Snapshot – When it comes to Mahindra & Mahindra and SUVs, the Indian utility vehicle maker is to SUVs what Maruti Suzuki is to budget cars. While the competition in the SUV segment has reached a new high, Mahindra is working on a slew of new products that are designed to allow the Indian automaker to retain its stranglehold on the Indian SUV market. CarToq profiles Mahindra’s 9 SUV line up for the next 3 years.
The big bang this Diwali from Mahindra will be the Scorpio Facelift. The SUV will receive a major cosmetic makeover, along with features borrowed from the upmarket XUV500. The suspension is expected to go under the scalpel for a more mature ride and handling package even as the Scorpio retains its rugged, ladder frame construction. The SUV is expected to retain tight pricing levels of its predecessor even as serial production has already begun at Mahindra’s Nashik production facility.
Although the Mahindra Quanto compact SUV equipped with an automated manual transmission (AMT) was revealed at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, the product will take a while to arrive into India. Therefore, an early 2015 launch is on the cards with the automated manual transmission sourced from UK based engineering major Ricardo. A Quanto equipped with the five speed AMT will retain a rear wheel drive layout, and the 1.5 liter twin-turbo diesel motor. Expect a 40,000 rupee premium for the Quanto AMT, over the regular variant’s price. The AMT unit on the Quanto will add a new dimension to the compact SUV and allow Mahindra to test waters before taking a plunge into diesel powered automatic SUVs.
S101 Micro SUV
While every other automaker worth its steering wheel is trying to gain a foothold in India’s sub-4 meter compact SUV segment, micro SUVs could be the next big story with Mahindra planning to serve up the S101 micro SUV as an alternate to B-Segment hatchbacks. That the S101 Micro SUV will sit beneath the Quanto is indicative of a price tag pegged between the 5-6 lakh rupee marks, or even lower. The S101 Micro SUV is likely to use a new petrol motor from the new petrol engine range that Mahindra and Ssangyong are jointly developing. A turbo diesel engine will be a given, and so will a monocoque body and a front wheel drive layout.
U301 Bolero Replacement
The rugged Bolero range will gain a new offering by the end of next year, in the form of the U301 compact SUV that will sit above the facelifted U215 Quanto, which is expected to arrive a few months later. The U301 Bolero will use a ladder frame chassis, likely to use hydroforming in the interests of weight reduction. The vehicle will be served up as a rugged alternate to the monocoque bodied crossovers such as the Ford EcoSport and the upcoming Maruti Suzuki XA Alpha. The U301 Bolero will sit above the Quanto but below the Scorpio Facelift, which means a sub-7 lakh rupee entry point. Expect diesel power and a rear wheel drive layout to be standard, with a four wheel drive option served up as an option to allure the enthusiast brigade.
The XUV500 crossover will turn four in 2015, and the time then will be apt for Mahindra to slip in a mid life Botox job for its flagship vehicle. The facelifted Mahindra XUV500 is expected to see design changes and the addition of upmarket features. In terms of mechanicals, a new automatic transmission is also in the scheme of things for the facelifted crossover. The 2.2 liter mHawk turbo diesel motor- with higher power and torque outputs – could make it to the XUV500 Facelift’s engine bay, while the front and all wheel drive layouts will be retained.
U215 Quanto Facelift
Mahindra is putting the Quanto into a complete redesign process. The U215 Quanto is expected to wear a new top hat compared with the current model, in order to more appealing to prospective buyers. The U215 Quanto will be the first major change before an all-new Quanto, with engineering inputs from Mahindra’s recently constituted North American Technical Center arrives to take its place. The facelifted Quanto is expected to retain the existing models ladder frame chassis with suitable weight reduction while the engine and automated manual transmission are also likely to be carried over. The sub-4 meter vehicle will be sandwiched between the S101 and the U301 compact SUVs, in a 6-7 lakh rupee price band.
S102 Compact SUV
The likes of the Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster will get a monocoque rival from Mahindra in 2016, in the form of the S102 compact SUV, which is based on the Ssangyong X100 crossover. An upmarket crossover that seeks to combine a rich set of features in a compact form factor, the S102 will have heavy engineering inputs from South Korean SUV specialist Ssangyong and the crossover will feature the new crop of petrol engines that Mahindra is co-developing with Ssangyong. A turbo diesel motor is a given and so are the transverse engine and front wheel drive layouts.
All-New Thar based on U series platform
The current Thar is based on Mahindra’s NCGS platform and the off roader shares various attributes with the Scorpio. The next generation of the Thar will be quite different though, with the off roader hopping onto Mahindra’s U series platform that underpins the likes of the Bolero and the Xylo. The change in the Thar’s platform is due to tightening vehicle safety norms in India, which is expected to specify crumple zones and other safety aids such as ABS and airbags. The Thar, in its current form, if a raw vehicle that is designed to serve as a black canvas for off roading enthusiasts to modify suitably. The next-generation Thar promises to be a big leap ahead of the current model.
Mahindra’s all-new Scorpio is expected to arrive sometime in 2017. Not much is known about the new SUV as even the facelifted version is weeks away from a launch here. Going by Mahindra’s traditional launch timelines, the facelifted Scorpio will be given a run of about 3 years before the all-new model arrives to replace it. Expect completely revised chassis and suspension aggregates on the all-new Scorpio, along with new mechanicals. The Scorpio is expected to remain a rugged, ladder frame SUV designed to offer good rough road performance.