To an auto enthusiast spotting a camouflaged SUV is like a wildlife photographer spotting a tiger in the wild. And so it was on my way to work this morning, when in the opposite lane in South Delhi, I saw this hulking camouflaged SUV. Mahindra’s W201 was in Delhi.
The vehicle was sporting temporary number plates and full camouflage. It stopped for a moment in the opposite lane for a quick driver swap, but I managed only a single shot of it in the time it took me to fish out the phone camera. By the time, I managed a U-turn to tail it, it had disappeared. But I did manage to get a good look at the vehicle and I can safely say, Mahindra is on to a good thing.
The proportions of the W201 appear just right. It is not as tall as the Mahindra Scorpio and just about as high as a Toyota Innova. It appears to have excellent ground clearance with large 16-inch wheels. It, however, appears much longer and wider than the Innova. This gives the vehicle a low centre-of-gravity, and it should definitely handle much better than the Scorpio. It also appears to have disc brakes all around.
The front has the trademark M&M seven-slat grille, flanked by dual barrel headlamps and LED daytime running lights (though these were not operational). There is no footboard on the vehicle, which also goes to show that getting in and out of the car will be as easy as in the Innova. The tail-lamps of the vehicle looked similar in design to those on the Maruti Grand Vitara.
We can only speculate that the launch of the W201 is nearing. We think the vehicle was probably in Delhi for RTO approval and also to show to dealers, putting it just a couple of months away from launch.
Mahindra is trying many firsts with the W201. For the first time, Mahindra is experimenting with a full monocoque chassis design. It will also have a transverse engine layout – a first for Mahindra. Power will come from the tried and tested 2.2 litre mHawk engine, with output bumped up to 138 bhp mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Initially, the vehicle is likely to be launched in front-wheel drive version only to generate volumes and keep costs low.
The all-wheel drive version of the W201 will sport an on-demand Borg-Warner 4×4 system that will take care of moderate off-road conditions such as snow, sand and slushy terrain. Expect the W201 to be launched just before Diwali this year. Mahindra W201 will take on the likes of Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Captiva, Skoda Yeti, Tata Aria and might even attract a few luxury sedan buyers.
Stay tuned for more updates from us!