Diesel engines, while still popular among SUV buyers, are slowly losing the grip to their counterparts, especially in Tier 1 cities. The fact is that diesel and petrol prices no longer have a wide gap and, thus, the demand for petrol SUVs have shot up recently.
Car-makers can no longer ignore this trend. And this is why even Mahindra, a name synonymous with big burly diesel vehicles, has had to adapt to the times. So, here is the XUV300 petrol. The XUV300 is not a rugged, old-school SUV like the TUV or Scorpio, but a modern-day compact SUV sprinkled with some Mahindra DNA and built for the concrete jungle .
Let me begin with the engine. The first impressions are great and leaves us impressed. The engine is a 3-cylinder turbo petrol but start it and it feels like a 4-cylinder one. It is smooth and clatter-free and also very refined. I start driving and scratch my head as to whether this is actually a Mahindra vehicle or not! The XUV300 has a very light steering along with a light gearbox (which is slotted easily) and also a light clutch. All this makes the XUV300 petrol very easy to drive in the city.
The engine makes 110 bhp and 200Nm, which is more than sufficient. While driving in the city, one appreciate that you can make U-turns or tackle speed breakers in second or third gear and that one does not need to downshift. The engine is smooth and largely vibration free. There is a tiny amount of lag but overall it is an impressive piece of machinery. On the highway when you push it, you do not get the huge rush of torque of the diesel. The petrol variant is more relaxed, but it does it get to triple digit speeds and cruises well.
The XUV300 stays stable at high speeds and for a Mahindra it feels a world away from the TUV. It is nimble and quite agile with the roll contained well. In the city, at low speeds, the ride is much better than all of its rivals. For a Mahindra, the XUV300 is not as off-road friendly as its siblings.
For a petrol, the efficiency is quite good: I would say it is amongst the most efficient petrol SUVs with a mileage easily between 11-14 kmpl.
Other than the engine, the XUV300 is an impressive package overall. It looks the biggest and has proper SUV flavour plastered all over it. The interior is easily the best effort yet from Mahindra with a light, airy and well-designed cabin.
There is good space available, though the boot is a little cramped. Some bits, such as the steering controls, feel flimsy. That said, the equipment levels are class leading with dual-zone climate control, front parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system alongside all the usual stuff such as sunroof, cruise control, touchscreen and rear camera, although, surprisingly, there are no rear ac vents.
Unlike other cars, the price difference between petrol and diesel XUV300 is only Rs 50-60k. Yes, the diesel is undoubtedly the more peppy unit, but the petrol model too has its unique appeal — it is refined, fairly fuel efficient and easy to use/ live with with a decent performance.
As a petrol SUV, the EcoSport is more fun, but the XUV300 has more space and is a more rounded package, even though there is no automatic version yet. If you want an all-rounder petrol SUV, the XUV300 is a very good choice.