Mahindra and Mahindra has upgraded its flagship SUV, Mahindra XUV 500 and has brought out an XUV 500 version 2.0. The company has tagged this vehicle with the title of “zero defect vehicle”. So what exactly has the company done here? There is an array of improvements which have ultimately enhanced the car’s performance as compared to the original model.
For example, the braking system has been re-engineered completely to specially solve the problem of noisy brakes. The company has upgraded the entire brake system with higher quality brake pads which have an improved feel and do not groan in spite of being used constantly. The Anti Lock Braking System (ABS) and the brake boosters have both been recalibrated. Now the question that arises here is that whether these subtle changes have worked in favour of the company or not?
A short test drive in this version 2.0 XUV 500 has revealed that the new brakes, though noiseless and pretty effective, are still spongy at the top half of the pedal travel. The brakes therefore lack the bite. Mahindra has also changed their earlier clutch supplier, Valeo, to improve the reliability of the clutch operations and oil seals. However there is one area where the company still new to do some more work. The clutch operation still needs to be more progressive as it takes a good amount of concentration in engaging the clutch smoothly. The gearshift too feels a bit notchy.
The car has high shaft angles which cannot be lowered without incorporating a major re-engineering. But the new XUV 500 feels better fitted and tauter than before. The company has worked upon removing rattles and squeaks by matching different panels and materials carefully on the interior trim as well as the dashboard. The spot welds in the car body have improved the torsional stiffness of the vehicle. This has added to the car cost as well the total dry weight of the vehicle. But this added stiffness is very essential on rough roads like we have in India. The suspension now seems more piliant due to improved bushes which have eliminated the harshness out of the ride. However the overall dynamics of the car are not competent enough to beat its rivals.
The company still needs to do a lot of work on this XUV 500 but it can be said that the changes which have been made in this version 2.0 have improved the car’s overall performance. To summarize, it can be said that the Mahindra XUV 500 is a pretty substantial vehicle and is a very popular SUV due to its space, style, performance, value and equipment which are still a part of this new version. The car’s weaknesses have been taken car of to some extent with these changes.
The company has very cleverly escaped the additional government duty imposed on SUV with a ground clearance of more than 170 mm. The company has used the Euro Arc system to show a 200 mm of ground clearance which definitely looks impressive on the spec sheet. But other than this system the authorities also approve another system which measures the ground clearance from the lowest point of the vehicle. With this system, the ground clearance has dropped to 170 mm and Mahindra was spared the additional 3% duty.
Source: Autocar India