Mahindra and Mahindra, right from their humble beginnings in 1945, when they started off as a steel trading company, to assembling the iconic Willy’s Jeeps under license, to those benchmarks of offroading vehicles, the MM 540s and the 550s, to the days of the Armada and the Bolero, to the recent Scorpios and XUVs have always retained, as a Company, deep-seated ideas about values and relentless improvisation. Their products have always stood for one ideal, Value for Money. I do not know whether this is because this is a Company which has built itself ground up, or whether it is simply a marketing ploy, but as enthusiasts, we always speak of Mahindra in revered, hushed tones, because we know this is a Company unlike any other in the automobile business, constantly evolving, constantly redefining the boundaries of what a manufacturer can do if it has it’s heart in the right place.
With the launch of the 2012 Xylo yesterday, Mahindra has proven yet again the old adage, having a ear to the ground. It is interesting the way Mahindra has decided to do multiple parallel launches in one country, going that extra mile to bring to the market the ideals of reaching out to as many people as possible on a one on one. Kudos Mahindra!
But as with any product, no matter how well it is marketed, the consumer is the king, quite simply put, and if the quality of the Product is not top notch, the products shall be summarily dismissed. And whatever we saw of the new Xylo, we liked! When I say new, I mean new. Although a majority of the media is calling it a facelift, it moves from being a mere facelift to practically a new car.
There is a new front facia with redesigned headlamps, grill, bumper, airdams and bonnet , pronounced wheel arches, an integrated footstep with redesigned mudflaps and roof rails with a redesigned rear spoiler. The front, the sides and the rear have all gone under the knife. The end results is a sleeker looking hood, a butch stance, cleaner lines, a premium look and a very pleasant overall effect. A walk-around reveals that the bulky shape has been trimmed down a bit, the logo-integrated hood makes the shape look slightly more aerodynamic, the curves are slightly less curvaceous, the arches are more pronounced and the roof rails are almost but blended into the roof architecture. More than just a bit of nip and tuck, then.
And it does not stop there! There is premium leather on the seats, there is a leather wrapped gearknob, there is a two tone dashboard, a new centre console and glossy wood interior panels. The Xylo has always been a comfortable car, with flatbed seats and optional three stage lumbar support for the driver and co-passenger’s seat and arm rests. Mahindra, thankfully, has not changed much of that, and simply carries it over to the new edition. The interior plastics were of high quality, returning a soft thunk when you rapped your knuckles on them. Luxurious leather seats with lumbar support felt plush and upmarket.
What else is new? Well, for one, now you have a whole new trim added to the already formidable lineup and she is called the E9. The E9, amongst the other “premium” features, sports a rather cool feature, the Voice Command Technology. What this does is, primarily, it allows you to communicate with the car. What’s new, you ask? Well, this technology not only allows you to turn the volume up, down or make calls, but it actually performs functions of the car for you! Headlight on/ off, wipers on/ off, doors open or closed and so on. We have not tested the system yet, but with an honest claim that it can understand thirteen different dictions, we intend to find out as soon as weget our hands on one! Even without seeing it work in real life, we daresay it is immensely cool, and utterly desirable. Kudos again, Mahindra!
Mahindra also has included what they called (quite unimaginatively, I may add), Extra Stability Technology. What it does is, well, it provides extra stability in high speeds. The technology was not explained fully, but my hunch is that it is a hybrid version of traction control which enables stiffening and softening of rides based on the available traction between the tyres and the road. Ah well, mighty sweet of you, Mahindra!
The others, including ABS, EBD, airbags, cruise control and intellipark reverse assist are being carried forward from the older model.
All right, so the question is, how much is she worth? And here’s the knockout. The Xylo E9 topend, with all bells, whistles, jingbangs and the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure, retails at 10.6 lakhs ex showroom in Delhi. The competing trim of the Innova is a full three lakhs costlier than the E9! Three lakhs! Essentially, the money that you would save if you bought the Xylo can be used to get two mid range Nanos! How is THAT for being a price differentiator?
Frankly, I could not really find a glaring fault (yes, the GPS would have been nice), and were impressed with the quality of materials being used. But what impressed me most was the price point at which all this was being offered. This is a solidly built car, with a capable engine and lots of goodies thrown in. At a very affordable price bracket. With strong rumours of a mini Xylo doing the rounds around Diwali, it looks like the Year of the Frumpy Face.
If we had the resources (which we don’t, we assure you, we are poor journalists), we would have bought one TODAY! What would you have done? Let us know, so we can let Mahindra know!
Clockwise starting from top left: Diamond White, Toreador Red,Java Brown, Fiery Black, Mist Silver and Rocky Beige.
Read the Live coverage of the Xylo launch event at Bangalore here.