Mahindra is readying up two new vehicles for launch in India. One will be a premium MPV, built to take on the mighty Toyota Innova Crysta, and the other will be a longer version of the TUV300. Currently, both vehicles are under extensive tests. Both vehicles are expected to be launched early next year, with a showcasing to happen at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo.
U321 code-named MPV
The U321 MPV is one of Mahindra’s most ambitious projects as it seeks to square off against the super-successful Toyota Innova Crysta. Considering the competition it is taking on, the Mahindra U321 will have to be highly refined, robust and comfortable. The 7 seat MPV will offer luxury.
Notably, it’s the first Mahindra passenger vehicle to be developed at the automaker’s North American development center in Troy, Michigan. It’ll be a global product, with both petrol and diesel engine options likely. Exact details of the engine and platform (monocoque or body-on-ladder) are not known at this point in time.
What we do know is that the engines for the new MPV will be built at Mahindra’s Igatpuri factory, while the vehicle itself will roll out from the Nashik facility. We expect the U321 to be feature-loaded, and priced below the Innova Crysta.
The advantage of a body-on-ladder frame is that it can be quickly and frugally engineered to grow longer or shorter. When Mahindra brought out the heavily shortened, sub-4 meter TUV300 a few years ago, speculation of a longer version started doing rounds almost immediately. We’re nearly there now, and it could be called the TUV500.
Mahindra has been testing a longer version of the TUV300, called the Plus/TUV500 model. This very model is expected to launch sometime in 2018. It’s likely to use the 1.5 liter twin-scroll turbocharger equipped 3 cylinder diesel engine (100 Bhp-240 Nm) that’s already on offer with the TUV300. Transmission options could also be carried over.
The TUV300 Plus/TUV500 is expected to be positioned as a rugged alternative to the likes of the Renault Duster and the Hyundai Creta, but at a cheaper price tag. With the ‘Plus’ model, Mahindra finally seems to be doing justice to the TUV300 width and height, for the sub-4 meter version looks abruptly truncated.