Mahindra launches KUV 1OO, its smallest UV yet, in India

You have to hand it to Mahindra for managing so many new launches one after the other. In the last twelve months, the Indian Utility Vehicle manufacturer has launched facelifts of the XUV 5OO, Scorpio and Thar apart from the all-new TUV 3OO launched late last year. Today, Mahindra has added yet another all-new model to its growing lineup, the KUV 1OO. Positioned as a compact Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), the KUV 1OO is the smallest and the most affordable vehicle in Mahindra’s portfolio yet, making it a crucial launch for the Nashik-based manufacturer.

Codenamed S101, the KUV 1OO was designed and developed by engineers at Mahindra's Research Valley near Chennai and has been spotted testing multiple times by Anything On Wheels.

True to its legacy, Mahindra has designed the KUV 1OO with styling elements picked up from SUVs and crossovers. Up front, the KUV 1OO sports a bold fascia characterized by the tall hood and the large bumper. A modern take on Mahindra’s toothy grille with chrome inserts sit proudly on top of the bumper while the wraparound headlights with extensions that run well into the fenders and almost touch the windshield bring some quirkiness to the package. What’s a new Mahindra without quirky touches? Overdone but distinct character lines, C-pillar-mounted rear door handles and a sloping roof are the other controversial design bits that are sure to invite contrasting opinions from onlookers. Helping the KUV 1OO’s cause is the black cladding all around and the large squarish wheel arches. On the contrary, they make the tires and wheels look puny.

With every new model launch, Mahindra seems to be moving a notch higher in interior design and quality. From the pictures released, it appears the KUV 1OO continues that trend. The dashboard is well-designed and features an unconventional layout to accommodate elements that would otherwise be placed in the floor console. Guess why? The KUV 1OO is an official 6-seater with 3 + 3 layout which meant the floor console had to be taken out to accommodate the third passenger up front. When not in use, the middle seat at the front can be folded down to work as an arm rest! To break the monotony, piano black inserts and chrome accents have been used to good measure and they look rather pleasing to the eyes.

The KUV 1OO has a long list of features with Antilock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) as standard and dual airbags offered as an option in all variants. The top-end K8 trim level is quite loaded with alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, mood-lighting in inner door handles, infotainment system with a 3.5-inch display screen, BlueTooth, USB, Aux and Mahindra BLUE SENSE mobile app compatibility, Driver Information System, steering mounted audio and phone controls, Daytime Running Lamps, Micro Hybrid technology, armrest and adjustable headrests at the rear, keyless entry, power-adjustable mirrors, cooled glovebox, Follow-me-home and Lead-me-to-vehicle headlamps, rear wiper, washer and defogger, puddle lamps on all doors and ISOFIX child seat mounts. That’s one heck of a list for a compact vehicle!

Powering the KUV 1OO are a pair of new engines christened ‘mFalcon’. The petrol variants get the mFalcon G80 MPFI mill with dual variable cam timing that generates 82 horsepower and 115 Nm of torque while the diesel units is the mFalcon D75 with 77 horsepower and 190 Nm of torque. Both the engines are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) likely to be available some time later. On the fuel-efficiency count, the KUV 1OO returns an ARAI-tested 18.15 km/l for a liter of petrol and 25.32 km/l for a liter of diesel.

The petrol variants are priced between INR 4.42 and 5.51 Lakhs while the diesel variants retail between INR 5.22 and 6.76 Lakhs. All prices are introductory and ex-showroom Pune. That puts the KUV 1OO bang in the middle of all the action in the hatchback segment.

Competing against similarly-priced hatchbacks like Maruti-Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10 and potentially the upcoming Tata Zica, Mahindra is entering new territory with the KUV 1OO compact SUV. Will the SUV-loving Indian public shower their love for the KUV 1OO? We think they’ll.

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