Features/ Special-features/ Should You Buy The XUV 3XO OR Step Up? Exploring Options in the 15 Lakh Segment

Should You Buy The XUV 3XO OR Step Up? Exploring Options in the 15 Lakh Segment

The Indian car market thrives on a sweet spot - feature-rich compact SUVs at competitive prices. The recently launched Mahindra XUV 3XO stirs the pot further with its top-end automatic variant priced at ₹15.49 lakh (ex-showroom). This begs the question - should you pull the trigger on the XUV 3XO, or are there compelling alternatives in a slightly higher segment? Let's dissect the XUV 3XO's offerings and analyze some interesting contenders.

The XUV 3XO emerges as a feature-laden option in the compact SUV space. Here's what it brings to the table:

Features: The XUV 3XO boasts a sunroof, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual-zone climate control, six airbags, cruise control, and keyless entry. Safety features include ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, and hill hold control.

Dimensions: With a length of 4 meter, a width of 1.82 meter, and a height of 1.61 meter, the XUV 3XO offers decent cabin space for five. However, boot space might feel limited for luggage-heavy journeys.

Positives: The XUV 3XO scores points for its feature-rich cabin, comfortable ride quality, and a powerful 1.2-liter turbo-petrol engine churning out 129 bhp and 18.2 kmpl mileage (claimed). Mahindra's service network is another advantage.

Negatives: The XUV 3XO might feel slightly cramped for taller passengers in the rear seat. Additionally, some might find the cabin materials a touch on the budget-conscious side.

 

Exploring Alternatives in the 15-17 Lakh Segment

While the XUV 3XO is a strong contender, here are some interesting options you can consider within a slightly stretched budget:

1. Mahindra Thar LX Petrol AT (₹ 13.99 lakh):

Features: The Thar LX might surprise you with its feature set, including a touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, automatic climate control, and a convertible roof (hardtop option available). However, safety features are a bit barebones compared to the XUV 3XO.

 

Dimensions:

Length: 4649mm

Width: 1852mm

Height: 1894mm

Wheelbase: 2650mm

Dimensions: The Thar is a lifestyle SUV with a larger footprint than the XUV 3XO. It boasts a butch off-road stance and a commanding driving position. However, rear seat space is strictly for two adults.

Positives: The Thar offers a unique driving experience with its powerful petrol engine and off-road prowess. It's a head-turner for those seeking a bold statement.

Negatives: The Thar's practicality suffers due to its limited rear seat space and lack of advanced safety features. On-road handling might feel less composed compared to the XUV 3XO.

 

2. VW Taigun 1.0 Highline AT (₹ 15.43 lakh):

Features: The Taigun is loaded with German engineering finesse. It boasts a sunroof, a digital driver's display, a premium touchscreen infotainment system with connected car tech, automatic climate control, and a plethora of safety features including six airbags, ABS with EBD, and electronic stability control.

 

Dimensions:

Length: 4221mm

Width: 1766mm

Height: 1632mm

Wheelbase: 2651mm

Despite being from a segment above, the Taigun offers cabin space comparable to the XUV 3XO. However, the boot is slightly smaller.

Positives: The Taigun is known for its excellent build quality, a powerful and refined 1.0-liter TSI engine, and a comfortable ride. The European handling dynamics are a major plus.

Negatives: The after-sales service network of VW might not be as widespread as Mahindra's. Additionally, the initial price tag might be slightly higher than the XUV 3XO.

 

3. Skoda Kushaq 1.0 Ambition AT (₹ 15.49 lakh):

Features: Sharing its platform with the Taigun, the Kushaq offers a near-identical feature set, including a sunroof, a digital driver's display, a touchscreen infotainment system with connected car tech, automatic climate control, and a comprehensive safety suite.

 

Dimensions:

Length: 4221mm

Width: 1766mm

Height: 1632mm

Wheelbase: 2651mm

The Kushaq boasts cabin space and boot space similar to the Taigun.

Positives: The Kushaq offers the same advantages as the Taigun - excellent build quality, a refined engine, comfortable ride, and European handling. The Skoda design language might resonate with some buyers.

Negatives: Similar to the Taigun, the after-sales service network and a slightly higher price tag might be.

 

4. Hyundai Creta S(O) 1.5 CVT (Price: Rs. 15.85 lakh)

The Hyundai Creta is a perennial favorite in the compact SUV segment. The S(O) variant offers a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated petrol engine churning out 115 bhp and 144 Nm of torque, coupled with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Creta is known for its spacious cabin, comfortable ride quality, and a long list of features like a panoramic sunroof, ventilated seats, and a wireless phone charger.

Dimensions:

Length: 4300mm

Width: 1790mm

Height: 1635mm

Wheelbase: 2611mm

Positives:

Spacious and feature-rich: The Creta offers a generous cabin with ample space for passengers and luggage, along with a plethora of comfort and convenience features.

Smooth CVT: The CVT transmission provides a comfortable and jerk-free driving experience.

Strong brand presence: Hyundai enjoys a strong brand reputation in the Indian market.

Negatives:

Less powerful engine: Compared to the turbocharged options in the previous cars, the Creta's naturally aspirated engine might feel less powerful.

Lower fuel efficiency: CVTs typically offer slightly lower fuel efficiency compared to torque converter automatics.

 

5.Mahindra Scorpio N Petrol AT Z4 (7 Seater) (Price: Rs. 16.80 lakh)

The Mahindra Scorpio N is a fresh entrant in the mid-size SUV segment. The Z4 variant we're considering features a 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine generating 203 bhp and 380 Nm of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Scorpio N boasts a bold design, a spacious seven-seater cabin, and a long list of features, including a 360-degree camera, dual-zone climate control, and six airbags.

Dimensions:

Length: 4651mm

Width: 1917mm

Height: 1870mm

Wheelbase: 2700mm

Positives:

Powerful engine and off-road capability: The Scorpio N offers excellent performance and decent off-road capability with its powerful engine and high ground clearance.

Seven-seater practicality: For those needing a three-row SUV, the Scorpio N offers a practical solution.

Feature-rich cabin: The Scorpio N comes loaded with features for a comfortable driving experience.

Negatives:

Higher price tag: The Scorpio N is priced slightly higher than the other options in this comparison.

Slightly difficult to maneuver in the city for new drivers/first-time buyers. 

 

The choice between the XUV 3XO and the alternatives presented hinges on your individual needs and priorities. Let's delve deeper into each option to illuminate the decision-making process:

Value Proposition: The XUV 3XO emerges as the undisputed champion in sheer value for money. It boasts a feature-laden cabin with a sunroof, a feature-rich touchscreen infotainment system, automatic climate control, and a comprehensive suite of safety features, all at a very attractive price point. This makes it an excellent choice for budget-conscious buyers seeking a feature-packed compact SUV.

Space & Utility: If prioritizing cabin and cargo space is your primary concern, the Hyundai Creta and the Mahindra Scorpio N offer a significant advantage. The Creta provides ample legroom and headroom for five occupants, ensuring a comfortable journey for everyone on board. The Scorpio N, on the other hand, steps up the game with a true 7-seater configuration, perfect for larger families or those who frequently require additional passenger capacity. However, if navigating tight city streets and parking in congested spaces is a major consideration, the XUV 3XO's compact dimensions and maneuverability become distinct advantages.

Performance: The XUV 3XO's 1.2L turbo-petrol engine strikes a commendable balance between power and fuel efficiency. This translates to a pleasurable driving experience with good acceleration capabilities, while also promising decent fuel economy figures. The Mahindra Thar LX, in stark contrast, prioritizes off-road prowess with its powerful 2.0L engine. This translates to a dominant off-road performance, but on-road refinement might be a slight compromise. The Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Kushaq, with their well-tuned 1.0L TSI engines, offer a European driving experience characterized by a balance of performance and handling. The Creta's 1.5L petrol engine delivers a smooth and predictable driving experience, but it might not be as exciting for those seeking a more spirited performance, especially when compared to the XUV 3XO's turbocharged punch. The Scorpio N's powerful 2.0L engine caters well to highway cruising and occasional off-road excursions, but fuel efficiency might be a touch lower compared to some competitors.

Brand Image & After-Sales Service: Mahindra has a widespread service network across India, ensuring easy access to service centers and parts. This extensive network might be a deciding factor for some buyers who prioritize readily available after-sales support. However, Volkswagen and Skoda boast a premium brand image associated with European build quality and a focus on precision engineering. Hyundai also enjoys strong brand recognition in India and has a reputation for reliable after-sales service, providing peace of mind to ownership.

Making an Informed Decision: Test Drives & Research

The most effective way to arrive at a well-informed decision is to take all these contenders for a test drive. This will allow you to experience the cabin space firsthand, assess the features in action, and feel the driving dynamics behind the wheel. Pay close attention to how the engine responds in your typical driving conditions, whether it's navigating city traffic or cruising on highways.  

In addition to test drives, conducting thorough research is paramount. This includes exploring ownership costs like insurance premiums and routine maintenance expenses for each vehicle. A well-rounded understanding of these factors will help solidify your decision based on your specific budget and long-term ownership considerations.

Exploring Beyond the Presented Options

The Indian car market is a dynamic landscape, constantly evolving with new launches and revisions to existing models. It's prudent to consider factors like upcoming releases in the segment, enticing deals on outgoing models, and the availability of specific variants with features you particularly desire. Consulting automotive websites and online reviews can provide valuable insights during your research phase. Reputable publications often conduct comprehensive reviews that analyze various aspects of a car, including performance, handling, fuel efficiency, features, and ownership costs.

Conclusion

The Mahindra XUV 3XO presents itself as a compelling option in the compact SUV segment, offering a feature-rich package at a competitive price point. However, with a slightly increased budget, you can unlock a wider range of SUVs that cater to diverse needs.  Whether you prioritize space and utility, a premium brand image, or superior off-road capability, there's a strong possibility you'll find a suitable contender amongst the alternatives presented. By carefully considering your requirements and priorities, taking advantage of test drives, and conducting thorough research, you can confidently choose the perfect SUV that aligns with your lifestyle and driving preferences.

 

 

TopGear Magazine June 2024