Sports utility vehicle market leader Mahindra & Mahindra has cleared the decks for the launch of KUV1OO, a compact five seater SUV which would be unveiled later today.
The vehicle, which will be the third product under four meters in length (Quanto and TUV3OO being the other two) has kept the youth as its target customer.
The KUV1OO will compete against compact hatchbacks and attract customers who never had the option to buy an SUV for the price of a hatchback because of lack of availability. For this M&M developed engines having dimensions similar to those seen on hatchbacks which are rated high for their power as well as their fuel efficiency.
The KUV1OO where KUV stands for Kool Utility Vehicle and 100 denoting the series, will be the second all-new product launch by the Mumbai-based company this financial year (TUV3OO being the other). The company already has launched eight products (including facelifts and commercial vehicles) so far this financial year.
The vehicle will come with four variants – K2, K4, K6 and K8 – and will be powered by a small diesel and petrol engines. The mFalcon G80 is the first ground up petrol engine developed by the company at its Chennai-based engineering centre. This 1.2 litre engine develops peak power of 82 bhp and peak torque of 114nm.
The new diesel engine which is also 1.2 litre in size is a turbocharged common rail mFalcon D75. It generates maximum power of 77bhp with maximum torque of 190nm. Both engines get a 5 speed manual gearbox.
Both engines, which cost Rs 500 crore to M&M, meet BS-IV norms and are capable of meeting BS-V and BS-VI emission norms. With the new engines on the KUV1OO, M&M will have launched three of the six new engines it was working on.
Built on a monocoque chassis as the XUV5OO this new SUV gets follow-me-home headlamps, LED fogs lamps on the exterior and piano black center console, driver seat height adjuster, multi-function steering wheel, infotainment system, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution system, driver and passenger airbags and engine immobilizer.
While the TUV3OO priced at Rs 6.9 lakh was targeted at Ecosport, Renanult Duster, Hyundai Creta segment the KUV1OO will be positioned below it and would be looking at targeting the Hyundai Grand i10, Volkswagn Polo, Maruti Suzuki Swift all of which are priced between Rs 4.5-6.5 lakh.
A 1.5-litre petrol and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel are in the works and will be seen in near future, the company stated. The TUV3OO saw M&M enter the compact diesel category with a 1.5-litre engine even as car makers such as Maruti, Hyundai and Tata Motors been using small diesel engines for many years.
“The way forward would be compact engines. We had the TUV3OO to begin with and now we have the KUV1OO. In future, we will have many more variants,” added Pawan Goenka, executive director (M&M) has said in a December interaction.
But M&M won’t be able to keep customers attracted for very long. Rivals like Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Tata Motors, General Motors, Fiat are working on compact SUVs, the launch of which will start as early as next month.
Car market leader Maruti Suzuki will fight back with the launch of Vitara Brezza while Honda will launch the BRV at next month’s Auto Expo to be held in Greater Noida.