Mahindra is here with its most affordable and smallest SUV in the form KUV100. The compact SUV will be powered by all-new mFalcon petrol and diesel engines.

Mahindra KUV100 Side Profile
Mahindra KUV100 is the smallest SUV from the Indian manufacturer

Previously codenamed as S101, the Mahindra KUV100 has been in the news for quite some time now with spy shots continuously pouring in. However, the compact SUV is destined to stand against mass market hatchbacks such as the Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 with its competitive pricing. Mahindra’s youngest SUV is expected to give a hard time to these established hatchbacks, and that is why we are here with a spec comparison to see if the KUV100 can find a place of its own.

Design – This is somewhere the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 cannot be compared directly to the KUV100 due to the different body styles. The Swift and the Grand i10 are hatchbacks while the KUV100 is a compact SUV with hatch-like dimensions. With the SUVs being popular currently, the design does favour with the KUV100 which wears a bulky skin appealing to the Indian buyers. The KUV100 with the large front fascia looks inspired from the elder sibling XUV500 and uses a monocoque chassis similar to the bigger model. Other than this, the DRLs, character lines on the bonnet, rear door handles on the C-pillar and roof spoiler give the KUV100 a clear win over the rest.

That said, both the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 are well-designed products that proved themselves over the test of time. The Swift despite being the oldest here does not feel outdated while the Grand i10 looks smart and urban, and isn’t exactly old either adopting the fluidic design sculpture. Nevertheless, the KUV100 wins brownie points for the novelty it brings to the small car space with its urban yet brutish looks.

Engines – All three vehicles get similar capacity engines and power output. The Mahindra KUV100 will be powered by the all new mFalcon petrol and diesel engines. The KUV100 will be powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 82 BHP at 5500 RPM and a peak torque of 115 Nm available between 3500-3600 RPM. In comparison, the 1.2-litre K-Series engine is a four-cylinder unit which produces 83 BHP at 6000 RPM and 114 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM. Hyundai’s 1.2-litre Kappa petrol motor is also a four-pot unit and produces 81 BHP at 6000 RPM and a peak torque of 114 Nm at 4000 RPM.

The diesel engine in the KUV100 is also a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder unit that produces 77 BHP at 3750 RPM and a peak torque of 190 Nm between 1750-2250 RPM. The figures are higher than that of the Swift which uses a larger 1.3-litre four-cylinder oil burner making 74 BHP and 190 Nm of torque. The KUV100’s motor is also more powerful than the Grand i10’s 1.1-litre 3-cylinder CRDi unit which produces 70 BHP and 160 Nm of torque. While power output surely feels better than competition, the drivability is another matter altogether.

Prices – Mahindra has kept the prices extremely aggressive for the KUV100 with the base price undercutting the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 by a marginal difference. The Swift is offered at a starting price of Rs. 4.64 lakhs for the LXi petrol trim and goes up to Rs. 7.40 lakhs for the top end diesel variant. The Hyundai Grand i10 is available at a price starting from Rs. 4.76 lakhs and goes up to Rs. 6.87 lakhs. The Mahindra KUV100 is priced from Rs. 4.42 lakhs going up to Rs. 6.76 lakhs (all prices, ex-showroom, Pune).

With several segment first features and equipment levels on par with rivals, the KUV100 does get an edge by offering more for your money’s worth. That said, the prices are introductory and will receive a marginal escalation a couple of months down the line. Nonetheless, the VFM quotient is high on the young Mahindra while the highly fuel-efficient diesel option returning 25.32 km/l makes it a lucrative option as well.

Verdict – The hatchback segment we are talking about has always been dominated by Maruti and Hyundai. We don’t expect Mahindra to turn the tables with the KUV100, but the product does have the potential to be a game-changer for the company’s ambitions. Another unique detail about the new compact SUV is the 3+3 seat layout which is seldom found in current times for a bunch of reasons including safety. For those who are bored of run-of-the-mill hatchbacks, the Mahindra KUV100 comes as the newest breath of fresh air for buyers who are fascinated by SUVs but can’t afford a full sized one.

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