Mahindra has launched a new SUV called the XUV500 in India. This modern looking seven seater SUV, viewed as the company’s most important SUV since the Scorpio, is also a landmark model – the XUV500 is the first Indian SUV to be built around a car-style monocoque chassis, which means no ladder frame and truck like suspension here.

The XUV500 is powered by a 2.2-litre mHawk engine with Variable Geometry Turbocharger, VGT. This diesel engine is already found in the old school bodied Scorpio, but boast better figures here: 140 hp and 330 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,800 rpm. Indian customers can choose between FWD and AWD variants, but both share a six-speed manual gearbox.

By the way, the Mahindra Scorpio is sold in Malaysia by USF, and the RM113k seven seater comes with a 120 hp/290 Nm version of the mHawk diesel lump, paired to a six-speed auto ‘box.

Quantum leap in looks aside, the XUV500 should be a more comfortable ride than the Scorpio, since it comes with monocoque chassis, front MacPherson struts and rear multi link suspension. It sits much lower to the ground on those 235/65 R17 rubber, and the wheelbase is quite long at 2,700 mm. The AWD is of the full-time on demand variety, and it’s not a serious off roader. No diff lock, but there’s hill descent control.

Attractive ex showroom Delhi prices start from Rs 10.8 lakh (RM70,400) for the 2WD W6 spec to Rs 12.88 lakh (RM83,900) for the range topping AWD W8 model.