KUV100 adds fresh fuel to SUV design

KING'S SEAT! The car gives two seating options - 5- and 6-seater, with two bench seats in the front and rear

KUV100 adds fresh fuel to SUV design
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) means SUVs in India! The homely, homegrown utility vehicle creator has brought another inflection point in its eventful journey with the launch of its latest UV product, KUV100, focusing mainly on the youth and first-time buyers in the country with an attractive price point.

KUV100, classified in the sub-compact SUV category, makes Mahindra the only automotive company in the world to have a complete range of SUVs, from Scorpio to the XUV, and up to TUV 300.

But the primacy of KUV100 is that it falls in the price bracket starting from Rs 4,20,000, which has a fairly large volume base of 1,00,000 vehicles a month and it is critical for the growth in the SUV space.

The company has made the naming of its vehicles a pattern. The KUV nomenclature stands for Kool Utility Vehicle. Mahindra plans to put its monocoque vehicles that share a platform with the current XUV500 to carry the XUV prefix. The ladder frame platform of the Scorpio will be badged TUV and the compact cars on the new S101 platform will be branded KUV.

Mahindra and Mahindra Executive Director Pawan Goenka said the launch of the KUV100 marks an inflection point in the journey of Mahindra.

“KUV100 is our first foray into ground-up petrol engine, and with it, we are defining a new SUV sub-segment and targeting a new customer group. Yet another ‘Make in India’ product, KUV100 aptly represents our ‘Rise’ philosophy in action,” he said.

Having the features of an entry-level hatchback proportions, the KUV100 is under 4 metres in length, at 3,675 mm. It is tall though at 1,655 mm, inclusive of the roof. The beauty of the KUV100 is that it is a compact SUV, while at the same time, it can compete with a small car, even entry-level hatchback with its wide features.

Mahindra has brought style and youthfulness to the model with its sturdy looks and modern design. The compactness of the vehicle is so attractive that it gives the driver easy manoeuvrability. The KUV100 sports a design language that is unique as it has a sculpted exterior with sharp lines, prominent hood, high beltline and dynamic design. Its aggressive front fascia, chiseled muscular body and large square wheel arches establish its dominating road presence and lends it the SUV stance.

Further, it has unique wrap around sunglass like headlamps, trendy daytime running lamps, chrome accented fog lamps, spider-design alloy wheels, and double barrel tail lamps all take the cool quotient a notch higher.

Besides, the ‘Evoquesque’ headlamp cluster that extends all the way back over the fender and wheel arch is distinct, and also carries the car’s name. The daytime running LEDs are only the preserve of the top-end K8 variant sadly. The K8 variant also gets alloy wheels, and the start-stop function for enhanced efficiency. It also gets chromed accentuated fog light housing and rear door handles.

The KUV100 comes in 4 variants, like K2, K4, K6 and K8, and all the variants will have the basic safety features. Interestingly, the K2 and K4 do not have any of the cladding that accentuate the car’s SUV like stance.

Even though the base K2 variant only comes in the 6-seater configuration, you can opt for the 5 or 6-seat configuration in the other variants. The 6th seat is in the front as it is for the middle occupant and it has its own seatbelt. If not in use, it can be turned into an armrest.

The KUV100 is available in 7 colours — orange, red, grey, aqua blue, and the inevitable silver, white and black. I have to say the orange looks good, but I think the grey will be my second favourite.

When I got into the car during my plant visit at Chakan in Pune, I was surprised to notice that the floor of the vehicle is entirely flat. It gives room for three persons, including the driver, to sit in the front and three persons in the rear, cosily. The vehicle’s overall dash and console design is really modern, as it has features like steering-mounted controls, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. We can rightly say that it is for the youth and upwardly mobile consumers.

Since the steering is mounted on the dashboard, it is easy for driving, especially for first-time drivers. It has safety features such as ABS and dual airbags, optional from the base variant. It also gives ISOFIX mounts for a child seat on the rear seat.

What makes the KUV100 unique? Mahindra’s answer is that it pushes the company’s serious entry into the petrol segment.

Even though M&M offered petrol options in the past on models like the Scorpio, this is the first indigenous petrol engine it has designed and built at its Chakan plant.

Mahindra developed the mFalcon engine as its development programme which began five years ago. But for KUV100, the company delivered a new leaner modular diesel and petrol engines. It is also used by SsangYong, the company acquired by Mahindra from South Korea.

While the 1.2-litre iteration of the petrol engine badged G80 has gone into the KUV100, the company has given the SsangYong Tivoli a 1.6-litre avatar. The petrol engine, mFalcon G80, Mahindra’s first ground-up engine, is a 1.2-litre unit that churns out 82bhp and develops 114Nm of peak torque.

Mahindra and Mahindra President and Chief Executive Officer (Automotive) Pravin Shah said the launch of KUV100 will further strengthen its commanding position in the SUV segment.

“With the launch of KUV100, Mahindra hopes to help today’s youth stand out in the crowd that reflects their personality and enhances their lifestyle. I do believe that with its aggressive styling, trendy interiors and attractive price points, KUV100 can compete with Swift and Hyundai i10,” said Shah.

Besides giving a mileage of 25.32 kmpl and 18.15 kmpl for diesel and petrol, respectively, the KUV100 equipped with the company’s hybrid technology with engine start/stop feature and two driving modes — Power and Eco.

I drove only the petrol engine, which gave me the warmth and cosiness of driving pleasure with its sound and torque. With its quicker acceleration, the petrol engine gives us good torque and it can even compete with EcoSport.

But if car lovers want to get the car in automatic transmission, they are disappointed. Right now, it is not available in the AMT format.

Those who invest in the KUV100, are rest assured that it will have the resolve of an SUV and the drivability of hatchback. What more could you gift yourself for an affordable price?

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