On average, with a mix of highway and city, the fuel efficiency of the SUV is around 11 km/l.
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Long post alert but I wanted to share my experiences after a week of ownership, 1000 kms of driving and my first service.
Any number of superlatives would not do justice to the sheer power of this engine. If you want to push and zip past people, whether from a standstill at a signal, or driving on a highway, this one will leave everyone behind. Noise and vibration are very well contained. If I may level any criticism, it would only be that paddle shifter and slightly better gear ratios would have made this even better. Coming to the proportions of the car, navigating through the narrow lanes (for Bangaloreans’ attention – I am talking about Hoskerehalli and Koramangala by lanes) was largely fine. I cannot stress enough the assistance of the 360-degree camera here. For those who are considering between AX7 and AX7L, this feature alone is worth the extra money and wait, especially if you are upgrading from a smaller car. On the highway, of course, its size doesn’t come in the way of enjoying the drive.
Best – 14 km/l, Worst – 5.6 km/l. On average, with a mix of highway and city, it’s around 11 km/l. Purely city yielded between 7-8 km/l. The reason for getting these varied figures was that I kept fiddling around with the infotainment system and resetting every now and then. For context, the best figure was achieved with cruise control set to 80 km/h without many interruptions for about a distance of 30-40 kms. The worst figure was in the interior roads with constant stop-start and requiring quick accelerations. Not the kind of driving one would usually do for long periods of time.
- 360-degree camera – I have already mentioned the tremendous help the 360-degree camera is, not only in parking but also navigating tight spots (picture haphazard parking of two-wheelers and autos in an already narrow street with another car/truck coming from the opposite direction). The camera feed can be summoned by the touch of a button and it stays on the screen till you reach a certain speed.
- Lane Keep Assist – Used this on my drive to Tirupati. Its pretty good as it keeps you decent when it comes to changing lanes, it lets do it without hassle if you indicate. As seen in many videos, it does kind of steer on its own, but it is what it is called, an assist and should be strictly used as such. With your hands on the wheel, it assists you nicely and reduces your effort. The other setting, warning only, also works fine with a vibration on the steering if you try to leave the lane without indicating. Both of these only kick in after crossing 60 km/h. Personally, I switch it off within city limits.
- AEBS – Extremely good feature, even in the city. Unlike what I thought initially, i.e., in the city it will be an annoyance, it is actually pretty good. It kicks in only if you do not have your foot on the brake. It is a helpful reminder if you are driving in too close to a vehicle, but does not interfere too much if you are zipping inside the city. I have it in a normal setting and don’t think will be switching it off, ever.
- Adaptive Cruise Control – While the cruise setting works well, the adaptive part is only as good as the driver in front In any case, to maintain a speed and steady cruise, it is very handy. I also noticed that the mileage seems to improve when you set the cruise at 80-90 km/h compared to my trying to manually maintain that speed. However, I should mention that I had cruise control in my previous vehicle, and honestly, I did not use it much on that. I don’t see that mindset of mine changing much except if I am tired and on a long stretch of empty road.
- Other ADAS features – Got the high-beam boost post 80 km/h but for any sort of high-beam to work, you have to use it manually, as in if it is on the auto mode, it is pretty much useless as the car will not keep the high-beam on for more than a second, it is very sensitive to any light directly ahead. Driver drowsiness detection never kicked in (as I did not feel drowsy at any point in the close to 600 kms covered in a day). Other alerts do their job and chime in but in a non-intrusive way! Blind view monitoring is 50-50. It is helpful in some situations and not really in others. In the daytime, if you indicate while moving straight, the blind spot is covered well. At night, a cyclist or two-wheeler without their light on will not be seen. Also, while turning the steering wheel, the view is obstructed, so not of much use. If there is a ditch or something that you can’t see on the side, it is still a struggle to use the screen while turning and you are better off summoning the camera feed on the infotainment system instead.
Happy to report that there are no unwanted sounds at any point and at any speed – broken road, sharp potholes, scientific and un-scientific speed bumps, etc. But in terms of its performance, I was disillusioned to a large extent. For context, my previous car was a Duster. The suspension on that was amazing and XUV 700 at best was on par only, whereas, for some reason, I was expecting something better. In any case, no real negatives.
Did not use any of the native apps really so not much to comment on. Tried to use the map and the use of the display port to the instrument cluster. It looks fab but its performance in terms of suggested routes is limited. I am more than happy to rely on Google. I had a stable android auto connection throughout so nothing to complain about. Google assist works like a charm (Alexa was not used at all, except any time anyone said anything that sounded like Alexa and it kicked in). One thing that should be addressed is the WhatsApp call. There is not even an alert on the screen for the call and has to be operated through the phone only. Messages though can be heard and responded to using a voice assistant. The touch response is not super slick, but not bad either. I am yet to use intelli-control effectively. The speakers sound fabulous, although none of us is a real audiophile!
Overall, I am very happy. It might not be turning heads any more as the novel factor is gone, but I am enjoying it. The kids absolutely love the sunroof. The lack of boot space with all rows is a bother, but a workaround solution is to carry soft duffle bags as opposed to suitcases. Long trips will have to be with at least one seat on the last row being folded. My friends absolutely love the exterior colour. The interior will be tough to maintain, I figure that either Mahindra or an after-market solution without compromise on the airbag will come around eventually and we will go for it when it does!
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