By: Dave Abrahams
Johannesburg - This, says Mahindra, is more than a facelift, more than a 'mid-life refresh' - this is the thoroughly updated 'New Age' XUV500 SUV.
Fine, whatever. We're tired of being taken to task by you, the reader, every time a carmaker tells us just how new a new model is - so with this Mahindra we'll give the details of what's been changed/updated/refreshed/nipped/tucked/lifted, and leave you to make up your own mind as regards newness.
Starting at the front, the grille, headlights, bonnet and foglights have been restyled, with a glossy black finish offset by chromed accents. There are new black mesh inserts in both the grille and the lower air intake, which has been re-shaped to match up better with the grille.
The bonnet has been reshaped to make it look wider and flatter, and the headlight clusters have been completely redesigned, with a new, curved line of LED daytime running lights, while bigger foglights are mounted in restyled openings that link up with the headlights.
From the side, there are stylish new multi-spoked 17 inch alloys, shod with 235/65 all-terrain rubber - but a more subtle change is the revised door handles, with a more open shape that's easier to to get your fingers inside.
The tail-lights have a revised diffuser pattern, and the tailgate gets a more prominent, chromed Mahindra badge.
REDECORATED LIVING SPACE
The most obvious changes inside are the all-black leather trim with silver accents, and a big new seven-inch colour touch-screen display in the centre stack that accesses the car's satnav, multi-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity and rear parking camera.
The new screen created its own problems, so the centre-stack cowling has been reshaped to help the screen stay bright and legible even in direct sunlight, while the binnacle for the three-dial instrument cluster in front of the driver is new designed in, rather than added on to the top of the dashboard.
The top W8 variant now comes with auto headlights and wipers, climate control, power windows and mirrors, cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel.
WHAT'S NOT NEW
The New Age XUV500 retains its predecessor's 2.2-litre turbodiesel four, delivering the same 103kW at 3750 revs and 330Nm from 1600-2800rpm, driving the rear wheels via a six-speed manual'box - although an all-wheel drive W8 is available for those of us who like to get our playtoys dirty on occasion.
Also unchanged are Lotus-tuned front MacPherson struts, multilink rear suspension and power-assisted power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.
XUV500 W4 - R262 995
XUV500 W6 - R304 995
XUV500 W8 - R339 995
XUV500 W8 AWD - R359 995
These include a five-year or 150 000km warranty and a five-year or 100 000km service plan. Services are at 20 000km intervals or every 12 months, whichever comes first.