Mahindra Xylo vs new Toyota Innova 2009 - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Mahindra Xylo vs new Toyota Innova 2009

This post is a quick comparison of recently launched Mahindra Xylo with Toyota Innova (New 2009 release with a facelift) both competing in the MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) category.

Background: Toyota Innova, soon after its launch in 2005, created a class for itself and about 1.6 lakh Innovas are plying on Indian roads currently, most of them as commercial vehicles and rest as family wagons. It hardly had any direct competition so far as its closest rivals- Scorpio, Tavera and the likes had a jeep like rugged look and feeling, compared to almost like a car comfort, look, drivability and luxury of Innova. Sedans had a limitation of space and seating capacity and Innova was happy to bridge that, without any significant compromise.

Mahindra & Mahindra has rightly launched Xylo to take Innova head on. With a price tag about 2 lakhs less than a corresponding Innova variant, Xylo has high possibility of making its makers proud by claiming a good market share. Xylo has slapped a right question on all potential car owners- Are you sure you want to spend Rs 6 lakhs on a hatchback like Swift or i20? Or 7-9 lakhs on a Sedan like SX4, Ford Fiesta or City? Why not buy our multipurpose vehicle, Xylo, which gives you more seats, more space, at same price without compromising on comfort and luxury? Won’t you like to outgrow your Sedan? It is for you to decide…

Coming back to core purpose of this post, let us compare these two multipurpose vehicles- Toyota Innova vs Mahindra Xylo. Please note that Innova is available in both petrol and diesel variants-Only diesel variant is considered here and only top end variants are considered for comparison (Xylo E8 vs Innova D-4D 2.5V)

Both Innova and Xylo have several things in common-2.5 liters Common Rail Diesel engine, 5.4m turn radius, 7 or 8 seat options, almost similar dimensions and 55 liters fuel tank. That apart, while Innova tries to maintain a clean car like look, Xylo has been pampered with skyrack, bigger tyres and higher ground clearance to reinstate a “much mature than a sedan” feeling.

Comparing the top end models of Innova and Xylo, Innova scores much higher because of dual airbags (driver and passenger), Driver and passenger seat belt warning, Side Door Impact beams (reinforced steel beams that absorb the impact and prevent occupants from being crushed), Collapsible steering (Steering will unit will collapse to floor upon collision) and LSPV (Load Sensing Proportion Valve, a cousin of ABS, which can regulate breaking effect depending on the load- at full load of 8 people extra breaking effort is needed due to higher momentum and at light loads excessive breaking can cause skidding-I guess LSPV will compensate for these factors)

Xylo sans ABS-even in top end E6 & E8, let alone airbags. But it has a crumple zone under the bonnet that can absorb the impact of collision and prevents the same from being passed to occupants inside the cabin. Effectiveness of this crumple zone is not yet known and I don't think this can be treated as replacement for airbag. Both cars have parking (reverse) sensors. Comparing E8 & 2.5V Absence of ABS & airbags gets Xylo a relatively lesser ranking on Safety. If you compare no frills base models- E2, E4 with 2.5E, 2.5G, then both of them stand at par as far as safety is concerned.

Comfort and Drivability: Innova gave me a much smoother, comfortable and better drive, when the roads were good. Xylo had very hard transmission just like its cousin Scorpio mHawk. 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. Rest of the aspects like engine response, maneuverability etc were good enough. Xylo has more height while Innova is lengthier.

Space: Xylo has slightly larger dimensions. But space is a function of flexibility to adjust various seats to secure required volume. Both vehicles claim to be fully flexible... There's hardly any space in Xylo behind 3rd row-you may have to either go for a roof mounted carrier or fold the third row seats to keep that large suitcase.

Looks and Feel: Innova has been around for years and will no more turn a head. Even the new 2009 model just sports a modified front grill, headlamp and tail lamp combination. Xylo, though has nothing astonishing in its looks, is the new baby in town and can grab some attention in the initial days. Scorpio still has better overall looks than Xylo. Innova has a neat, lean and more aero dynamic looks. Xylo comes in some exciting colours while Innova's default shades look boring, simply because we've seen so many of them.
Price: Xylo variants (E2, E4,E6 and E8) range cost between 6.26 to 7.7 lakhs while Innova (2.5E, G and V) cost between 7.64 to 11.1 lakhs ex showroom. Add about 20% to these prices to arrive at an approx on road price (white board, about 10% in case of yellow board). Xylo's price advantage of 1.5 to 3 lakhs w.r.t a corresponding Innova variant can be tempting, but I feel Innova's high price gets somewhat justified for a quality and safety conscious customer.

Other aspects:
Xylo has some fancy features like Glass Antenna (instead of conventional steel rod), Side body cladding, Ski rack (only in E6), theatre effect lamps (lights go off slowly in style, like in theatres), foldable flight trays behind the seats, courtesy lamps (lamps illuminating specific target areas and not just lighting up the cabin in general), Illumination Ring around the keyhole to help identify the same in night, roof console, under seat storage and Digital Drive assist (a host of information you may need while driving. Some of these are interesting & useful and you can happily show them off to your friends...

Common features: Both Innova and Xylo offer alloy wheels in most expensive variants, flat bed front seats, electronic control for external rear view mirrors, customized AC controls, captain seats, tilt steering, height adjustment for driver seats, wood finish interiors, two DIN audio system and side protection molding.

Conclusion: I refrain from giving a general verdict as I’ve not examined both vehicles in detail and personal preferences can differ. However this is my opinion:
Buy Innova if you are:
  • Looking for a passenger vehicle primarily for city and highway use
  • Not constrained with budget and don't want to trade safety for cost advantage
  • Keen on less operating cost and high resale value
Buy Xylo if you
  • Prefer a more rugged vehicle, say for urban, non-urban use, without much compromise on luxury
  • Are attracted by the price difference, Xylo's looks, colours or the fact that it is a new baby in town
  • Feel Xylo is a better option than Chevy Tavera and Sumo Grande
Hope this helps. Images from respective company websites. Expect some more updates and photos if I get to test drive one. Your views welcome.

Update: I finally test drove Xylo. My views by and large remain the same, but additional details in this post-Mahindra Xylo test drive review.

May 2009 Update: Drove the new 2009 Innova. Most of my observations listed above are vindicated. Engine is much smoother than the current one. Rear sensor is just the beep, which beeps faster if there're obstacles closeby. No visual indications like in Xylo. Climate Control is basically temperature control, which tries to maintain car temperature at a preset value.

November 2010 Update: We toured Coorg in an Innova 2.5G from Avis, self drive... was a nice drive


  1. if you have not driven any of the vehicle why posted review on theory?

  2. I have driven the Xylo... it is really awesome... looks good too... value for money.

  3. Xylo is new kid on the block. On the other hand Innova has 5years of growing stability. Rather spend few lakhs more than settling for less.

  4. Anon, you're partially wrong. I've driven the top end Innova 2008 model. 2009 model only has some few improvements. Besides, what is wrong in comparing the specifications and features?

    Harsha, Thanks for that update. That'll be reassuring to prospective Xylo buyers

    Nitya, that's a personal preference. mHawk engine has been around for sometime...

  5. U did not driven Xylo and posted so many things, considering Scorpio in mind. This is what u compared Scorpio v/s Innova.
    If u want to give fair comparision please drive the vehicle first.Unless until u dru=ives the vehicle u can't conclude so many things only based on other products of manufacturer.
    Dont give any kind of review without driving vehicles.

  6. Please don't compare innova vs xylo, but please do it with TOYOTA vs MAHINDRA. Just go through the history of both manufacturers,and yes, see the used car market...... features are not only component to measure SUCCESS.

  7. Hey give guy a break, he has several times mentioned that he has not driven any of the model (or partially driven). Those are his views - take it or leave it. Who is asking to buy any of these two. And tell me where has he given any technical comparison. All comparison I believe is based on the data made public by the company itself. So just chill people.
    Hey Shrinidhi i would say a good effort.

  8. It is natural that readers expect a review after test driving a vehicle... Unfortunately I couldn't test drive Xylo yet. All my other vehicle reviews are written after driving them...

    Hopefully I should be able to drive Xylo soon and update the review...

  9. Hello people,
    Test drove Xylo finally and large my opinion/comment remains the same, but will need to update this post and probably write another post in detail, which may take a few days.


  10. I have checked both of the vehicles. Toyota is the best in the world when it comes to quality. Saftey wise Innova is much better but with Indian Roads and Traffic all the safety features you get in Innova is highly unnessary. Innova has 2 fatal flaws. 1. Driver can not see the front of the veichle from the driver's seat no matter how high or how close you pull you seat up. 2. 3rd row seats are very cramped. Also Innova seats are much lower which is not comfortable for tall people. Xylo 3rd row seats leg room is probably the roomiest in the Indian market right now and 2nd row is just as roomy (slightly more than 3rd row). Seats are alot higher kind of like Bolero which makes it very comfortable for tall people. If you have several mediam personalities (Indian standard) then you can easily fit 10 people confortably in Xylo unlike Innova. Innova seats were too low for me and leg space was too cramped for me. I suggest if you are tall (near 6 ft or taller) or large personality go with Xylo else go with Innova.

  11. R,

    I fully agree. But even Xylo has that disadvantage of not being able to see the front of the vehicle....

  12. I would surely like give it a test drive.

  13. Ruchi,

    Go ahead-enjoy your drive and tell us what you felt after the drive.

  14. Xylo is positioned as a vehicle for large families, which in Indian context includes the eldrly as well.We went for a test drive and what dismayed me was the high ground clearance.I am arthritic and so found it difficult to get in and out of the car.So people with elderly family members please consider this fact before taking a decision.

  15. Rwitoja

    That’s a good point, but at the same time we don’t want a low ground clearance vehicle which scratches through an oversized speed breaker right? High GC helps in semi-urban places. For city use and a low GC, more of a car like experience one can go for Innova- That's what I feel.

  16. Srinidhi,
    The Mahindra salesman told us that the Xylo is being projected as a 'sedan plus'.Even in the showroom posters depicted it as a substitute/competitor for sedans.Does the ground clearance really have to be so high?We have used a Toyota Innova but found the Xylo very impressive for its price.This was the only factor which has discouraged us from going for it.Wish the Mahindra people would do something about it so that it becomes a family vehicle in the real sense.

  17. Rwitoja,

    I understand your point but think somewhere someone will have to compromise. Don't think Mahindra will consider reducing ground clearance...

    Also if you expect same fuel economy as in cars it won't be possible.


  18. I have test driven both the Xylo and the Innova 2009. with an intent to buy one of them. This is what i felt.
    1) I found the Innova more drivable

    2) Xylo for the price was tempting but am discouraged coz the re-sale price of a M&M vehicle is not as great as that of a Toyota in general.

    3) General finish of plastics and interiors is where you can see the value for the extra money you are spending on the Innova. The Xylo has lots of room for improvement in that department.

    4) As some one mentioned about seeing the front end, Both the Xylo and the Innova suffer from the same issue but i did get the feeling that the Innova was far superior in terms of what one can see from the drivers seat.

    5) The Xylo did give me a feel of a macho feel and a heady feel for power, honest to myself as a family car that is not what impressed me.

    If Price is your deciding factor -- Xylo is your pick

    If its safety, brand value, Finishes, and an assured re-sale value buy the Innova

    Praveen Sundaram
    aka Photoyogi

  19. Praveen,

    Agree. So which one did you buy?

  20. @shrinidhi

    Hey I am yet to buy the car and have set my eyes on the Innova Vx

    I must admit that M&M have come a long way in making Xylo comparable with the Innova


  21. Yes,
    But people in India are willing to compromise on quality a bit when there's huge cash savings.. So that will certainly work in M&M's favor.

  22. With my second trials of both the Xylo and the Innova from a buying perspective
    1)for a family car i would need luggage space Xylo lacks the same
    It even lacks the split seats in the third row that makes it more un usable ( No sir am not interested in a carrier and Xylo is already too tall for me to reach the top)
    2) Back to the finishes with a keener eye for detail, My 4 yr old might break the the Xylo door handles and knobs!
    3) Even the demo vehicle had signs of breakage of the a/c vents
    M&M hope you are listening ...
    This is a serious buyers views
    I have zeroed on the Innova Vx

    Thanks to Shrinidhi and other posters to have come out with views and comments too.

  23. Praveen,

    All valid points. Hope you'll enjoy your Innova. I drove it for 2 days last week again- very nice car.

  24. hai guys
    i have an scorpio slx 2008, some one have given a comment regarding transmission its absolutely correct, still they didnot find the solution for transmission its toooooooo hard as well as clutch, because of that mileage also getting low, but my cousin having innova v class its really fun to drive, safety wise also very good,
    insha allah am also thinking to resell this existing car to go for innova 2009 v class

  25. Mohamed,
    thanks for sharing your observations

  26. dear shri,
    I think I am too late to comment.I have already bought a xylo E8 on 27th april 2009.Already I have a daewoo matiz-sept 2000!and I hav'nt
    sold it ! xylo v/s innova that was a question.As I live in rural area & I preferd high sitting,space & comfort and a new baby on the road,our choice was xylo.innova may be superior in quality but not to tax difference of nearabout 2.5 to 3 lac friends who own innova appreciated comfort & space of xylo than innova.
    I think this much matter is sufficient. is'nt it?
    thanking you
    yours faithfully
    Dr.Prashant Mohire

  27. i have often hered that xylo is not so stable in city conditions (while slow driving ) is it so......???????????

  28. Anon,
    In the few kms I drove it, I didn't find anything unstable. What exactly is unstable?

    Dr. Prashanth,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Comfort and preferences are something that varies from person to person, so it is best left to the decision of the buyer. Enjoy your drive.

  29. Hi,
    I have driven the new high end version of the xylo and in first sight after seating inside the driver seat it feels like u are seated in a tempo travellor kind of feel, and its comfortable but the door handle in the right side is too close to my right hand and kind of had a discomfort while driving, and the engine sound is not heard inside the cabin even when on high rev thats a good note, but the gear shift is bit hard when i tried to shift on the move, and also the gear rod shakes a lot during my drive, and also the interior feel good with all the features in the high end version, the plastic fit and finish in the interior is not upto the mark as its rivals.
    My review about the xylo is 50:50 compared to other vehicle in the segment.

  30. Ragu,

    I agree on hard transmission. Thanks for sharing other observations. For the price you'd pay, do you think Xylo is value for money?

  31. Thanks Shrinidhi for your view, according to the price of the xylo take note of the resale value of both the vehicles definitely innova has the best resale value so the initial amount ur paying towards the vehicle wont be a big deal.

  32. Agree Innova has better resale value and is far more popular with taxi operators.

  33. I have driven the Innova.Its absloutely cool.

  34. am in tiruvalla kerala its 80 kilometer from trivandram and 80 kilometer from ernakulam i own a tata indigo cs tdi car for self driving its has a/c and power steering with mp3 palyer
    and fuel used is diesel 20 kmpl in highways
    daily , weakely and monthly rental available
    if u r interested contact me 09495765134

  35. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  36. Thanks babychan,

    I'll check with your first for my next Kerala trip...

  37. Hi Srinidhi,

    I am looking for an automatic self drive car for rent in chennai for around 20 days. I will travel all round tamilnadu during the period.

    could you advise me a best option.

  38. Anon,

    Not aware of any operators having automatic cars for self drive. Automatic ones are believed to give lesser mileage and are not popular with tour operators...

    You may have to go with manual ones.

  39. if you,ll travel in xylo u,ll feel vomitting and i suggest innova is the i have experienced

  40. Hmm, Xylo isn't that bad...there's about 5 lakh price difference between 2 top end variants...

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