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miércoles, septiembre 27, 2023
HomeSports-Cars2023 Mahindra XUV700 review - Drive

2023 Mahindra XUV700 review – Drive

Introducing Australia’s newest and cheapest seven-seat SUV.


What we love
  • Ride and build quality much better than what the price tag suggests
  • Good inclusion of standard equipment and features
  • Nice lazy torque available from the turbocharged four-pot

What we don’t
  • Missing an ANCAP crash rating, and a couple of safety acronyms
  • Base spec misses out on some important features
  • Even with electric seat adjustment, ergonomics don’t feel perfect

Mahindra is looking to emerge from its niche positioning in Australia – offering value-packed vehicles for regional and rural markets – and take on the mainstream.

And it doesn’t get more mainstream than a medium-sized SUV. Effectively taking over from the aged and inadequate XUV500, this 2023 Mahindra XUV700 is an all-new seven-seat offering from the Indian carmaker.

As the brand is busy expanding its footprint of dealerships in major metropolitan areas, and not long after the arrival of the Scorpio four-wheel drive, the XUV700 is Mahindra’s best shot yet of significantly growing its sales volume in Australia.

It’s available for sale now, and has already been behind the wheel. Here’s our take on its newest medium-sized SUV for Australia, which also works out to be the cheapest seven-seater on the market.

How much does the Mahindra XUV700 cost in Australia?

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The 2023 Mahindra XUV700 model range is simple and to the point. Both model grades on offer are petrol-powered and front-wheel drive with seven seats, and a similar range of equipment on offer.

And like the Scorpio, both models get a sharp drive-away price as an introductory offer. Mahindra representatives couldn’t be drawn into saying how long this offer would be and what might replace it. It will depend mostly on how successful the XUV700 is initially.

The range starts with an AX7, which costs $36,990 drive-away. This gets twin 10.25-inch screens, automatic LED headlights and daytime running lights, keyless entry with push-button start, synthetic leather interior trimming (with white your only initial choice of colour), six-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, six-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control, rear-view camera and a good array of safety equipment. It also gets a panoramic sunroof, tyre pressure monitoring and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.

It’s certainly not a stripped-out model, then, and the AX7L throws in a good range of gear for the $3000 of extra spend at $39,990 drive-away: wireless phone charging, 12-speaker Sony-branded sound system, stop-and-go functionality for the adaptive cruise-control system, 360-degree camera and blind-spot camera functionality, driver’s knee airbag, electronic doorhandles and park brake, and an illuminated vanity mirror.

Strangely, and I think it’s the first time I have seen this, but reach adjustment for the steering column is restricted only to the top AX7L model. The AX7 only gets tilt adjustment.

Key details 2023 Mahindra XUV700
Price AX7: $36,990 drive-away
AX7L: $39,990 drive-away
Available colours Midnight Black
Electric Blue
Red Rage
Dazzling Silver
Everest White
Options None
Rivals Nissan X-Trail | Mitsubishi Outlander | LDV D90

How much space does the Mahindra XUV700 have inside?

Step inside the XUV700 in either trim level and you’ll find it hard not to be impressed in terms of what you get for the asking price. White leather (which isn’t real leather) is your only choice, which could be confronting for hardcore family use. However, vinyl-based materials like this tend to be quite hardy over the long term, and should wipe down reasonably well after being tarnished by kids.

At least the colour lends a nice, light airiness to the cabin. Which, by the way, has a solid sense of build quality. There are no rattles or creaks to contend with, and heavy grabs and prods by myself didn’t expose anything untoward.

The worst side of this impressive cabin comes from the ergonomics side of things. It doesn’t feel as intrinsically good as others in this regard, despite the inclusion of electric driver’s seat adjustment with memory functionality. The amounts of adjustment available aren’t huge, and I couldn’t dial myself in behind the wheel as well as I would like. I also noticed that the front passenger seat seems to be mounted in an unusually high position, putting one’s forehead close to the roof lining.

The design, however, is worlds apart from the old XUV500, and puts it right amongst the fight of other new medium SUVs in the segment. Twin screens sit proudly atop the dashboard surrounded by soft-touch materials and topped off with a cap.

Dual-zone climate controls sit further down, separate and traditional in their design. There are some additional control buttons underneath, along with a storage cubby and wireless charging pad (for the AX7L only). The large dial near the gearshifter acts as a volume dial, and the number of cupholders depends on the spec level. There are two in the more expensive AX7L, while a manual handbrake in the lower-grade model robs you of one.

Power outlets include twin USB-A points, but we couldn’t find any 12V outlet up front.

The second row is plenty spacious, with a high seating position that affords good levels of visibility. Legroom and headroom are both well covered, despite the inclusion of a panoramic sunroof that can sometimes eat into headspace. There are air vents in the back, as well as a single USB-C power outlet and tiny storage cubby.

The XUV700 feels to be fairly wide, which is a good sign for growing families. We weren’t able to fit any car seats this time around, but we will investigate this more closely in future reviews. There are ISOFIX points on the outboard seats in the second row and top tether points for all three seats.

The second row doesn’t slide at all, but the third row is decent enough for occasional usage. Adults do run out of headroom and their knees will be pushing into the second-row seat back, but the seats are comfortable and the floor is low enough for a decent knee position. There are cupholders and air vents in the back, as well as a 12V power outlet. Kids would be happy enough in the back here, and parents will be glad to know that curtain airbags extend to cover the rearmost row.

The boot, which is lacking any official litreage figures from Mahindra, is good. Don’t forget the XUV700 is relatively large for a medium-sized SUV, and the folding-flat third row makes for a big amount of space when loaded up. There are some gaps in the floor, however, so if your bag of groceries overturns when on the move, you might lose a mandarin or two.

Even in seven-seat mode, you’ve got enough space for a couple of backpacks or a few bags of groceries.

2023 Mahindra XUV700
Seats Seven
Boot volume Not yet measured
Length 4695mm
Width 1890mm
Height 1755mm
Wheelbase 2750mm

Does the Mahindra XUV700 have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

One 10.25-inch display handles your infotainment needs, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality included in both specification levels. It’s a good system as well, responding well to inputs and an easy-to-navigate operating system.

There’s no mention of digital radio or native navigation in this system, which would irk some buyers. However, suburban users who will likely plug their phone in immediately before or after pushing the on button might not give two hoots.

The second display, which is also 10.25 inches in size, is your digital instrument cluster. It’s good as well, with a crisp-feeling and nice layout. Steering wheel controls are used to access and adjust a handful of elements here, and we note that adjusting things like lane-departure warning does take a bit of digging to find.

Is the Mahindra XUV700 a safe car?

While the XUV700 gets a five-star Global NCAP safety rating, this isn’t to be confused with ANCAP, which is a local testing regime with more stringent testing protocols.

When looked through the ANCAP prism, Global NCAP isn’t important, and missing any kind of ANCAP rating needs to be well understood by buyers. Put simply, there are safer options available in this segment.

However, let’s give credit where it’s due: in comparison to the Scorpio – which is missing key safety technology – this XUV700 is a much better proposition.

It has autonomous emergency braking (with pedestrian detection), lane-departure warning and lane-keep assistance, adaptive cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring and six airbags. This number grows to seven for the AX7L, which gets a driver’s knee airbag as well.

AX7L also gets a blind-spot camera function (off the back of the 360-degree camera system), but both specs miss out on blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

2023 Mahindra XUV700
ANCAP rating Untested
Safety report Untested
At a glance 2023 Mahindra XUV700
Warranty Seven years, 150,000km
Service intervals XX months or 1X,000km

Is the Mahindra XUV700 fuel-efficient?

One element that is currently unable to be fully verified is fuel economy. Mahindra claims 8.3 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, which is on the high side of things, and especially when you’re comparing against hybrids and diesel-powered competitors. 

But at least it’s got a decent surge of torque and acceleration available. Better economy will be available from naturally aspirated engines in a similar capacity – often the only choice in a medium-sized SUV anywhere near this price point – but I’d prefer the extra grunt underfoot and pay the penalty in efficiency.

Mahindra’s efficiency claim for urban driving is 10.0L/100km. Once we get one through for a more thorough evaluation, we will be able to further interrogate these numbers.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed, combined) 8.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (claimed, urban) 10.0L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane regular unleaded
Fuel tank size 60L

What is the Mahindra XUV700 like to drive?

The torque available from the XUV700’s 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is an important factor in it feeling fit for purpose. Just shy of 150kW isn’t too shabby for a family SUV, but the 380Nm kicking in at 1750rpm allows the car to accelerate forward with a relaxed feel, and without needing to change down gears for some useful impetus.

The six-speed automatic gearbox, which is sourced by Aisin and is used in a wide variety of applications, feels mostly smooth and well weighted in terms of decision-making. Our initial drive indicated hints of imperfect shifts from time to time, but we’ll need to spend more time with the vehicle in order to render a final judgment.

Pedal travel is long and not overly responsive, which could sound like a negative. But I find it well weighted and not hair-triggered like you sometimes find in other SUVs, which are perhaps attempting to hide a lack of urgency in the midrange. 

Push the pedal right down and you’ve got enough performance there for everyday driving needs. It’s not an engine that seems to relish high-rev work, and it certainly feels happier when allowed to lug along in the midrange. 

Perhaps the most pleasing elements of the XUV700 are the good levels of refinement and ride comfort on offer. 

Often vehicles at this lower end of the price spectrum, which offer a high level of showroom appeal at a bargain price, aren’t so positive in this regard. And certainly the previous-generation XUV500 wasn’t the most pleasing driving experience.

However, there’s an impressive improvement that comes from a stiffer and lighter monocoque platform, in addition to well-tuned suspension damping. Mahindra told us it put over 540 different iterations of suspension tune into the XUV700 frequency-selective dampers before settling on the final product.

And while the XUV700 doesn’t yet leave a Mercedes-Benz S-Class quaking in its boots, the quality of the ride is just as good as the better examples in the segment, as crowded and competitive as it is. 

The steering feel is light and not particularly communicative in terms of what is happening underneath, which reduces the appeal for someone wanting an engaging driving experience. However, the light weighting also adds to an ease of driving feel.

For a suburban-focussed SUV that is destined for a life of scooting around town on errands and commutes, it feel well dialled in.

Key details 2023 Mahindra XUV700
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 149kW @ 5000rpm petrol
Torque 380Nm @ 1750–3000rpm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Six-speed torque converter automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 81.2kW/t
Weight (tare) 1835kg
Spare tyre type Space-saver
Tow rating 1500kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.5m

Should I buy a Mahindra XUV700?

I wouldn’t shy away from the Mahindra XUV700 for a few important reasons. Firstly, the interior feels well packaged and executed. It works well as an occasional seven-seater, which will strike the right balance of space and accommodation for many Australian families.

However, the driving experience is something that puts the XUV700 in a strong position, and especially when referenced against that bargain drive-away price.

That’s the main element here to convey: it’s cheap, but it doesn’t feel like it. Instead, there is a feeling of sound engineering and quality execution in the finished product.

While the XUV700 ticks many of the boxes that were missed with the Scorpio, there are still safer options available in the family-focussed medium SUV segment. Missing a five-star ANCAP safety rating, as well as features like rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, puts the XUV700 on the back foot.

However, autonomous emergency braking, six interior airbags and lane-departure warning make it a safer proposition in comparison to many second-hand vehicles that line up against the XUV700 on price.

There’s no doubt that as cost of living pressures continue to rise in Australia, new car buyers will be looking to make their dollars go further with their own big purchase. And Mahindra’s XUV700 – a watershed offering from the Indian brand – will likely find favour in many family driveways.

Ratings Breakdown

Mahindra XUV700

7.4/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.

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