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My Mahindra XUV700 AX7 AWD review: Initial verdict after 2000 km

Personally, for me, this vehicle and variant have been an out-and-out VFM package from day 1.

BHPian Sandegov recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Summary:

  • Model: Mahindra XUV 700 AX7 AWD
  • Colour: Midnight Black
  • Booking: 08 Oct 2021 (With Price Protection)
  • Delivery: 15 Jul 2022
  • Current Odo: 2250 Km

Avg (tank full method):

  1. 9-10 km/l with regular short school drop-off trips of ~15 km or peak Bangalore traffic.
  2. 10-12 km/l with a regular office commute of ~50kms (non-peak hrs)
  3. 14-14.5 km/l on Highways

Background:

We were a family of three with our second one on its way, at the time of booking, and I was looking for a car that would be a comfortable highway cruiser for our outstation trips and also do the city duties when needed mainly for school drops and office commutes without being too much of a hassle to drive in Bangalore traffic.

Used or New?

A big fan of used cars and I have first hand experienced the tremendous value that an almost new ~1-year-old certified luxury car offers, but this was outside India and it was pretty clear early on in my search this time that buying a used car in India was very different and came with its own challenges and I was just not ready to risk it. Decided it had to be a new car.

SUV/MUV or Sedan?

I have mostly owned/driven sedans and always loved driving them over the occasional rental SUVs/Vans overseas. The cargo space was good enough for the three of us and it easily took in the kid's stroller and + a couple of bags in those few rare extended trips we would have that extra bag that would spill over to the back seat area. Now with the addition of a new member to the family, it was pretty clear that we would need a bigger cargo space + Our being a joint family meant a 7-seater would be an added bonus for occasional full family commute within city limits. A 7-seater SUV/MUV was a no-brainer.

Budget:

I was on a bit of a flexible budget with 30L being the preferred sweet spot and an absolute max of 45-50L for the right car, but I was clear in my mind that anything above 35L had to have a strong USP for my use and absolutely justified its price. I am a little old school and budget-conscious when it comes to money matters and rarely go overboard with most of my spending.

Requirements (In the order of priority):

  1. Safety - NCAP ratings, AWD, ESP, Airbags etc ranked very high on my list.
  2. Automatic - Having driven manual and auto in the past I have come to really appreciate the convenience that an auto box offers.
  3. Space and comfort - Had to be a full-size SUV/MUV, with good comfortable seats, not a very stiff ride, and minimal body roll.
  4. Maintainability - Availability of spares on time and an option of multiple service centres to choose from.
  5. Diesel - No experience here, but preferred a Diesel considering the weight of the vehicle and passenger capacity.
  6. Comfort features - I was ok if the car got its basics well covered and features like a sunroof, connected tech, voice commands, touch screens, ambient lighting, high-end audio etc were only on my good-to-have list and dint matter much.

Options considered:

Having owned an E90 for an extended time it was natural for me to start off my search by looking at the entry-level options from the three luxury brands, it ended pretty quickly as all of them were either now out of my budget or watered-down variants that didn't appeal.

Kia Carnival

Having used a minivan overseas for a brief period and experiencing the benefits it offered as a family vehicle, this was right at the top of my list and I was offered a mouth-watering 3.75L discount straight away during the test drive on day one. But the below points made me take a hard second look and I had to let it go with a heavy heart and to the disappointment of all the kids at home. We had it over at home for a TD and it was a huge hit with my parents, kids and wife.

  • Too long a car for city use.
  • This was a one-generation +2/3-year older car.
  • Being a CKD the availability and cost of the spare were going to be a challenge.
  • Long-term ownership of this car didn't look easy.

Toyota Fortuner

There's a Fortuner in the family at my in-law's place - unanimous feedback was it was rock solid and reliable but they just hated the ride and were pretty vocal about it. I was not going to be putting in anything more than 10-12k km annually however I used it - I have a typical office commute + few planned outstation trips and being from Bangalore there were no frequent hometown trips as well. I could not justify the extra spend on a Fortuner with such low mileage and had to drop it.

Hyundai Tucson

Again an old-gen model + CKD and a suspect NCAP rating for older models on sale in India. There were lots of rumours/news about new gen being introduced anytime, I was very keen on this new model. Did not take a TD of old gen and decided to wait on the release of new-gen while I was on the wait list of Mahindra. Eventually, my XUV700 delivery date came and the new Tucson was still not released.

Tata Safari

Absolutely loved the exterior looks, especially darker shades and dropped by the showroom to check it out. The inside of the SUV was a different story altogether - the big blank flat panel on the dash was a put-off for me and what was an even bigger issue for me was the driving ergonomics, I kept fouling my left knee and I felt the steering was too hard for comfortable city driving. By this time I had already test-driven the XUV700 and I was way more comfortable and at home in its driving seat than in Safari. An unknown safety rating did not help matters as well.

Mahindra XUV700

The feature list announced and initial reviews looked very impressive and had my requirements very well covered with ADAS being a surprise cherry on the cake, I was fully convinced to go ahead with the booking on an opening day. I had my variant - AX7 AWD Midnight Black already in the cart on the 7th but was unable to check out and complete the booking, I left it after a few unsuccessful attempts. To my surprise, I got a call from the dealer later in the day that they were reaching out to customers who had cars in their cart and were unable to check out and offered to book on my behalf with day1 pricing and price protection. The only condition was the variant and colour would have to be the same as what was in my cart and could not be changed. I went ahead with the payment after taking assurances in writing and the dealer keyed in the booking on the next day. I was all set with my booking and the only thing left was to get test drives.

I dropped in the dealership when test drive vehicles were made available and my first TD was in a petrol AX7L on a dealer fixed route - I was left completely impressed with the power, refinement levels and ease of driving this SUV in city traffic. Followed up and got a second TD of the diesel variant at home after a few days and though the refinement levels were not the same as petrol the TD left me impressed and the family liked it too. I decided to stay with my current variant and booking and bring my car hunt to a close.

Post booking to delivery experience - An absolute joke of an experience with the dealer and Mahindra, without getting into details I would just mention that April 2022 was my promised delivery date and I got my delivery on Jul 15th with a nightmarish experience all along. I was a day away from cancelling my booking and going with a Fortuner. I have mentally checked out this whole dealership and delivery experience and have moved on from it.

Accessories Installed

  • I went with the following accessories from a dealer at the time of delivery and would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to buy.
  • Screen Protector (mainly for a clean fingerprint-free screen, so far its been excellent in avoiding fingerprints)
  • Illuminated scuff plates
  • Side steps
  • 3D mats (ask your dealer to stick velcro pieces at the bottom of the mat for a good fit)
  • Mud Flaps

I was finally able to get the delivery of my XUV700 with the above accessories and have logged 2250kms so far here are my likes and dislikes so far:

Likes

  • 5 Star Safety Rated
  • Safety features - 6 airbags with curtain airbag opening all the way till the third row, Latest ESP with electronic brake prefill, brake disc wiping etc
  • AWD lock - ability to lock the AWD up to 80km/h when needed, this will come in handy for sure and my previous AWD did not have this manual override.
  • ADAS - Works flawlessly.
  • Comfort - Driving ergonomics, minimal body roll, comfy seats.
  • Effortless driving in city traffic
  • Smooth Auto Box
  • Power on tap
  • Headlights
  • The electronic parking brake with auto hold works like a charm

Dislikes:

  • Football in the boot - there is a constant rolling thud noise from the boot area. The service team during the first service had no fix and mentioned they were waiting on a recall from the company.
  • Noise from fuel tank - the service centre mentions its related to the above football in the boot issue and awaiting recall/fix from the company.
  • In zap mode - The auto box tends to hold the revs and make noise before shifting into 3rd gear from 2nd, gets worse on inclines.
  • No light in the boot
  • No 12v port in the front
  • No auto-dimming IRVM
  • Fit and finish - not consistent and many rough edges
  • Inconsistent Vodafone network

Niggles faced so far:

  • Wiper noise from day 1 - raised and fixed during the first service. The wiper assembly was removed and refixed, root cause per the service advisor was it wasn't tightened during PDI.
  • Range/DTE not showing from day 1 - raised and fixed during the first service. The software upgrade during the first service mostly fixed it.
  • Football in the boot from day 1 - it's getting extremely frustrating to live with this noise and I hope Mahindra comes out with a fix for it soon, everybody who has sat in my car has asked about it and it takes all the fun out of driving this car, especially in city driving at lower speeds. Planning to get this checked with another service centre.
  • Repeated Activating profile, started after about 1000kms - this is a recent issue, never had it before. Need to get it checked.
  • ESC error with power loss started after about 1000kms - happens occasionally for about 2-3 seconds when I go over a few road humps. Need to get it checked.
  • Fuel Avg calculation is buggy - has a mind of its own, and has reset suddenly 1-2 times, recently after a highway trip, it dropped from 14 to 8-9 and then back to 15 over a distance of a few km. Not planning to raise this with the service centre.
    Hill hold error, first time at 2250kms - got this when I started the car after a quick break during the morning, did not observe any difference in drivability or power when this message flashed and it went away after I stopped and restarted the car. Will keep an eye out for this in the coming days.

Additional information on the AX7 AWD variant:

The AX7 AWD comes with a key additional feature that is not available on the AX7 2WD variant, this is not documented well and most of the sales reps are unaware as well. AX7 AWD variant comes with Electronic Parking Brake EPB with Auto Hold which according to the feature list is available only on the luxury pack. EPB is also a necessity for your stop-and-go feature on an adaptive cruise and going by this there is a very good chance that the AX7 AWD variant may have stop and go feature as well - there is no document to confirm on this though and the only way to know for sure is to test it out

Other upgrades/add-ons:

Tire Upgrade:

I had initially planned and budgeted to replace my spare tire with a full-size alloy tire at the time of delivery and had no plans to change/upgrade my tires. But then when I started looking at potential alternatives for my tires it made sense for me to let go of the full-sized spare and instead use that money to upgrade the tires to better ones. My XUV came with MRF tires and I went ahead and got them changed the next day after delivery to Michelin Primacy SUV+ same size at Madhus. Wanted a grippier softer compound with silent highway drives and better braking, they are on the pricier side but am extremely happy with the plush ride and the performance and they seem to be worth the price.

Tire Inflator:

XUV700 comes with a single 12v socket and that too in the boot and it's rated at max 120w, this meant that the heavy-duty inflators which are usually rated 150+ watts were out of consideration. With a basement parking at home and easy access to power points, I was also exploring any options that would let me run the inflator directly from my PowerPoint when I would use it at home. I came across one such inflator from Agaro - it's rated at 120w and can run both on 220v power point and the 12v car socket, it's a generic Chinese one with Agaro branding, and I decided to give it a try. Have used it a few times and it's worked pretty well so far - the auto cut-off works as expected + worked well on both 12V and 220V+ the 12V cable is long enough to reach all tires without issues + the heating seems to be in control.

PPF/Ceramic & Maintenance routine:

Got a 3M wash and wax within a week of delivery, and will not be going for PPF/ceramic and other treatments. All our cars have held up pretty well without them and covered parking at home and the office also helps. Made use of the Ayudha pooja occasion to strip wash the car and apply the Turtle Wax seal and shine and topped it off with Sonax BSD, I plan to use jopasu duster + proklear raw extreme cx waterless wash, when needed, as regular maintenance along with monthly/periodic washes with Sonax ph neutral shampoo and Sonax BSD as drying aid.

Initial verdict after 2000 km usage:

Personally, for me, this vehicle and variant have been an out-and-out VFM package with the day 1 pricing and price protection that I got - a comfortable full-size SUV with a powerful engine, AWD, ADAS, an effortless city drive and excellent highway manners and an added EPB feature for my variant and all this came in at a price point that was well under my budget. Heck, I was even able to get all my accessories, max extended warranty, tire upgrade, tire inflator etc and still keep it under budget, makes me enjoy this car completely guilt-free. The only disappointment, and a major one for me - I was mentally prepared for the initial software/sensor-related niggles but expected a mechanically sound vehicle, I was not ready for this constant thud-thud football in the boot sound from the rear and it has been a bit of a dampener to my otherwise excellent ownership experience so far.

I plan to keep this thread updated regularly with my ownership & service experience, hopefully, it will be of help to other prospective & current owners of XUV700.

A few pics of my XUV700:

On the delivery day:

After the Turtle wax seal and shine + Sonax BSD treatment:

Added aftermarket AWD badge:

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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