For those people out there who thought the Toyota Condor (now discontinued)was automotive heaven on wheels, there’s good news from Mahindra. The Indian manufacturer has launched a new multipurpose vehicle called the Xylo and it’s aimed squarely at the hole in the market left by the Condor.
The Xylo comes in a basic 8-seater configuration with aircon but no ABS, no fancy trimmings and PVC on the seats. The best thing about it, is the price – R164 900. The more upmarket 7/8 seater with the extras does have ABS, a sound system and fabric seats, but sadly no airbags. It costs R189 000. Both are powered by a 2.5-litrel common rail diesel engine, the same mill found in the Bolero and Scorpio. The engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox.
We liked the price (obviously), easy access, the interior space and reasonable ground clearance of 186mm. The upmarket Xylo, designated the E8, is reasonably well specced with electric mirrors, fog lamps, alloy wheels and body coloured bumpers and grille. Power steering is standard on both models.
Making a stylish minivan is never easy, and the Xylo is no beauty queen. All that interior room comes with a penalty though. It stands 1 850mm high on its 15-inch wheels, and it looks top-heavy. It drives like a top-heavy car as well, so dynamic cornering is not recommended. The 83kW engine develops 235 Nm of torque between 1 800 and 3000 rpm and it’s actually quite tractable, moving the Xylo steadily along to a claimed top speed of 155km/h.
There’s not a lot of driving pleasure here, but then that’s not the purpose of the Xylo. This is a people mover that does the job it was meant to do – transport people from point A to B with the minimum of fuss and not cost an arm and a leg. The abscence of airbags, and ABS on the base model, means you’ll want to drive this car carefully anyway.