Is this the ADAS system on the 2021 Mahindra XUV500?

EVW reader Aesha Parikh has shared spy shots of the 2021 Mahindra XUV500 (codename: Mahindra W601) from Chandigarh revealing never-before-seen details of the car. These are the first pictures likely showing the 2021 Mahindra XUV500 ADAS tech variant.

Like the much bigger MG Gloster, the 2021 Mahindra XUV500 will reportedly come with Advanced Driver Assistant System or ADAS for new-age active driver assistance functions. Spy shots show the test mule featuring a black rectangular part in the lower grille, and that’s probably a millimetre-wave radar. There’s probably a front camera placed near the interior rear-view mirror.

2021 Mahindra XUV500 ADAS front camera spied
The spied 2021 Mahindra XUV500 ADAS variant probably has a front camera mounted near the IRVM.

Mahindra partnered with Mando, a South Korean company, for sourcing ADAS in April 2019. The supplier had announced that the Indian automaker has ordered front radar and front camera required in Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), a safety feature the Indian government wants to make obligatory by 2023.

AEB is a driver assistance system that gets input from radar sensors placed behind the grille or windshield to gauge the surroundings and monitor simple driving parameters such as acceleration, speed and proximity of the vehicle to obstacles. If the system detects a risk of an accident, the system prompts the driver to apply the brake through audible and visual warnings.

If the driver fails to react in a timely manner, then AEB is capable of braking autonomously to prevent an accident or at least reduce the collision impact.

The next-gen Mahindra XUV500 could feature several advanced driver assistance features including Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Front Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Park Assist.

These features are not available in rival C-SUVs like the Tata Harrier, the Jeep Compass and the Hyundai Tucson, though Mando had said last year that it had made efforts to secure orders from Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors. The company’s Indian R&D centre is now in the development of specialized specifications where the ADAS can detect large animals and works well even on uneven road conditions.

Moving to the design aspect, you would remember the 230 kW (308 hp) Mahindra Funster EV concept from the Auto Expo 2020. The stunning dual-motor AWD roadster with a 200 km/h top speed and a 520 km range isn’t planned for mass production. However, we will get to see some of its design features on the 2021 Mahindra XUV500.

The 2021 Mahindra XUV500 prototype doesn’t carry production lights, but the final version that comes to showrooms will feature the Funster-inspired sleek and angular units with full LED lighting. It is also likely that the next-gen Mahindra SUV will feature connected LED tail lights like the show car.

The 2021 Mahindra XUV500 may not feature electrification in the launch phase. Reports say that it will arrive with a 2.0-litre mStallion T-GDi turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine and a mHawk 2.0-litre mHawk diesel engine. A year or so into its launch, mild-hybrid technology would be included to be prepared for the implementation of CAFE II & RDE norms. Mahindra plans to bring down its fleet CO2 average through introducing a mix of pure electric and electrified vehicles.

Speaking during the Q1 FY2021 Earnings call in August, Dr Pawan Goenka, CEO & MD of Mahindra & Mahindra, answered a question on the challenge of CAFE II & RDE. While explaining the cost and the solutions to meet new regulations, he said:

But it’s not a single solution. It’s multiple things that we are doing. For example, 48V hybrid might come on some vehicles, electric vehicle. Sensors will help, improving efficiency of diesel and gasoline, both. So – direct injection gasoline engine, GDI. All of these things will help in meeting the regulations.

The 2021 Mahindra XUV500 goes on sale by mid-2021 and it will compete with the MG Hector Plus, in which a mild-hybrid powertrain option is available. Rivals will include the Tata Gravitas and the Hyundai ‘Alcazar’ which is the upcoming ‘Plus’ version of the Hyundai Creta.

In an interaction with analysts during the Q1 FY2021 results conference call, Rajesh Jejurikar, Additional Director & Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra (Auto & Farm), said that the 2021 Mahindra XUV500 launch should “hopefully” take place in Q1 FY2022 (April-June 2022). By 2022, a Ford version of the same new compact SUV but with an indigenous design will follow. The Ford C-SUV will likely have a more driver-oriented chassis setup, while the Mahindra C-SUV should have a stronger focus on comfort and value-pricing.