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Mahindra XUV400 EV First Drive Review | Could It Be Your Only Car?


The Mahindra XUV400 EV is Mahindra's first electric crossover SUV. But should it be yours?

The XUV400 is a pure electric with some very impressive headlining numbers: 0-100kmph in 8.3 seconds, 465 kilometres of range and 0-80% charge injust 50 min from a 50kW fast charger. Having grown to 4200mm in length it's spacious and has a decent boot too. Could this electric then be your only car?

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Meh

That's most everyone's reaction on seeing that the XUV400 barely looks like a mild facelift over the XUV300. And aesthetics being super personal I can't really fault that logic. Yes, it's an aged look, one we’ve gotten used to now. I do agree with this to a certain extent but there's also a part of me that likes the XUV400 better. The car looks more proportionate now that its booty is back and the blanked out grill and copper accents do pop nicely with some of the colours that it's available in, especially the black.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

 Sunroof, roof rails and the cool copper-coloured roof.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Projector headlamps with LED DRLs. 

Mahindra XUV400 EV

205/65 R16 tyres on diamond-cut dual-tone alloy wheels. Wish the alloy design was a little more flashy though.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

LED tail lamps with copper accents. Boot now has some meat to the design as compared to the flat booty on the XUV300.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Dimensions are – length 4200mm, Width: 1821mm, Height: 1634mm, Wheelbase: 2600mm. Mahindra claims close to 190mm ground clearance. Copper accents on the side skirting too.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Old  School

Fancy a trip back to 2010. That's when these interiors would have looked cool! But it's not all bad news. There's soft materials on all the touch points; steering, gear knob, handbrake, armrest, doorpads. And the cabin is well put together without any creaks and feels like it will age well, in terms of quality. Design wise it's already old. The amount of buttons, even for someone who prefers buttons over touch inputs, feels a little excessive now. This is where the XUV400 really needed a makeover. 

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Practicality and space is good though, with plenty of cubby holes for bottles and knick-knacks all around the cabin. The XUV400 was always comfy for four and even had best in class for seating five passengers. Even under thigh support, usually compromised on ICE platforms converted to electrics (Nexon EV Max), is acceptable. But it could really have done with rear air con vents, charge points and a place to keep a phone. 

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With the length increasing it now packs in a spacious boot, at 378 litres. That's a jump of over a 100 litres over the XUV300! Yes, it has a high loading lip, but considering they need to find space for the batteries, and a space saver, spare wheel under there, we can't fault them too much for this. 

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Where are the features?

In terms of features there's a 7-inch touch screen which is strictly ok. It's not the brightest or quickest around. This is paired to a 4-speaker sound system that sounds, again, middle mark. The dash has a bright and colorful meter on the left that shows you how the electric motor and regen are behaving while you drive and the digital monotone center display also will show battery info; however the test cars didn't have these updates yet. 

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Other features include auto headlamps, auto wipers but no climate control and just a manual air con. Mind you that cars in this size class and price bracket (Rs 17-20 lakh expected) are packed with features like cooled seats, wireless charging, better touchscreens and digital coloured drivers displays.

They also feature branded and tuned speakers and sound systems that punch a lot higher than the 4-speaker system here. So the cabin experience they offer is a lot cushier, modern and premium feeling. Which leaves the XUV400 relying on its electric credentials to appeal to buyers.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

EV Cred

Thankfully the force is strong where it matters. 150PS and 310Nm of torque give the XUV400 really peppy performance. We weren't able to record an acceleration run but we did manage a 10 second sprint to 100kmph fully loaded, with four healthy adults and all our camera equipment. So that 8.3 second figure is believable. We even had a dynamic circuit where we were able to push its handling capabilities to their limits and beyond and we were quite impressed with how high those limits were. It's also impressive how the XUV400 masks the extra weight of those batteries.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Speaking of batteries, Mahindra is claiming an ARAI certified range of 456km from the 39.4kWh battery pack. That's a bit more than the Nexon EV Max's claim of 437km from its larger 40.5kWk battery and just a few kilometers short of the MG ZS EV's 461km range from an even larger 50.3kWh battery. But that is something that we'll come to when we get a chance to test it out.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

In the real world it should be a hoot to drive. Quick around corners and quick off the traffic lights. The steering and brake pedal are also light, almost to a fault, so driving in the city should be a breeze. Beginners will love this for sure. There are three drive modes: Fun, Fast and Fearless. A quirky Mahindra trademark but a lot more logical than the silly names in the XUV700. 

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Fun is the 'eco' mode – gentle acceleration, dulled throttle response and limited to 90kmph. Fast is more like the default mode – throttle response is better and unless you're really trying to stretch out the range this is the mode to stick too. It's limited to 130kmph. Fearless if the true fun mode. Throttle response is crisp and it's really easy to get the wheels to spin up with this mode. Use for when you have plenty of range and corners to attack.

On Mahindra's high speed test track the XUV400 hit an indicated 160kmph in Fearless mode! Now that's a fast electric. Each of the drive modes adjust throttle response, steering and regenerative braking levels.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Moving the drive selector downwards past 'Drive' takes you into L mode, which Mahindra has dubbed 'Lively' mode for some reason. It's actually single pedal mode and can be selected in either of the above drive modes. This will give you the most regen and does bring the car to a stop when the throttle pedal is released. But it's not as aggressive as we would have liked it to be for a true one-pedal driving experience.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

In terms of ride quality our initial impressions were also good, with the disclaimer being that this was at a test facility over artificial potholes, perfect speed bumps and otherwise smooth, grippy tarmac. Over these surfaces the car behaved well. The bumps were absorbed smoothly, the suspension stayed quiet and the cabin remained composed. We would have to wait for a proper real world test to confirm these impressions though.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Safe

The XUV400 is based on a 5-star crash tested platform and features six airbags, ABS & EBD, front & rear disc brakes, ISOFIX and a reversing camera.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

Conclusion

The XUV400 gives you plenty. As an electric it compromises on little. Be it in terms of range, performance or even the fun factor, it ranks pleasingly high.

Mahindra XUV400 EV

But it cuts back on some creature comforts that we've grown accustomed to and we really wished that the interiors and features list were more modern. Still, in terms of being your only car with the bragging rights of being an EV it still does a lot of things right. If Mahindra can price it aggressively they could really have a winner on their hands.

Mahindra XUV400 EV Video Review

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