1 month with my XUV700: Experience from pre-delivery to first service
The petrol AT is definitely not for those conscious about fuel efficiency, but for those who enjoy the drive.
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Completed a month of ownership this week and nearly 1700 on the Odo. My experience with the vehicle so far has been pretty good. To be fair, the machine grows on you slowly but steadily. Had 1 long outstation trip right after taking delivery and 1 short one post-first servicing. The experience with both these trips is quite contrasting (More below).
Ever since I received the message in August 2022 regarding the status change from Booked to ‘Order Under Planning’, I had been hoping for delivery by Nov at least. This was based on their earlier SMS at the beginning of the year, that there would be 2 messages, 2 months and 1 month prior to delivery. Alas, these were just wishful thinking. Good thing was that the portal date of Delivery between 27-Dec to 26-Jan remained constant. So around the beginning of Nov, I gave a call to the SA and was promptly informed that the expected allotment would be on 14th Nov. Wow! Wasn’t expecting that at all. Still keeping my fingers crossed, I waited. 14th Nov came and went with no news. I waited for a couple of days more and on 16th Nov, gave a call to the SA again. To my surprise, he gave me a delivery date of Jun 2023! Shockingly, no explanation of the previously communicated date. This was completely unacceptable, given that the portal date had not moved at all.
So next thing on my mind was to get things clarified through the appropriate channel. Somehow, I was not convinced by the SA’s explanation and was suspecting that some allotments are being shuffled around. Around the first week of Dec, I called up customer care, who suggested a few steps to follow. They also provided the contact details of the General Manager of the dealership. I put all discussions and communication details in writing to bookingsupport[at]mahindra[dot]com, escalating to the GM in copy. Things moved quickly with the booking team giving a callback and also forwarding the email to the ASM. I spoke to the GM after a week, and he assured me that I will get a confirmed date of allotment within the promised date, once the Dec list is received by the 14th of the month.
While I left it at that, hoping that things will not get stalled now, in the second week of Jan, got a call from SA that the vehicle has been allotted and is in transit and that I should initiate the financing process. Happy New Year indeed! Since, I was going through Company Lease, wasn’t much concerned about delays on that front. I asked him to share the VIN details, which was answered with a Yes (Albeit I had my doubts that he will do so immediately). And as expected, information was withheld stating that PO is yet to be received, they need internal approvals etc. I had also enquired if there is a price change and was answered in the negative. Patiently, while I waited for the PO to be issued in a few days, the status on the portal changed to ‘Vehicle at Dealership’ in just 6 days (As against the 10 days mentioned by the dealership). After a little bit of pushing and finally, the VIN was shared along with the Form22 snapshot. A quick check and was happy to find that it is a Jan-manufactured vehicle (P6A). Of course, the drama wasn’t over yet. In exactly 2 days of receiving the PO, the dealership called and mentioned that they have received an updated price list and the price has changed upwards of 50K!
Once I confirmed payment modalities et all, asked them for a PDI date of 21st Jan (Saturday) and my preferred delivery slot and time for the 24th Jan (Tuesday) morning. This I was told was doable. I went for the PDI on Saturday morning and was promptly taken to the vehicle which was parked along with 3 other new cars of the same variant.
PDI was done satisfactorily with no interference from the dealership. However, the only thing that they didn’t allow was to take the car for a spin around the block. Odometer showed a mere 25 kms, which I was happy with. Then we went to finalize the accessories. Chose the rear crash guard, mud flaps, pedal covers, illuminated scuff plates, Side-Steps and chrome-plated rain visors (To match the chrome at the base of the windows). I was then asked to wait while the team initiated the registration of the vehicle on the Parivahan portal. OTP was received and shared with the team, while I was at the dealership and the process was completed in 15 mins. Even got Adrenox KYC completed while I was there.
I left the dealership re-confirming the delivery date of Tuesday and got a response in the affirmative. By the time I reached back home, had received an SMS from MoRTH with a registration number.
My wife & I started early in a taxi, having messaged the SA and were informed that everything is as per plan. The dealership being on PC road, travelling from South Bangalore on a working day was a long journey. While almost 10 mins away from the showroom, I got a call from the SA stating that the number plates are not ready and he can only deliver the car in the evening. I was shocked and absolutely livid at this unprofessional attitude of the team. Didn’t hesitate to let them know and told them point blank, to do what they can and get things done; I shall be taking delivery in the next 1 hour in any case!
Speak about spoiling the mood while one wants to remain calm on such an auspicious occasion. Anyway, by the time we reached, the SA was frantically making calls and we were asked to wait for 30 mins while they got things ready. It was 9.45 am and I had informed them delivery timeframe (Panchang consulted et al) so with a customer waiting, things were not looking very rosy.
Thankfully, they managed to get the number plates ready and fixed on time. We got a walkthrough of documentation, Insurance, WYH activation, etc. Adrenox activation had been done over the weekend. Then as we went to the delivery area, another member of the team, gave a full demo of the features. The Odo was at 28 kms, so not been much change since the PDI 3 days ago. Since I was in a hurry and wanted to take the car to the temple on the way back, I didn’t wait for Alexa activation (I did that later once back home – Simple enough process but absolutely needs a good network area for the e-sim, which in my case being a VI network has its own challenges in certain areas). At least expected before we drove off, I just asked them if there was enough petrol in the car, and surprise-surprise, they had forgotten all about it! One of the staff members rushed to get the same in a can, and we were delayed further.
Finally, after a forgettable delivery experience, we managed to reach the temple just before it closed, got the Puja done satisfactorily and the Black Panther was finally Home!
The initial Few rides were quite measured, slow and steady. Getting used to the beast takes a bit of time with all the numerous controls at hand.
We took a long outstation trip 2 days after taking delivery of the vehicle. Nearly 700 kms round trip. Managing speeds around 80kmph with this machine was a task for sure. You know what it can do, but every time the pedal goes down, that voice at the back of your mind pulls you back!
Nevertheless, the long highway route allowed me to test the Adaptive cruise control as well as the other features.
So for now, my comfort settings on ADAS are to keep the AEBS feature limited to front collision warning (within the city) and fully activated on highways. Lane Keep Assist and Smart Pilot are switched off at all times. I did try using both of these with Adaptive cruise control and the system really does what it says. Navigation is almost automatic with all warnings displayed appropriately including reminders to keep hands on the steering wheel at all times (in case detected to have been removed). The AEBS is extremely sensitive to the vehicle in the front. If used independently, it is sure to wear off the brake discs pretty fast. To avoid this, I have been manually overriding the ACC when detecting the front vehicle slowing down (by gently pressing the accelerator – this doesn’t de-activate ACC), of course, maintaining safe speeds and distances.
The petrol engine is a fuel guzzler. Even on the highways, at speeds between 80-90, I was able to extract around 12-13 km/l. Hoping for a better highway run FE post putting on a few more thousand kms on the Odo.
The ICE is not of much interest yet. I am primarily an Android user, so haven’t bothered with the Carplay update yet. Exploring the pre-installed apps, nothing really caught my attention, except maybe for the AccuWeather and Zomato apps (which currently provide addresses and call options to the restaurants).
Android Auto (Wireless) works seamlessly when it does. However, there have been multiple instances of it getting disconnected abruptly. I’m yet to upgrade the software version. Was informed by CoTek on my last visit that they have a stable version available now, but need 2 hours to complete the upgrade process. Shall plan in a couple of months, maybe. I don’t really miss the Carplay – just that the ‘coming soon’ on the display is a tad bit annoying (giving a feeling of incompleteness)!
The sound quality from the Sony speakers is pretty good and very clear.
The sunroof, or sky roof as M&M puts it, is simply marvellous. I like to keep it fully uncovered (with the glass shut). The amount of light getting into the cabin gives a sense of openness and great space around you.
The EPB is a great new addition and putting the car in P mode automatically activates the EPB; a very convenient and thought-through addition.
Micro-hybrid (Auto Start/Stop) feature is actually good, and I find it convenient in peak traffic hours or on highways, equally. I know this is a very debatable feature which most users are not happy about. However, in my experience, while the feature does get activated as expected, there is a way to override it (Without deactivating it through the manual switch). I have noticed that to activate the auto stop, one needs to press the brake pedal a bit hard. A little light footedness to avoid pressing the brakes hard does keep the engine running.
There are a few things though that I miss from the 5OO.
First Service (1000 Km)
Exactly 2 days after the Panther came home, we had a planned trip to Coimbatore, which was quite an enjoyable drive (Barring the city traffic at Coimbatore). However, the car handling throughout was amazing. While I was driving in a measured fashion, and really itching to go beyond 80kmph, managed to control the urge throughout the onward and return journey.
Got an FE of around 13 km/l on the MID for the entire trip of around 700 km.
Post return, and at just over 1000 km in the next 2 weeks, I took the car for its first service to Sireesh Auto at Basapura road (Off Hosur Road). I must say, it was such a pleasant experience. The SA knew his job pretty well. Delivered the car within 2 hours as promised, while I waited at the service centre. I had forgotten to get the SD card installed during this service which I simply called up after 10 days, and was asked to walk in on any working day early – it being a 10 mins job. Got the same done last week (carrying my own 32GB Class-10 SD card – No pressure to buy the SD card from the service centre), and finally the continuous DVR works.
Once the servicing was completed, we planned an impromptu trip to Mysore over the subsequent weekend. This was an amazing drive with a) the superb expressway and b) going full throttle on the Panther. Didn’t try Cruise control on the trip, and absolutely stable drive even at triple digits. Momentarily, I touched 135 km/h, and it didn’t even feel like the car was going at that speed. Of course, this also meant the FE being lower at an average of around 10KM/L. The petrol AT is definitely not for the FE-conscious, bit to enjoy the drive. I still believe I will be able to squeeze in some more mileage with some light-footed driving. Let’s see.
Signing off for now and thanks for reading this rather long post!
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