Any manufacturer that needs to hold lucky draws to give away its cars to a few select owners who won’t have to wait in the long queue clearly indicates a mighty successful product and that’s something the XUV5OO has been right from the word go. With its bold and aggressive styling, powerful engine and a horde of features, it was pretty much the SUV to have as the long waiting list suggested.
Mahindra has left no stone unturned to provide the best with its premium SUV and recently switched to a Borg Warner on-demand all-wheel drive system. Being an SUV, adventurous owners are bound to be in situations which can get a little too tricky to be handled by a front wheel driven car.
And this is exactly when the AWD system comes into play. While it won’t exactly raise a ‘storm’ like the Super XUV5OO which did so well in the Desert Storm rally, it is more than capable of taming some trails and not to mention getting you out of tricky situations which call for more traction and grip.
Apart from the AWD system, everything remains the same. You get the same punchy 2.2 litre mHawk engine putting out 140PS and 330Nm of torque along with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The throw of the gearstick itself is not too long which makes great sense for urban use, but engagement is positive and chunky, very much in line with the robust but sophisticated feel that the SUV carries around itself.
So how does the XUV feel on the road? Well for starters, the AWD system does inspire a lot of confidence. Just knowing at the back of your head that you have traction and grip from all four tyres makes you take control of any kind of roads. We took the car on a surface with loose sand to see how it performs compared to a front wheel driven XUV5OO. While the front-wheel drive understeered and ploughed straight when given the boot, the AWD had much more grip and seemed quite composed in the same situation.
While the transfer of power is not the smoothest when you are really giving it the boot with XUV being a little jerky, under normal conditions the distribution is quite smooth and one will barely notice when the rear wheels come into play.
Should you feel the need for the AWD, there is an AWD lock switch that needs to be activated which locks the centre differential distributing the torque evenly to all four wheels. While the car is more than apt to pull out of most situations, the tarmac based tyres are not. A good set of dual purpose tyres would definitely make the XUV a much more capable machine.
So why buy the AWD over its significantly cheaper front-wheel version. Well it all depends on what one is buying the XUV 5OO for. If the purpose of use is restricted within the city and the occasionally highways travelling, you are better off with buying the front-wheel variant and saving yourself a lakh of rupees. But if you intend to do some mild off-roading or get adventurous, the AWD version will be something your hard earned money will be well spent on.
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