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    Thread: The Orange Cheetah!!! - Mahindra XUV 500 W10 AWD

    1. #1

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      The Orange Cheetah!!! - Mahindra XUV 500 W10 AWD

      My Polo GT TSI (Story of the dancing needles - VW Polo GT TSI Ownership Report) was my perfect car. It never ceased to give me a 35mm smile on the face, be it on the open roads or on the confined city roads with congested traffic. I could see the needle dance to the tunes of the lightning quick shifts from the 7 speed DSG. It was a class act. This is was the right car that gave you the split personality. Sedate and carefree when on the city roads, and just with a flick of the left hand or the right leg, changed the personality to a pouncing lion (maybe not the best analogy). I enjoyed the car for the last 1.5 years. Thoroughly. Period.

      Changing Priorities and hunt starts

      Fast forward to July 2015. There was a new addition to the family, and now needed to fit in 2 Booster seats (which was very fine with the Polo) and a full fledged car seat. Wasn't sure if the Polo was going to handle this with comfort. The hunt for the car seat which could use only the lap belt started and to my surprise, there was a rear facing car seat from Gracco, that could just do that. Immediately bought it and happily went home and fixed the car seat and the booster. It was a tight fit, but manageable. There was a slight difficulty in seeing the left side while backing up the car (being an old school person, who used a lot of mirror and visual cues while reversing), but this was live-able. For short trips, the Polo was even able to take the pram in the boot!!! Beat that. The split personality that I loved with the practicality (I may be one of the very few who would call the car a practical one, but it indeed is).

      Just for some additional space, and 3 full fledged seatbelts in the rear for additional safety, I also had a look at the Jetta Diesel Highline DSG. The car was great, but the moment I got back into my Polo, and the gear lever slotted into D, I realised the Jetta was never going to give me the same smile or refinement. The new car is way too overpriced too.

      I had a test drive of the Corolla Altis, but on hindsight, should never have even done that. The engine was anything but anaemic (not sure even if I did a remap, if it would have improved anything), handling too sedate and understeery for my liking, and pretty overpriced for the features offered. Come on Toyota, you cannot remove the fog lamps from the top end diesel Corolla, which sells at close to INR 21 lakhs.

      Anyways, back to the topic, a new requirements comes up by mid of the month. We need a nanny!!!! I couldn't by any means ask the kids or the nanny to sit in the boot, and it was time to look for a larger ride.

      It was around the same time that the new XUV 500 was launched and I was pretty impressed with the feature list, and the first car that came into the mind was the XUV. With a 7 seater, Fortuner, in the family, the versatility was something that we were used to.

      Checked the XUV 500 and liked it. W10 was the option that was going to be considered anyways. Did I want the 2WD or AWD? Decided since we were spending close to 2 million INRs to go with the W10 AWD. There shouldn't be a situation in the future, when we get disappointed with the lack of an AWD option. Read it as basic slushy situation or so...

      Democracy and its demerit

      With the car and variant decided, the question was the colour. Everyone had their own preferences and we had to find a way to come up with a final colour, in this democratic system. So came with a points system, giving weights for the 1st preference, 2nd preference and so on. And whatever way I tried to change the weights to the favour the Silver or White colour that I wanted, it was my wife's and elder one's preference of Orange that came out on tops.

      We go ahead with the booking and make the request for our preferred colour. SA informs, since Sunset Orange is a new colour, and the launch colour, there was going to be a delays, especially with the AWD, which was not a model that is being booked much. I was pretty happy as he informed White and Silver could be made available faster in a max of 2 weeks.

      As we were booking, with the colour changed to white, he checked with the despatch and comes back with a news. There was a Sunset Orange W10 AWD that is already in transit, and since it was an W10, there was no one who had booked it. So he got it allotted to me and the car was going to be with us in 5 days!!! Democracy prevailed...

      Sales Experience

      Courteous, but a little uninformed - in short.

      From the moment I made the decision, and informed of my interest, there were 2 people, from the XUV sales team who came with the car for a test drive. In fact, they came more than once, so that my wife and kids could have a look and ride as well. They even went to the extent of getting me a test drive in an AWD XUV, in a pretty slushy area, which happened to be part of their yard, part of which was now a pseudo-marshy land with the rains in KL. After this, and seeing how much of wheel spin and momentum was required to get the FWD XUV there, and how comfortably the AWD managed, the decision was made.

      Even after the booking was made, the folks were very connected and kept updating about the progress, talking to me about the finance and other options, etc. I was very happy with the experience.

      Now on being informative, these guys knew about the features and other things about the FWD. Any questions about the AWD, they either did not have the answer or had a wrong answer. For e.g., I was informed initially that the AWD was a full time one with the torque split between front and back 60/40, but when I informed them of the youtube video from MahindraXUV channel that this was an on-demand one, they went back and confirmed that they had given the wrong information. Also, till date, though I had asked them for them for the ARAI certified FE for the AWD, I am yet to get the details. Also, it took a fair bit of time from my side to educate the sales folks about the return to invoice insurance, which they were not aware off. Nevertheless, to their credit, they did not try to misinform me for a sale, and wherever they made a mistake, they were fine with accepting it and at least trying to get the correct information from the right channel.

      The only dampener was the used car guy from the dealership who came and quoted a value for my car. He looked more like to make a profit, which would help his KPI than getting a new customer for the dealership. I guess the two sides, sales and used car should work a little more closer, at least with this dealership. Anyways, if I could get a GT TSI for the price he mentioned, I would still be happy going and buying two!!

      Overall dealership experience would be rated an 8/10, with one point deducted for the experience with the used car guy (It would have been better if the dealership folks did not try to help me here) and one point for the lack of knowledge around some key things, which I was keen to know.

      Delivery day and the detailing

      The D-day was 24th July, and we went to the dealership, with the customary sweets and such. The car was ready with all the requirements of mine taken care off and the delivery process was very smooth and pleasant. Since I had a meeting, they even got me a conference room, so that I could take it from there.

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      Pre-PDI picture of the Orange Cheetah that was shared. The first glimpse of the Orange Cheetah that I had

      My dad took the car out, and there was the usual photo stuff and all. All in all, was happy to be a part of the Mahindra family, and kids were happy to have a car with the sunroof

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      The car was delivered and the key features explained (since I was in a hurry, did not go through the full list). In short, everything was done, except for the extended warranty certificate, which was later sent to me.

      I would rate the delivery experience a 11/10.

      Did a PPF for the front bonnet, edges of the doors at 3M Kochi, along with the Underbody coating paint protection for the new cars. The experience in the Kochi center was great and I would recommend them to anyone.

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      After the paint sealant coating was done at 3M Kochi.

      Did the Nomad mats for the car while in Bangalore with one of the 3M centres there. Contrary to the outlet at Kochi, who was keen on ensuring the customer's needs were met and was happy, the folks at Bangalore Whitefield center, looked more keen to get the work done and focussed on the monetary part than the experience or relation part. I had specific requirements for Nomad mat under the middle row, which was not done, and after everything was done, I was told I did not inform them. I hate people lying. It would have been a lot ok, if they said they missed it instead. Also, the way the car seat was kept on a dusty work area, says a lot about the lack of details in a so-called detailing center. I even had to get the Nomad mats re-shaped at Kochi. So much for the quality of work, and the outlet at Whitefield in Bangalore - my advice would be to avoid it.

      Initial Experience, Highlights and Niggles

      The car has now crossed 5k kms, and I had started this while at the service centre on Saturday.

      First and foremost on the colour. Though this was not my preferred colour, it grows on you over time, and after the last 2 months, I would say, I am happy that I went with my better half's and kids' preference.

      The Orange Cheetah has in the last 2 months done 2 KL-BLR trips, one trip to Chennai and Mysore, in addition to city/town drives.

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      Orange Cheetah waiting for the sunrise, enroute to Chennai.

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      Waiting for a coffee.. Not the cheetah, the driver and passengers...

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      Few milestones

      Considering its size, I am pretty impressed with its handling, and the ability of the car to munch miles. It is no TSI, but definitely no slouch either. In fact, I had joined tadukuttan and folks in one of the weekend drives for a cup of coffee and I was pretty impressed with the performance of the car and the way it could maintain some nice speeds...

      The FE returned varied between 8.5 - 9.5 in the city and 11.5 - 14 on the highways. I felt the FE was going down over time, while the car was opening up, and I hope it would improve after the first service with the fluids changed.

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      This is in regular City drive with lots of traffic

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      From a light footed drive.

      Kids have thoroughly enjoyed the car, and versatility of the 7 seats. I am able to safely seat all 3 kids, nanny and have the luggage with one of the seats folded. Coming to the luggage carrying capability, I would say Mahindra should have possibly reduced the legroom in the middle row a bit and given a little more boot space, or say increased the length of the car by say 10 - 15 more cms and given that as luggage space. Come on Mahindra, I am not sure what your designers were thinking when they designed a car for 7 people, but with luggage space that cannot even keep a school bag !!!

      Either ways, so far I am pretty pleased with the car and the decision to go with it.

      Highlights:
      Versatility of 7 seats and the space offered inside. In fact loads of it. Even the 3rd row is usable for short drives for adults
      Lots and lots of features, much more than in many cars double the price
      Sunroof for the kids
      Powerful engine with next to nothing in terms of turbo lag
      Ground clearance
      Overall presence, clubbed with AWD which gives you the confidence to go anywhere
      Mahindra listens to its customer feedback
      Purple Club - though I am yet to use the benefits. Have been called already once by the dealership for a Great Escape event

      Lows:

      Expect niggles (an expectation that I set for myself prior to purchase itself, and hence not going to be as finicky as with my previous rides from Global Manufacturers)
      Interior quality is inconsistent and could have been lot better. Have the leather in head rests a bit crumpled even.
      Ride could have been slightly more softer
      Infotainment system - quality of sound, issues with the touchscreen, bluetooth, etc. At least better speakers should have been provided, with tweeters in the 2nd row as well
      Brakes - definitely need better brakes. Brake fade is an issue as well, as well as the stopping power
      Gear shift - 2nd and reverse gears are hard at times. Also, the sift is extremely notchy after being used to Japs
      No iOS app for the new W10 yet

      A Freak Incident:

      Someone stole the front RH wiper while the car was parked in my apartment. I have heard about and had experience once with my Swift when the rear wiper was stolen, but it is the first time, and that too in the apartment, when the wiper was stolen. The dash cam from previous night when the car was parked showed the wiper there, but next day morning when I took the car out, it wasn’t.

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      Niggles:

      Infotainment:

      This needs a thread for itself.

      Lot of bugs, that need fixes. I have issues with the bluetooth, where the person on the other side hears a lot of echo, after a few minutes into the call. This looks to affect many cars, and the Mahindra Customer Care personnel whom I interacted with at Bangalore has informed me that this has been escalated to Visteon, who is the manufacturer.

      Touchscreen becomes unresponsive at times, though all the controls work using the buttons on the center console or the steering wheel. It works after sometime in certain situations, sometimes necessitates a restart of the car, and sometimes would work after the combination of mute and settings button is pressed together.

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      If someone can help me on how to post a video, I can put one detailing the issue.

      The display all of a sudden on two occasions stopped displaying the average FE. A restart of the car fixed this.

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      Last week, on the way back from Chennai, the audio to the left speakers stopped all of a sudden, but started when the source was changed and USB selected again.

      The one-hour mode message came on the car twice, but not sure how to switch it on for kids to watch cartoons when the car is stationary

      Now waiting for an update from Mahindra on this.

      Rattles:

      There are rattles from many places (seats, doors and boot), but these are easy fixes. Should have been done at the factory itself, than during a service.

      Also, in the 4th gear, there is a small vibration on the lever for a short period of time, when accelerating. This disappears after a few seconds. Again, checked thoroughly at the workshop, but was unable to find any issues.

      Sound from the rear / Suspension / Rear Axle:

      There is a 'dum' sound at times from the rear of the car. The workshop has checked it extensively and have not been able to find any problems, and it is told to me that the AWDs have it. Yet to check on this.

      Steering is slightly off centred, but not much from pulling to any sides. This has been fixed with an alignment during the service.

      Service - Too early to rate, though experience is a mixed bag

      Had only very short experience with the service centres, and I would say it has been mixed bag. It solely depends on the Service Advisor, I would say.


      I have had great experience till today in getting a good SA. But for the first service, the advisor I was initially allotted was more keen on telling me everything was normal, than even listening to me. I had insisted on my regular advisor and now he has taken the car.

      Most of the minor niggles reported has been fixed, except for the ones awaiting Mahindra's response, and the headrests for the centre row that needs to be replaced (the leather was crumpled). The wash could have been better though

      Overall, including the poor experience with the first SA, I would rate it an 7/10. If not for that SA, this would have been a 9/10.

      Few Pictures:

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      The LED Lamp, it looks pretty good in the night.

      So, thats it for now. Hoping to keep this car for a longer time, and hope it will give me a trouble free ride for a considerable time into the future.

      Will try and keep this updated on a regular basis. More to come as I have more miles under the belt with the Orange Cheetah...
      Fuel in the veins....
      Polo GT TSI
      Fortuner AWD
      Ciaz ZDi
      Cruze AT,Swift ZDi - code6d,A-Star AT
      Baleno RedRoosetered,Hyundai i10 1.1
      Zen Estilo, Zen D, 800 MPFi

    2. #2

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      tadukuttan's Avatar
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      SGM to post a video you can just paste a YouTube link in your post, and the forum software should do the rest...
      In pursuit of happiness, and happiness drives very fast.

    3. #3
      Support Donkey
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      mclaren1885's Avatar
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      Congrats on the new addition to the family and the garage Sandeep!

      Be prepared for an "interesting" ownership experience with the XUV. You are bound to face a lot of niggles and issues periodically!

      Looks like you have awesome luck with 2-DIN HUs

      The XUV5OO does rattle quite a bit actually, better to get it damped to avoid more rattles from seeping through.
      2002 Tata Indica DLS.
      2004 Suzuki Zen - A G13B eater.
      2005 Suzuki Baleno - India's fastest Naturally Aspirated Baleno timed on a drag strip officially!
      2008 Suzuki Swift VDi - The Rattle King.
      2011 Chevrolet Cruze - The Torque Monster.
      2016 Ford Ecosport 1.5 TDCi Titanium - The SQ Machine in the making.
      2017 Skoda Octavia VRS - A 400+HP corner craving machine!
      2013 BMW X1 - The RWD Sideways Machine
      2019 Polo GT TSI - The Commute Workhorse.
      2014 MOC SQ Pro Champions.
      Harmonixx Tuning - Importers for Audiofrog & Arc Audio/APR Tuning Authorized Dealers/Engine Remap Specialists for all makes/models.
      Dealers for Rainbow/Mosconi/Eton/Stetcom/Tru Technology/Blam Audio/Mobridge/Stetsom/Audible Physics/AIV/Gladen/Dampmat/Dr Artex Damping and more.

    4. #4
      not aware that he can set his status here!
       
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      Congratulations buddy !!! Not many options for SUVs in this range, so one needs to be content with the niggles. And you have learnt to live with them.

      Wish you many trouble free miles ahead...

    5. #5

      To go quick, you need to know
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      Quote Originally Posted by tadukuttan View Post
      SGM to post a video you can just paste a YouTube link in your post, and the forum software should do the rest...
      Thanks tadukuttan. Have done with one video now. Working on the next one.

      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
      Be prepared for an "interesting" ownership experience with the XUV. You are bound to face a lot of niggles and issues periodically!
      This was something that I prepared myself for, after using the Japs, Americans and the Germans for a while. To that extend, rattles should now be treated as music than as noise. No, its not that bad

      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
      The XUV5OO does rattle quite a bit actually, better to get it damped to avoid more rattles from seeping through.
      I should do that. It makes sense. What would be the not so expensive options for the doors and hatch door.

      Quote Originally Posted by mathuranuj View Post
      Congratulations buddy !!! Not many options for SUVs in this range, so one needs to be content with the niggles. And you have learnt to live with them.
      Agree mathuranuj.. It was a lot of preparation for someone who used to be bothered about the minutest of the minutest noise, vibration, etc. mclaren1885 knows about this

      I used to visit the service center for the minutest of the things.. Now that would be history with the XUV, though would continue with the other vehicles.

      Here is a video of one of the niggles with the Infotainment system, wherein there is inconsistency shown between the Fuel Levels between the odo gauge and the the Infotainment system.



      On a positive note, this was one of the trips on a full tank (FT - FT) I got pretty good FE...
      Fuel in the veins....
      Polo GT TSI
      Fortuner AWD
      Ciaz ZDi
      Cruze AT,Swift ZDi - code6d,A-Star AT
      Baleno RedRoosetered,Hyundai i10 1.1
      Zen Estilo, Zen D, 800 MPFi

    6. #6
      Support Donkey
      Turbo Lag - Giving the NA guys
      just 1 extra second of false
      hope :p
       
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      mclaren1885's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by SGM View Post
      What would be the not so expensive options for the doors and hatch door.
      Plenty of options! A roll or two of local damping should be sufficient for the 4 doors and hatch. Material should cost less than 10k.

      Then you always have the option of turning up the volume!
      2002 Tata Indica DLS.
      2004 Suzuki Zen - A G13B eater.
      2005 Suzuki Baleno - India's fastest Naturally Aspirated Baleno timed on a drag strip officially!
      2008 Suzuki Swift VDi - The Rattle King.
      2011 Chevrolet Cruze - The Torque Monster.
      2016 Ford Ecosport 1.5 TDCi Titanium - The SQ Machine in the making.
      2017 Skoda Octavia VRS - A 400+HP corner craving machine!
      2013 BMW X1 - The RWD Sideways Machine
      2019 Polo GT TSI - The Commute Workhorse.
      2014 MOC SQ Pro Champions.
      Harmonixx Tuning - Importers for Audiofrog & Arc Audio/APR Tuning Authorized Dealers/Engine Remap Specialists for all makes/models.
      Dealers for Rainbow/Mosconi/Eton/Stetcom/Tru Technology/Blam Audio/Mobridge/Stetsom/Audible Physics/AIV/Gladen/Dampmat/Dr Artex Damping and more.

    7. #7

      To go quick, you need to know
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      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
      Then you always have the option of turning up the volume!
      It is not that bad yet.

      Anyways, here are some more videos of the issues with the infotainment unit.


      It took a while even for the button to respond here.


      Infotainment Issues... The buttons both in the dashboard console and the steering were working, but the touchscreen was not. Fix is to hold the 'Mute' and 'Settings' button together and it starts working.

      One thing though I am pretty happy about is the responsiveness from Mahindra and how they take the feedback seriously. There will be a team which is expected to check the car for these issues in the next couple of days. I assume they are folks from R&D team.

      Prompt response I would say, something that is not common now a days with many of the manufacturers.
      Fuel in the veins....
      Polo GT TSI
      Fortuner AWD
      Ciaz ZDi
      Cruze AT,Swift ZDi - code6d,A-Star AT
      Baleno RedRoosetered,Hyundai i10 1.1
      Zen Estilo, Zen D, 800 MPFi

    8. #8

      To go quick, you need to know
      when and how to go slow
       
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      Long time since I updated. Will write a detailed ownership experience soon.

      Summary so far:

      > Car has now done 30000+ kms in one year
      > Insurance renewed for a real good deal - did not go with the Dealer option
      > Upgraded the audio - retained the stock HU, changed all 4 speakers and added a subwoofer and amp without TOUCHING / SLICING a single stock wire
      > Did a black roof wrap from 3M
      > Matte wrap for fog lamp surrounds and front grille
      > FE varied from 8.49 kmpl (for a CCD drive) to 17.1 kmpl (steady 100-110 on cruise control)
      > Consumed 2808.04 L (INR 1,41,222.42) of Diesel till the last refill at 30089 kms
      > Tried a couple of softroading and mud plugging exercises where the AWD came out with dying colours
      > Did a comparo with the Duster AWD and the Orange Cheetah did much better than I expected. In fact, neck to neck with the Duster

      Will share more details soon...
      Fuel in the veins....
      Polo GT TSI
      Fortuner AWD
      Ciaz ZDi
      Cruze AT,Swift ZDi - code6d,A-Star AT
      Baleno RedRoosetered,Hyundai i10 1.1
      Zen Estilo, Zen D, 800 MPFi

    9. #9

      To go quick, you need to know
      when and how to go slow
       
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      Audio Upgrade

      Since there has been a lot of things done on the car, post the last detailed ownership update, I will be breaking this down into some of the observations, issues and niggles, services, modifications, etc… This will not really be in a chronological order though…

      Audio Upgrade (post 25,000 kms)

      To start off, the stock audio was nothing really great. It didn't produce anything but tinny sound - bass was poor, mids decent and highs not really reflecting the real music.

      My requirements was to have decent sound quality for the front and middle row passengers, without compromising the warranty. This is something I had done during the ICE upgrade on the Polo as well. It was decided to keep the stock HU as is. Another requirement was that I did not want to lose any seats while trying to accommodate a subwoofer.

      How is the Audio Unit in the XUV configured:

      The touch screen in the dash is nothing but just a screen - nothing behind it &#128512 and all the digital to audio conversion was done by something the company called the Silver Box, which was below the glove box. The inputs - be it Bluetooth, AUX or USB is really connected to the Silver Box, with the TouchScreen panel used as a mode of input. It really is not a 2-DIN unit, though it looks like one.

      The Upgrade Plan

      I approached Kumar from Auto Planet (been a customer of theirs for more than a decade now) with my requirements and he suggested the following setup:

      Front speakers changed to components - Morel Tempo Ultra
      Rear speakers changed to coaxials - Morel Tempo Ultra
      Shallow Subwoofer from Rockford Fosgate
      4 channel Amp from Hertz
      Custom connector with a male - female connector for SB - Stock wires go into one side (say A) and the other side goes into the SB (say B). From B, there are the speaker lines which will then be used to connect to the Amplifier.
      Damping of the four doors

      The plan was to use the outputs from the Silver Box (SB from now on) and use that as the inputs to the necessary hardware.

      Just to make sure the combination was right, I connected with Digital Vampire to gather his thoughts and he suggested going ahead with a 5 channel amp than the 4 channel amp, to avoid any timing issues. So, I decided to go ahead with EP5 amp. Had it been 4 channel, then we would have had to use 2 channels bridged for the amp and the other 2 channels for the component, leaving the rear speakers to be powered by the Silver Box. This could induce minor timing variances, for which nothing much can be done, considering the stock HU which I was retaining did not have Time Alignment options.

      Post the initial POLO install (ICE'ing the Dancing Needles - VW Polo GT TSI) , i was really concerned how the original HU in the car would perform, though Kumar from Auto Planet mentioned that he had done one install and it was sounding a lot better. Another concern was whether there would be a hissing sound with rpm increase, which was something that was a problem with some of the earlier W8s. Kumar was confident this wouldn't be an issue with the W10 SB.

      With all the apprehensions set aside, we started with the install. Now, instead of me writing the whole story, letting some pictures do the talking of the 2 day installation work…


      Day 1

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      Stock Speakers. I am really surprised at the quality of sound it made. They looked like made of paper which was just double or triple the thickness of standard photocopier papers. They looked that poor. However, considering that, I would really bow to them for the quality they managed from such speakers. COST CUTTING... I would have really appreciated if they had charged me slightly more, but gave some good speakers.

      Click image for larger version. 

Name:	02_Stock_Speakers_Taken_Off.JPG 
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ID:	221259
      Doors with the stock speakers taken off. Apologies, some of the pictures are rotated. Looks like some bug, as I tried uploading the correct ones, but it kept on rotating automatically. Any suggestions here??

      Click image for larger version. 

Name:	04_Morel_Tempo_Ultra_Components.JPG 
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ID:	221257Click image for larger version. 

Name:	03_Morel_Tempo_Ultra_Components.JPG 
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ID:	221258
      Morel Component Speakers. These were made in Israel as per the box. The quality was really evident, and felt very much like the rainbows I had in the POLO.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221256
      Morel Coaxial Speakers

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ID:	221254Click image for larger version. 

Name:	06_Rockford_Fosgate_shallowMount_Sub.JPG 
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ID:	221255
      Rockford Fosgate Shallow Mount Subwoofer

      Click image for larger version. 

Name:	08_Crossover_Installed.JPG 
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ID:	221280
      Crossover Installed inside the front door. Crossovers were stuck to the door using double sided tape, and a layer of dampers were later put on top of it. There is some space provided, in case i wanted to change the decibel +/- later.

      Click image for larger version. 

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      Spacers were needed to ensure the magnets did not interfere with the glass.

      Click image for larger version. 

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      Damping sheets used was a brand called StP. Not sure whether they were of a reputed brand or not. But end of the day served the purpose and wasn't very expensive. In addition to helping with the audio, it helped sort out some of the inherent rattles.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221276Click image for larger version. 

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      Damping done on the front and rear doors. All the cables, wires, etc. were covered with the damping sheet, except for the locks and the wires for power windows.

      Click image for larger version. 

Name:	13_Component_Speakers.JPG 
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ID:	221275
      Component Speakers - another view. The sheer size of the magnet compared with the stock speakers!!!

      Click image for larger version. 

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Size:	1.92 MB 
ID:	221274Click image for larger version. 

Name:	15_5Channel_Amp_with_Speaker_Inputs.JPG 
Views:	34 
Size:	1.78 MB 
ID:	221273
      5 Channel Hertz EP5 Amp. These had both RCA inputs and speaker level inputs. I am using the speaker level inputs, since the custom connectors helps me take that. Also this did not require any additional noise being added by including yet another converter for speaker level to RCA.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221272
      Custom Connector Used. One end as I mentioned earlier went to the Silver Box and the other accommodated the stock wiring. This ensured not even one single wire was sleeved, cut or spliced. Also ensured there was no need for any separate remote control integration.

      Click image for larger version. 

Name:	17_16 Guage Wiring.JPG 
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ID:	221271
      Gauge 16 Wiring used throughout - for speakers and amp. Could have used Gauge 12, but did not see the need for one. Could be my lack of knowledge.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221262
      Subwoofer in the shallow mount box

      Once the speakers were installed on the door, the work on the Silver Box started. Here is a picture of the silver box with the custom connector installed.
      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221270

      Next up was the amp installation. One word of caution - Whenever the front seats are removed off the rail, the batteries needs to be disconnected. This was an area of a bit of overconfidence from the installer, where they didn’t do this step. There was one more such incident, which we will talk about later - But neither of these had any impacts. I am 100% happy with the outcome, if not more.

      If not the airbag warning light comes up, and this would need to be turned off with the help of the Service Centre only. I tried with Dashcommand and Torque using my OBD reader, and was unable to turn off the Airbag Warning Light. Seems like in Mahindra XUV 500, Torque / Dashcommand would not be able to access the BCM (Body Control Module), which i believe was possible with the Volkswagens.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221266

      The other area, where over confidence came into picture was the remote turning on of the Amplifier. Since they were familiar with EP4, which was a 4 channel amp, the installer assumed, the Remote On wire was required to be connected. However, when this was done in the EP5, along with the Speaker level inputs given to the amp, it was giving me all sorts of ABS, Brake, etc. warnings on the HU. This really gave me a pseudo heart attack. Unlike regular amps, the 5 channel EP5 had auto - on and off from the speaker level inputs itself and there was no need for the Remote Control cable. And in fact, the remote control point (which if used with RCA) would now be used for Daisy Chaining other devices, and hence was sending output current to the HU (and hence CanBus), which resulted in all the warnings. This was later identified by Digital Vampire and me by going through the AMP documentation. In short, when working on a new product, it is always good to refer to all possible documentations than assume. A burnt HU, fortunately, wasn't the result!!!

      Since we were unable to turn off the amp, initially we suspected issues with the amp / whether there was an issue with the wire tapped for remote control input. To rule out either of these, tried with a standby amp and this worked without any issues.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221267

      As it was already too late, went ahead and installed the EP5 back, without the remote control cable, and took a risk of the battery draining down (which did not happen, since the wiring was absolutely right, though we thought it wasn’t). Went home, and did not push the amp too hard. Another thing was the amp itself was creating some noise during the gain adjustment for one - channel; hence we decided to go ahead and change the amp the next day.

      Day 2

      Morning was uneventful, with no battery drain. Quick visit to the Mahindra guys helped clear the Airbag error. Now with a clear picture on the errors and how to clear them, and how to connect the amp; it was just a matter of replacing the amp, going back to Mahindra to get the Airbag error cleared again as we would be removing the seats.

      I believe strongly in the fact that everything happens for good… Only because we did the audio install and i was looking at the routing of power cable inside the engine bay, I happened to notice some cracks forming in the ‘inside’ of the LHS headlamp. Nothing to be felt outside. Reported to M&M and they replaced this under warranty. But one of those quality niggles with the car.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221265

      Finally the amp was replaced and installed. Kept some plastic material to avoid water getting in, in case the door is open and there is a drizzle. Kept it on a couple of small wooden pieces, to

      1. Make sure the ac vent under the seat was obstructed and the rear passenger floor well wasn't getting cooled
      2. The amp itself was cooled with the AC flow through this vent

      Click image for larger version. 

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      Did the damping of the boot door, as well as padding off some of the areas with sponge, to avoid rattling…
      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221263

      Outcome

      Final outcome, was the car looked 100% stock, but with sound that was times better than the stock. And to my surprise, the HU produced pretty decent sound, which was much better than the Blaupunkt that was installed initially during my Polo ICEing. Digital Vampire reviewed and suggested the mids could have been better though. When Bluetooth was being used as source instead of the USB, the mids sounded better, which makes me point to the HU. But neverthless, this was sounding really good, and possibly 95% of what my Polo was sounding like after the HU upgrade to Pioneer 8690 BT. So, there is nothing much to complain about… I am a 100% happy with the outcome, and the work done… All this for much lesser than what I had anticipated and spent in my earlier cases.

      And to overcome the mids aspect, i was contemplating the possibility of adding a DSP and connected with mclaren1885 for a Mosconi. Thanks to outernationalist for a demo in his car (which sounded excellent), I have decided I would be doing this some time.. But FM at home has said a NO to it for now. mclaren1885, will let you know once I am ready for the Mosconi with SPDIF and Bluetooth module…

      And as some suggested, it might also be good to enjoy what is there currently for sometime and then upgrade to really appreciate the improvement on adding the DSP

      Another bonus was with the damping done, the machine gun feeling associated with XUVs (rattling - and I am exaggerating a bit here) is gone to a good extend and the car feels a lot silent…

      And the last niggle

      Post installing the upgrade, on couple of occasions, the car shut down when in MicroHybrid mode and wouldn't restart for some time. The same happened in a trip to Masinagudi. I was getting brake pressure related errors also. I could see in the Dashcommand a sudden drop to zero for the voltage, and immediately suspected the battery. And the culprit was pin pointed to a loose terminal during the audio install. Something overlooked by the installer, but again, with no major issues.

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221261

      Install experience

      Throughout the install had good support from Kumar and Palani, and they took the time to understand my requirement yet again (they knew it for the last 12 - 14 years anyways) and came up with the right suggestions, at the same time willing to go with my proposal of the components - say 4 channel vs 5 channel amp. They also went over and beyond in pushing the vendor to replace the amp first late in the night and then on a Sunday. And great commitment by the technician who did the install as well. I would have given a 110% had it not been for the slight overconfidence (which i am sure will not be repeated) and the carelessness with the battery terminal. Which brings it down to a 100% still!!!

      Will soon add on to this with the other details on ownership experience and work done!!!
      Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221268  

      Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221269  

      Fuel in the veins....
      Polo GT TSI
      Fortuner AWD
      Ciaz ZDi
      Cruze AT,Swift ZDi - code6d,A-Star AT
      Baleno RedRoosetered,Hyundai i10 1.1
      Zen Estilo, Zen D, 800 MPFi

    10. #10

      not aware that he can set his status here!
       
      Awesome
       

      Join Date
      May 2014
      Posts
      1,188
      Well penned mate!
      Thanks quite a bit of hulabaloo you had with the audio system. But Aural bliss is worth is eh? I had to tear down the dash quite a bit times to sort out the niggles. Even then, Mahindra has'nt managed to plug em 100%. All of it documented here-
      “Thunderbolt” XUV 5OO Detailed Review (HID, Audio, LED, Mods++))

      Any Plans on Petes or RD tuning box for better performance?

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