Brought home an XUV700 AWD: Purchase experience & initial impressions

My Linea was a fairly low slung car, thus I had to sit down into the driver seat. Compared to that, the ingress-egress in the XUV700 is very comfortable.

BHPian Sommos recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

“May night call me today for travel, and
I will enjoy the fleet of Moon, Stars, Sirius and ORION.”

XUV700 Likes:

  • Large spacious car with comfortable front seats and easy to set the perfect driving position.
  • The 2.2 L Turbo diesel CRDi engine with max power of 136KW/ 182 BHP @ 3500 RPM and max torque of 450NM @ 1750 RPM is never short of power.
  • Though there are number of 700 on the road now, but still the car attracts a lot of attention on the road.
  • The door closes with a solid thud (though not as solid as the Fiat Linea) which shows the solid built quality.
  • The car comes with a long list of safety features including 7 airbags. I do appreciate the ADAS features, though the practicality on Indian conditions is debatable.
  • After living with the poor audio setup of the Linea for 10 years, the 12 speaker Sony audio system in XUV 700 looks like heaven to me.
  • This being my first AT, there was initially some apprehensions and fear. After overcoming that stage I have really started to enjoy the comfort of the AT. From my limited knowledge and experience on the subject I can say that the six speed torque convertor is smooth and mated well with the engine.

XUV700 Dislikes:

  • Full size spare wheel – I would expect any manufacturer to provide a full size spare wheel atleast in the top variants.
  • Auto dimming IRVM and rear sun-blinds – these are again very common features and should have been provided in a car of 23 Lakhs ex-showroom.
  • The EPS lacks any feel and feedback – after driving the Linea, I miss the steering feedback sorely.
  • Head room is limited even in the second row for six footers.
  • Third row seat and the boot does not get any illumination – even my 10 year old Linea had illuminated boot.
  • Initial owners have reported multiple issues with the car – software issues, suspension noise, jarring brake pads (to name a few). Luckily (touchwood) no such issues have been faced over the 1.5 months and 1500 KM ownership in my June 2022 manufactured car. Maybe this is the only positive side of the nine month long wait.
  • The lack of boot space and cramed third row seats is none of my concern because in 98% time the third row seats would be folded and the space would be used to hold the baggage in the long drives.
  • Availability of spares and accessories is an issue with M&M – small items like the 32GB SD card is not available and my request with the GM-Services is pending for three weeks or more.

The beginning:

The demand for a new car was first raised by wife sometime in 2020; but then I was not in the financial condition to bear the burden of another loan and the request was politely turned down or deferred. Then came the pandemic and the whole world was brought to a standstill. Basic day-to-day life became a struggle and the demand was subdued for a few months. Schools and colleges were suspended and my son came back home from his college. Again by the end of the year, as things started limping back to normal, the demand for the new car again raised it’s head. This time the demand was even stronger as my son and wife both had teamed up to raise the demand for a new car. Several argument was placed in favour of the motion – some pertinent ones but some were out rightly silly. I patiently listened to all the arguments trying hard not to show any reaction. In my family of three members (myself, wife and son) I realized that I have been cornered and it would not be possible for me to hold on any further – after all in democracy majority always wins. But from my heart I was still in no mood to make such a big investment when my Linea was serving me well and with all the uncertainty in the outside world.

Then suddenly in February 2021 came the second wave that saw large scale layoffs, economic crisis etc. etc. Though by the grace of God, none in my family was infected but we did encounter some tragedy amongst our friend circle and neighbor hood. My son also narrated some incidents of his friends abandoning the engineering course due to demise of their parent. All these shook us to the core and the discussion for the new car did not happen for a few months and I was very relieved.

By the end of June 2021, when things started to open-up we began our search for the new car. After discussion amongst the three of us, it was decided that the new car has to be a SUV (family’s demand) and preferably automatic (my choice). We checked the Kia-Seltos and the Creta – both of them were instantly rejected by the home ministry citing lack of proper boot space. The Linea had indeed spoilt our habit, as with a huge boot space, carrying extra luggage was never an issue.

Then we went to visit the TATA showroom to see the Safari and the Harrier. The Safari was on display but the Harrier was not. The Safari was very keenly inspected by both wife and son. In our family there would rarely be a fourth or fifth passenger, and the rear seat was useless for us. So the salesman was requested to fold down the rear seats which allows for considerably large luggage area. The faces of both mother and son lit up as if they have found exactly what they were searching for. This is what they both wanted, a bigger and spacious car with a huge boot (with the folded last row) and both started explaining the features to me. The display car had captain seats in the second row, which was rejected by the family. The SA informed that bench seats in the second row would also be available, if desired. The first thing that I noticed when I sat in the driver seat was that my knees were rubbing against the lower part of the dashboard. It felt awkward but I thought of checking this point further during the TD. So booked for TD on the coming Sunday and came back home. But TATA dealer didn’t provide a TD vehicle even after two reminders. I had booked my Fiat Linea and taken delivery of the car from this dealer. I even had to get the initial two servicing of the Linea done from here before Fiat opened their own showroom. I did not have a good impression about the TATA after sales services from my earlier experience but it was 10 years back and I was mentally prepared to TD the car and see how it goes from there – so unfortunately TATA lost a prospective customer.

By this time the car market was hot with the XUV700 news and I was keenly following the topic in various forums. After the media drive on 15-08-2021, patiently waited for the review to be published here on Team BHP. After going through the review (published on 18-08-2021) I had already decided in favour of the XUV700. In the evening, opened the Team BHP review in the iPad and handed it to my son to go through it carefully and give his honest and unbiased opinion. Son also decided in favour of the XUV700 over the Safari. Next evening I handed over the iPad to the Home Minister and asked for her (most) valuable opinion. After going through the review (or maybe the pictures only) she gave her approval after a couple of hours. White is always our favorite colour for a car and both my previous cars were white; but this time my son was given the responsibility to choose the colour and his choice was Black.

List of the cars that have been checked or test driven:

  • Kia Seltos.
  • Hyundai Creta – Both lack space and the family preferred a bigger one.
  • Jeep Compass – Have been owning the Fiat Linea for a decade and the lack of Fiat dealership is a matter of concern. Though I loved the driving dynamics and the comfort of the Compass, but frankly could not muster the courage to go for another Fiat product just because of the tiny dealership network (approximately 80-82 across 70 towns and cities).
  • Tata Safari – the dealer never bothered to provide a test drive and so was never considered seriously. Harrier was not considered as the Safari was an improved version of the Harrier.
  • MG Hector – The Hector looked big from the side and there was ample amount of space between the front and the second row seats but after the TD the car simply did not connect to the heart.
  • Toyota Innova Crysta – Tried my level best to convince home ministry to atleast come and check out the Crysta – but she always have a feeling that it is a taxi.

The booking and delivery experience:

Come October 2021, the M&M showrooms were filled with prospective customers taking a look at the new sensation in the auto market. On the 4th of Oct. got out of office in time and went to the showroom to check out the XUV700. The display car was diesel AT in Midnight Black, while the TD cars were petrol AT in Midnight Black and diesel MT in Electric Blue colour. The showroom was comparatively less crowded but there was a queue for the test drive. Called my son to come to the showroom and started discussing the booking procedure with the SA. I was told in very clear terms by two different SA that the dealership booking would get priority over the general public and it would be prudent for me to deposit the money with the dealer. I was also assured first day booking with price protection.

By this time my son had arrived and the first priority was to choose the colour. I knew from heart that any variant of the black would be a pain in the ass to maintain, but at my age (crossed 50 yrs.) it is time to step aside and let the next generation start taking decisions. Proper black was not available and thus the Midnight Black was the nearest available colour. Realizing that the colour had a blueish tinge he had some dilemma between this colour and the white, but finally decided on the Midnight Black. We then checked the features and sitting comfort on all the three rows, finally after 45 minutes the colour and variant was decided – XUV700 AX7 DSL AT AWD in MDNBLK. Filling the forms and payment took another 10 minutes and we were back home with the brochure and the on-road pricelist. This was the first instance in my life that I had booked a car without taking any test drive and that too a 2.7 million worth car. During the booking, I noticed that my no. was 58 in the booking register and 57 people had already deposited the booking amount of 21K before me with this dealer. Due to excessive rush the test drive could only be arranged by the dealer on 6th October 2021. Chose to drive the diesel MT to have a feel of the engine and the short TD was satisfying. By this time two new variants of the XUV700 has already been revealed by M&M and I upgraded my booking to XUV700 AX7 L DSL AT AWD. The mad rush on 7th morning reminded me of the mad rush that used to happen in the cinema halls on the first day of an Amitabh Bachchan movie in the late eighties or nineties. My SA was courteous enough to call and inform that all bookings were pushed through (including mine) by the dealer staff and even sent the screenshot on my Whatsapp.

Two days after this received a sudden call from M&M customer care – they wanted to know the reasons why I did not proceed to book the vehicle that was selected in my cart. When I informed them about my booking through the dealer, they checked and informed that neither my mobile number nor my name was appearing in the booking list. Again went to the dealership in the evening and met the GM-Sales. The GM very patiently discussed several issues related to the booking procedure and assured me of my booking and handed me the receipt for 21K.

My initial tentative date of delivery was July-August 2022 and the agonizing wait for the new car began. Had hoped to receive the car by May-June and had planned to visit Leh with a friend and his wife. Though the car was not delivered, we visited Leh in the month of May, as per our earlier plan. During our stay at Leh, one fine evening, received an SMS from M&M that the car will be delivered between 10-17 June. The days passed by without any information and finally on 18th called up the SA to enquire. He was absolutely clueless about any expected future dates for the delivery. Out of frustration, on 20th June wrote a crisp mail to Head of CRM at M&M and the very next day received a call from the M&M plant that my car has been Invoiced on that very day. The GM-Sales at the dealership next day confirmed that my car has indeed been Invoiced in the name of the dealer and the expected receipt date is 30-06-2022. The car was unloaded at the dealer stockyard on the morning of 29-06-2022 and I was called for PDI. The car had 14 KM on the ODO and except for two stain marks on the passenger seat and passenger side door panel, everything was fit and fine. One key fob and the rear sequential turn indicators were missing, as expected.

Son was home after his third year end term exams and 01-07-2022 being Ratha Yatra (an auspicious day), wife wanted to take delivery on Friday itself. The choice of number that we had in mind was not available, so any random number was taken. Told the SA to fix the side steps and the screen guard; the exchange value for my old Linea was also agreed and all payments were cleared in the evening. On the D-day drove into the dealership at 14:30 hours in my 10 year old Linea, handed over the keys to the SA; performed a small puja of the new car; signed all the paperwork and was handed over one set of the same along with the owner manual and the warranty cards; gifted a box of chocolates each to the SA (Shubham) and the GM-Sales (Mr. Luvkush Tewari) and drove out of the dealership in the brand new car all within one hour and fifteen minutes.

In the midst of all this smooth experience with the Sales team at M/s. Shivnath Automobiles, Bhilai, there was one dark spot though. Due to my office pressure (first quarterly accounts) I could not spare any time to arrange the insurance from outside (I also had only one day for this); the dealer charged me 1.1L for the insurance which should ideally cost 75K.

I wrote a mail to Ms. Asha Kharge, Head – CRM at M&M regarding this issue, but did not receive any reply. If anyone from M&M is watching or reading the ownership threads, I would like to inform the management that this one activity / transaction has spoiled the otherwise smooth and fuss free buying experience. Thanks to fellow BHPian @ColAjayDrives for sharing his insurance details with me.

To the insurance experts in the forum I have one question – Can I or rather should I go for cancelling the original policy and obtain another policy from the outside ? How much would be the cancellation charges. I understand that I would loose the cashless facility from the dealer workshop.

First glimpses of the car ready for a PDI:

When I questioned the SA – how do I know that this is AWD variant ? This is what he showed me:

Some more pictures of the car from delivery day:

Some finer yet important observations:

  • One thing I miss the most (specially after driving the Fiat Linea 1.3 MJD Emotion pack for 10 years) is the steering feedback. The fantastic HPS of the Fiat coupled with the brilliantly calibrated suspension gave immense confidence and satisfaction to me as a driver. Here I find the steering feedback of the EPS unit to be minimal and it makes me shaky as an enthusiast driver to push the throttle beyond a certain speed. I have not yet gone on a long drive on the highway, but I have a feeling that I might not enjoy driving this car as much as I did earlier with my Fiat purely because of this lack of feeling the connect with the road below. (This is purely my personal opinion and I cannot argue on the technicalities).
  • When other cars have to slow down on speed breakers, the XUV700 can easily tackle them at decent speeds. The 18 inch wheels and the suspension does a pretty good job of handling potholes and minor undulations at decent to high speeds.
  • The suspension noise, that has been reported by many others in the social media platforms, has not been encountered yet. My car is manufactured in June 2022 and I hope that the initial issues with the suspension has been rectified by M&M (I do remember Ram87pune mentioned that post April 2022 vehicles would not have the suspension issue). At crawling speed I do however hear a subdued thud noise on some potholes. But I still feel the suspension of the Jeep Compass was better than the 700, both use the FSD.
  • I do always fill my tank to the full and I have noticed a slight “dhub dhub” noise from the fuel tank while reversing. It can only be heard if the surrounding is absolutely silent, in any normal day you would not even notice.
  • The XUV700 does not nosedive on hard braking. Coming from a sedan I do feel some amount of body roll but it is pretty well controlled and does not give a nervous feeling.
  • The diesel engine is very refined and idles at 900 RPM and the engine noise is not felt inside the cabin. During my single highway run of about 50 KM I felt that the cabin is very well insulated from both tyre/ road noise and also traffic noise.
  • The above mentioned drive returned with a mileage of 16.8 KMPL as per the MID. Otherwise the car is returning a mileage of 11.74 KMPL by tankful method in 100% city run. The car has clocked 1535 KM only in one-and-half month of ownership and due to the run-in period hard acceleration was avoided. However I did notice that the shift from first to second gear (it may be second to third – I am not sure about this) takes longer than usual and the RPM climbs upto 2200 before the gear change happens.

Some pictures taken on that day:

  • The Linea was a fairly low slung car, thus I had to sit down into the driver seat. Compared to that the ingress-egress in the XUV is very comfortable. The welcome seat slide mechanism also gives a feeling of premiumness and leaves a lot of room for the driver but it may also create a problem in case this feature is unknown to someone seating at the second row. The seats feel very comfortable to me for the short runs within the city but it is yet to be tested for a longish drive. I need to mention the driver arm rest which is located at the perfect height for me and enhances the comfort level by a few notches giving the feeling of sitting on a comfortable armchair.
  • I have been driving MT cars from 1991 (my father’s Ambassador), Maruti 800 (first car in 1999), Hyundai Santro (2006) and the Fiat Linea (2012). This is my first AT car and I was very scared that my left hand would involuntarily travel to the gear knob out of habit. On the very first day while arriving at a busy intersection my left hand did move to the gear knob, though I was very much conscious of this and my son started laughing loud.
  • Over this one month I have gradually adjusted my habit and I must say that I am really enjoying the comfort of driving the AT now. The light and the wiper stalks are also on the opposite side (compared to my Linea) and sometimes I do mess up with this.
  • Wanted to christen the new member in the family as “Orion” – the great. There are many stories about the adventures of Orion, the giant and handsome and most skilled hunter in Greek mythology. On his death he was put in the sky, along with his faithful dogs (Sirius and Procyon), as a constellation by the Greek Gods. But my wife found the idea of naming the car a very silly one and reminded me of Bhide bhai’s “sakharam” from the serial Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma.
  • The rod that supports/ holds the bonnet when open, in the normal folded position the front end rests very close above the engine cover and gets really hot. After a long drive if you require to open the bonnet for any reason, please keep in mind that the supporting rod would be too hot.
  • If you are standing near the car (radius of 6 feet) after locking the car, the boot door can still be opened – need to be alert or move out of the range.
  • A long press of the unlock switch on the key fob opens the driver side window as well as the sun roof. Similarly a long press of the lock switch closes the sun roof as well as the driver side window, if they are left open by chance.
  • If the head lamps are kept in the auto mode and the high beam is switched on, the high beam turns off when it detects a light from any vehicle coming from the opposite side. This is a welcome feature, but what is irritating for the driver is that the high beam does not turn on again automatically. But if you keep it in the manual mode, the high beam stays on and does not switch off.

Continue reading BHPian Sommos’ review of his Mahindra XUV700 AWD for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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