Mahindra's upcoming MPV (Toyota Innova rival) caught testing

Ever since it set shop in India, Toyota has been owning the Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment, first with the Qualis, then with the Innova and of late with the Innova Crysta. Competitors have tried their very best but never managed to usurp Toyota one bit so far. All that could change once the vehicle featured in this post hits the market. 

Caught testing in the busy Chennai-Trichy National Highway, this camouflaged test mule is Mahindra's all-new MPV that's expected to take the Innova Crysta head on. Reportedly code-named 'U321' internally, Mahindra is betting big on this upcoming MPV without a doubt. Look closely and you will know why this could potentially turn out to be Innova's toughest rival till date. 

Despite wearing camouflage that reveals next to nothing, we quite like what we see here. 

The proportions, for instance, are much better than any MPV Mahindra has rolled out thus far. Unlike the crude-and-boxy Bolero or the bulky-and-awkward-from-certain-angles Xylo, this new MPV creates a positive impression from the word go. Though not to be seen in these spy shots, Mahindra's trademark grille with vertical slats is now smaller and sleeker like the one in the KUV1OO. The heavily-raked hood almost matches the slope of the front windshield, giving the MPV a clean silhouette. The tipped-forward stance and the rising windowline go with the theme as well. At the rear, the LED-equipped taillights look similar to the Renault Lodgy's but that's possibly due to the camouflage masking the shape of the lenses well. 

Another impressive aspect is the absence of unnecessary cuts and creases in the sheet metal. There is a strong character line that runs the length of the vehicle on either sides cutting through the door handles but that's pretty much it. There are none of those over-ambitious creases like those in the KUV1OO. Let's just hope it stays this way and Mahindra's design team don't go overboard and slap in attention-grabbing elements ahead of launch. The TUV3OO and the XUV5OO facelift have been mature attempts from the Indian brand and we trust this new MPV would be another step in that direction. 

The vehicle appears to be just the right size too. The two side-by-side shots taken alongside an Innova and an Innova Crysta show that the upcoming Mahindra MPV compares favourably with its arch-rival in terms of size. That should translate into a spacious cabin with decent space and comfort in the third row. 

Recent launches from Mahindra have had well put-together interiors and we expect the new MPV to go down that path as well with a cabin that's well-designed, well-equipped and well screwed-together. It better be as the Innova Crysta has taken the interior quality levels and feature list up several notches. 

Though Mahindra is still tight-lipped on the specifications, the 2.0-liter 'mHawk' diesel engine that does duty in the Scorpio and the XUV5OO could be the power of choice in this upcoming new MPV. The powerful and torquey turbocharged mill should have no problems lugging the people-mover. A Ssangyong-derived petrol engine is also reportedly under development. The new MPV is said to be based on an all-new monocoque platform and is therefore likely to be more accomplished in terms of its road-handling capabilities.

Putting all the bits and pieces together, this new MPV is turning out to be a formidable alternative to the Innova. With good looks, spacious interiors, a powerful and torquey diesel engine, an exhaustive feature list and much-improved ride and handling, Mahindra could actually end up tasting blood here. 

The only problem is MPVs are no longer in favour amongst the car-buying public. Will Mahindra buck the trend, attract the SUV-crazy population and make a hit out of this seemingly-formidable MPV? We have our fingers crossed.

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