Compact SUVs are catching up really well in our market and almost all major manufacturers are preparing to enter this segment. These vehicles come with small yet fairly powerful engine, small size but with SUV like presence and an attractive price tag. The small dimensions, a sub 4 meter length to be precise, help manufacturers keep the costs down by getting the excise duty benefits. It also makes them very practical for everyday use in city driving.
Engines under 1500 cc get the tax benefit and most of these soft roader compact SUVs come with the option of a sub 1500 cc oil burner. Soft roader, because these are essentially toughened up hatchbacks rather than being a scaled down SUV. You don’t get options like four wheel drive on these vehicles so they are more of the urban vehicles. Mahindra made an attempt at one such vehicle earlier with the Quanto but it failed to gain popularity.
Now they are coming up with another product in this category. The name isn’t known yet but its development name is S101. More spy shots of this upcoming product have surfaced now. This is expected to be an impressive product as this is more of a completely new vehicle unlike Quanto which looked more like a chopped down Xylo. The XUV 500 came with an entirely new monocoque frame. The S101 follows the suit and they have developed an entirely new monocoque frame for this new vehicle. This would improve driving dynamics and safety over other conventional types of frames we see.
This new Mahindra vehicle would challenge the popular Ford EcoSport and the upcoming VW Taigun and Maruti Suzuki XA Alpha. This will compete in this popular segment. Most of the spy shots we have seen yet show the vehicle covered in camouflage so the details aren’t very clear but still the large bits can be figured out easily. It comes with a flat roof and the rear windscreen is at a sharp angle. The interiors have been revealed in some spy shots as well. They have moved the gear shifter to the dashboard like on Ritz to free up more space on the floor. While until now Mahindra has been seen using diesel engines only, but this time they will come up with a petrol engine as well.
This new petrol engine being discussed here will be a 1.2 litre unit. It is newly developed by them working with SsangYong. This engine will not only power the S101 but also run under the hood of the Ssangyong X100 compact SUV. The oil burner that would be offered with this vehicle will be the same 1.5 litre three cylinder turbocharged unit that is seen on Quanto. It develops a peak power of 100 bhp and a peak torque of 240 Nm which is available between 1600 and 2800 rpm. This is an impressive engine and we don’t really think they will make any changes to it. Expect the vehicle to come out near mid of 2015.