Mahindra XUV 500: Hype & Reality

With more and more XUV 500 now easily available in the used car market and new car sales decreasing, it is the poor customer satisfaction behind the reality?

Almost 18 months back this car entered our roads with a live bang. The Mahindra's new SUV was a media child for more than a year from then, with almost all the top car magazines, TV shows, and websites praising for its butch looks and value for money character. People were captivated by its stunning damn looks with too many cuts up in front, punchy wheel arches, rising beltline and blacked out pillars. Then there was everything from pin to gun was offered as features. No butler of course! The car soon became a trend setter for aspiring SUV owners - young urban folks with extendable budget and dreams too... And now months past, the sheen for the XUV 5oo has already subsided with not so great new car bookings.

Currently, a plenty of XUVs are available in the used car markets in the major cities of Tamil Nadu. Most of the cars I came across were barely a year old. I could even find cars less than 3 months old ready for a second owner. Running mileage are on average was above 50,000 kms with some cars crossing just 20,000 kms. Most of the cars are of showroom condition with very limited or no body damages. W8 AWD models too represented equal numbers. Asking price is highly bargaining though. The fame that the car has earned helps it gain a fairly good resale value too. Though the reasons behind selling the brand new vehicle was differing in each case, I could find a pattern in them. Almost all the cars are sold by the consent of the owners themselves with a plan to buy a new car.

Those owners, with so much enthusiasm and aspirations they would have bought this car, are willing to sell their cars very shortly after their purchase. There should be some sound factors that would have led to such a daring decision. They have invested around Rs. 15 lakhs. More than anything, it was their dream car; they should have waited for months to get the car delivered to their home. So, what is that enigmatic factor?

I believe it is the lack of customer satisfaction, a prime factor for the XUV debacle. Firstly, the XUV is practically not suitable for family uses with 5+ members and many being tempted by the hype went for the car. Hard suspension and unsettling ride quality is a complement. If you are using the theird row then there is hardly any boot space left even for a briefcase. Such familial practicality could have proved them a heavy price. It is not surprising that many of the XUV owners to whom I spoke said that they are planning to go for Innova as their next vehicle.

Secondly, the Mahindra's new SUV has always been complained of niggling problems right from the launch of the vehicle. But most of the auto media has never spoken anything about it, not even a word of it. Rusting brake drums, single-layered windscreen glass and wiper scratches (even leads to windshield replacement), problematic music system, braking failures, power-steering fluid leaks, etc. Such problems commonly plague all XUVs. The company did recently recalled a select batch of its 2011 and 2012 make XUVs to replace power steering fluid hose, front power window units and left wiper blade covers for free. An entry-level sedan like poor plastic quality in the interiors have never forget to score the wrath of the owners. Seats do not offer much quality and support. Panel gaps arise in the centre console and rattling noises all over the body after some thousand kilometers mileage is a usual affair.

My first encounter with the car months back is what I remember. The car was typically indigenous with openly visible screws for tails lamps, door pads and hinges. The radiator mess in the engine room and the plastic bumper has a foot length space wasted, which has been specifically designed to reap what the company calls the cheetah-inspired design. The instrument panel protruding out on the dashboard is not interesting to me.

The XUV 5oo is made-up of poor quality materials especially its exterior designing elements and the interior ergonomics. The company has to work leaps and bounds to improve the car's quality and practicality. The XUV is one of the best option for a used buy especially if you have a bargaining deal. The car has a terrific straight line performance for its size. It comes well equipped with all necessary features including safety options. But keep an eye on the common defects and spot the lemon.
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  2. Rajmahender YadavJune 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM


  3. Do u really feel that the XUV 500 is that bad? Try explaining it to the 1 lakh plus XUV owners. To be honest I too am planning to buy an XUV 500 I waited for three years after their launch & was told that all the problems that existed in the 1st & 2nd batch of vehicles have been ironed out in the 2013 & 2014 versions.

    After reading ur blog I was a bit disappointed , but then, if as u say there are so many used XUvs in the used car market which I am sure may not be more than 500 t0 600, how can u compare it to the 1 lakh + cars that have been sold. I am sure there may be a few unsatisfied customers who have been having problems with their dealers not giving them satisfying service & hence the owners are fed up & want to sell their cars. After all the XUVs are even being exported abroad which are built & assembled in the same plant M&M can’t be that careless & callous in their after sales if they are a global brand.
    All said & done I respect ur views & honestly advice me if I shud buy the car or not? Presently I am driving an Aria prestige 4X4.

  4. I understand that it appears to be an untenable generalization of all the XUVs in the market, and in terms of numbers, the bias accusation may be partly right as well. I
    wrote that article an year ago and since XUV has undergone about 3 revisions, things must have surely improved. But then I do have my own reservation on this.

    I test drove 2014 XUV just few months back, I can say things have
    hardly changed and many of those key issues still creep in. We must
    remember one thing, small niggling issues can only be revised in newer
    models and reforming some of the core issues involve additional costs
    for the maker, so are reserved for future. Braking is still deplorable
    in XUV in spite of ABS + disc brakes in all, hardly inspiring. I
    experienced locking up a couple of times and felt like as if brake
    pads are worn out! There has been hardly any changes made to improve
    interior quality, even after 3 revisions, those hard plastics and poor
    leather works are the same damn old stories, something you would
    hardly appreciate for a car of that segment.

    The real issue is that the XUV is indigenous and so it desperately
    requires serious improvements. Though the car looks atypical and
    modern, issues of low-cost built and indigenous R&D is clearly seen
    under its skin as the case with all other mahindras. Wiring is a mess
    like scorpio or bolero, though much improved. Plastics and other
    materials used are mediocre, same as the build quality. Plastic
    rattling inside the cabin and panel gaps are because of that. Such
    problems are not unique to Mahindra but others as well, esp Tata. Many
    Manza and Vistas have reported fire risks, primarily because of
    haphazard wiring, which can be related to local design & R&D.

    An overwhelming sales feat doesn't mean that the XUV requires no value
    addition in terms of quality and delivery. Do remember that the sales
    of XUV isn't as best as it used to be initially owing to many factors.
    Surely, XUVs piling up in the used car market in a very short span is
    a clear sign of poor customer experience, as in the case with any
    other car.

    Exports to other markets do not necessarily make a correlation with
    better quality and superiority of the product. Tatas and Mahindras
    were selling there products in many other markets for more than a
    decade and it is not a valid inference to say that their MUVs were
    best and trouble free since then.

    Regarding buying an XUV, you got to make a call. If you are not so
    sensitive to such issues, then you can since it still offers good
    value for money and appeal. Engine best of all mahindras, performance
    is best, fuel efficiency is decent. Comfort levels are average and
    road manners are decent, though too much body roll is inherent. Aria
    wins in this aspect with better comforts and stability. But
    reliability issues are certainly there in Aria too. If you can stretch
    your budget, then Fortuner scores in all these respects.


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