The first image of Mahindra‚Äôs compact SUV codenamed S101 has appeared on Autocarindia.com.
This heavily disguised SUV prototype is said to being jointly developed with Ssangyong, the South Korean SUV manufacturer that Mahindra acquired in 2010. The design's sharply angled rear windscreen is most obvious from the picture. It's overall length will be under 4 meters, so that the lower 12% excise duty slab is applicable (the same for larger SUVs was recently hiked to 30%).
Mahindra might also use the Quanto's competent 3-cylinder diesel motor which offers excellent driveability & fuel economy.¬†Sources suggest that the baby SUV will feature a monocoque construction, instead of the traditional ladder-on-frame chassis, and a FWD layout. A monocoque can make the S101 lighter and more car-like to drive. Due to packaging constraints, Mahindra could mount the spare wheel on the tail gate. Good thing, as it will undoubtedly enhance the looks. As authorities calculate vehicle length without the spare wheel on the tail-gate, it wouldn't make a difference to the S101's sub-4 meter classification either.¬†
Unlike the Quanto however, it will be difficult for the S101 to have a 3rd row of seats. The short length & rear windscreen design might not make it feasible.¬†
When it comes to UVs, Mahindra isn't letting off the accelerator pedal just yet. The Quanto, Bolero, Scorpio & XUV500 are sales successes. Reports hint at the low cost S101's pricing being under Rs. 5 lakhs for the base variant. The S101 will be manufactured at Mahindra's Chakan factory.