I’d registered for a test drive of Xylo long back but never heard from Mahindra in that regard. I went ahead with my earlier post on Mahindra Xylo vs Toyota Innova 2009 based on information available in product websites and other sources and few commented that I shouldn’t be reviewing a vehicle without test driving it. Finally got a call from Mahindra’s Mumbai office last week and a test drive was booked for Sunday evening.
Though most of my earlier views on Xylo still hold good and I aim to revise and update the earlier post soon, this post has some additional details:
My test drive was scheduled for 6PM but the representative called me at 2.30PM saying “Sir I’m in your locality can we pre-pone the test drive?” I said ok and soon a Black Xylo E8 came my way. He promptly asked me for my Driving License before letting me drive. Good that he did so-most of the reps hesitate to ask your DL, thinking that may turn off a prospect.
My first objective was to find out how smooth the transmission is. The Scorpio Vls I’d driven in Sep 2008 had a hard transmission which resulted in good amount of strain on my left arm at the end of 3 days 900 kms drive (Something I didn’t experience in other long drives, the 1300 kms/3 days in Skoda Octavia as well as 1850 kms/5 days in a Swift VDi). As suspected even Xylo had similarly hard transmission. A little extra muscle power will be required while changing gears and this can be stressful on your left arm during long drives.
Intelligent reverse park system is very nice and will be really useful. The rep claimed that Innova doesn’t have this feature while I insisted that new Innova does have Sonar based park assist system.
Ride quality, engine response, maneuverability are all good, but despite the height adjustment one can’t see the edge of the bonnet and lot of judgment will be required during city driving (Even Innova and several cars have this disadvantage). Xylo is slightly more powerful than Innova and 12kmpl in city and 13-14 on highways is the mileage stated by Mahindra rep. If true then it is good enough and scores better than Toyota Innova, but I expect actual economy to be a km or two less per liter than promised, making Xylo at par with the later.
Various digital information related to current speed, mileage, distance to empty etc are displayed in an additional unit above the music system, whereas most of the cars have this information included within the speedo console. On being asked why it is centrally mounted at elevated position, forcing driver to turn his read to read the same, the reply was that in this position everyone in the car can see the information, not just the driver.
I asked him: “Innova has airbags and ABS in its top end 2.5V… Why no adequate safety features are provided in Xylo?”
Mahindra Rep: Sir, our Xylo has been tested extensively on Indian Roads before its launch (he quoted a number-about 1 lakh kms or something). It was found that the vehicle’ braking is very effective even without ABS, hence it was decided that ABS is not necessary.
Airbags have their own problems sir- they are supposed to go off in case of major collisions at the speed of 120-130kmph or more, but they usually go off even for a small hit at 70-80 kmph and once they go off the entire unit needs to be replaced by spending 70-80 thousand rupees…
(You life is certainly worth more than 70-80k and probably that expense can be recovered from insurance-not a convincing enough reason not to have an airbag)
Courtesy lamps are good, though not the way I’d expected them to be. I had thought they will be similar to overhead cabin lamps in aircrafts which passengers can rotate to focus on specific point, but Courtesy lamps in Xylo are just an additional lamp positioned at different passenger positions, so that everyone will have a light point near them to say read a book.
The full flatbed seats are nice. My next wish is that we should be able to drive in sleeping position, without having to sit erect all the time… Seating space for all passengers is adequate. 3 step Lumbar support , even for 2nd row passengers is a good thing and not seen in many of the cars. Length of Xylo is shorter but taller than Innova.
There’s absolutely no luggage space behind the last row (Check photo). One should either go for an overhead carrier, or fold the last row seat to make provision for the big suitcases. Dashboard material continues to be plastic.
Lamps below the door, to lit the space while you get down, are added convenience. So are multi row AC, overhead spectacle box, trays, armrests with cup holders etc.
Rear glass antenna is nothing but some metal strips laid across the rear windshield. (I’d thought glass is made of some special material capable of receiving audio signals). Side profile of Xylo looks dull, but front and rear views are good. mEagle badge was missing on the right side.
The representative didn’t have information on Number of Xylos sold so far or the on road price- He suggested me to get it from local dealership.He also couldn't give a rationale behind not including Skyrack in E8. But he was very friendly and enthusiastic in explaining Xylo’s features. Said he gives 3-5 demos per day and today being Sunday he has 8 Demos to complete, all over Chennai. I still can’t give Xylo a “GO BUY IT without any hesitation” verdict, but is certainly value for money product and deserves serious consideration.
November 2010 Update: Harsha Koda has prepared a nice travelogue, around the joueny he did with his Xylo
In another update, Mahindra Xylo has recently crossed 1 lakh fans on facebook (catching upwith its elder cousin Scorpio which has crossed 2 lakh fans)