Mahindra revitalises Africa's safest car
  • XUV300 receives specification boost across range
  • New 9” infotainment system
  • W8 remains one of the best specified vehicles in its class

Africa’s safest car has just received a significant specification boost and is en route to dealers across South Africa.

First launched to a global audience in May 2019, the XUV300 received a full five-star rating and the title as Safest Car Ever Tested by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP) in 2020. Soon thereafter, in 2021, Mahindra South Africa submitted their own locally homologated version for testing and received a thumbs up from the GNCAP and the title as Safest Car in Africa.

“It is worth noting that the GNCAP tested the most basic specification level of the XUV300 for its safety rating, both in South Africa and India. This means that even the entry-level W4 models are fully Five-Star Safety compliant and meets the standards that has made the model the GNCAP’s top performer,” says Rajesh Gupta, CEO of Mahindra South Africa.

For the 2022 model year, Mahindra has retained all the dynamic and passive safety features that has won the XUV300 its safety accolades, but with added features and upgrades to the three existing specification levels and the addition of a XUV300 W4 Special Edition (SE).

The safest choice

The Mahindra XUV300’s exemplary safety credentials remain unmatched in its class.

Tested by the GNCAP for both India and Africa, the XUV300 set a new benchmark for crash safety in its class and for vehicles in Africa in general. In fact, the GNCAP called it “a milestone moment for vehicle safety” and made particular mention of the fact that it was the entry-level model, not the best specified version, that took home five stars meaning that regardless of your budget, you get the best possible safety.

During the tests, the GNCAP submitted the XUV300 to various side- and front-offset crash tests. It awarded the XUV300 a score of 16.42 out of 17 for adult protection, giving it five out of five stars.

The GNCAP also awarded the XUV300 with four stars for child protection, scoring it “Good” or “Adequate” in all areas of occupant protection, cabin intrusion and vehicle body deformation.

The entire XUV300 range is fitted with at least two airbags, electronic stability control (ESP), ABS-brakes with emergency brakeforce distribution and disk wheels on all four wheels.

All models further have certified ISOFIX seat mounts for child restraints, which no doubt helped it to receive a very high rating for child and occupant safety.

Lastly, all models are equipped with speed sensitive door locks, an impact sensing unlock function that opens doors in the case of a severe accident, a collapsible steering column and pre-tensioners and load limiters on the front seatbelts.

For buyers of the W8, the list of safety features grows substantially.

The W8 models add to the high specification level a further five airbags, including a knee and side curtain airbags, for a total of seven airbags and a dynamic cornering brake control system that electronically distributes brake force to offer a higher level of dynamic steering and safety when the XUV300 is driven briskly.

The W8 also receives a panic braking system, bright warning lights fitted to the doors when open at night and Hill Hold Assist.

2022: Specification upgrade

Welcome inside

While the XUV300’s safety credentials remain unchanged, it has made a number of interior upgrades to all specification levels.

All models, including the entry-level XUV300 W4 now has a dark interior with black dashboard design and black seat upholstery. The upholstery is further upgraded from cloth to black leatherette on the W8 models.

This upgraded interior replaces the ivory and beige interior of the XUV300 model and follows the feedback from customers who opted for a darker interior for a greater feeling of luxury and greater practicality when travelling with children.

A second significant upgrade has been made to the XUV300 infotainment system. A new high-output system with new 9” touch-sensitive infotainment system replaces the 7” infotainment system of old and all specification levels that are fitted with the touch screen (W4 SE, W6 and W8) offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Moving from the W4 SE to the W6 and you find more luxuries previously not available at this specification level.

This includes a rear window wiper and demister and a comprehensive satellite navigation system. Mahindra has also added cruise control to the W6 specification level as a standard feature.

Stepping up from the W6, the W8 delivers on all the luxuries expected from a flagship. This new model features, amongst other things, dual zone climate control, a leather clad steering wheel, a tyre pressure monitoring system and sunroof.

This model also has a self-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlamps and window wipers and additional height adjustment for the driver.

“From its initial launch, the XUV300 was presented as a no-compromise compact SUV. Every important convenience feature is present on even the most basic model and the W8 specification level delivers more than could be expected from most vehicles in this price range,” says Rajesh.

New wheel design

Many of the unique design features of the Mahindra XUV300 that has made it a global success, have been retained in the upgraded model.

This includes the Cheetah-inspired front headlamps and model-specific daytime running lights, floating roof design with functional roof rails, roof mounted spoiler with high-level brake light and the wide stance with wheels placed at the absolute corners of the vehicle.

Mahindra’s design team has however upgraded the wheel design with a new multi-spoke, diamond cut allow wheel of 16”. This alloy wheel will do duty on all but the entry-level models, with the W4 fitted with steel wheels and stylish wheel covers and the W4 SE featuring its own unique design of 16” alloy with black and silver detailing.

A 16” spare wheel is now fitted to all models, which ensures a higher level of roadside safety and convenience than a space saver or tyre repair kit.

Petrol and diesel options

The XUV300 will continue to offer both a petrol and diesel option, except in the entry-level W4 that will only be available with a petrol engine.

The turbo-petrol engine is Mahindra’s own three-cylinder 1.2 litre engine, which delivers 81 kW at 5 000 r/min and a healthy 200 Nm of torque between 2 000 r/min and 3 500 r/min.

The diesel engine is a brand-new four-cylinder 1.5 litre turbo-diesel engine that delivers 85.8 kW at 3 750 r/min and 300 Nm in a flat band between 1 500 r/min and 2 500 r/min.

Both engine options deliver some of the best torque figures in their class and both are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that drives the front wheels.

These new-generation engines earned the XUV300 a second and third in its respective petrol and diesel categories in the last Fuel Economy Tour, which was contested over 2 500 km. Their exemplary performance ensured Mahindra a place in the top three best-performing brands with the lowest fuel consumption in this competition.

All in

“With the refreshed XUV300 we can now rightly claim to offering one of the most comprehensive vehicle packages in the compact SUV segment. Not only is the XUV300 a dynamic and rewarding drive, but it offers a level of comfort and luxury not common in this segment and, of course, it is South Africa’s safest vehicle,” says Rajesh.