Mahindra's all-new Compact SUV (S101) caught testing near Chennai

With space, practicality and added ground clearance as their trump cards, Utility Vehicles are increasingly getting popular in India. Mirroring this trend, compact crossovers and sports utility vehicles are widely believed to be the next big thing in the Indian automotive industry. It's not surprising then that every manufacturer wants to grab a share of this pie before it gets too crowded.

This camouflaged vehicle, caught testing in the outskirts of Chennai, is Mahindra's first proper attempt at cracking the compact SUV space. Of course, we have discounted the Quanto when we made that statement as it was nothing but a chopped-off Xylo. Codenamed S101, this compact SUV from Mahindra will be positioned below Scorpio in the company's line-up and compete heads-on with the Ford Ecosport that's a hot property in the market.

As evident from the pictures, this is an early prototype with a lot of unfinished parts and panels which makes it tough for us to debate on its looks and styling. The unique mesh pattern in the radiator grille seems to be a fresh take on the historic seven-slat grille that adorns all Mahindras. The headlights and taillights, with three individual circular elements each, will most probably not make it to the production model. The vehicle looks reasonably wide and it's overall stance isn't disproportionate like the Quanto. The arched roof, visible in one of the pictures, looks weird though. We will reserve our final judgement until we see the production model.

Like the Ecosport, this compact SUV from Mahindra will measure less than 4 meters in length. The company is said to be working on equipping this SUV with petrol and diesel engines of displacements less than 1.2 and 1.5 liters respectively to ensure that it qualifies for the excise duty concession offered by the government. With the Bolero, Scorpio, XUV 500 and Thar doing extremely well in the market, Mahindra is already well-established in the utility vehicle segment. Once launched, this new model is only going to raise their stakes further.

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