Mahindra had launched the XUV300 in India in February with both petrol and diesel engine options but only with a manual gearbox setup across both engines. A two-pedal version was on the cards with Mahindra hinting that it would turn up within the next few months. So, here it is, the top-of-the-line W8 (O) diesel AMT (automated manual transmission) to take on the likes of similar offerings in the form of the Tata Nexon and, of course, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the segment leader for sub-4 compact SUVs.
We had driven the same car in our first drive review and there are very minor changes to the overall appearance. The face is dominated by liberal doses of chrome and those very futuristic looking vertical LEDs while in profile you can see the truncated nature of the car as dictated by the requirements of the sub-4 compact vehicle category. This look, however, is balanced by the flat nature bonnet and this also gives it that old school boxy SUV stance. As we said before, at the back, Mahindra has put in chunky elements to beef up the appearance of the car. It is also here that you can see the auto shift badge indicating the two-pedal nature of the car.
Inside, it’s a beige and black setup and because this is a top-of-the-line model, you get dual zone climate control with memory function, touchscreen infotainment with 7.0-inch display, leatherette upholstery, front parking sensors, sunroof and wireless charging. The gear lever has been changed and sports a design quite different to what the competition offers. The lever sits in the middle and when you engage any of the modes, it shifts and then comes back to the centre. Mahindra has also modified the instrument cluster to match the AMT nature of the car.
The AMT setup is offered only with the 1.5-litre diesel engine. It produces 115bhp/300Nm and there is a six-speed AMT as a part of the deal. This is the most powerful diesel engine in this segment of vehicles in terms of torque.
On the go at low speeds, the gearbox responds surprisingly well and because of the wide spread of torque across the ratios, the back and forth movement commonly associated with AMTs when they change gears is quite minimal. We were able to do as low as 40kmph and the gearbox would keep you in third gear at a shade just under the 1500rpm mark.
There is a minor lag when you put your foot down but once the turbo spools past the 1800rpm mark, the surge is linear and if you keep at it, you will even able to achieve three-digit speeds quite quickly. If you keep your foot buried on the throttle, the engine revs all the way up to redline before shifting. The manual mode is useful for inducing engine braking and does this quite well if you need to bring the car to a halt quickly.
One of the things we found a bit intrusive is the creep function. Presently, to make your traffic crawling easy, the creep function is intrusive in the way that if you get off the line and press the throttle (as is human nature) the car lunges forwards or backwards. However, this is expected to be only a minor issue and owners will get use to the way it kicks in within a very short time. The hill hold and hill descent function are two very useful functions that are offered with this gearbox setup, thereby making it a whole lot safer to go up and down sloped roads. Mahindra has not made another changes to the XUV300. The ride quality is quite impressive and there is even an improvement in the NVH insulation of the cabin since the last time we drove the car.
|Variant||W8 (O) AMT|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||115 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||300 @ 1500|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||42|
|Tyre size||205/65 R16|
|Dual zone climate control||°|
|3 steering modes||°|
|Rear parking sensors||°|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||XZA Plus diesel||ZDi Plus||W8 (O) AMT|
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||108 @ 3750||89 @ 4000||115 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||260 @ 1500||200 @ 1750||300 @ 1500|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||44||48||42|
|Tyre size||216/60 R16||215/60 R16||205/65 R16|
We expect that Mahindra will price the XUV300 AMT variants at a maximum of Rs 60,000 over the equivalent MT spec variants. Automatics are fast becoming popular with car buyers in this part of the market and this AMT setup in the XUV300 will now open the car to a wider set of buyers. The Mahindra XUV300 AMT takes on the likes of the Tata Nexon diesel AMT as well as the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza which is only offered in diesel and with a five-speed AMT.