Earlier this year I had the opportunity to preview the spectacular Mahindra XUV 5OO through a local Mahindra Dealership. I felt a little rush of excitement as I wrote the initial overview, and even more so as I met up with the team from BB Hatfield Mahindra for the first time to get their take on the innovative Mahindra brand, as well as how the XUV 5OO is taking the South African market by storm.

I met with Dealer Principal Andre Gouws last week, who – with an incredible 21 years of experience in the motoring industry – blew me away with his incredible philosophy on Customer Service and really bringing true meaning to client care. Believing in the “personal touch” as far as customer service goes, Andre notes that BB Hatfield Mahindra is fully committed to developing and maintaining professional, trust-based relationships with every client. Being very proud of the fact that numerous customers come back for more products and services, and often request certain team members by name, Andre believes their philosophy on prioritising the client has created a firm foundation that underscores the great reputation this dealership has. Andre adds that he has invested a great deal of time and effort in identifying the right  team members, placing them in the right role in the Dealership, in such a way that they are doing the right job, in the right way. In the last 14 months, this was manifested in a focus on staff training and nurturing a customer-centric perspective; the team as a whole believe that the success of their Dealership hinges directly on the happiness and satisfaction of their customers.

Quentin Damster is the Sales Representative for New Vehicles at the Dealership. Now in his third year in the industry, Quentin has a combined passion for cars and events, and enjoys the fact that this Dealership hosts weekly events and also seeks to uplift the community through charity projects. When asked what his feeling is regarding the Mahindra brand, Quentin emphatically noted that the brand sells itself; as well-equipped, reliable and extremely affordable vehicles, Mahindra compares really well to even higher-specced vehicles in its segment.

I find the very modern and unique look of the Mahindra XUV 5OO refreshing and very pleasing to the eye. I note that comfort and care is personified through supportive seating and a well-laid out dashboard, as I slip into the cabin. In the driver’s seat, I am able to adjust the steering column to fit my unique profile, whilst exterior mirrors shape at the touch of a button to enhance visibility. Cruise control and audio dials are conveniently located on the steering wheel and enable hands free communication via cell phone, whilst a unique laptop compartment in the glove box is an impressive little feature which I find quite useful. There are also notable charging points for iPods and other devices are available within arm’s reach, a feature my kids will undoubtedly love.

Quentin notes that the XUV 5OO is a 7-seater, with comfortable seating in two back rows which can also be converted to a 5-seater as you desire. The practicality of this vehicle is a definite plus point, and although the third row would be a bit of a tight squeeze for adults, it is roomy and comfortable in the second row, and fantastically spacious in the cockpit. Speaking of the cockpit, when looking at technology and features in the XUV 5OO, I note that it is definitely up there with the best in its class – static-bending headlamps, a state-of-the-art 6-inch LCD touch screen infotainment system and a comprehensive Driver Information System relaying the vehicles performance dynamics to you in real time. Rain and light sensors as well as a voice command-operated system means the driver can focus on the road, and actually enjoy driving the vehicle. In the W8 variant, reverse cameras and park assist are included, which assist me in manoeuvring the bold, muscled SUV with ease.

The drive itself is smooth and effortless, and the 2.2 litre mHawk engine produces a satisfying power output, as it combines with the 5th generation variable geometry turbocharger to provide really good oomph. Despite this lovely throaty roar and powerful pull, the XUV is superbly economical, boasting a 6.5 litre per 100-kilometre consumption (given that a generous 103 kW and 330 Nm of torque is produced), which is always a plus in the current financial climate. Quentin very emphatically noted that the XUV 5OO is hands-down a class leader; for what this vehicle has to offer, the price is not just reasonable, it is affordable, starting at around R286 000 for an entry level XUV. Having taken the vehicle himself for various long trips, Quentin noted that his favourite aspect is the incredible fuel consumption.

As a family woman, safety is always a big deal to me, and I am beyond thrilled to note that the Mahindra’s XUV prioritises passenger safety through its Electronic Stability Program, combined with the ABS and EBD systems that add to the Rollover Mitigation and Traction Control features. 6 airbags, strategic crumple zones and fortified side-impact beams form part of the carefully designed body to absorb impact and protect the passengers in the event of an accident. Hill Descent and Hold Control Features further make risky angled driving more controllable, whilst braking is managed through the all-wheel disc braking system, ultimately promoting cautious driving. Driving this vehicle in a proper Highveld storm right at the outset gave me no cause for concern – I felt completely in control with the vehicle holding the road beautifully.

My experience with the Mahindra XUV 5OO is one I am personally invested in sharing. I feel really connected to the brand and proud of what is has achieved in creating an SUV that stands out and is unique, whilst still being able to hold its own in a very competitive segment. I am also particularly impressed by the affordability of owning such a vehicle as Quentin said, and would – in complete sincerity – most certainly look into the XUV 5OO for my next vehicle. Supported by an incredible team at BB Hatfield Mahindra workshop, your Mahindra vehicle will also always be in good hands, well looked after and kept in smooth running order so that you, and your family, can benefit from the Mahindra promise of superb quality and reliability.

My own perception of Mahindra vehicles, as well as that of the many Mahindra client’s I have spoken to, has been drastically shifted in the last few months of working with the brand; my reality, now that I have experienced true Mahindra quality, now incorporates the high standards and excellent quality these vehicles stand for, and the promise of reliable care in the future. Back at the Dealership, Quentin (with a wide grin) shares with me the excitement of the impending arrival of the facelifted S11 SUV from this brand, as well as the KUV upgrade which is being released later this year with an all-new interior.

With a 100% open door policy, Andre Gouws, Dealer Principal re-affirms his commitment to the Customer by sharing with me that when I client was not satisfied with a particular product or service recently, he personally took the time to drive with them in their vehicle, and oversee the complete repair of the situation thereafter. With a hands-on, invested and involved DP such as this, BB Hatfield Mahindra is sure to continuing growing exponentially – what a superb and fulfilling experience it has been getting to know this team!

Offering not only a broad range of Mahindra vehicles to the public, BB Hatfield Mahindra also boasts a superb workshop and Parts department that have achieved an outstanding reputation for quality of work done, with very few (if any) comebacks thus far. For a closer look at the what this Dealership has to offer, please follow this link: BB Hatfield Mahindra

By Desh Bechan