Mahindra has lifted the lid on its new XUV500, the company's first globally-focused model and its first entry in the "premium SUV" market (depending on your defintion of "premium".)
Revealed in South Africa this week, the new SUV will launch in Australia in the next six to nine months, joining the Pik-Up utility here.
The Indian carmaker expects the XUV500 to draw more buyers than its unpopular ute, thanks to a greater focus on safety and creature comforts.
Local buyers could find the XUV500 to be a better drive than some of the recent Chinese entries, with Australia's unique environment playing a role in the SUV's development programme.
“The XUV500 is our first global SUV that has been completely designed and developed around the global customer, with extensive product validation and testing done across Europe, Australia, South Africa, and India," Mahindra & Mahindra's Automotive Sector President Pawan Goenka said.
It's powered by a 2.2 litre common-rail turbodiesel, producing 103kW and 330Nm of torque, paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
An all-wheel-drive system is standard, using an Interactive Torque Management system to automatically distribute torque between the front and rear wheels.
Fuel consumption is listed at 6.6 l/100km, and while a 0-100km/h time is not offered, Mahindra says the XUV500 will hit 60km/h in 5.4 seconds.
Internationally, the XUV500's standard safety features include electronic stability control, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, rollover mitigation, a tyre pressure monitoring system, hill-hold control and hill-descent control.
Crash safety features include crumple zones and side impact beams, along with a complement of six airbags (front, side and curtain).
Creature comforts are covevred by a six-inch touch-screen display with GPS, DVD and USB/iPod connectivity, along with dual-zone climate control, steering-mounted cruise and audio control, rain and light sensors, reverse parking assist and power-folding mirrors.
Depending on the spec, there are leather seats, flat-folding second and third row seating, and an eight-way power-adjusted driver's seat.
Watch for the XUV500 to make its Australian debut around the middle of 2012.