Mahindra KUV1OO facelift spotted testing

Mahindra launched the KUV1OO early last year in an attempt to woo small car customers with SUV-like styling elements. Though it started off pretty well, the KUV1OO didn't exactly set the sales charts on fire as Mahindra hoped it would. In fact, the year-over-year sales figures have been on a steady decline for quite some time now. One obvious reason was the KUV1OO's odd-ball styling that didn't find favour with the conventional car-buying public in India.

It seems Mahindra has realized its folly and is trying to amend things. Spotted testing near Mahindra's Research Valley on the outskirts of Chennai yesterday, this heavily-camouflaged KUV1OO test mule indicates a facelift is on the cards for Mahindra's most-affordable vehicle. 

From the sole picture we captured, it appears the KUV1OO facelift would debut new alloy wheels with an ever-so-subtle change in design. Though this top-end variant is seen wearing 15-inch wheels, other variants could continue with undersized 14-inchers like they currently do. Also visible are subtle changes to the taillight lenses though the overall shape remains the same. As is the norm with facelifts like these, expect the bumpers, air dams and headlights to get a nip here and a tuck there. While they are at it, we hope the folks at Mahindra use this chance to tone down the KUV1OO's ungainly bits. 

Those extended eyelashes in the front fenders and the prominent creases that cut across the profile should go. Look closely beneath the camouflage and these elements are pretty much there, so they aren't going anywhere at the moment.

Interiors are likely to be spruced up a bit though we don't foresee significant changes to the overall design and equipment.  

The 1.2-liter petrol and diesel engines from the 'mFalcon' family are likely to continue in the facelift. While the petrol generates 82 horsepower and 115 Nm of torque, the diesel churns out 77 horsepower 190 Nm of torque. Both the engines transmit power to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual gearbox. With the growing acceptance of Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT), this facelift would be a good opportunity for Mahindra to plonk one in the KUV1OO. That should be fairly easy, given Mahindra has one in the TUV3OO already.

Though the launch date isn't confirmed yet, expect Mahindra to act swiftly and launch the KUV1OO facelift pretty early. Will the facelift improve the vehicle's prospects? Or, will the KUV1OO continue to remain a missed opportunity for Mahindra? Let's wait and watch.

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