Mahindra has begun work on its fourth compact SUV after TUV100, KUV100 and NuvoSport. The latest model to go under the knife is the popular Bolero, which will have over 170mm shaved off from its length to duck under the sub-four-metre mark.
According to company sources, the wheelbase of the mini Bolero will remain unchanged though the front and rear overhangs will be reduced with re-profiled bumpers. Apart from these changes, the mini Bolero will share most of its body panels with its bigger sibling.
The dashboard too will be carried over and equipment levels are expected to be similar to its standard sibling. However, the seats are likely to be modified for better space efficiency. The compact Bolero will be launched in seven-seater guise with the last row getting jump seats similar to those in the NuvoSport and the TUV300.
The big change is under the hood where the now familiar three-cylinder, 1.5-litre mHawk diesel (which powers the TUV300 and NuvoSport) will be drafted in to comply with the ‘small car’ category which gets excise duty benefits. However, in the quest to deliver class-leading fuel efficiency, the mini Bolero will get a lower powered version of the mHawk engine which is expected to develop a modest 68hp. Still, compared to the standard Bolero which is powered by a crude and heavy 2.5-litre diesel developing a lowly 63hp, the smaller and modern mHawk motor develops a bit more power which should help performance, as will the lighter kerb weight.
The Bolero has been on sale for a long time and is popular in rural markets but sales have been dropping in recent months and it’s no longer the best-selling SUV in India. Mahindra is hoping to attract new customers with this new mini variant, which will be aggressively priced to boost sales and win back lost market share. The mini Bolero is expected to be launched this August.