Mahindra is working on a new compact SUV to compete with the Ford EcoSport. The vehicle is already under development with code name S101. It will be a sub-four meter car to avail tax benefits and with aggressive styling cues borrowed from the XUV500. This compact SUV will sit alongside the Quanto as the entry-level utility vehicle from Mahindra.
The S101 has already been caught testing by Motor Vikatan at Chengalpattu, near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The car is heavily camoflaged, and some elements like the bumpers and headlamps are missing altogether, suggesting that the design hasn't been finalised yet.
The overall shape is visible, however, and we can see that Mahindra is opting for a "clamshell" style bonnet, like with most modern designs. That hood scoop is an interesing addition, a carryover from the Scorpio hood to add muscle to the design. Surprisingly, the shape is clearly a two-box, which means that it will not have a significant interior space advantage over the competition.
The sporty roofline that slopes downward at the rear doesn't mean compromised headroom for the second row. There seems to be no problem with headroom in the front row, judging by the occupants in the image. Surprisingly this will also be a 6-7 seater, accoring to Mahindra. There is a strong shoulder line and we expect the doors to get a few horizontal creases to make the car look a little longer than it actually is. The wheels and tyres appear small in relation to the car, suggesting that the car will either be focused on good ride quality, or that the final tyre size is going to be different. As is, the car appears more hatchback than SUV, which should hold it in good stead when it comes to fuel efficiency.
The S101 will probably be powered by the same 100bhp / 240Nm diesel engine that powers the Quanto. However, there is a possibility that the S101 will be a front-wheel drive model with monocoque architecture – in this case it will use the 1.5-litre K9K Renault diesel from the Verito.
The starting price of the vehicle will be considerably lower than that of the Ford EcoSport for competitive edge. We expect the new model to start at close to Rs 6 lakh, with top-end version priced around Rs 8.5 lakh. The launch date with be in mid-2014. There is still lot to uncover about the new S101 – so stay tuned to CarWaleas we bring you more information through inside news and spy photos.