Three years after successfully launching its flagship SUV, the XUV500 in the country, Mahindra has once again commenced testing the XUV500 albeit with a new codename that could possibly sport a different powertrain under the hood; however, not for the Indian market. While the XUV500 originally received the codename W201, the model spotted testing carried a new codename ‘W216’. Our reader Jegan Karthik captured some images of the SUV on test that carried heavy camouflage, test number plates and could be for the Japanese market as was stated on the rear windshield of the test mule.
Currently Mahindra does not sell any of its products in the Japanese market, however; its South Korean subsidiary SsangYong has its presence in Japan since a long time. Mahindra could possibly be testing the XUV500 export model slated for the Japanese market carrying a new petrol engine that is in the works. Mahindra and SsangYong have been working to develop all-new petrol engines ranging from 1.2-litre to 1.6-litre that will be powering the next generation of models from both the companies. While the 1.2-litre mill has been confirmed for the S101 and S102 compact SUVs, the 1.6-litre petrol engine could likely be used on the XUV500.
The rear windshield also stated that the test mule’s speed had to be limited to 50 km/hr which also increases the possibility of the petrol engine being tested on the Mahindra XUV500. Overall, the XUV500 test mule was same as the Indian spec model, with no changes to the interiors of the SUV, while the exteriors were camouflaged. The details are scarce about the powertrain under the hood, but the 1.6-litre engine has been confirmed to be a 4-cylinder motor, while the 1.2-litre engines will be 3-cylinder mills. In all likelihood, if Mahindra does launch the XUV500 in Japan with little help from SsangYong, it would be the one of the first Indian major automotive firms to do so.