Mahindra Xylo in India versus Toyota Innova in India – war of the MUVs

The MUV segment in the Indian context has been dominated from the year 2000 by one Mr. Toyota. This was earlier the bastion of another Mr.T and that is Tata Motors. The former with its debut MUV, the Toyota Qualis whereas the latter with its evergreen, Tata Sumo. However after the Toyota Qualis was launched, the Tata Sumo faded into oblivion. It was so much popular that even after it was phased out, the MUV buying public were still craving for more. Toyota Kirloskar Motors on sensing this launched the Qualis replacement, the Toyota Innova in India. Even though it was way expensive than the Qualis that it replaced, people still loved it and it became the top seller from the Toyota Kirloskar Motors stable. Now in 2009, Indian home grown manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra stood up to the challenge and launched their own challenger to the MUV thrown, the Mahindra Xylo in India. It was a better looking{looks may be subjective} MUV than the Toyota Innova, provided better mileage, many of the interior features, space and the best thing is that it was still cheaper by Rs 3 lakhs than the Toyota Innova. Now, many of the earlier manufacturers tried in vain to usurp the Toyota’s apple cart however none succeeded. We pit the two against each other and see if the new comer would be able to carry away the glory from the current champion, the Toyota Innova in India.


Mahindra Xylo: The Mahindra Xylo in India carries the same grille as seen on the Mahindra Scorpio or in short, the Mahindra Bolero as well. The Mahindra Xylo has that saber tooth in front along with chrome grilles. It is flanked by wrap around lights. Mahindra and Mahindra have tried hard to not give this vehicle the typical MUV look and yes, they have succeeded to a certain extent. The bumper has that typical slats with the fog lamps been placed exactly near the wheels. The bonnet is also curved. Infact it looks much narrower and thinner than the Toyota Innova. The outside rear view mirrors are also body colored. Mahindra and Mahindra had already briefed their designers to design the vehicle from outside in. They had a predefined shape to work on and then later on they have tried to utilize the maximum space available. The side profile shows 15 inch alloy wheels for the top end E8 version which we tested here. The door handles are also body colored and blend well with the look of the MUV. The turn indicators are nestled just below the ORVMs. The rear end shows a Christmas tree like tail lamps, single wiper, pull handle type door and step up cladding.

Toyota Innova: The Toyota Innova in India is actually the refreshed model, now in the wake of strong competition. The “new” car features a revised head lamp cluster with black inserts, new front and rear bumpers along with revised alloy wheel design. The face of the MUV now features the typical Toyota grille with the Toyota badge. The air dam is slightly bigger than the one observed in the previous generation one. The fog lamps are also pearl shaped and look good. The side mirrors are big and are housed in chrome cases. The wheels are 16 inch alloys on the top end Vx version.The rear now gets wiper, along with clear lens tail lamps and LED mounted stop lamp. For the petrol version, the Toyota Innova has a big tail pipe whereas for the diesel one, there is a slim unit.

We would still go for the bland looking Toyota Innova as the design has aged more gracefully than say the Mahindra Xylo.


Mahindra Xylo: While the exteriors may seem compact, the interiors are far from it. There is good space all around. Now, this car can be ordered either with second row of seats or with second row of captain chairs. We of course had the latter. There was a mix of leather and fabric upholstery. The steering wheel seems inspired by modern day Tata vehicles. There is a plethora of features that Mahindra and Mahindra have packed into the Mahindra Xylo in India. The dials didn’t catch our fancy as they were the white on brown types and weren’t to everyone’s tastes. The thing which caught our fancy however was the multi information display or Digital Driver Assistance System {DDAS} in Mahindra speak. It gives the outside temperature, has a digital clock, average fuel efficiency, instant fuel economy, tyre pressure monitor, distance to empty and so on. There are also parking sensors which display any obstacles onto the inside rear view mirror while reversing or even when parking the vehicle. There is lots of space as the front seats have enough travel. The captain chairs is what we liked the most and it stays true to its ad campaign of “Happy Legs”. The rear most seats are also comfortable however for only short distances. With all the seats in place, the storing capacity is only 376 liters whereas with the rear seats flipped up, it increases to 900 liters. Some of our peers have actually lived in a Mahindra Xylo for a week and found it exactly to be a second home.

Toyota Innova: Since the Toyota Innova in India was the benchmark to be beaten, we already knew that this car would be spacious to say the least. The interiors are a mix of wooden as well as high quality materials. The leather wrapped steering wheel has now been provided with audio mounted controls. There is a 12 V charger socket now and also parking sensors. The latter don’t have image projection and just make do with audible signals. Taking a cue from the Mahindra Xylo, even this car now gets option of captain chairs. It has a three row AC system. The outside rear view mirrors are now electrically controlled. The front seats are power adjustable. There is acres of space just as the exteriors would project. The rearmost seats are a tad better than those in the Mahindra Xylo. The boot capacity is also bigger at 400 liters and with the rear seats flipped up, it get an increment of 700 liters.

It is bound to be the Toyota Innova again with its higher quality of materials.

Handling and ride quality

Mahindra Xylo: The suspension setup for the Mahindra Xylo in India is independent coil spring for the front and multi link coil springs for the rear. Like all Mahindras, the ride is a bit choppy at low speeds however as the speeds and load increases, this MUV feels planted and absorbs all the bumps thrown in its way. Its ground clearance of 186 mm give it good off-roading credentials as well. It can handle the rough roads as well as smooth ones with aplomb. The steering wheel is also light and it almost shrinks the vehicle around you. It however lacks speed sensitivity and hence doesn’t weigh up sufficiently when the speeds arise. High speed stability though is commendable. There is no wind or road noise present and the cabin is as silent as it can be.

As far as the handling goes, this MUV is no BMW and due to its tall stature rolls a fair bit. However due to its wider 215/75 R15 tyre size, it does manage to hold onto the road like a leech. There are no traction aids and this is after all a rear wheel drive SUV with no differential locks offered.

Toyota Innova: The Toyota Innova in India is car like to drive. We have experienced that before and are glad to comment that the 2010 model doesn’t deviate from it. Infact, one would be forgiven for thinking that they are driving a hatchback. The front suspension is made up of double wishbones with coil springs whereas non-independent suspension, lateral rod and coil springs with four links make up for the rear. This provide for a pliant ride in the city where nothing would faze this car. Out on the highway, small bumps do upset it and this is the only point of concern. It handling can also be taken as neutral with the MUV ever ready to do your bidding. Body roll is well controlled and the Toyota Innova does ensure that the journey ends comfortably.The steering wheel is sufficiently light and is speed sensitive. This means that not only is it helpful in the city but equally communicative on the highway. NVH is well controlled however as the revs rise, engine noise is very evident in the cabin.

Toyota Innova once again due to the superlative ride and handling package it offers.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Mahindra Xylo: The Mahindra Xylo in India comes with the company’s new mEagle CRDe diesel engine. This engine features a 2498 cc capacity and makes 112 Bhp and 260 Nm of torque. This engine is Euro 4 compliant as well. The MUV races from 0-100 kmph in 15.4 seconds and crosses a top speed of 158 kmph. The gearbox is slightly rough and has to be forced to be slotted into gears. However once on the move, it smoothens up a bit. The clutch however could be far lighter in its action. NVH for this 4 cylinder engine has been suppressed very effectively. Been a diesel, it is also very tractable with all the torque coming down earlier in the rev range. The gear box lever also rocks a bit. Braking is achieved via discs at the front and drums at the rear. ABS is available now on the top of the line E8 variant along with two air bags for the safety front. Other aspects covering safety are the numerable crumple zones, collapsible steering column and the 3 point seat belts. Fuel efficiency is good for the Mahindra Xylo in India with the car returning 11.2 kmpl in the city and 16.3 kmpl on the highway.

Toyota Innova: The Toyota Innova in India is offered in two engine trims along with a CNG one for the petrol variant. The engine that we tested is the diesel engine. It displaces 2494cc and is a 16-Valve DOHC making 102 Bhp of peak power with the 200 Nm of torque coming in as low as 1400 rpm. The gearbox is a 5 speed one. It is a smooth shifting unit with no let up in power even in the higher rev ranges. The diesel motor even though underpowered on paper, is very good and is known for its reliability in the taxi market. It races from 0-100 kmph in a lazy 17.8 seconds whereas the top speed is 143 kmph. This vehicle carries discs at the front whereas drums at the rear help it in retardation duties. Toyota Kirloskar Motors have however given the Toyota Innova ABS, EBD and traction control for the top variant. It has 4 air bags, the GOA body, 3 point seat belts and also collapsible steering column. All of Toyotas vehicles in India return good fuel efficiency and the Toyota Innova is no exception. It returns 10.8 kmpl in the city and 15.5 kmpl on the highway, a little less than what the Mahindra Xylo returned.

Finally the Mahindra Xylo in India wins this round primarily due to the extra power and fuel efficiency that this MUV offers over its rival.


Aargh! The toughest part of them all. We have to select a winner. Going by the look of the contest, it seems to be a single handed one with the Toyota Innova in India winning most of the comparison parameters. However we would still dissect it and check out the real winnner. The real reason why so many Mahindra Xylos are lapped up since the time of its launch is due to the fact that they are bloody cheap and also offer plenty of equipment for the price. They are rugged and going in line with the Mahindra DNA, should withstand the onslaught of time very well. On the other hand, the Toyota Innova looks like a premium to the Mahindra Xylo in India. It has got the better appointed interiors, higher quality of materials and best of all, the Toyota badge which represents reliability in spades. The difference between both is really in the price tag. The pricing for the Mahindra Xylo in India starts from Rs 6,77,000 going up to Rs 9,02,520 for the top end version, ex-showroom, Delhi whereas the price for the Toyota Innova in India is pegged at Rs 8,10,464 and touches the Rs 12,24,758 mark for the top end version that we tested here. If it was for the sheer value for money thing, then the Mahindra Xylo wins hands down however if you want quality, then be ready to pay a Rs 3 lakhs premium.

Technical specifications of the Toyota Innova VX

Engine details: 2494 cc In-Line Engine D-4D Common-rail diesel
No. of Cylinders: 4
Maximum Power: 102 Bhp @ 3,600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 200 Nm @ 1400-3400 rpm
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Fuel Supply System: CRDI
Turbo Charger: Yes
Transmission Type: 5 Speed Manual
Front Suspension: 4-link, Coil Springs
Rear Suspension: Independent, Coil Spring, Double Wishbone, with Stabilizer
Steering Type: Hydraulic Power assisted with rack and pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.4 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Self adjusting Drum
Top Speed: 143 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 17.5 seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 10.8
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 15.5
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 56
Emission Norm Compliance: Bharat Stage 4
Tyre Size: 205/65 R15
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial
Alloy Wheel Size: 15 inches
Seating Capacity: 8
No of Doors: 5

Technical specifications of the Mahindra Xylo E8

Engine Type: In-Line 2498 cc, m-Eagle CRDe, 4-cyl. Turbocharged Engine
Maximum Power: 112bhp at 3800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 260 Nm at 1800-2200 rpm
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Fuel Supply System: CRDI
Turbo Charger: Yes
Gear box: 5 Speed Manual
Front Suspension: Multi-link, Coil springs
Rear Suspension: Double Wishbone type Independent, Coil springs, with Anti-roll bar
Steering Type: Electronic Power Assisted  Rack & Pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.4 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type: Self adjusting Drum
Mileage-City (kmpl): 11.2
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 16.3
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 55
Emission Norm Compliance: BS IV
Tyre Size: 215/75 R15
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial Tyre
Wheel Size: 15 inches
Seating Capacity: 7
No of Doors: 5

6 thoughts on “Mahindra Xylo in India versus Toyota Innova in India – war of the MUVs

  1. “There are no traction aids and this is after all a front wheel drive SUV with no differential locks offered.”

    I thought the xylo was a rear wheel drive MUV

  2. Planning to buy a family car,choice was limited to the two you just compared.What about the maintainance cost,xylos ability to stand 5-7 yrs usage.Even if its lot cheap its selling almost half to that of innova.Being Indian i want to promote an indian manufacturer but feels a bit low for a xylo,keeping in mind that B+ DIESEL HATCHES HAVE STARTED TO TOUCH 6Lacs in price.Confused a lot Pl advise.

    1. Go for the Xylo if your heart beats for it. The Innova would be replaced by a new model by early 2012 whereas no major updates coming in for the Xylo.

  3. Hey thanks for all the update.. i am still confused between both..considering E4 or G base model that come with single a/c and power stearing, power windows & central locking…after considering the discounts the cost difference is around 2 lacs…taking an Innova will be a little streach on my pockets..only worry is maintainance & milage….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.