New Delhi, December 19, 2018: While Mahindra was expected to bring out its new compact SUV in 2018, the sub-four-metre model’s launch was delayed and will now be the brand’s first new model of 2019. Mahindra’s rival to the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon and Ford EcoSport – which has been known by its internal codename S201 for a long time – is expected to hit showrooms in January 2019. Here’s what we know so far about the new SUV:

It is Mahindra’s fourth compact SUV

Mahindra has brought out sub-four-metre SUVs in the past in the form of the Quanto, NuvoSport and the TUV300. While the aforementioned models are built on ladder frame chassis, the S201 will be Mahindra’s first monocoque-bodied sub 4m SUV. For reference, the S201’s closest rivals – the Vitara Brezza, Nexon and EcoSport – are also monocoque-bodied models.

Shares its platform with the SsangYong Tivoli

According to reports published in autocarindia.com Mahindra is leveraging its Korean brand’s SsangYong’s expertise in the new compact SUV. However, while it may seem like the Mahindra S201 is a rebadged (and shortened) SsangYong Tivoli, Mahindra has changed a number of aspects to better appeal to the Indian market. The S201 borrows styling cues from the XUV500 and as a result, looks more rugged than its Korean counterpart. Mahindra has also revised the suspension set-up to suit Indian roads, which has resulted in more ground clearance.

It will be the most powerful in its class

The S201 is expected to launch with the same 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox that made their debut on the Mahindra Marazzo. In the MPV, the motor makes 123hp and 300Nm of peak torque. If it comes in the same state of tune, Mahindra’s compact SUV will outpower diesel version of the Tata Nexon (110hp/260Nm), Maruti Suzuki’s Vitara Brezza (90hp/200Nm) and the Ford EcoSport (100hp/205Nm).

Mahindra will also debut a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine on the S201 at a later undisclosed date. In its naturally aspirated form, the 1.2-litre petrol motor is found under the hood of the KUV100 NXT and makes 83hp and 115Nm of torque. While the Maruti is only offered with a diesel motor, the Tata gets a 110hp/170Nm, 1.2-litre turbo-petrol mill while the Ford has two petrol options – a 123hp/150Nm, 1.5-litre motor and a 125hp/170Nm, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine.

The brand has also revealed that an all-electric version of the S201 will arrive in the first half of 2020.

It will get segment-first features

Unlike its previous compact SUVs that have a more utilitarian image, Mahindra’s new model will be more premium. This is underlined by the fact that it will come with a few segment-first features and creature comforts. In terms of safety kit, it’ll be the first in its segment to come with four disc brakes and seven airbags. Other safety equipment is likely to include ABS, ESP and rear parking sensors. Premium quality bits in the cabin are expected to be carried over from the Tivoli and the features list is expected to include a large touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control and dual-zone climate control. A sunroof is also expected to be offered on top-spec trims.

The outside of the S201 will also be decidedly upmarket, with features such as full-LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lamps and large, 17-inch alloy wheels will be available on higher-spec models.

It will rival more than just compact SUVs

Seeing as Mahindra is positioning the S201 as a premium offering, it position in the market will be similar to that of Ford’s EcoSport – a compact SUV that is at par (in terms of features and price) with bigger rivals. This means that rivals to the S201 will include the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza (Rs 7.58-10.55 lakh), the Tata Nexon (Rs 6.23-10.67 lakh), the Ford EcoSport (Rs 7.82-11.89 lakh), the Maruti Suzuki S-cross (Rs 8.85-11.45 lakh) and the Hyundai Creta (Rs 9.50-15.10 lakh).

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