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Mahindra XUV700 And Plastic Tailgates: Mythbusting


What is a plastic tailgate and how much truth is there to the chatter about it being a compromise?

 

If you’ve been following the news around the Mahindra XUV700, chances are you’ve come across the mention of a plastic tailgate. We did bring it up in our first drive review as well. The mention of this technology didn’t go down too well online with most people deeming it a cost-cutting measure or a compromise.

It’s understandable considering most people don’t associate plastic with something premium or desirable. So we figured it’d be best to talk to the experts in the business in a bid to separate fact from fiction.

 

Here’s the lowdown with a quick QnA:

 

  1. Has this technology been used before?

 

Yes, it has. What’s being referred to as a plastic tailgate is technically known as a thermoplastic or composite tailgate, which is a glass-filled plastic polymer. This material is essentially what car bumpers are made of. Some examples of cars that use thermoplastic tailgates are the Range Rover Velar, Land Rover Discovery, Volvo XC60,  Jaguar F-Pace and Citroen C5 Aircross.

 

  1. Steel vs Thermoplastic: Advantages & Disadvantages

 

The primary disadvantage of a thermoplastic tailgate that would otherwise use steel is the higher cost. These tailgates cost more than steel due to the complexities involved in the process of blending glass fiber uniformly. 

This is offset with advantages like weather corrosion resistance, a higher strength-to-weight ratio and weight savings. A thermoplastic panel can be 20-30 percent lighter than a steel panel of the same size, while being as strong if not stronger. Importantly, thermoplastic offers better control over styling.

 

  1. Mahindra & the XUV700’s thermoplastic tailgate. Why?

 

It’s for design purposes. This composite tailgate technology was chosen to accommodate the kind of styling that Mahindra’s designers wanted for the XUV700’s rear end. As you can see, it involves multiple cuts, creases and sharp recesses warranting a fair deal of flexibility in design to accommodate finer detailing.

For a more detailed look at this technology, check out the video below.

As for the question of safety, the experts we consulted state that glass-filled plastic tailgates like the one used in the XUV700 actually offer better durability than metal. The panel you see outside has a stiff and much thicker structural brace behind it for added crash protection. This inner panel includes reinforced metal inserts which act as a backbone. And like a steel unit has to, this tailgate has passed torsional rigidity, over-slam durability, sun load and oil canning tests.

 

Mahindra XUV700 Video Review

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Mahindra XUV700

Mahindra XUV700

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