So what is this car all about? Is it just an XUV300 modified with an electric powertrain? What are its pros and cons and how is it to drive? Well, we got to find out the answer to all of these questions as we got to drive the XUV400 on various test tracks inside Mahindra’s own research facility in Tamil Nadu.
Mahindra XUV400: Exterior
When you look at the design of the XUV400, you will find a lot of similarities with the internal combustion engine-powered XUV300. This is because the two vehicles are based on the same platform but there are some significant differences that you can spot up front.
The grille has been completely shut because it’s an electric vehicle and doesn’t need the kind of cooling that an ICE needs. At the centre of this grille is a new twin peaks logo in copper finish. It gets nicer-looking LED DRLs and copper finish on the bumper as well. Overall, the XUV400 feels like a slightly premium-looking version of the XUV300. Talking about the rest of the design, again there are similarities with the XUV300 but there are some subtle changes on the side and rear which will tell people that this is not just XUV300.
Mahindra XUV400: Interior
Once you get inside the cabin of the XUV400, you will notice that it does not look as modern and smart as the exterior. The main reason for this problem is that it gets the same cabin layout as the XUV300 which itself has a cabin that looks dated. The XUV400 gets an all-black interior with copper highlights on certain surfaces, it still misses out on any soft-touch surfaces. Everywhere you look, you see hard plastic.
Even the infotainment screen and the centre console do not sport a contemporary design. The 7-inch screen itself is quite small considering what the competition has to offer. However, in terms of functionality, the screen works well and the touch response and the user interface are very decent as well. The centre console has a lot of buttons which makes it look rather busy. I would have preferred a cleaner centre console but I do understand there are cost targets keeping the team from designing a brand new console.
The steering wheel feels nicer and has some piano-black surfaces along with steering-mounted controls. It also gets the copper twin peaks logo and behind it lies the redesigned instrument console. The instrument cluster has two analogue dials and a digital display in the middle just like the XUV30 but the reason I say it is redesigned is because the readouts are different on the XUV400. Another significant change can be seen in the form of a new drive selector. Instead of a traditional gear lever, you get a shorter and more premium-looking drive selector lever. It can be used to shift the vehicle into the drive, reverse or a single pedal mode. It looks so good that it almost feels out of place in the cabin of the XUV400.
In terms of functionality, there is no wireless charging or wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. Even the tray under the centre console is not big enough to hold a regular-sized modern-day smartphone. All of this makes me feel that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the cabin experience of the XUV400.
Moving on to the rear seat, there’s good space and that is one big advantage of the XUV400. If you are looking for a vehicle for your entire family, this is one of the best options in its segment thanks to its big size and the resultant cabin space. The seat cushion is nice and you have good knee room and headroom as well. However, the inclusion of rear AC vents and SUB ports for rear seat occupants would have been a nice addition.
Coming to the boot space of the vehicle, it is significantly more than that of the XUV300. The extra length of 205mm has resulted in a boot capacity of 378 litres which is enough to pack in enough luggage for a weekend getaway.
Mahindra XUV400: Powertrain, Battery and Performance
While I was not very impressed with the cabin of the XUV400, the driving experience put a big smile on my face. It is only when you drive the XUV400 that you realise how fun and brilliant this machine is. We drove the XUV400 at Mahindra’s SUV proving high-speed track to test the capabilities of the SUV. The acceleration was quick and it could reach a top speed of 156kmph with two people sitting inside. Mahindra claims the SUV can do 0-100 in just 8.4 seconds and 0-60 in 4 seconds. We were able to get very close to the claimed figures which are tested under ideal conditions.
The XUV400 comes with a 39.4kWh battery pack which might sound a little small on paper but it packs a punch. Talking about the range, Mahindra claims the XUV400 can do 456km on a single charge which should result in a range of about 280-300km in day-to-day usage. Charging options include a 50kW DC fast charger which can charge the vehicle from 0 to 80 per cent in about 50 minutes. You also have the option of using a home charger with the 16A socket which will charge the car at a much slower rate.
Overall in terms of driving, I think the Mahindra XUV400 is brilliant, fun, practical and easy to drive.
Mahindra XUV400: Conclusion
In terms of design, the Mahindra XUV400 is slightly different from the XUV300 and looks better. The cabin, however, is not that great. It is functional, spacious and practical but doesn’t really exude premiumness and also looks dated. The driving is where the XUV400 redeems itself in a big manner as it is spectacularly fun to drive, it is quick, and it is a vehicle that will put a big smile on your face. One thing to keep in mind is that the units we drove did not have traction control but the final product will have this feature enabled. I just hope that you do get an option to switch off the traction control completely because that is when you can have some wild fun with the XUV400.
I did not like the excessively light steering as it gave no feedback. Barring that, it is a brilliant car to drive.
Considering the slight changes and cabin compromises that have been made in this car, I hope Mahindra gives it a very aggressive price tag and if that happens I think Mahindra will have another winner on its hand and that is what we need to make the EV segment grow in the country.