Cape Town - Mahindra is bidding for a slice of the Ford EcoSport’s compact SUV cake with its first-ever XUV300, which has just been launched in South Africa - in fact this is the second market in the world after India to receive the newcomer.
Although smaller in size than most Mahindras, one could say it’s a step upmarket, being based on the Ssangyong Tivoli (remember, Mahindra now owns the South Korean SUV specialist). Measuring less than four metres in length, it is the shortest vehicle in its class (no doubt designed around tax breaks in its home country) but the 2.6-metre wheelbase is slightly above the class average.
In terms of pricing, the XUV300 isn’t exactly in the bargain bin, retailing for between R249 999 and R324 999, but the range toppers are loaded with features and it looks to be a good quality product with neat, likeable, styling.
Turbocharged petrol or diesel power
It also takes a modern approach to engine technology, the petrol variant being a new three-cylinder turbocharged unit with outputs of 81kW and 200Nm.