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Car reviews - Mahindra - XUV700


We like
Zesty turbo-petrol engine, nice ride comfort, easy to drive, great value, decent safety tech, third-row space is better than average, three rows of air-vents, lever-action back-row seats
Room for improvement
Tyres aren’t great, steering a bit lifeless, no electric boot, weird spec anomalies with steering adjustment and driver’s knee airbag, interior trim only available in off-white

Indian seven-seater is attractively priced, feels good to sit in, and is decent to drive

20 Jun 2023



MAHINDRA has continued its run of somewhat unexpected fine form with the new XUV700, a family-focused seven-seat midsize SUV that offers immense value for money.


With the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander in its sights when it comes to sales, the new Mahindra XUV700 comes exclusively with a three-row layout at launch, and it measures up almost identically to those two models in terms of physical dimensions yet undercuts both when it comes to price.


The XUV700 is available in two trim levels – the AX7, at $36,990 drive-away, and the AX7L at $39,990 drive-away – making its starting price the most affordable three-row SUV on the market today. It must be noted, though, that these are introductory prices only, with a likely increase due to come into effect from August 1.


Unlike the Japanese pair, the Indian-made model comes with a turbocharged engine under the bonnet – an inhouse built and developed 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘mStallion’ unit with 150kW of power and 380Nm of torque.


Those figures easily outgun the larger capacity non-turbo engines in its primary rivals, and unlike those models, it also comes with a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission rather than a CVT auto. It is sourced from Aisin. The XUV700 is front-wheel drive only at launch.


There may be a diesel engine version with all-wheel drive on its way later in 2023, and if it comes, you can expect the mHawk 2.2-litre turbo-diesel to be under the bonnet, which would give it a point of differentiation against the Nissan and Mitsubishi.


However, you won’t find a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model on offer here. Mahindra has made it clear that it plans to bypass petrol-electric tech in favour of a full-EV take on this vehicle, which will likely arrive in the coming years.


As it stands, the petrol 2WD models have an official combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which is a little on the high side, but it can run on 91RON regular unleaded fuel.


It does a good job of feeling high-tech on the inside, despite the somewhat traditional powertrain offering. It comes with a pair of 10.25-inch screens – one for multimedia including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, and the other for the driver’s information display, including a digital speedometer and detailed trip computer.


The cabin trim might cause a few potential family buyers to shudder at the potential for difficult spill clean-ups, but the brand has said that it is working on offering a black interior trim choice as an alternative.


Cabin storage is family-friendly, with an array of cup and bottle holders for all three rows, while the back row even gets its own fan controller and vents on both sides of the cabin, while second-row users have a pair of directional air-vents available.


Parents will have to make do with the middle row of seats for child-seat fitment, as there are ISOFIX points in the window seats and three top-tethers, but the back row doesn’t have any child-seat attachment options. If you need to access the very rear row, there’s a tumble-and-fold seat mechanism for the kerbside, but the larger portion of the 60:40 split seat does not tumble.


The XUV700 has a seven-year/150,000km warranty, and there is seven years of roadside assist. At the time of writing, the brand had not confirmed its capped-price servicing plan for the vehicle, but had stated that it has shorter than average 12 month/10,000km intervals.


Driving impressions


You might be surprised how impressive this SUV is to drive, and in my opinion that is because it offers levels of torque – aka effortlessness – that its contemporaries cannot match.


The turbocharged engine is a lively and willing thing, with easily enough oomph to get things moving and keep it going. I drove with four adult males and a boot full of luggage on board – or about the same as a family with a few kids and some holiday gear, weight-wise – and it definitely felt up to the task, with little complaint in urban and freeway driving situations.


I was also very impressed by the ride comfort and compliance – this is a family SUV that feels well sorted in terms of its suspension, and well suited to the type of buyer that is looking for a vehicle like this.


The steering could offer better fluidity in terms of its responsiveness. It is light and user-friendly at lower speeds, but as you go quicker it can feel a bit vague on-centre and for slight directional adjustments. But then, as you start to apply lock, it seemingly improves its reactions. It can make it feel like you’ve got to second-guess your steering.


There is also some body roll in the bends, and the tyres (Indian-made MRF rubber in 235/60/R18 size) would be a quick upgrade to improve the dynamics of the car, too. Might even fix up that steering weirdness, as well.


A couple of other considerations… The seating position is not terrific, the front seats are unnecessarily firm and the passenger’s side also lacks the ability to be height-adjusted, so taller occupants may be left with their heads close to the ceiling. Further, the rear-view mirror does not have auto-dimming functionality, and was constantly vibrating at speed.


The active safety systems include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality on the top-spec model, and both grades have lane keeping assistance which I found to be decent, but still a little nudgy in terms of interrupting my driving on the freeway.


Overall, it might seem like I’ve pointed out more negatives than positives, but that just goes to show that there is room for improvement if Mahindra wants the car to appeal to slightly keener drivers.


For those who prioritise pricing and practicality over that sort of thing, then this is a compelling alternative to the mainstream medium-sized seven-seaters.

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