If you want a fun to drive compact SUV, Mahindra now has an option for you.
We’ve already had a taste of the Mahindra XUV300 TurboSport on a gymkhana circuit, where it proved to be a hoot to drive, but what remained to be seen was its real-world performance.
2022 Mahindra XUV300 TurboSport: performance
Let’s begin with the heart of the matter, the engine. While it is called the TurboSport, an important point to remember is that the regular petrol mFalcon engine is also turbocharged. However, what sets the mStallion engine in the TurboSport apart is the fact that it is a direct injection unit with variable valve timing. This has thus bumped power and torque to 131hp and 230Nm, which is 19hp and 30Nm more than the regular petrol XUV300.
The mStallion130 is not only more powerful but also refined even at high revs.
Interestingly there’s also an overboost function that offers an extra 20Nm of torque, which comes in when more power is demanded. The system bases this demand on certain driving conditions, like the throttle being engaged over 70 percent, the gear being in between second and sixth, and when the engine is running between 1,750 and 3,500rpm. Check all these boxes and you’d be happy with the end result. The power delivery is linear at the bottom end, and once the needle gets into the mid-range, there is a strong surge and the car hurls ahead with urgency. Overtaking is thus quite easy and effortless; once you’ve done that, it’s best to upshift, as power tapers away past the 4,000rpm mark.
No revisions to the suspension means the ride is soft and comfy over bad roads.
Outright acceleration is quick, and the TurboSport clocks a 0-100kph time of just 10.8sec – faster than any compact SUV on sale. Safe to say, tuning experts won’t struggle to nudge it under the 10-second mark.
What is also very impressive is the engine refinement, which, despite being a three cylinder, remains smooth even as you push the car hard – the dual-mass flywheel (also available on the standard XUV300) does its job.
2022 Mahindra XUV300 TurboSport: gearbox
The other positive for driving enthusiasts is the fact that the TurboSport is available exclusively with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The gears are well spaced out, the gates are defined, but the throws are long, as is the clutch travel. The clutch bite point is early and there’s thus a long travel post that.
Racy looking metal pedals add to the sportiness. Clutch travel too long though.
Along with the added power and torque, Mahindra also claims higher fuel efficiency for the XUV300 TurboSport. It gets an iCAT claimed efficiency of 18.2kpl (1.2kpl over the standard car), although we need to put it through our test to find out exactly how efficient it is.
Apart from the engine, there hasn’t been much change in the overall dynamics. The steering ratio and feel and feedback are the same, which means it’s light and breezy, but not communicative. There are steering modes to choose from, and while they do make a difference to the weight, the steering effort isn’t consistent throughout the turn.
No raspy exhaust is a miss. Owners would want to look at aftermarket options.
Ride has always been a highlight on the XUV300, and in the TurboSport it is the same story. It makes the car comfortable over bad roads, but a firmer setup would have contributed a lot to the ‘sport’ in TurboSport.
Stopping power is good too, with all-wheel disc brakes and a strong reassuring bite.
2022 Mahindra XUV300 TurboSport: design and interiors
To differentiate the TurboSport, the exterior gets a new ‘Blazing Bronze’ paint shade and some red inserts, along with the new Twin Peaks logo. It is a similar treatment to the Hyundai Venue N-Line, but without the twin exhausts poking out.
TurboSport gets all black interior, but feels a generation old.
On the inside, the dashboard feels a generation old, and even though you get kit like dual-zone climate control and a sunroof, the cabin misses modernity. The ample room on the inside though is always appreciated, along with the high levels of safety. The XUV300 has been awarded a 5-star crash test rating by the Global NCAP and gets important safety bits like six airbags, ABS with EBD and ESC.
2022 Mahindra XUV300 TurboSport: price and verdict
The TurboSport is offered in three variants – W6 (Rs 10.35 lakh), W8 (Rs 11.65 lakh), and W8 (O) (Rs 12.75 lakh) (all prices, ex-showroom) – which are Rs 36,000-49,000 pricier than the standard petrol-manual versions. It continues to be the most expensive sub-4m compact SUV out there and therein lays a bit of an issue.
As good as the engine performs, and as good as it feels to drive on an open winding stretch too, the TurboSport takes a back seat in the value department.
For a slight premium, you get an SUV that drives a lot better.
Its dated interiors and small boot space are compromises you will have to live with. But if you appreciate a good engine, and want a daily driver that offers a fun driving experience, the TurboSport is a very good option.