Getting re-acquinted with the Mahindra XUV300 (2022)

Getting re-acquinted with the Mahindra XUV300 (2022)

If ever the right car hit the local market at the wrong time, it’s the Mahindra XUV300 and its initial introduction. Upon release, supply shortages curtailed deliveries, as demand far outstripped availability, and then 2020 and its repercussions happened on top of that. Mahindra South Africa saw this lost time as an opportunity to fine-tune the car a little, however, and the result is now available in Mahindra’s showrooms.

The changes applied to the Mahindra XUV300 are minor in isolation, but they do address most of the qualms we’ve had all along. The range is also shuffled slightly, with the entry-level variant switching from diesel to petrol power and the addition of a limited-run “W4 SE” derivative as upgrade option. More about those later.

What’s new in the 2022 XUV300?

The most noticeable change is in the cabin’s colour scheme, which exchanges the original beige interior for an all-dark look. As a result, the cabin is quite somber in comparison to the old one, but it does do a better job of camouflaging the hard plastics which line the interior, and should prove more practical too.

Discreet silver trim strips around the air vents, on the dash, and on the steering wheel providing some contrast. Upholstery is still either cloth or artificial leather, depending on trim level, and the darker colour gives the cabin a rather more-upmarket ambience.

The other notable change is in the infotainment system, where the colour touchscreen has been upsized from 7- to 9-inches. This system features full smartphone mirroring and is standard on all XUV300s bar the base W4, and adds integrated sat-nav from W6-level upwards.

W6 and W8 trims also add a rear-screen wiper/washer (a puzzling prior omission) and cruise control to the equation, while the W8 retains its exclusivity with (among many other items) leather steering wheel trim, dual-zone climate control, and an electric glass sunroof. The package is rounded out with redesigned 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels (shod with Bridgestone Turanzas, nogal) for the two top trim levels.

Range re-arranged

While the two top grades (W6 and W8) remain largely unchanged (apart from the additions listed above) the entry level W4 has been revised more extensively. Previously only available with the 1.5-litre turbodiesel, this variant’s engine now changes to the 1.2-litre turbopetrol. This is likely to keep the W4’s list price way down, but it’s nonetheless a pity to say goodbye to the lovely diesel power unit.

R 234 999 will get you into a W4 and that’s OK, but R 244 999 will get you a W4 Special Edition (SE), and that’s a bit more than just OK. For one thing, it exchanges plastic wheel covers over steel wheels for 16-inch alloys (different to the W6 and W8’s, but still), and it includes that big-screen infotainment system as standard for the other.

Motive power remains as-is

As before, the only drivetrain option is a 6-speed manual gearbox – a factor which does unfortunately inhibit local sales, even if the manual itself is a pleasure to use. Just know that the only current auto option in the Indian market is a truly terrible automated manual, so let’s rather raise our hats to Mahindra SA for not sullying an otherwise great-driving car with such an atrocity.

The engine options also remain unchanged, with both petrol- and diesel power available in each of the upper two trim levels (the W4s are, of course, now petrol-only). We are yet to sample the petrol XUV300, but it is unlikely to match the excellent 1.5-litre turbodiesel on smoothness, performance, or economy.

This won’t be because the 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol is bad (it has decent outputs, so it looks promising already), but simply because the diesel is one of the nicest engines of its displacement around, period. The petrol’s 81 kW and 200 Nm is respectable, and it should be economical too, but the diesel ups the ante to 86 kW and 300 Nm, delivered over a wide rev range and with surprising refinement.

This won’t be because the 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbo petrol is bad (it has decent outputs, so it looks promising already), but simply because the diesel is one of the nicest engines of its displacement around, period. The petrol’s 81 kW and 200 Nm is respectable, and it should be economical too, but the diesel ups the ante to 86 kW and 300 Nm, delivered over a wide rev range and with surprising refinement.

The ultimate selling point

A successful car needs to set itself apart from the herd, and for the Mahindra XUV300 range, the trump card is safety. It received 5 stars in Global NCAP crash testing in 2020, with a score of 16.42 out of 17 for adult protection.

Most impressively, this rating was achieved in base-level specification. This means that the tested car had only 2 airbags (like the W4 and W6), instead of the 7 airbags that are fitted to the W8 trim.

This great safety rating is augmented by ABS, ISOFIX rear child seat anchors and rear parking sensors across the range, while the W8 adds front parking sensors, a rear-view camera, and tyre pressure monitoring as well. The only thing that’s still missing is stability control, so here’s hoping that the next model update adds this safety feature for a truly full house of safety gear.

2022 Mahindra XUV300 range

List price
XUV300 1.2T W4 R 234 999
XUV300 1.2T W4 SE R 244 999
XUV300 1.2T W6 R 261 999
XUV300 1.5TD W6 R 281 999
XUV300 1.2T W8 R 316 999
XUV300 1.5TD W8 R 336 999

Prices include a warranty for 5 years or 150 000 km, and a service plan for 3 years or 50 000 km (W4, W4 SE) / 90 000 km (W6, W8).

Source: Martin Pretorius (www.autotrader.co.za)

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