On Indian roads, the testing ground for Mahindra’s first SUV, life’s cheap
Mumbai, a city of 18 million people, to Mahindra’s brandspanking new factory in Pune. It’s as if you’re in a PlayStation combat action game with a barrage of attacks coming from all angles. You feel like shouting ‘‘ Incoming!’’ as each new threat looms. But this is no game. There’s no Retry setting. The people stepping onto the road are not made of pixels and nor is the overloaded truck driving head-on at us in what used to be our lane.
The threat is very real. One small mistake, by anyone, and there will be carnage.
Having survived a few hours of this chaos, I’mtempted to suggest this method of mayhem works, that it’s actually effective. The family of five all aboard one scooter seem happy enough and several blokes lazing around high up on top of a truck’s cargo aren’t worried either, but the numbers suggest otherwise.
India has the highest road toll in the world, with 115,000 people dying every year. Yes, 115,000. Luckily, I didn’t study the figures before heading out in the new Mahindra.
This company already sells the utilitarian Pik Up ute in Australia. It’s as ugly as the local slum dogs, but has gained a reputation as a rugged, reliable and cheap workhorse.
The company also sells tractors— 300,000 of them
The interior is good, too, with a 6-inch high-resolution screen and leather seats that look as if they belong in a true premium car.
There is also a mass of bad woodgrain and some ordinary trim-join sections.
I’mimpressed by the huge amount of headroom and legroom in the second row. If I wasn’t so worried about dying, I could sit back and relax.
The XUV 500 is diesel only, so thankfully it’s a good one. This is a 2.2-litre common rail
Steer clear: The fresh styling of the Mahindra SUV stands out among the overlooaded scooters and overturned trucks in the Mumbai traffic