Mahindra had initially planned to launch the second-generation XUV500 sometime later this year
Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra launched the first-generation XUV500 SUV back in 2011. In other words, the Mahindra XUV500 has been on the market for almost a decade now. Although Mahindra has updated the vehicle regularly with mid-life facelifts and engine upgrades, its core structure remains more or less the same. The SUV has gradually started showing its age. This has been clearly reflecting on monthly sales figures, even before COVID-19 hit the country.
Earlier, Mahindra had planned to launch the second-generation XUV500 sometime this year. Due to multiple reasons, the launch timeline was shifted to 2021. Meanwhile, the company has been busy testing out the product for quite some time.
Automotive enthusiast Dr Bhumika Nagraj spotted a test mule of the second-generation 2021MY XUV500 in Attibele, near Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. Being an early prototype, the vehicles wore heavy camouflage but one is able to get a rough idea of its overall dimensions and silhouette. The SUV rode on steel rims, suggesting that it could be a lower variant (or just a make-do choice of wheels).
Mahindra has already confirmed that the upcoming XUV500 avatar will be based on an all-new monocoque platform. It will be the first major mechanical change the SUV would get since its decade-old debut. Additionally, there will be an all-new 2.0-litre diesel engine on offer. The same power plant might be introduced further ahead in the much-awaited 2020MY Mahindra Thar. The off-roader is inching closer to hitting production. Unsurprisingly, the 2021MY Mahindra XUV500 will see a different state of engine tuning.
It is safe to presume that the power output would be beyond the 170ps mark. For reference, the current 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine churns out 155ps and 360Nm of torque. Transmission options would include a 6-speed manual as standard alongside an optional automatic. AWD option would be available on select trims. Expect the next-gen Mahindra XUV500 to be feature-packed to be a tough alternative to the popular SUVs or crossovers on the Indian market.
By the time the 2021MY Mahindra XUV500 is launched, India would most likely receive the Tata Gravitas (three-row Harrier), MG Hector Plus (launching soon) and the 7-seater variant of the Hyundai Creta (supposedly called ‘Alcazar’). Prices will certainly be higher than the current version but it remains to be seen how aggressively Mahindra would target the SUV to regain its lost market share.