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Driven: Mahindra undercuts rivals with XUV500 Petrol

Cheap as chips: The XUV500 W6 FWD is the least expensive seven-seat mid-size SUV on the Australian market, checking in from $25,990 driveaway.

Price-leading Mahindra XUV500 Petrol sets benchmark for seven-seat mid-size SUVs


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5 Mar 2018

MAHINDRA Automotive Australia (MAA) has replaced its XUV500 Diesel with a Petrol version kicking off at $25,990 driveaway, making it the most sharply priced seven-seat mid-size SUV on the market.

Speaking to journalists at the national media launch of the XUV500 Petrol in Gold Coast last week, MAA national manager Mahesh Kaskar said the brand will continue with the sole petrol powertrain instead of offering both side-by-side.

“With the launch of this gasoline, we will be out of the diesel,” he said. “We will be going ahead with only petrol as a base model for XUV500.

“The SUV segment is almost 70 per cent gasoline and 30 per cent isn’t, and the way it is going right now, it will probably move towards the gasoline.

“And that is one of the reasons why we are moving towards the gasoline, because we know we are playing in a small segment, and unless we get the petrol product, we just can’t action (our sales targets).”

When questioned if there were any plans to bring the Euro6-compliant diesel engine available in Europe to Australia, Mr Kaskar said if there was demand for such a model, the decision may be reversed.

Arriving as the petrol version of the XUV500 Diesel, the XUV500 Petrol is available in two grades, dubbed W6 and W8, with the former added to create an even more affordable entry-level option.

Similar to the XUV500 Diesel W8, the choice of front- or all-wheel drive is offered on the XUV500 Petrol W8, while the XUV500 Petrol W6 is exclusively front-wheel drive.

Pricing for all three XUV500 Petrol variants is driveaway, with the W6 FWD opening the range from $25,990, while the W8 FWD has a $29,990 sticker price and the W8 AWD commands a $32,990 pricetag. Equivalent XUV500 Diesel variants sat $2000 upstream.

Significantly, the XUV500 Petrol’s entry-level price undercuts that of its seven-seat mid-size rivals, including the Mitsubishi Outlander ES ($30,500), Nissan X-Trail ST ($32,490), Honda CR-V VTi-L ($38,990) and Peugeot 5008 Allure ($42,990), which are all priced before on-road costs.

MAA public relations and marketing manager James Halliwell explained that the XUV500 Petrol’s sharp pricing was a deliberate ploy targeted at specific group of buyers.

“What we find in the family market is that a lot of people aspire to a vehicle that can carry the load, that has seven seats, that has (cargo) capacity, that has braked towing capacity,” he said.

“(With) young families in Australia, most of them are working two jobs – we call ourselves middle-class or working-class people.

“What you find with these people is that (they) aspire to the Japanese products, but often can’t afford them – so we look to the second-hand market.

“We’ve got a product here that becomes the cheapest seven-seat SUV in the market with an automatic transmission, positioned straight into the heart of Australian families.

“We like to think of it as ‘life’s little extras’. What we mean by that is, not only do you get extra value for your money, and not only do you have the ability to add extra people to your vehicle being seven seats, but you’ve also got a little bit extra money because you haven’t had to spend a fortune buying the product in the first place.”

The XUV500 Petrol draws motivation from a 2.2-litre mHawk turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 103kW of power and 320Nm of torque.

Comparatively, the XUV500 Diesel’s similarly sized unit develops 103kW and 330Nm.

Furthermore, the XUV500 Petrol exclusively uses a six-speed automatic transmission that features a torque convertor and is made by Japanese automotive supplier Aisin. A manual option is not available, unlike the XUV500 Diesel.

The W8 AWD also has an Interactive Torque Management system which automatically redistributes torque between the front and rear axles. Mahindra says it can seamlessly transition from FWD to AWD without driver intervention.

All XUV500 Petrols come with a class-leading braked towing capacity of 2500 kilograms and a cargo capacity of 702 litres when the 50:50 split-fold third row is stowed.

Standard equipment in the W6 grade includes four rear parking sensors, projector headlights with auto-levelling function and cornering lights, daytime running lights (DRLs), front and rear foglights, rain-sensing wipers and a rear-door mechanical child lock.

Inside, premium black fabric upholstery, three second-row Isofix child restraints, climate control, a tilt- and telescopic-adjustable multi-function steering wheel, a central storage bin cooler, a 6.0-inch monochrome LCD infotainment system, a six-speaker sound system, a height- and lumbar-adjustable driver seat, and cruise control feature.

Stepping up to the W8 grade adds folding power-side mirrors, a 7.0-inch colour TFT touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, a reversing camera, genuine leather upholstery and a rear tailgate LED camping light.

The entry-level W6 FWD variant is expected to be the best-selling XUV500 Petrol, while a range-topping W10 variant featuring luxury features will be introduced locally if customer demand is sufficient.

Six different paint colours are on offer, including Pearl White, Sunset Orange, Tuscan Red, Dolphin Grey, Moondust Silver and Volcano Black.

Several genuine factory accessories are available, including side steps, a stainless-steel nudge bar, illuminated scuff platers, rain visors, a plastic boot tub liner, a tow bar package, a driver seat coat hanger, a roof rack, headlight covers and carpet mats for all three rows.

As with the XUV500 Diesel, the XUV500 Petrol comes with a five-year/100,000km limited warranty, five years of roadside assistance and a three-year capped-price servicing program.

Prior to its local introduction, the XUV500 Petrol was subject to 50,000km of local testing over a six- to 12-month period which endeavoured to make sure the model was suitable for Australia’s tough conditions.

Last year’s sub-$60,000 mid-size-SUV segment was led by the Mazda CX-5 (25,831 units), Hyundai Tucson (23,828), Toyota RAV4 (21,077), Nissan X-Trail (18,955) and Mitsubishi Outlander (16,632).

MAA does not provide national sales figures to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), but says it will start doing so later this year.

2018 Mahindra XUV500 Petrol driveaway pricing
W6 FWD (a)$25,990
W8 FWD (a)$29,990
W8 AWD (a)$32,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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