Mahindra has slowly but surely been getting more and more of a foothold in the South African market, as have many of the ‘budget’ brands that have arrived over the past decade or so. What’s busy changing, though, is that rather than being seen as a very distant second choice behind established brands, these ‘second-tier’ brands are becoming genuine considerations.

When it comes to bakkies, SUVs, or 4x4s, the South African market is always a viable choice to look to, since we’re heavily invested in those vehicle types and because of our outdoor treasures, many drivers find an SUV indispensable.

The new Mahindra release is dubbed the XUV300, and it’s a smaller SUV platform that will slot into the bracket currently occupied by the likes of the Suzuki Vitara and the Ford EcoSport. This segment is generally suited better to offering some more ride height and confidence on sketchy surfaces rather than full-on 4×4-ing capability.

It’s similar to Mahindra’s XUV500, but just a smaller and less aggressive iteration of it, and based on initial images, it’s fairly attractive in terms of its appearance. Aesthetic design was one area where the likes of Mahindra used to fall short, but they’re quickly catching up.

As far as quality-of-life features go, the XUV300 is coming well-equipped. A full layout of airbags (up to 7) is planned, as well as stability control and ABS among its safety features. It even includes a touch-screen infotainment system in the centre console, along with a sun-roof and dual-zone climate control to round out cabin inclusions.

As far as drivetrain option, it’s said to house a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel that’s good for 90kW of power, but more importantly, provides around 300Nm of torque. These are currently still speculated figures, so there could still be changes on all fronts before it’s officially announced for the South African market.

With the projected price of around R300,000, it isn’t all that low, but admittedly, there seems to be a lot of planned bang for the driver’s buck in the XUV300.

Can you see Mahindra’s XUV300 giving the big brands a run for their money? Let us know!