Mahindra's upcoming compact SUV (S101) spotted testing again

It’s not news anymore that Mahindra has lined up a spate of launches lined up for the Indian market. Being the country’s 'numero uno' Utility Vehicle manufacturer, Mahindra is now forced to fight to retain its turf with more and more brands entering the fray. Fresh from the launch of the XUV500 facelift, the Nashik-based brand’s upcoming launches include a compact SUV code-named S101 and the frequently-spied potential Bolero replacement code-named U301. You probably would have seen our posts featuring these vehicles testing in and around Chennai here, here and here. But the testing spree hasn’t ended yet.

This S101 test vehicle was caught in the busy GST Road in Chennai late last night. Though it still had substantial camouflage hiding crucial details, we could gather a few tidbits on this upcoming Mahindra.

First up, the infotainment controls on this test vehicle appeared to have blue back-lighting, not much different from the XUVs500 facelift’s colour. But the camouflage made it tough to ascertain if the system was integrated into the console or an aftermarket add-on for keeping the test driver entertained. The next revelation was its overall footprint. Though we knew that the S101 would be a compact vehicle measuring less than 4 meters in length, the blurred picture below confirms its size relative to the Bolero. The Bolero completely dwarfs the S101, making us believe that this could actually be a rugged hatchback that’s taller and rides higher than the rest. 

All-new petrol and diesel engines under 1.2 and 1.5 liters of displacement respectively are said to be under development to power the S101. If the other Mahindra traits are carried over, expect this upcoming compact utility to have robust underpinnings and solid mechanicals that would stand the test of time in our road conditions. Depending on its price and positioning, we expect the S101 to challenge the Renault Kwid at the lower end and the Ford Ecosport at the higher end. Currently, Mahindra is trading places with Honda for the third spot in sales behind Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai. This could be the model that catapults Mahindra well ahead of Honda for that ubiquitous last step on the podium.

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