The Mahindra KUV100 no longer remains a secret. Announced and unveiled in pictures earlier today, the vehicle has the potential to create a new segment in itself. But here are a few things that we learnt from the company’s announcement today:
Mahindra’s sub 4-metre might not have been hugely successful but products like the TUV300 have started to make an impact. The next big (okay, small) thing in the segment is the KUV100.
Second monocoque SUV from Mahindra
In the company’s portfolio, the KUV100 is the only monocoque-based vehicle after the flagship XUV500. The said construction will give it more car-like dynamics, and there’s no reason to follow the body on frame construction on this one, either.
The KUV100 will be powered by a new line-up of engines that Mahindra likes to call mFalcon. The engine range for the KUV100 will include petrol and diesel three-cylinder units, both three-cylinder and 1.2-litre units. The diesel engine (mFalcon D75) makes 77 hp and 190 Nm, while the petrol engine (mFalcon G80) makes 82 hp and 114 Nm of torque.
The mFalcon range also includes the 1.6-litre units already available on the Ssangyong Tivoli already while a new set of 1.5-litre units will also be used in future products.
Designed in Chennai; Will be made at Chakan
The KUV100 was designed and engineered at the company’s R&D facility at Mahindra Leisure Valley (or Mahindra City) in Chennai. Given the Indian market’s liking for all things macho, the KUV100 should do well. Things like the concealed door handles for the rear doors, prominent character lines on the sides, a front-end that’s reminiscent of the Evoque seem to work well. The use of black plastic cladding adds to the vehicle’s crossover-like design.
The vehicle will be manufactured at Mahindra’s facility in Chakan.
The KUV100 will be offered with a unique seating layout of 3+3. Previous spy shots have suggested that it will come with a dashboard mounted gear lever, which will free up space, hence enabling Mahindra to use a straight bench at the front a la Datsun Go.
By adopting a transverse engine mounting and a front-wheel drive layout, Mahindra will make more efficient use of space in the vehicle. Also, since it’s not going to cater to off-road enthusiasts, there will be no optional AWD as well.
For urban running and occasional runs on the highway, the front-wheel drive layout should suffice.
Safety is a priority
The KUV100 will get ABS as standard across the range, which is something that no car in the segment does. While the pricing isn’t out yet, it’s certainly a very responsible move from Mahindra. Further details (availability of airbags) will out closer to the launch, although the company is likely to offer an optional safety pack (consisting of dual airbags) that can be opted with any variant.
The expected pricing is close to the B2 segment hatchback category (Ford FIgo, Maruti Swift, Grand i10) but early reports and speculations suggest a Rs 4 lakh starting price. Another Renault Kwid success story in the making? Quite possible.
When can you get one?
Bookings for the KUV100 begin tomorrow (that is on the 19th of December) pan-India, while the official launch is set to happen on the 15th of January, 2016.
This marks Mahindra’s re-entry in the petrol powered SUV market. And with the new engines coming, the company is not going to stop with the KUV100, either. Also, what’s worth noting is that the announcement comes close to The Supreme Court’s decision to ban the registration of new diesel vehicles above 2,000 cc (till March ’16).
It will be available in a total of seven colour options.
‘K’ in KUV100, if you’re interested, is for ‘Kool’.
Actor Varun Dhawan is the brand ambassador for the vehicle.