IAB Test Drive: A Sedan in MPV Clothing- Say hello to the Mahindra XYLO
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With the XYLO, Indian Auto Giant Mahindra intends to put an end to the era of Sedans. To carry out this ambitious operation, Mahindra has designed and developed an MPV, which is as Indian as hot Curry. Mahindra has a renowned history for manufacturing big-sized vehicles. Take either the stylish Scorpio, the rugged Bolero or the latest XYLO, it has stuck to it’s reputation of offering buyers with Utilitarian vehicles which are big on size and easy on the wallet.
I was invited by the company along with India’s top Auto journalists to a special preview of the XYLO at Mahindra’s production facility at Nasik. The build-up to the launch was something along the lines of a star-studded Hollywood movie preview.
Mahindra had given little or nothing away through their teaser website (mahindraxylo.co.in) and this was the first time an outsider was given an opportunity to see and feel the car.
Mahindra XYLO LOOKS AND STYLING-
Take for example the immensely famous and successful Bolero from the Mahindra line-up. It’s flat and boxy, and took considerable time for its looks to grow on you. A utilitarian vehicle need not sport a design as classy as a Mercedes or BMW as its purpose is not that. It needs to ferry you around town and through long distances in comfort.
Regardless of all that, the XYLO does look a little out of proportion. The high ground clearance coupled with the long wheelbase didn’t go down well with me. The bean shaped bonnet and large well wells proved to be an eye sore of high magnitude.
The XYLO’s designed has been penned down by a team of Indian designers with some help from the Italians at the initial stages. The shape of the car has been drafted to make it aerodynamically favourable, which helps the stability and fuel economy departments.
The grille looks to have been inspired by the one on the Scorpio but doesn’t blend to the tall front profile. The chunky rear looks much pleasing compared to the rest of the car.
Mahindra XYLO INTERIORS-
From the moment you step into the car till you exit, you’ll find how much Mahindra has worked on getting three things right- Space, Comfort, and Convenience. The XYLO offers acres of space, so much so that you could conduct a golf tournament in there.
Ingress and egress will take little muscle flexing, the large doors, entry area and aptly positioned seats aiding the cause. The driver’s seat and steering can be adjusted for height, which will please shorter drivers.
A notable debutant on the XYLO is the DDAS (Dynamic Drive Assist System) which mounts centrally on the dashboard and displays all kinds of information including cabin, outside temperatures, average speed, fuel average, direction etc which keeps passengers on all 3 rows informed.
The middle row seats on the XYLO strengthen Mahindra’s effort to offer a comfortable vehicle for the cost-conscious Indian buyer. Rather than hosting a conventional bench, it makes use of 2 bucket seats whose tall and wide dimensions offer ample comfort to a 6-footer like me.
Behind the front seats, flight trays are offered which will come in handy if you are a person who often dines in your car. What’s even better is the option of flat bed front seats- You can fold the front seat and connect it to the one behind it to form a bed. This feature is a boon during long distance travelling.
The 3rd row seats don’t offer the same space or comfort and understandably as it is meant only for the kids in the family. The good thing is the ease with which you can transport yourself to the 3rd row- Takes little wrestling to fold the individual bucket seats to get there.
Mahindra XYLO BEHIND THE WHEEL-
Once you get behind the wheel of the XYLO, you feel much like you are piloting an SUV- You sit higher up and have a commanding view of the road. The rear view mirrors incorporate the Intelli park reverse assist makes reversing easier by displaying the distance of the car from an obstruction. The steering wheel feels to be of the perfect size and the square gear knob is easy to reach and perch. The addition of a dead pedal will nurse your left leg on a long distance journey.
Mahindra XYLO ENGINE AND GEARBOX-
Turn the keys and you bring to life a brand new 2.5-liter CRDe mEagle engine. This engine is from the Mahindra’s NEF line of engines and boasts of a battery of technological lineaments. The hydraulic lash adjusters, Auto Belt tensioners and a larger capacity air filter smoothen operation and promises lower service costs.
A 5-speed gearbox marries the engine which is muted during idling; much of the headache-inducing noise doesn’t reach the inside of the cabin. The engine gets a little noisy when you try and play Schumacher though.
Mahindra XYLO THE DRIVE-
After a brief couple of laps around Mahindra’s test facility, surprisingly, I felt as though I was driving a car of a much smaller dimension. You understand what Mahindra has tried doing with the XYLO, from the driver’s seat at 60 kmph- MPV size, sedan characteristics.
I felt the engine has been tuned to strike the best balance between city and highway driving. The engine does not set your heart racing as it coaxes out 112bhp and 240 Nm of torque. Those stats for a vehicle tipping the scales at close to 2 tonnes is just about adequate. Again, the purpose of this vehicle is not to give you company at a local race track, but to ferry you back and forth to work.
The gearbox didn’t feel all that eager during engagement and disengagement, but on the other hand it didn’t feel rubbery. It will take time to get used to the gear shifting and the square gear knob, which is beginning to become standard on all Mahindra vehicles.
Mahindra XYLO RIDE AND HANDLING-
The XYLO scores high on handling and ride quality. The steering gives quality feedback and body roll at low speeds is much lesser compared to its competition. The Independent Coil spring setup at the front and the multi-link suspension at the rear perform mighty well in keeping road shocks and vibration at bay. The ride in the 3rd row seats felt quite bumpy, as is the case with any other vehicle of this size.
I tested the top of the line XYLO with all the bells and whistles which comes at roughly around 8.6 lakh (On road Chennai) At that price you get features which are not available with the rest of the competition. The base version come at around 7.10 lakh (On road Chennai) equipped with power steering, power windows, central locking, flat bed front seats and immobilizer. The XYLO offer an option for buyers looking at cars like the SX4, Fiesta and Verna with more space, comfort and features. The era of sedans might in all probability be over.
Mahindra XYLO FACTS-
1) Mahindra was supposed to go with the name Ingenio for this car, but later decided to go with XYLO. It was christened by none other than Mr.Pawan Goenka’s daughter and friends.
2) 100 XYLO Prototypes were built and extreme testing was carried out in places like Africa and Sweden.
3) The XYLO has a Aerodynamic Cd value of 0.37.
4) Air enters the air filter through the passage near the hood. And the patent to this technology belongs to Mahindra.
5) Similarly, the Air Conditioner trip mechanism is new, and its patent belongs to Mahindra.
6) The XYLO’s chassis is 20% stiffer compared to the Scorpio’s and the suspension uses gas filled shock absorbers.
7) 150 Engineering college graduates worked for 4 years to bring the XYLO to life.
8) The XYLO’s 3 Pillars according to Mahindra are Style, Fashion and Freedom.
9) The 2.5-liter CRDe engine is from the NEF Family which the 2.6-liter Scorpio also comes from.
10) 550 crore rupees was spent in making the XYLO, which was the same amount used up for the Scorpio, and interestingly for the next two Mahindra products.