Many of us are really excited about the two Mahindra vehicles coming to the United States. Here's what we know, so far:
The pickup will go on sale in very small numbers by the end of 2009, but the model year has not yet been finalized. A regional rollout will start in early 2010, likely in the Southeast, but it won't go on sale across the United States until the second half of 2010. The company isn't planning to compete on the same volume level as other compact/midsize trucks.
The SUV will probably go on sale about a year after the pickup (late 2010), but the model year of that vehicle hasn't been finalized either. And in case you're wondering why we only refer to them as the Mahindra “pickup” and “SUV,” it's because the names haven't been announced for either vehicle.
Pricing is said to start in the low-$20,000s for the pickup, which will be sold as a two-door long bed or four-door short bed, with two- or four-wheel drive. Its 119.7-inch wheelbase (the same for both models) puts it in the same basic size category as the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevrolet Colorado, but slightly smaller than the Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota. We don't yet know the dimensions of the Mahindra truck to see how its overall size would compare with the rest of the compact/midsize market. The truck will come standard with stability control and four-wheel disc brakes. Mahindra has not yet completed emissions or crash testing on its vehicles for the U.S.
The Mahindra pickup will be powered by a 140-horsepower, 2.2-liter common-rail clean diesel. This is probably the biggest news about this truck, because it has the potential to be the fuel-economy leader in its class and, at the same time, might offer the best towing capacity. If the actual payload numbers are near what the company estimates (2413-2765 pounds), that is the best in its class—by far. In addition, this will be the only diesel available in the compact/midsize market and, unless plans for diesel half-tons are revived, it will be the only diesel available in any pickup smaller than a 3/4-ton.
When it comes to dealerships, there is no brand exclusivity—Mahindra is looking for partners with the locations, facilities, and operations that make sense for its vehicles—that could mean anything from Chrysler to Toyota, if the setup was right. As of right now, more than 335 dealers have signed up to sell Mahindra pickups and SUVs in the U.S.
We'll tell you more as soon as we can.
Preliminary specs: Mahindra Pickup
Location of final assembly: India
Body style: 2- or 4-door pickup
Drivetrain layout: Front engine, 2WD or 4WD
Engine type: 2.2L turbodiesel I-4
SAE horsepower: 140 hp
SAE torque: 236 lb-ft
Transmission type: 6-speed automatic
Recommended fuel: ULSD
Wheelbase: 119.7 in
Bed volume: 44.0 cu ft (4-door short bed), 68.0 cu ft (2-door long bed)
Bed LxWxH: 58.6 x 59.8 x 21.7 in (4-door short bed), 90.2 x 59.8 x 21.7 in (2-door long bed)
Ground clearance: 8.3 in
Curb weight: 4180-4532 lb
Max payload capacity: 2413-2765 lb
GVWR: 6945 lb
Fuel capacity: 19.0 gal
Suspension, f/r: Independent, torsion bar, anti-roll bar/semi-elliptical leaf spring
Brakes: 4-wheel vented disc, ABS
Base price range: $21,000-$23,000 (est)