One of Mahindra’s most significant launches for 2015 will be an all-new product that will be launched in the compact SUV segment. Codenamed as the S101, the compact SUV was spotted testing in Chennai by our eagle eyed reader Prakash, who managed to snap some images of the diesel model, while the car was on test. Covered in heavy camouflage; very little is actually revealed about the design of the SUV. The overall silhouette takes inspiration from the flagship XUV500, but the dimensions are far more compact tucked under the sub-4 metre mark.
You can also see the wide front bumper, while the grille and headlight design seem to be inspired from the XUV500, but are rather sharp. Expect the rear to get a hatchback like tailgate and the car is most likely to feature wraparound tail lights. You could also get a tail gate mounted spare wheel to maximise rear storage space, like the EcoSport. We expect Mahindra to offer loads of features on the S101 including projector headlamps, daytime running lights, start-stop function, Bluetooth telephony, USB and aux-in connectivity, steering mounted audio controls at least on the top end variant. Expect the SUV to borrow several parts from the company’s other vehicles. The model spotted on test was running on 15-inch alloy wheels.
Mahindra confirmed at the 2014 Auto Expo that the S101 will make its debut next year in the Asian market. The upcoming compact SUV will be taking the fight to the current market leader, the Ford EcoSport. A monocoque chassis will be underpinning the SUV and will help the Mahindra S101 be more agile and lighter. The company would want to make sure to minimise body roll on the SUV (learning from the crash in the Nilgiris) to make it a decent handler. The S101 will be the smallest SUV in the company’s lineup and is expected to carry a competitive price tag undercutting the competition.
The Mahindra compact SUV will feature the 1.5-litre twin-turbo diesel engine from the Quanto, while a 1.2-litre petrol engine is also being developed in collaboration with partner SsangYong. Mahindra is most likely to offer a 5-speed manual, mated to both the engines, while the AMT gearbox showcased on the Quanto at the Auto Expo, could also be added to the list. The SUV is expected to boost a fuel economy on par or better than the competition. It has also been suggested that the compact SUV will have a 3+3 seating layout. Much like other SUVs in the segment, don’t expect 4×4 to be available on the compact SUV, at least initially.
When the Mahindra S101 does go on sale in 2015, the SUV will be competing against established products like the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport. The Maruti Suzuki S-Cross would have also made its debut by then. The automaker will also be facing competition from B-segment hatchbacks and compact sedans that also carry similar price tags. Expect the S101 to be launched with a price tag of Rs. 5 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base variant in 2015. Can Mahindra replicate the success of the XUV500 with their all-new compact SUV.