For over a decade, Japanese brand Toyota has been ruling the Indian SUV/MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) segment with its Innova. Launched in 2005, this MPV has got numerous facelifts over the years, and still sells volumes. For those not in the know, it is referred to as ‘Kijang’ in some markets.
Looking at Innova’s success, Mahindra has been trying its luck to gain a fair bit of market share in MPV category. First up, they introduced Xylo in 2009. It looked promising, had better space utilisation, and comfort than the Innova. However, mediocre handling characteristics, body roll, and the lack of engine refinement led to its downfall. The modified ladder frame chassis from the Scorpio did not help either. In effect, Innova’s dominance in the private car business and fleet operators remained intact.
In 2011, Mahindra tried its hands again with a more premium product the XUV. The imposing grille and front-end coupled with the monocoque chassis won praise from the experts. Apart from that this cheetah (as Mahindra likes to call it) with a 2.2 litre mhawk engine developing 140bhp could sprint 0-100 km/hr speeds in just under 13 secs. This car got instant recognition and won awards. unfortunately though for the company, it still couldn’t dethrone the segment leader Toyota Innova.
Come 2016, Toyota has unveiled its Innova Crysta with revamped styling and ergonomics. Toyota upped its game this time around giving it a total makeover, top notch quality interiors, and leather seats on the top variant. A bigger and more powerful motor that accelerates faster than Mahindra’s XUV. Topping the sales chart right from its launch. Innova Crysta managed to fetch over 10,000 bookings within a week. A solid start to the proceedings I would say.
This, however, hasn’t made any impact on Mahindra’s optimism. The company is still confident to spoil the party in its third attempt at MPV. The test mules of an MPV sporting a Mahindra logo has been spotted recently. This suggests that Mahindra is all set to launch Toyota Innova Crysta competitor. Going by the computer render, the upcoming car looks neat. It has a curvy design with a little flared wheel arches. The side profile is quite similar to the Innova. Considering that Mahindra has used a modified Xuv monoque chassis, the vehicle is likely to be front wheel drive. Under the hood, it will probably feature a 2.2 mhawk diesel unit. Since NGT (National Green Tribunal) has imposed a ban on diesel engines over 2 litres in the Delhi region, we can expect to see a tuned down 1.99 litre version in the capitol. Mahindra could also come up with a petrol unit in this newly developed MPV. Pricing for this mpv should undercut the Innova for sure if Mahindra has to capture the segment.
Mahindra has been doing well in markets such as South Africa. It would be interesting to see if they can outdo Toyota in India. Can third time be its lucky charm? Lets wait and watch.