Petrol variants of Mahindra’s compact SUV will now come with the option of an AMT.
When the XUV300 first came out, it was a pretty big hit for the Indian SUV maker. However, the compact SUV space has really heated up since then and is now considered to be the most competitive segment in the auto market today. Given that new-age technology and features are at the front in the battle to attract more customers, it was not surprising that the Mahindra XUV300 had a pretty good list of equipment. However, petrol variants of the car were not offered with the option of an automatic transmission. To be honest, I don’t like AMTs at all, but it seems like the easiest and most convenient transmission for a manufacturer to offer with their vehicles. And that's exactly what Mahindra had done with the diesel XUV300, and now it has also decided to offer the AutoSHIFT (AMT) transmission with the petrol XUV300. We got our hands on the petrol XUV300 with an AMT and spent some time with it to see the way it drives.
Convenient but lazy
We have already seen how the AMT works in the diesel XUV300, and we were not impressed by it. The same is also true for the petrol AMT variant. I had the car for a day and drove it around in the city for a while. If you are looking for a relaxed and hassle-free experience, then yes, the AMT works well high-density city traffic conditions. But, if you like your car to offer a little more oomph and feel more engaged in terms of driving, well, then I'm all but sure that you will not like the way this transmission responds.
The engine is still the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol motor. It’s a pretty good engine, no doubt. With 109bhp and 200Nm of torque, it’s got enough juice for you to have some fun with it. Its refinement levels are great, but there is a tiny bit of lag in terms of power delivery after you press down the throttle. Mated to the AMT, the engine takes times to get going though. That’s because changing gears isn’t smooth and seamless, and it doesn't matter if you switch to the Manual mode. That's not to say it's outright bad. It certainly is a lot better than the AMTs we have seen from Maruti Suzuki. Hyundai and Kia on the other hand have much better transmission options with the new iMT and DCT.
No doubt the AMT makes your driving easy and convenient. So, if you just like the XUV300 as it is and don’t mind a lazy transmission, then you will be fine driving it all day in the city. On the highway though, you will struggle to complete quick overtaking manoeuvres. Convenience and easy driving aside, there is a problem though, which is that the combination of slow gear changes and the lag in the throttle response doesn't make for a very pleasant driving experience. That is why I would opt for the manual transmission any day but, hey, I’m old-school.
Besides the new AMT, Mahindra will now also offer the new BlueSense Plus connected tech on the petrol AMT models. This will allow you to connect your smartphone to your car for various functions – something I did not have time to test out properly. The XUV300 has always been a feature-loaded car, and it sits at the top of our list of feature-laden compact SUVs. Mahindra has also decided to offer an electric sunroof on all mid-level models. It seems that a sunroof is in high demand, and almost all new car models offer them today. The W8(O) variant that we tested had a dual-tone aquamarine colour scheme. There is also a new dual-tone red colour on offer.
The new Mahindra XUV300 petrol AutoShift still has a lot going on in its favour. The fact that we didn't like the AMT variant in no way takes away from the fact that the XUV300 is a fantastic car, with a strong design, a good quality cabin, engine refinement, ride quality and handling, great features, and a lot of value. However, if given a choice, we would certainly go for the diesel variant because the engine has got a lot more to offer. The 1.5-litre diesel is rated at 112bhp and 300Nm of torque and it also comes with the same AMT. Even with the diesel though, we would still opt for the manual transmission.
• Ride quality
• Lazy transmission
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