats: We would not consider any vehicles with 3rd row jump seats due to safety concerns.

Nice to have
1. AVN: Windscreen mounted phone for navigation? No, No! I wanted a good HU with Bluetooth and Navigation.
2. Cruise Control: Although it may not be continuously usable on Indian highways, I believe even 10 minutes of usage per hour can make a difference on a long drive. It also makes you less likely to speed. I have used it extensively in US.
3. Steering mounted controls: Not to have to fiddle with center console while driving.
4. Petrol Engine: Given the expected usage, it did not make sense to go for a diesel vehicle. Petrol also happens to be a cleaner fuel in my opinion. Moreover, regulatory sentiment was turning against diesel engines.
5. Cabin ambience: My wife always complained of Swift being like a submarine. She wanted the next car to have a bright and airy cabin and better all around visibility.
6. ACC: It would be nice to not have to fiddle with knobs to control the cooling in the car.

The body type (SUV/MUV/Estate/Station Wagon/whatever) did not matter. The FE rating was also not important, as this wasn't to be a high usage car. The budget was about 12 lakhs. The need for a new car was not immediate, so I had time to find the right one. I started the search around April 2015.

Alternatives considered

Renault Lodgy: I did a TD of the car right after launch and I was quite impressed. The ride was very comfortable. It had the proven Duster engines. Interior space was pretty good and the glasshouse was ample too. 3rd row seat was ok since we did not intend to have any adults sit there. Boot space was ok. It had a decent AVN. It looked a little spartan on the inside but acceptable. On the negative side, the driver seat had only 2 height adjustments - high and low. Middle row was not sliding and middle row leg room wasn't great, but acceptable. Top end RXZ was decently equipped, and was about 14.49 lakhs OTR. There was no petrol option available.
Showroom experience at KR Puram was good. The SA patiently gave me test drives of both the 85ps and 110ps versions, shared brochures and was not pushy. They did not pester me with follow up calls later either.
Since it was a new launch, I decided to wait a while to let the initial niggles, if any, get sorted and check out the other options meanwhile.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga: I liked the Ertiga as well. I did a TD of the petrol version. Engine was smooth and quick to respond. Interior space was good but maybe a notch below Lodgy. Seats were quite supportive and ergonomics were good. Ride was acceptable too. ZXi variant had all the equipment I needed. Dashboard and console were a bit utilitarian. Driving Ertiga was a bit of deja vu, given that Swift had been my primary car. Boot space was lesser than Lodgy. The car was extremely well priced at 10.58 lakhs OTR. There was a small doubt in my mind about the 1.4l engine though - whether it would be sufficient to lug 6-7 occupants and luggage up the hills. On the forum I got feedback that the engine was adequate, and I know the driver matters more than the car, but I was still a bit hesitant about going for an engine that was just 'adequate'. Still, the VFM quotient of this car is unbeatable.
I did not visit the showroom for the TD. Bimal Mahadevapura sent the car to my home. Although the TD car came on time, I was surprised to see that they had sent no SA, only a driver. Not that I needed an SA to explain the car features to me, but still.
During the TD of the Ertiga, I was stuck in a 1 hr traffic jam, and by the end of the TD my left knee had started aching due to the frequent gear changes. This was the moment when the idea of an AT car started taking root in my mind.

Honda Mobilio: They just did not want me to try the Mobilio. I made an appointment to visit Whitefield Honda and while I was on the way with family in tow, SA calls to say they are closing the showroom early that day and I should call again some other day. I made a second appointment via Honda's helpline along with complaining about the dealer's attitude and again they did a no show. No call, no update, no rescheduling, nothing. Honda helpline never called back either to check if I ever got a TD. I gave up on the Mobilio. By this time, it had become a dud as well.

Meanwhile, the worsening traffic situation in Bangalore had reaffirmed my idea about getting an AT car and it was now a firm requirement. Although it wouldn't be a daily driver, even the weekend traffic in Bangalore can be horrible. Moreover, it is certain that things will get worse on this front and I wanted a car for 7-8 years. Unfortunately, in the price band I was looking at, there weren't any options at all in the new car market. I turned to the pre-owned market. 2 vehicles stood out: Ford Endeavor and Toyota Fortuner. 4-5 years old Endeavors with about 60,000 kms were available in my budget. Fortuners with that kind of usage were way beyond my budget. I turned to TBhp reviews and both of these were deemed to have a bumpy ride in the middle row due to the leaf spring suspension at the back. Almost all user reviews (and the official Fortuner review) were unanimous on the bumpy ride quality. This was a deal breaker for me. I was also concerned that although I might be able to get a next-segment vehicle in my budget due to it being pre-owned, maintaining a 5 yr old next-segment out of warranty and aging vehicle would not be cheap.

Thus I was about to give up on the AT requirement and thought of settling for either the Lodgy or the Ertiga.

Right around this time, rumors started circulating regarding an impending Ertiga Automatic launch. It was expected around June 2015, but got delayed and eventually was launched in September 2015.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga AT: MSIL decided to launch AT in VXi trim only. I don't understand that logic at all. They did not have any competition with any other 7 seater AT in that segment and there was no worry of sticker price shock since this was not a new car launch, only a facelift. VXi trim missed out on seat height adjustment, rear wash and wiper among other features. They also equipped it with an outdated 4 speed AT. My concerns about the engine adequacy were enhanced. Moreover, no dealer had a TD vehicle even many months after launch. They offered a TD of Ciaz AT suggesting this was the same engine+transmission combination. On top of that, no dealer was committing any waiting period. Some even suggested 6 months of waiting. Overall, market response to this variant was very lukewarm and dealers were not interested in making effort to sell this.

Mahindra Xylo: My parents had a ride in Xylo and they complained of excessive bounciness. The official review corroborated this. Xylo was not therefore not considered.

Mahindra XUV5OO AT: In Dec 2015, M&M started offering an automatic transmission in XUV5OO, but only in W8 and higher variants. Now, I had driven a Zoomcar rental XUV on a family holiday to Munnar on an earlier occasion and we all had been very comfortable in the entire trip. It had copious amount of interior space and even a 10 hr drive did not tire us like we had anticipated. It was a manual version, the clutch was heavy and long travel. But otherwise, it was great to drive. It climbed the hills with aplomb. So, I requested for a TD, even though I knew that even the entry level AT in W8 variant would be way out of my budget. As expected, I was very impressed by the TD. The 6 speed AT transmission and the mHawk engine turned out to be a very potent combination. The suspension also felt a bit improved in the facelift. I tested the Hill Hold feature on a flyover to ensure it worked as I expected. The TD vehicle had 10,000 kms and was emitting some creaks on bad roads. On the flip side, there was still only a diesel engine available and large diesels were already starting to face regulatory issues in NCR. Moreover, W8 AT at 19.86 lakhs OTR was way beyond my budget as noted earlier. Another significant concern was XUV's reputation of persistent niggles.
We did not visit the showroom since the car was brought to our place by the SA from Sireesh Auto, Silk Board. The SA was pleasant to interact with and sufficiently knowledgeable.

But having seen these new AT launches in 7 seaters, I was now hopeful that more such launches would happen and I would have more choice. Rumors of a Lodgy Automatic had started doing the rounds, which would have been a great offering for my requirements.

Meanwhile, we were now expecting our second child. This meant that we needed a wide second row to be able to accommodate an infant car seat along with 2 adults there. Otherwise, my wife would have to move to 3rd row, which would not be acceptable. Had I tried that, I suspect she would have taken over the wheel and sent me to the 3rd row instead. So requirement #9 was added now. There would be 6 of us in the car, in a 2+3+1 seating configuration.

Honda BRV: It turned out to be a case of "So near yet so far". Initial news about the BRV came during Auto Expo 2016 and it felt like it would meet almost all my requirements. Initial impressions from friendly mod Samurai came in from the BRV preview in Japan. It mentioned the narrow cabin of the car but I was still hopeful. A 6 seater petrol automatic from Honda with the 1.5L iVtec engine sounded like just what I needed.
The BRV was launched a few months later. The specs were disappointing. They deleted a bunch of features from their international model offered in Indonesia, notably Touchsreen HU, rear parking sensors, rear parking camera. It was priced optimistically, the ZX diesel almost within touching distance of XUV W6 which is a much more loaded offering. The music system looked like it came from 2005. Personally checking out the car confirmed the concern around the narrow cabin. Requirement #9 would not be fulfilled and it would be a deal breaker. I also had issues finding a high seating position, apparently the seats were too low in the BRV. On the plus side, the iVtec engine as expected was great to drive with the smooth CVT. although the 3 km test drive was too short to simulate the rubber-band effect. I also loved the paint job on the BRV, specially the Urban Titanium Metallic shade looked amazing (looks like it has been discontinued though).
Showroom experience was below par. 3-4 days post launch I made a beeline for the Whitefield Honda showroom since that was closest to my place. Wizened from my earlier experience with them, I decided to land at the showroom without any prior call. They had only a display vehicle. No TD car, no brochures, not even price lists. I visited 2 weeks later and again got no TD but promise of a callback. Essentially, my Honda Mobilio experience repeated here. I eventually went to Dakshin Honda where the experience was marginally better and I got to TD a City CVT (no BRV CVT available) and a BRV manual, but still far from what one would expect from brand Honda. I have owned a Honda Accord in US, and it was a very satisfactory experience. Somehow, I think Honda is not on the right path in India in terms of Customer Orientation.

Toyota Innova Crysta: At 20.75 lakhs OTR, even the base GX AT was out of my reach. But I decided to include it in my comparison for completeness. GX variant's interiors looked rudimentary and utilitarian, not befitting a 20+ lakhs vehicle. Its a testimony to Toyota's brand strength that they can sell a car at this price without an ICE HU.
It also missed out on a bunch of safety features compared to XUV W6 like Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, Speed Sensing Door Locks and Rear Disc Brakes. It gained one additional airbag for driver knee, though.
In addition to the OTR price, I would also have to budget an additional 80-100k for HU and essential accessories, taking the final price even higher. I couldn't convince myself to even consider the package on offer at that price.

XUV 5OO W6 AT: In the face of increased competition, M&M upped the ante and started to offer AT in W6 as well. They also upgraded the W6 HU to be the same as higher variants. This was welcome news for me and made the XUV a viable option, albeit with a significant stretch in budget. The concern about its reputation for niggles was still prominent in my mind. I went through many ownership reviews for XUV on TBhp and kept watching the XUV niggles thread. I found majority of the owners satisfied with the car, specially ones owning new age XUV. The niggles thread had been mostly silent for almost a year with no new significant issue reported. Mahindra ASS although sometimes found wanting on technical front, were responsive and were not hesitant to replace faulty parts under warranty. I was now feeling confident and could stretch for the XUV. The negligible boot space as not an issue for me since we needed only 6 seats and could always fold one of the third row seats for luggage. I wanted the W8 for its 6 airbags, but had to settle for W6 due to my budget which had been stretched almost by 50% during the search. I wish M&M offered the additional airbags as a safety pack. I would have happily paid 30-40k for it.
XUV 5OO has a 4-star Aus NCAP rating. And W6 was a fairly loaded variant. It had everything I wanted and more. It had auto-this and auto-that. Reverse camera and fog lamps were easy to install right at the dealership. I considered features that weren't specifically in my requirements, like rain-sensing wipers, auto headlamps, all disc brakes, hill descent control, steering mounted controls, voice commands etc as a bonus.

So XUV W6 AT it was going to be. The choice of color wasn't very difficult. The family agreed that we wanted a dark shade and the only choices were black and purple. Initially we were leaning towards black but one look at purple in the flesh made us reconsider it. It was a deep brown + deep purple mix, looked graceful and had a lot of character that was revealed under different lighting conditions. On a side note, we would have liked the military green shade that was discontinued. Also, I think XUV would look smashing in a deep cobalt blue shade, like the one on VW Vento. Tata Hexa later launched in a similar blue shade (Arizona blue) and it looks its best in that shade to me.

What I like about XUV 5OO:
  • 140 BHP mHawk engine with zero turbo lag, great driveability
  • Amount of space on first and middle rows
  • 6 speed AT is very competent and suitable for all driving scenarios
  • Ton of storage spaces in the cabin
  • Big fuel tank provides long driving range
  • AC is a chiller
  • Muscular and intimidating looks
  • Cooled glovebox
  • Safety: 4-star Aus NCAP rating, gets ABS, EBD, ESP, Hill Hold, All disc brakes
  • Beautifully shaped headlamps, dual exhaust
  • NVH is decent
  • Solid build quality
  • Large windows, great visibility all around
  • High and very comfortable seating position, nice visibility far ahead
  • High ground clearance
  • Amount of kit on offer even in mid variants (cruise control, steering mounted controls, auto headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, cooled glovebox, seat height adjustment, projector headlamps etc)
  • 7" touchscreen HU with nav, voice commands, video player, bluetooth calling, streaming and blue sense app
  • Cornering lamps
  • Large 17" wheels handle bad roads, potholes and small speed breakers with aplomb
  • M&M keeps improving the vehicle

What I don't like about XUV 5OO:
  • Fit and finish could be better on the outside and inside
  • Small defects in new vehicles from factory, QC needs to be better
  • Boot space is lowest among competitors
  • Below average sounding music system
  • Manual gear shift switch is clunky to use
  • No warning if parking lights are left on and car locked
  • Can't unlock boot only, have to unlock all doors using central locking to allow security inspection
  • Front parking sensors are not on offer
  • Bridgestone Duelers are noisy tyres
  • Rear wiper should have covered more area, given the rear windshield is already so small
  • Driver armrest should extend out more to be really useful

Wishlist (or what would make the XUV even better):
  • Side and Curtain airbags as a Safety Option Pack for lower variants
  • Lockable glovebox and valet key
  • Paddle gear shifters (would be so cool)
  • Better boot space
  • Android Auto support in the HU (already fulfilled as of May 2017)
  • Front parking sensors
  • Boot unlock from inside without unlocking all doors
  • More shade options (e.g. military green, deep cobalt blue)
  • Provision to install dashcam
  • Provision to install rear camera accessory in the same place as in W10 in all variants

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2017 at 08:22. Reason: Moving likes & dislikes to the top - thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th May 2017, 16:40   #2
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Default re: My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer

Booking, PDI and Delivery

In early August 2016, I booked a W6 AT in Opulent Purple with Sireesh Auto, Silk Board with a Rs 25,000 booking amount. On road price breakup was as follows:

Ex showroom: 14,61,798
Discount: 23,000
Final Ex-showroom: 14,38,798
1% TCS: 14,387
RTO: 271,501
Insurance: 25,300 (HDFC with nil dep and 50% NCB transfer from other car)
Extended warranty: 23,500 (4th and 5th year)
Offer: Free accessories worth Rs 20,000
There weren't any separate handling or registration charges, although I had to pay Rs 5000 for a number of my choice.

Total OTR: 17,78,486

In addition, they offered free accessories worth Rs 20000. Initially they offered​ only 10000 and I had to play a bit of 'dealer against dealer' game to get a better deal. They also offered a vehicle from existing stock that was about 6 months old at a higher discount. But knowing that M&M keeps improving their products continuously, I wanted a factory fresh one, and moreover the existing stock was in a different shade. I was promised a 2 week waiting period.

During this time, I got a vehicle loan processed from HDFC for Rs 15 lakhs and was going to pay the remaining from my own funds.

In the last week of August 2016, the vehicle arrived at the dealership. I had asked the SA for VIN when the vehicle was in transit, but he could provide only engine and chassis number. As per him VIN number is not available in their system. Anyway, once the vehicle arrived at the showroom, I and my father went for a PDI armed with the Team-BHP checklist. I can't sing enough praises of this document. In my experience, only the Germans and the Swiss create documentation that is as thorough. One look at our list, and the SA withdrew back to the showroom building to wait it out while we went through it point by point.
VIN decoding indicated Aug 2016 manufacture which was good. We found some issues:
* ODO had 65 kms which was a bit too much. SA explained it as back and forth drive from stock yard to showroom, but I wasn't convinced. But there wasn't much to do about it.
* I found the panel gap between driver's door and front fender a bit too large. Again not much could be done about it and we did not want them to remove the door on a new car and try to refit it with better finish.
* There were some exterior window plastics that were misaligned. These were rectified.
* There were 2 white spots on the body about 1 mm in dia each, one on the hood and other near the D pillar just below the windowline. The origin of both of these was a mystery to even the SA. And these were definitely not paint chips. SA promised these would be touched up during first service and eventually they were.
* Both front seats were dirty despite being covered in plastic at that time. SA apologized and promised to get both cleaned before delivery.

Going by impressions on the forum, I wasn't expecting panel gaps to be even everywhere. But I found the fit to be largely acceptable other than the issue noted above.

We opted for the following free accessories: side steps, reverse camera, floor mats, front fog lamps without chrome, USB dual charger, 4 magnetic sunshades. Additionally, the dealership provided a small Ganesha idol, car perfume, tissue box and fiber registration plates. I considered rear nudge guard but decided against it after some advice by fellow bhp-ians.

We wanted the family to be present at delivery. To reduce the time they would have to spend at the dealership, I visited the dealership alone one day before the planned delivery date and inspected the car again with all accessories fitted. I also reviewed all documentation and signed most of it barring few.

We took delivery of the vehicle on Sept 4, 2016 early in the morning as soon as the showroom opened. I carried a gift for the SA. Dealership gifted us chocolates, a decent bouquet and filled the fuel tank with 5L of diesel in front of me. No separate fuel voucher was provided and not needed too I guess. I would rate the delivery experience as average, since the front seats were still not fully clean at delivery time. Also, this showroom is a bit small and congested and I think they need a more spacious one.

We stopped at a petrol pump on the way, and the XUV took 67L of fuel until auto cut-off, which means there was more fuel in the tank in addition to the 5L filled by dealership.
A technician from M&M visited our place about 1 week after delivery to provide a demo of the vehicle. He explained all the important items in the engine bay, where the various fluids are filled etc. He also showed me a small handle to manually operate to use the last dregs of fuel in case the fuel tank runs out completely. This last one was new to me.

We did miss a defect in the car during PDI, though. During the first wash at 3M a few days later, I saw something on the rear windscreen. I guess we missed it during PDI because of the slightly dusty condition of the car and the overcast skies.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-img_20160918_130243.jpg
Initially, Mahindra ASS had no clue what it was. Eventually one of the technicians scraped it off using a hard blade without causing any damage to the glass. I guess it was excess sealant from the Windscreen. PDI at M&M factory needs to improve.

Last edited by mustang_shelby : 8th May 2017 at 14:42.
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Old 5th May 2017, 18:38   #3
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Default re: My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer

Exterior Looks

I find the XUV to be a handsome looking machine. Its got a balanced stance and looks muscular and intimidating. Wraparound rectangular headlamps integrate neatly into the body and are my favorite feature of the front fascia. Contrary to popular opinion, I liked the body colored grill on the pre-facelift version more than the current black one with chrome inserts. The front bumper of the new age is more appealing though. Front three-quarters is the best view of the XUV. Dual exhausts make the rear look very appealing as well. Since I am at the limit of my literary abilities here in terms of describing the XUV's looks in a poetic manner, I will let some pictures to do the talking now.


On a particularly foggy morning:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04616.jpg

Silhouette at dusk:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04562.jpg

And at dawn:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05134.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04628.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04671.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04680.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04720.jpg

Overall paint quality seems good and the paint has sufficient thickness not to expose the metal underneath in the minor scrapes I have had so far. But there is prominent orange peel effect near the roof rails. Also, swirl marks on a brand new car from the factory?
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04755.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04765.jpg

Wearing the Team-BHP sticker high up:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc04799.jpg

At home in the wilderness:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05171.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05176.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05069.jpg

Dual exhausts impart a sporty look to the rear:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05668.jpg

Raring to venture into the unknown:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05183.jpg

Note: Location for many of the above photos was inspired by the Renault Lodgy Official Review.

Last edited by mustang_shelby : 10th May 2017 at 16:38.
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Old 5th May 2017, 19:59   #4
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Default re: My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer

Interiors

Enter the XUV 5OO and the the first word that comes to mind is 'space'. I appreciate the beige+black theme of the interiors, coming from the dark interiors of the Swift. It makes the cabin look bigger, airy and bright. All windows are also large, letting in a lot of light to cheer up the mood inside.

Driver seat is very spacious specially for a slim built guy like me and has a lot of travel range. I am 5'11" and keep the seat somewhere in the middle of the range vertically as well as horizontally. Ergonomics are nice, and everything is within easy reach. Dead pedal is very usable and footwell is not crowded. ORVMs are wide and provide decent visibility. The fuel lid open button is conveniently placed next to the steering, instead of being on the floor. I find the driving position to be extremely comfortable. If I had one issue, it was with the size of the steering wheel. Coming from my Swift, it just seemed a size too big to me. Otherwise, the steering wheel is very nicely contoured and grippy. I have adapted myself now to the size and it doesn't bother me anymore. All around visibility is good, but the thick A-pillars do create blind spots. That is an issue with all cars though, except perhaps the Omni. I like the icy blue backlighting in the dashboard better than the red of the predecessor model, but I find the console to be a bit small and cramped. Maybe its because the available space has been broken up into 2 pods. The dashboard console also reflects onto the windshield at night, creating a slight distraction.

I find the overall look of the front to be cohesive and pleasing. The design looks balanced and nothing looks out of place.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05659.jpg

The waterfall design of the center console is very neat.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05664.jpg

Touchscreen is very responsive, except in Navigation mode. Size is good, and its bright and readable in sunlight too. The cowl above it helps readability. The reverse camera accessory integrates with this display and provides good quality feed, even in the night.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05102.jpg

The bezel around the gear lever has not come out so far in 7,000 kms so I guess M&M fixed the issue that was reported in the Official Review.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05108.jpg

Driver and co-driver footwell have these mesh pockets, and I wonder what they are for. My smartphone fits there perfectly, so that might be the purpose, but they feel too low, almost at ankle level.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05126.jpg

Front middle armrest is wide and sliding and easily shared between front occupants. I would have liked it to slide a bit more forward to make it more comfortable, though.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05127.jpg

Middle row is the best in business, I would say. It is wide and has amazing leg room, which is very useful for stretching out your legs on long journeys. Seats are also supportive and nicely cushioned. 2 adults can be totally comfortable here, in addition to the infant car seat. Windows are large, therefore passengers never feel claustrophobic. Overall, very comfortable for my family over long trips.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05077.jpg

Dealer provided mats are thick and heavy, they feel long lasting. I would have liked the middle row mats to be larger though, to provide more coverage.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05076.jpg

The magnetic sunshades are of a good fit and quality. I would have liked their pattern to be a bit more dense so as to block more sunlight. As of now, they block maybe 25-30% only.
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05079.jpg

The third row legroom makes it suitable only for kids on long journeys. Seats are still well cushioned, though. Since we need only one seat in the last row, the other one is folded down and used for carrying luggage on trips. I use a sturdy climbing rope to tie down the luggage so that it doesn't move during the drive. This solves the boot space issue, since the XUV has only enough boot to fit a Jopasu duster, a few microfiber cloths and some cleaning supplies.

The seat fabric is of good quality and is comfortable. I considered going for art leather seat covers, but decided against them for the time being. While they greatly enhance the visual appeal of the interiors, they inevitably lead to sweaty backs even though the AC maybe chilling your arms and face. Moreover, my elder one makes a fuss about sitting in a 'hot car' even if it has been in the sun for only 10 min. And the art leather seat covers accentuate this perceived hotness. The beige seats do get dirty very quickly, though. I will spend some more time with them and then decide whether changing to art leather covers despite the sweaty backs is worth it. Happy to have suggestions from fellow members on 'back-friendly' seat covers that do not cost a bomb like the pure leather ones.

The XUV5OO also has umpteen storage spaces in the cabin. 2 gloveboxes, a small storage area in the center of the dash, storage below the center console (where the 12V socket is), sunglass holder, storage inside the middle armrest with the chilled compartment and the large door pockets that can hold 1L bottles plus a lot of other knick knacks. XUV does not leave you wanting for storage spaces inside the cabin. You realize how much stuff is there in the cabin on the day when you have to give it for an interior cleaning.

Although the ICE of the XUV is fairly loaded in terms of features, the sound quality is below average. I don't consider myself an audiophile and I am not looking for earth-shaking bass, but I still think that the sound quality is weak. It doesn't move you. It doesn't make you feel like singing along even when one of your favorite songs comes along. Bass is particularly weak and it actually becomes irritating at equalizer setting for max bass. Tata has upped the game in this area with the HK systems from Tiago to the Hexa, and XUV would have to catch up soon. Another minor miss in the HU is that when playing videos, it does not allow you to choose the video to play from a list, it just starts playing all available videos starting from the first.

I like the NVH package of the XUV. It insulates the occupants well from the outside. The engine noise does protrude into the cabin when it is about 2500 rpm or so, but there is rarely a need to keep revving the engine at those levels. If you have music on, then very little from outside can be heard. Sometimes, the horn of vehicles approaching from far away is inaudible in the cabin. This can actually be an issue in the hills. There is tyre noise at highway speeds, and that can be attributed to the noisy Bridgestone Dueler tyres.

Last edited by mustang_shelby : 10th May 2017 at 16:46.
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Old 5th May 2017, 20:13   #5
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Driving the XUV 5OO

As I write this, there is a smile on my face. The ODO stands at 7,000 kms and it is hard to find a fault with how this car drives. The 2.2L mHawk engine is really a jewel and the 6 speed AT removes the long travel clutch and slightly less than perfect gearbox from the driving experience, making the overall experience even better. The 6 speed TC is smooth and other occupants of the can't really tell when an upshift happens.

Driving during the run-in period: I decided to follow run-in guidelines of <2000 rpm until 1000 kms and <2500 rpm until 2500 kms going by common wisdom on the forum. This period was frankly a bit of a test of patience for me. The engine sounded very coarse early on and was loathe to gather up rpms in first 2 gears. Everytime I slowed down for a speed breaker or started from a red light, initial progress would be slow until the AT reached 3rd gear, at which point it took off nicely. The situation was exacerbated by my reluctance to exceed the run-in rpms and sometimes the traffic behind me got frustrated. (I am glad to say that is no longer the case). In an attempt to get over the run-in period quickly, I did a bunch of weekend breakfast drives around Bangalore and wandered to many previously untouched areas. During this time, my wife referred to the car as her 'souten' (the other one) given how much time I was spending with it.

I also decided to get an extra oil change at 1,000 kms (M&M advises first oil change at 5,000 kms). I realize it may be overkill for modern engines, but I was in a mood to pamper the car.
By this time, the first niggle had also cropped up. When calling over bluetooth, connection to some numbers did not happen properly - there wasn't any audio. More importantly, this niggle affected calls to my wife from the car. (I suspect it was not a niggle, but maybe the XUV's way of getting back at my wife for her 'souten' remark ). An upgrade of the HU software to the latest version fixed the issue. I got it done with the oil change at 1100 kms. I had also noticed that the high beams were misaligned, and that was fixed too at this service. I was charged Rs 2935 for the oil change.

Engine became a bit smoother post the oil change but there wasn't a whole world of difference. Anyway, my intention was only to wash away any metal shavings from the engine run-in.
The engine really started feeling smooth only after the 5,000 kms service.

Driving in the city: The zero-lag nature of the engine and the AT together make city driving a cakewalk. Gaps in traffic are closed quickly. Size of the car is not uncomfortable to drive in traffic but if you are looking for a daily driver, you would obviously be a lot better off with a small auto hatchback. The large turning radius of the XUV is sometimes a bit of a pain when taking U-turns though. In traffic situations, it means now you have to cut across 2 lanes of traffic when turning around. I miss my Swift's tight turning circle so much.

I drive with windows always up and AC on 90% of the time (rest 10% is peak winters) and I get an FE between 9 and 10 kmpl in Bangalore's notorious traffic.

Driving on the highway: The beast of an engine comes into its own. If you keep your foot down, silly speeds are reached in no time and you can sense all those 140 horses at work. Peak torque is delivered right from 1600 rpm and upshifts happen between 2500-3000 rpm in foot-down mode. Drive normally though, and the AT keeps upshifting smoothly and gets to 6th at about 80 kmph. On a MT and with a clear road ahead, I would upshift to 6th at maybe 70-75 kmph but I guess the AT tries to keep you in the powerband, which makes sense. 100 kmph sees the engine at about 1750 rpm. Overtaking is not an issue, just foot-down and AT downshifts 2 gears in a jiffy to make quick work of the overtake. Even on undivided highways, I have not felt the need to use the manual mode of the transmission. But for someone with a driving style comprising of aggressive overtakes, manual mode would be useful on undivided highways.

The AT is very useful on highways as well. At every overtake, unscientific speed-breaker, small town, pothole or cow crossing, the clutch+gear routine is eliminated. Moreover, toll booths at peak times are beginning to resemble city traffic jams. I have driven 900+ kms in 12 hrs without feeling unduly fatigued. XUV AT is an ideal long distance touring vehicle.

Highway stability is good and you can carry more speeds into corners than you would expect from an SUV of this size. I have sometimes been surprised by looking at the speedometer in the middle of a curve. But don't expect it to be like a sedan around corners.

Comfortable cruising on the highway results in an FE of 15-16 kmpl. I drove sedately on NICE road during engine run-in period, gently accelerating to 100 kmph and I got 16 kmpl. I doubt this big diesel can give much more mileage than that. My driving style is neither aggressive nor sedate. I try to drive according to the conditions, while keeping an upper limit of 100-110 kmph. I keep an eye on the FE as sudden changes in FE indicate problems with either the car or fuel quality.

Driving in the hills: Having driven the MT earlier, I knew the XUV had more than adequate power to climb hills, but I had concerns if the gear ratios of the AT would be properly tuned for hill driving. I initially took it to Nandi Hills where the last 4 turns are steep hairpins and can give a fair estimate of a car's capabilities. I was happy to observe that the AT did it all in auto mode without even a murmur. Driving out of basement parkings with steep ramps needs only gentle throttle inputs. On further drives to Kothagiri (near Ooty) and Yelagiri, the XUV proved its impeccable credentials in taking on the hills. I never had to use the manual mode while going up, auto mode worked everywhere. Moreover, there was no need to carry momentum into the corners when taking a sharp uphill turn, I could just go easy on the throttle to ensure other occupants in the car were not thrown about (this was a big deal with 2 children in the car -> no motion sickness). The Hill Start Assist feature ensures the car will not roll back down even if you have to stop in the middle of the turn. There was no turbo-lag at all and the AT chose the right gear to keep the engine in the powerband always. AT's choice of gear at any given time was the same as I would have chosen.

While coming downhill, the 'M' mode has to be used to get engine braking and thats what I did. It works fine. The 3rd gear is a bit tall and therefore you will end up picking up a bit more speed than desired on long straights and will have to use brakes intermittently. The 'M' mode is also a bit slow in changing gears. You flip that awkward switch, then the transmission recognizes it and the gear indicator on the display blinks and then you get the next gear. I haven't been able to get the Hill Descent Control feature to work as I would like it. I felt it was making excessive use of brakes. Moreover, I was perfectly fine with the M mode. Maybe I will try to understand the HDC a bit more someday.

Due to the zero lag nature of its engine, XUV AT allows you to drive up a hill as you would like - fast or comfortable.

In any driving situation, I have always felt that the engine still has a lot of power in reserve even when the vehicle is loaded with occupants and luggage.

Braking Performance: All around disc brakes on the XUV provide sufficient braking power to bring the vehicle to quick stops. I had a couple of emergency braking situations, and it stopped predictably, in a straight line without losing composure. The tyres did screech very loudly though, scaring the living daylights out of the idiot taxi driver who had joined the highway from a side road without looking first, and was the cause of this emergency braking manoeuvre. Maybe it will make him more careful in the future.

I do find some weirdness when trying to stop the XUV from low speeds in a gentle way. Say I am going at 30-40 kmph in traffic and the vehicle ahead of me by 40m stops and I apply the brakes to gently lose speed and stop behind that vehicle with decent gap. As I approach the stopped vehicle, I realize that the braking is not sufficient and I am going to rear end the other vehicle. I apply more pressure on the brakes and now the vehicle comes to a sudden stop but with less gap between the 2 vehicle than I had planned. I worry that either I will get rear-ended or rear-end someone. I am guessing this has to do with the automatic transmission, which keeps propelling the vehicle until it comes to a complete stop, thus making modulating the brake pressure a bit of a challenge. As compared to a manual transmission, where I would press the clutch along with the brake in this situation and therefore, the engine is not providing any propulsion.

A special mention of the XUV's large fuel tank. The 75L (or is it even more) tank allows a driving range of 1000 kms easily. On long drives, there won't be anxious moments and you can choose to fill at the reputed filling stations when they arrive. On shorter drives, you can just fill it from your favorite station once back home in your city.

Build Quality
Though fit may be an issue at some places, the XUV5OO feels like solidly built. 2 incidents caused me to reach this conclusion. I was hit from behind in slow moving traffic by a Merc E-Class driven by a distracted driver. The sound and the accompanying jerk convinced me that the damage would be significant. But inspecting the vehicle from behind did not reveal anything. I was surprised and the relief on the E-Class driver's face was visible. I came home and inspected it again in better light, but still no damage visible. In the second incident, a calf jumped on the highway in my car's path when a cattle-herder hit it with a stick to make it cross. Despite my best attempts to slow down and swerve, the calf hit the rear right door. Came to a stop and saw in the IRVM that the calf got up and walked away. Relieved, I inspected the car from outside convinced that there would be major damage. There was a mild horizontal deformation on the right rear door as well as the rear fender next to door, but no scratch. It wasn't even visible unless one was looking for it. The noise at the time of incident was loud in this case too. So either the XUV has good build quality, or it likes to make loud noises even on minor hits. I would like to believe its the former.

I am also glad to say that there are no rattles, although at 7,000 kms it may be early days yet to pass judgement.

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2017 at 08:19. Reason: Spacing - thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th May 2017, 17:52   #6
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Caring for the car

I was determined not to let the community car wash guy handle my car. I went in for a 3M annual car wash package which includes 12 washes + interior vacuum and 3 wax applications. Cost me about Rs 8,200. 3M guys do a good job of cleaning the car. Only downside of getting a wash there is the amount of waiting.

Also, in my new car excitement, I got a few products:
Proklear Waterless Car Wash (http://www.amazon.in/dp/B00UQF6T4A/r...200641_TE_item)
Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer (http://www.amazon.in/dp/B00Y6QZ99Q/r...200641_TE_item)
Windtek Tyre Inflator (http://www.amazon.in/dp/B0156M173A/r...200641_TE_item)
Windshield Cleaner (http://www.amazon.in/Zessta-Glass-Cl.../dp/B00SYL5IFY)
4 mm rope (https://www.decathlon.in/p/8174620_4mm-x-7m-string.html)
Few microfiber clothes
Some items from AliExpress that never arrived
I had a Jopasu Duster already.

I intend to get once a month wash at 3M and do the daily maintenance in between with Jopasu duster. I would use the waterless wash and detailer if needed in between. At least that was the plan.

One fine Saturday, I decided to do a waterless wash and then detail the car. The waterless wash alone took the better part of a day with multiple breaks needed. By the time I was done with the quick detailer, sun had firmly set and many muscle groups in my body that had been unused for years were waking up to complain. Many of the people in my apartment complex had witnessed me hanging around the car all day. I am sure some rumors would have started that day about a rift between me and my wife as the cause of this strange behavior from me.

Realizing such endeavors were physically very demanding and that the size of the XUV just exacerbated the issue, I decided to stick with 3M henceforth. Better to wait in their AC lounge and play Real Racing 3 on your phone while your car gets the love it needs. I wish I had read Secretariat's wonderful thread here (Confessions of a novice trying to imitate a Detailer!) before I had tried this.

I think I did get some benefit though out of all this elbow grease spent. After completing a 400 km drive from Bangalore to Mahabalipuram via Chennai that was done shortly thereafter, this is how the rear hatch of the XUV looked like:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-img_20161225_123137.jpg
Given that the rear hatches of SUVs are full of dust after highway drives, I would like to credit the Sonax detailer for the above outcome.

Planned aftermarket upgrades:
  • Better headlamp bulbs: I have a spare set of Philips Extreme Vision 130+. Will try them out.
  • ICE: Will start with a speaker upgrade only and see if it is enough. Not keen on subwoofer or amplifier right now.
  • Seat Covers: Sticking to fabric for now, but will be on the lookout for ones that allow the back to breathe.
  • Dashcam with motion sensor: Looking for recommendations for a clean installer
  • Alloy wheels: These would be quite sometime in the future, though

From the time I started my search to now, the market has expanded significantly for 7-seater ATs and now there are so many options. 2 years from now, someone searching in the pre-owned market for a 7-seater AT is going to be spoilt for choice. There will be one in every budget.

I would like to thank the official reviewers as well as the following fellow members for their detailed and unbiased ownership reviews that allowed me to make an informed purchase decision: .anshuman, abirnale, j.ravi, theindian, fusionbang, sdp, tanveer_2558

Note to mods: This thread is now ready for your review. Thanks in advance for your time.

Last edited by GTO : 11th May 2017 at 08:22.
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Old 8th May 2017, 20:49   #7
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Update: 5,000 kms service and Android Auto

I reached 5,000 kms in the mid of Feb 2017, which was much earlier than I had anticipated before purchasing the car.
I had one issue to report at 5,000 kms service. I had been observing a boom (or 'hoom') kind of sound when lifting my foot from the accelerator after having reached 70-80 kmph and I was concerned about it for some time.
I went to Sireesh Auto, Marathalli for the service. Walked in at 9 am (having called up the previous day) and a service advisor received car after 10 min. The issue could not be demonstrated since it occurs on highway speeds only, but I told them anyway and asked them to take a look at critical components. I asked the SA to skip the free wash if that would take long and return the vehicle early, but he insisted the wash wouldn't take long. Eventually the vehicle was returned to me at around 3:30pm with average wash quality as expected. There were spots and hard water marks all around. The SA did get someone to spend a few minutes to try and remove the spots/marks.
Total bill came to Rs 2261 since only consumables were charged for the oil change. Regarding the issue I reported, they found nothing wrong in their inspection.
I have not noticed the issue on my recent highway drives. The ODO is now at 7,600 kms and the engine feels much smoother and quieter.

Right after the service, I went to Tyre Empire at Varthur to get WA+WB+5 tyre rotation. I had been observing some vibration in the steering wheel after crossing 120 kmph. All done, bill came to Rs 1532. Sadly, a few days later on a highway drive, I noticed that there is still a vibration post 120 kmph. Wanted to go back to them, but didn't get a chance. Also, I rarely cross 120 kmph so this wasn't a burning issue.

Android Auto

In the end of April 2017, M&M announced that they had upgraded the HU software to make it compatible with Android Auto. Since it was a software only update, it was offered to existing customers as well. In addition, there is also an update to enable connected apps via wi-fi but that requires a hardware upgrade. New XUVs manufactured May 2017 onwards will come with the new silver box.

I have found the in-car navigation in the HU always a bit wanting since nothing comes close to Google maps. On a few occasions I had to use Google maps but I detest mounting a windshield holder, so co-driver had to be navigator using the smartphone. I was all excited about Android Auto since now I could get Google maps on the HU. Confirmed with Sireesh Auto that the software update was available, and walked in the next day (a Friday) at 9 am. They estimated 2 hrs or more, but eventually it took only 1 hour. They are charging Rs 999+ taxes for this update. After doing a demo with the technician, I drove away a contented man. Extremely pleased to get this update in the HU. I guess even the voice recognition might work better now with Google, will test it out and see.
Btw, the update seems to be in demand. As I drove out, 3 other XUVs came in for this update.

Android Auto in action:
My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05646.jpg

My Mahindra XUV500 W6 Automatic : The Wanderer-dsc05643.jpg


Overall, I am loving how this SUV drives. The engine has opened up and feels much more eager to go now. I did a bunch of solo drives and have ended up putting many more kms on the ODO in the short ownership so far than I had anticipated while buying it. I frequently look for an excuse to take it on a long drive which I suppose is a good sign :-)

Last edited by mustang_shelby : 10th May 2017 at 16:41.
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Old 11th May 2017, 08:18   #8
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th May 2017, 11:03   #9
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Super review Mustang!
Hopefully I too will be a proud owner of the W6 AT soon!
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Old 11th May 2017, 11:20   #10
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Congratulations on your new purchase. Wishing you many miles of blissful trouble free ownership.

What is your opinion on the ride quality of the vehicle, since now you have clocked reasonable distance on the car.

I have had conflicting responses from people when i ask about ride quality of the XUV. Some people claim it nearly as good as duster. Some people claim poor low speed ride but good ride quality when the speed picks up. All these guys are the drivers of the car. I recently asked my aunt who is chauffeured around in three different cars by the same driver: Hyundai Terracan, the latest gen Scorpio, the previous gen XUV ( pre-facelift ). I thought it will be an interesting perspective from a passenger point of view. According to her the best riding car is Terrcan followed by Scorpio followed by XUV. This came as a bit of surprise to me since she rated XUV poorer than Scorpio. She does a lot of travellin in ghat roads. I don't know if that has something to do with it.
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Old 11th May 2017, 12:37   #11
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Congratulations on the car. Beautiful colour as well!

Excellent review mustang sir. The XUV is a very good all rounder, no two ways about it. The ride quality and Mahindra niggles were the only reasons why we ended up picking the Jetta. Mahindra seems to have worked on these which is a good thing.

Do keep the thread updated. Many potential XUV buyers would be interested to know how the beast ages.
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Old 11th May 2017, 12:48   #12
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Congrats!!

Is this the first W6 AT review in TBHP?

Regarding the paint swirl marks, its most likely due to 'cleaning' done at showroom. They use the same dusty cloth on all the cars and end up causing this.

The pics with hills in backdrop looks great. Was it around Ramanagara?
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Old 11th May 2017, 12:48   #13
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Lovely thread Mustang_Shelby.

I have a question for you on the Android Auto!

I recently took the delivery of my XUV500 W6 Manual (same colour ). Though the feature was advertised when I booked the car, the Android Auto feature was not available out of the box. The Sales Rep asked me to bring the car to their service station to activate the feature.

The service centre guys did some software update to the ICE, which also brought in a host of other features as well (Eco sense, 1 touch lane change indicator etc.). However, the guy had absolutely no clue about using the Android Auto. The option was there but it was disabled. He tried for 15 minutes and finally told me that the feature is available from W8 trim only

I realised he is bluffing and googled my way around and finally figured it out. Though I got to check the Maps, Voice Command to send Whatsapp msgs etc.. I couldn't check the Apps available on the ICE. There is an "Apps" button on the ICE which is supposed to show the apps in the ICE. However, it gives me a message that the "Feature is not available".

Do you have any idea on this please?
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Old 11th May 2017, 12:50   #14
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Loely review and many congratulations!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang_shelby View Post
Also, swirl marks on a brand new car from the factory?
This is a common problem. I told my SA 1 day before delivery to use new MF cloths or take them from me. He argued with me saying new clothes leave lint so used and washed clothes are better :/

On the day of delivery, this fellow was running a torn, brown rag like there's no tomorrow. The car come with a zillion swirl marks
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Old 11th May 2017, 13:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang_shelby View Post
I was expecting annual usage to be around 7-8k kms a year. I would be keeping the car for about 7-8 years.
[/list]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang_shelby View Post
Update: 5,000 kms service and Android Auto

I reached 5,000 kms in the mid of Feb 2017, which was much earlier than I had anticipated before purchasing the car......

Overall, I am loving how this SUV drives. The engine has opened up and feels much more eager to go now. I did a bunch of solo drives and have ended up putting many more kms on the ODO in the short ownership so far than I had anticipated while buying it. I frequently look for an excuse to take it on a long drive which I suppose is a good sign :-)
The true measure of a Driver falling in love with his car can be summarized from your above statements. Wishing you miles of happiness and smiles with your ride.
Lovely choice of color and you seem to be putting the XUV to good use.
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