Mahindra &Mahindra is busy testing its second ever monocoque design SUV in the form of the S101 compact SUV. The S101 is expected to make a debut in late 2014, as a rugged alternative to the B+ segment hatchbacks sold in India. Even as end 2014 is a good year and half away, the folks at AutoCarIndia are carrying new details about the S101 SUV. The S101 SUV could feature a unique seating layout, in a 3+3 form. A dashboard mounted gear shift lever will facilitate a 3+3 seat design, seen in the likes of the Premier Padminis and the Hindustan Ambassadors of yore, when the steering column mounted gear shifter was in vogue.
Through this one design tweak, the S101 SUV is expected to carry no less than 6 adults in a 3+3 seating format. The front wheel driven SUV could initially borrow its engine from the Quanto. The 1.5 Liter twin turbo diesel motor is expected to eventually be replaced by a new 1.5 Liter turbo diesel motor that Mahindra is developing with its South Korean acquisition Ssangyong. The S101 SUV is also said to feature a petrol engine. A 1.2 Liter turbo petrol unit is touted to form the basis of the S101 SUV for the Indian car market. This engine too is said to be developed under the Mahindra-Ssangyong engine development pact.
Expect the starting price of the S101 SUV to be pegged at under 5 lakh rupees considering its sub 4 meter length and the resultant excise duty concession. The SUV is expected to be much more lighter, peppier and more fuel efficient than the body-on-ladder framed Quanto SUV. The monocoque design, transverse engine mounting and the front wheel drive layout are the three factors that could give the S101 compact SUV much better overall performance. Design wise, the XUV500 inspired styling could get hatchback buyers to seriously consider the latest Mahindra compact SUV in town.