Indian carmaker Mahindra and Mahindra which is a market leader in making sports utility vehicles in India, is now developing a new compact sports utility vehicle which will be ready for production by 2016. The firm has announced that its research engineers are developing three platforms on which future products will be constructed with varied body types. A compact SUV codenamed S101 is being tested which is a sub-4 meter compact passenger SUV smaller in size and price than its Scorpio. Sources within the firm have stated that this new compact car will be designed on the lines of its popular XUV500 and will be a mass market product.
Though several spy shots of the S101’s test model have appeared on automobile sites, Mahindra has not finalized on launch design therefore is not making a formal announcement about launch of this product. This S101 will be placed between Scorpio and XUV500 and will compete against Ford’s Ecosport which is most popular car in this segment. If one looks carefully at the spyshots appearing on websites it is obvious that important body parts like taillights and rear bumper were missing on this test vehicle so Mahindra is likely to take time in finalizing complete model before release. It appears as if the upper body is just for test purpose and its engineers were trying actually testing its engine power, suspension and chassis strength.
Mahindra has recently stated that like its compatriot Tata Motors, its engineers are also working on developing a new range of petrol engines which will be used on its future products. This family of petrol engines will be in the range of three and four cylinder with 1.2 – 3 liter capacities. Besides the S101, Mahindra’s engineers are also working on a new platform based on SsangYong’s X100 so that it can develop a compact version of that car which will be codenamed S102. Since this new car will be slotted below Scorpio it could be priced in range of 5 – 6 lakhs similar to most mid range vehicles in this range. The S101 will be built on monocoque frame which is being regularly used for developing compact models of sedans and SUV’s due to better stability and balance.
From the outline of S101 spotted testing on Indian roads it is obvious that its frame is sleek with backward sweeping roof and prominent nose. Its rear door mounted spare tyre gives it an adventure car appearance and sources inside Mahindra have stated that though it is a compact vehicle the S101 will be able to seat 5 – 6 passengers. Since the firm is developing a new family of petrol engines the Mahindra 101 is likely to be presented with both diesel and petrol engine options. To increase performance and speed Mahindra will be empowering both diesel and petrol engines with six speed automatic gearbox and turbochargers. To create sufficient leg space for 5 – 6 passengers the designers are likely to remove central console and move gear controls ahead. Since there is fierce competition in this segment for fuel efficiency with Renault Duster showing highest at 20 kmpl, it will be interesting to see performance of Mahindra’s S101 model.