Home / Reviews / First Drive / M&M Xylo – Unwrapped


After hiding behind camouflages for years, the XYLO is out to attack its prey.
Story: Bunny Punia. Photography: Sanjay Raikar, Sawan Sekhar Hembram

Setting foot in a segment that faces stiff competition is often considered an act of stupidity especially when the newest challenger walks in with an arrogant attitude. Such acts have often gone down the drain leading to a painful and slow death. New cars in the past have come and gone, failing to make a dent in the sales of its rivals, only to be remembered as another brick in the wall. And then there are those that create enough drama before being launched, sending shivers down the CEOs of rival companies and emerge victorious without a scratch. Mahindra & Mahindra have confidently aimed at redefining India’s multi utility segment dominated by strong players like the TATA Sumo, the ICML Rhino at the lower end of the segment, the Chevrolet Tavera and the Toyota Innova at the premium end and M&M’s very own Bolero. Not only this, they have launched a direct missile at the sedans too, as apparent from the advertisements. Is this going to be a case of an overconfident manufacturer eating dust or are we really in for a fierce blood bath here?

Xylo with Innova and TaveraWe have been seeing the test mules of the XYLO, earlier known as the Ingenio, since 2006. On numerous occasions, I have followed the prototypes on the expressway at speeds of over 140km/h sometimes failing to keep up while being behind the wheel of one its competitors. Rumours about its looks, interiors and engine kept the XYLO magic alive on numerous forums and people’s expectations soared with each passing month. This is exactly the reason why most automobile enthusiasts haven’t swallowed the looks of the car. Come on, what were you expecting? A futuristic sports utility vehicle or what?

XyloAlmost as long as the Innova as well as wider and taller than both contenders, the XYLO has immense road presence. There aren’t many muscular lines with the huge vertically stacked grille dominating the front. The big headlights sit in the snug frame and the bonnet is slightly raised. The XYLO doesn’t have a very pleasing front end. The grille imparts a sort of frown to the front – something that we didn’t quite appreciate much. The side profile hardly has any detailing and resultantly looks boring. The six-spoke alloy wheels and the step board try to spruce up the vehicle’s profile but don’t quite succeed in their attempt. At the rear, small vertical tail lamps and chromed logos finish the rather bland design. The huge hinged door at the rear enables convenient loading of luggage. The paint quality is impressive and body panels are consistent. Frankly, we at CAR India were quite disappointed with the design of the car. Was this the best M&M artists could have imagined for an entirely new car?

The Tavera is ultra sober. The high end Neo series has flashy alloy wheels and terrific dual tone colours, but of the trio, the Tavera gets the least attention on the road. Crisp and straight design lines and a narrow body (a full 170mm narrower than the Mahindra) make it look the smallest of the lot here. The low end model gets steel wheels designed to look like alloys which are quite good. Most Taveras you see on the road bear a yellow number plate for use by tour operators, BPOs, travel agents, etc. This has led to the vehicle losing out on its brand image and is probably the reason why prospective customers who would want to use it as a family vehicle are shying away from buying it. The Innova, on the other hand, is the classiest of the lot. It looks elegant and sophisticated but still has a traditional appeal. Smart alloy wheels, sharp design angles, tear drop headlamps with bulging indicators – the Toyota still looks quite fresh for its segment. The rear view mirrors are chromed and the swooping window line looks good. The Innova is also the longest of the trio, and among the contenders, it would appeal a lot to the corporate buyer. However, it is also a taxi segment favourite but adorned with a Toyota badge, the image of the vehicle has still not deteriorated.

There is a world of difference in the interiors of the three vehicles here. As MUVs, these vehicles will spend most of their time ferrying around a large family including kids and the elderly. Therefore, it is necessary for the interiors of these vehicles to be practical yet comfortable. The Tavera seems to be built perfectly for carrying seven (or eight, depending on the seat configuration) people with ease. It may be the narrowest of the lot but there is enough room inside for full sized adults. Getting in and out is easy but what’s a bit of a letdown is the seating position for the driver. The steering wheel is thin and has a plastic feel. It isn’t adjustable for height either. The speedometer console looks nice with easy to read dials. The music player has been integrated into the fascia and the beige interiors look good but only from a distance. Look closely and the quality of plastics doesn’t let you get much enthused. Even the material used to impart a fake wood look isn’t too convincing. The knobs for the air-conditioner seem low rent as well. However, we were impressed by the leather seats that come standard on the top end model. There are cubby holes for keeping your phone or wallet, the armrests are a boon for long drives and the twin glove boxes add a practical touch. The space in the middle and rear rows is good as well with roof mounted blowers for the aircon. However, there are no cup holders for the second and the third row passengers. The Innova has the classiest looking interiors here. It feels more like a sedan on the inside. A low seating position for the driver combined with a high quality four-spoke steering wheel feels good. The cream interiors not only look rich but can shame quite a few expensive sedans when it comes to quality. Wood inserts for the blowers and power windows, a great sounding music player plus other neat touches further augment the quality feel. The glove box between the front two seats doubles up as an armrest. The space for the front and middle row passengers is very generous, though the third row is best suited for kids.


User Review

Feeels good but Lacks the look
By: ron4320 | Apr 18, 2009 12:06 AM

I understand and respect the sentiments of those who own the Xylo and adore it for its value for money. But we live in the 21st century India and have immense talent when it comes to Automobile
designs. Well M&M have always brought great engines, strong build up. But the latest Xylo just lacks that look. I may sound blunt but for me Xylo is one of the most ugliest cars ever.
We pay 7.3 lacks for a car. Its one of the fastest depriciating assets, from that point of view we should expect new fresh and practical designs. With wiered headlamps its front is not all apealing. We live and drive around the city with the Audis and BMWs who not only excel in their engines but have fantastic designs. We have also seen the Nano which is cute and practical w.r.t to the design.
In india we however pay more for these cars due to the heavy taxes imposed. Its is already difficult to own a 4 wheeler and when it comes to chose a car that ranges in this segment it better be beautiful. This is just the matter of perception. We can build good looking cars and when we are competing with the foreign companies I stand and support the M&M who have stood by themselves proud with Scorpio.
I wish to bring this to your notice that if we demand better looking cars then we inspire these manufacturers to build them for us. We deserve Beautiful looking and more technically superior cars.
Rohan S


User Review

my first 5 days with teh xylo e8
By: floydisgod | Apr 15, 2009 10:42 PM
i am happy to be a xylo owner since 4 days. the vehicle has alreadydone 700kms quite efficiently i must say. the performance and handlinghave been extremely satisfying. the realiability of the various
systemsin the vehicle have been good. on the whole the owner ship experiencehas been very satisfactory. however there are numerous issues thatwould put you off.
1. the music system is garbage.
2. the claim for adjustable seat with lumbar support is junksince the adjustment is only token and does not provide any tangiablebenefits. however the seat is more comfortable from any other withoutthese so called adjustments.
3. the quality of plastics is terrible. the finish is unworthyof even a goods carrier. it is so disappointing that a fledging nationlike ours and its leading manufacturer cannot ensure quality ofsomething as rudimentary as plastic.
4. therefore the only add on of any consequence in the E8version is the alloy wheels. all the rest can be avoided. that shouldreduce the ownership costs further.5. the mileage is excellent with an average of 14kmpl on highway in these 4 days.
6. i suspect that i would be having problems with the dealerin terms of serviceing and warranty since they dont come accross asbeing particularly honest in their dealings. time will tell.
7. one of the most disappointing aspects of the vehicle is thevery poor AC system. it is effective only in recirculation mode.therefore for some comfort from the heat, you would be breathing staleair.
8. to conclude, as was said in some other review, it is a goodbuy for some one who cannot afford any other higher end. however incomparison to a innova, this vehicle holds its own in terms of overallownership experiencehappy hunting


The challenger here, the XYLO offers the most versatile interiors. They not only look sporty but have been designed very well keeping passenger comfort and practicality in mind. For instance, dedicated blowers and reading lights for each passenger and cup holders for everyone are thoughtful touches. Use of black plastics with pinstriped white inserts further lends a sporty touch and the layout of the fascia is impressive. The seating position is upright but comfortable. The steering wheel is chunky and feels great to hold. The speedometer console too is easy to read and combined with the Digital Drive Assist System (DDAS) gives a wealth of information. This includes displaying inside/outside temperature, a compass, average speeds and fuel economy, distance to dry, etc. There are a few rough edges like the plastic mould finishing half way up the middle row windows and flimsy armrests which are difficult to raise up for locking / unlocking the seat belts. The XYLO however can seat seven in comfort. Getting to the third row is easy and space on offer is the best of the lot.

Xylo EngineAll the three vehicles here have a 2.5-litre engine but the Tavera feels the most unrefined. Vibrations easily creep in through the gear lever and clutch pedal. The mildly turbocharged 2.5-litre engine feels weak on paper with just 80PS of power and 186Nm of torque. However, for city traffic, the motor feels decent. Shift up through the gears quickly and you won’t have a reason to complain. It picks up from as low as 1000rpm cleanly, and city runs don’t tire the driver much. However, the NVH levels are a bit of a letdown in this car. The gear shift quality too is not on par with the competition. The throws are quite long and there is a lot of play in the shift lever. Ergonomics, however, are quite good and once on open roads, the vehicle feels smooth at around the 100km/h mark. Visibility is great and the frugal engine will get you from point A to point B in the least amount of fuel. This is the reason why most taxi operators will swear by the fuel economy of the vehicle – an overall figure of 14.5kmpl is astonishing!


User Review

A Monster on Road
By: hrservice4u | Apr 07, 2009 02:21 AM
The XYLO is perhaps the most complete car with luxury comforts to enterthe Indian market with everything that today’s sedans offer and muchmore. It is available at 97 select Mahindra dealerships and comes
witha price range starts of Rs. 6,24,500. All XYLO variants conform tostringent BS III emission norms and comes in 4 exciting variants &eight elegant shades to suit a variety of tastes – be it masculine andpowerful or contemporary and classy. These include Fiery Black, MistSilver, Mint Green, Lucky Lilac, Gold Shimmer, Toreador Red, Java Brownand Rocky Beige.
Mahindra XYLO has been completely engineeredaround the customer and has a powerful 2.49 litre mEagle CRDe enginewhich is fuel-efficient and delivers 112 bhp, allowing you to literallyfly from 0-60 kmph in just 5.8 seconds. Moreover, it offersclass-defining lavish space all around such that even a 6ft tall personcan stretch in comfort on the 3rd row seat. The XYLO offers anextraordinary level of luxurious comfort at a very cost-effective pricefor prospective sedan buyers, according to Dr. Pawan Goenka, President,Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
Sleek contourscoupled with structured edges and the signature Mahindra front grillegive the XYLO the sophistication of a sedan and the aggressive stanceof an SUV. Integrated bumpers, chunky alloy wheels and strong curves onthe bonnet and fenders add to the car’s stature. Body side claddingwith chrome rails and rear lamp clusters with well defined edges addoodles of panache to the car’s design. All this makes the XYLO aneye-catching vehicle on the road. Independent AC vents ensure that theSurround Cool Dual AC cools all corners of this spacious car withindividual controls for each passenger. The car’s stylish exterior isaptly complemented by plush interiors available in three sophisticatedshades – Black, Walnut and Granite.
One of the mostrevolutionary features of the XYLO is the tech-savvy Digital DriveAssist System (DDAS). An alphanumeric display in the centre panel, theDDAS has features such as an onboard computer to calculate mileage anddistance permissible. The system is easy to read and provides usefuldata at a quick glance. Standard information available includes date,time, inside and outside temperature and relative humidity. It alsolets you know exactly which direction your Mahindra XYLO is headed in.Press a button and you are informed of your gear position and speed.The DDAS will even tell you how long your fuel will last and shareinformation on your average speed and the instant mileage clocked byyou. All of which ensures that you derive optimum mileage from yourMahindra XYLO.
The DDAS also has an inbuilt warning system whichwill prompt you to put on your seat belts in case you forget or if youattempt to drive with the handbrake engaged, for instance. TheIntellipark Reverse Assist has a visual prompt in the rear view mirrorwhich shows you the distance between the rear bumper and any objectbehind your car.The 2 Din Entertainment System is also feature packed.It enables playback from MP3s and CDs, SD cards and USB devices, givingyou a superlative acoustic experience on the road.
Plenty ofinnovation has gone into making the XYLO a superior vehicle to drive.The sporty dials, the centre bezel curves and the advanced DigitalDrive Assist System combine to give you the feel of an aeroplanecockpit. The driver’s seat is ergonomically designed with heightadjustment control to maximise comfort on long drives. Lumbar supportcan also be adjusted to three positions while the unique tiltablesteering wheel gives you the perfect driving position. An illuminatedkeyhole ring allows you to conveniently locate the keyhole even inpitch dark conditions. Utility spaces abound in the Mahindra XYLO witha well defined Centre Console housing space for CDs, magazines, etc.
MahindraXylo will come in Petrol and Common Rail Diesel engine. For Xylo,Mahindra may source the petrol from its Logan partner Renault. TheCommon rail Variant which comes with 2.5-Litre but not a 2.6-Litrewhich is already and readily available from Mahindra Scorpio. The NewXylo from Mahindra will produce 100bhp+ max power and 283Nm of Max.torque. Xylo comes out with the fuelsmart technology from Mahindra. Thecompany has already said that the MUV being built on Ingenio platform(Xylo) will get this system. Micro Hybrid variants of Xylo may also beout at the time of the launch.
Xylo is built on an all newplatform carrying eight seats MPV. As per the company, Xylo will beexported to other countries, for this Mahindra has specifically carrieda lot of attention on this Xylo. Currently the manufacturing capacityfor Xylo is 25,000 Vehicles. The assembly line is as same as theScorpio through the outer body (shell).


User Review

Big, Bad and Ugly – But – cheap…
By: vci123 | Apr 08, 2009 04:42 PM
It took me 2 test drive and lot of hard looks – to ensure that this is just not the thing I wanted. Why? At 8 lakhs plus on road in Bangalore (8.42 or so for the mid-variant – 40 k more from its launch
price in Jan) – it seems like a good alternative to a sedan.
Big – oh yes this thing as oodles of space. The 3 row was comfy for my stout driver too.
Bad – Cheap plastics all around. Inflexible seating options – why the heck cant these guys do split seats on the 3rd row. Felt like I was sitting on an elephant. Bulgy and black (the interiors of the top end that i tested). Tardy engine. And everything inside felt like it was all going to come aprt. Second class compartments are designed better. Strangely this car also had not a shade of quality anywhere – this level of consistency in ensuring a cheap blob is really commendable.
Ugly – Oh yes! One look at it and i didnt want to see it again. Looks matter – I’m paying for it damn it! Since when did the logic of beauty not being skin deep creep into motown? So much has been talked about how these guys at Mahindra seem to have penny pinched – and not does the Italian styling that got them the honors for yet another average car – the Scorpio. So here’s the XYLO that neither has the looks nor the performance. And of course if these guys had to hike the price by 40k in a recessionary launch – who are they kidding. Not for me. Not for my enemy. It’s not as cheap as it should be – I won’t take one even if it is free


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