Most Americans have never heard of M&M, no not the annoying little John Lovitz-voiced candies, the Indian-based automaker. Incomprehensible as it may sound, Mahindra & Mahindra are taking steps to bring their M-Hawk SUV to North America. Because that is EXACTLY the sort of vehicle we can’t seem to find enough here in the U.S.; SUVs. (Sarcasm can be hard to convey via text.) If that wasn’t asinine enough, Chrysler is in heated discussions with M & M over what they consider an infringement on their Wrangler design in the very same M-Hawk. I personally don’t see much similarity, but this dispute is delaying even further the arrival of said SUV to a market that is all but abandoning the vehicles in favor of fuel efficient cars. Is the M-Hawk worth the trouble? Here’s the low-down.:
First, this lawsuit by Chrysler is based on their assertion that the grill of the
M-Hawk resembles the Wrangler. There seems to be some bad blood between the two companies going back to another lawsuit in South Africa in which the Indian automaker is accused of using the “Jeep” name in an ad. Now the Indian company wants a piece of the very small SUV pie in America. Whether a valid lawsuit or not the M-Hawk is actually a $2500 upgraded UV produced by M & M called the Scorpio in India.
From a stylistic standpoint I can think of probably two dozen SUVs that I’d rather destroy the environment with over the M-Hawk. It looks like a something Mitsubishi might have made in the mid-90’s. But how does it perform?
To begin with, the physical demands on a vehicle in India and those in America are quite different, to say the least. The sort of buyer that may consider this SUV here in the states are those that probably are hauling kidsto soccer and not off-roading. But if the M-Hawk’s reputation and performance in India is any indication, it would seem that it is more than capable of being the Griswald’s next family truckster. The M-Hawk is powered by a turbocharged Bosch injected 2.2 litre engine productng a stupefyingly low 120 horsepower that achieves 60 mph in 15 second and has a top speed of 96 mph. The up-side for this sloth-like performance is that it gets over 36 mpg on the highway.
The list of options is more respectable at least, including inflation and temperature sensors for each of the 4 wheels, power windows that won’t go up if an obstacle is detected, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, a camera and obstacle gauge and display on the rear-view mirror, rear air vents for passengers in the back and the usual ABS and dozen or so cup holders that we’ve come to expect in our vehicles for our Big Gulps of Mountain Dew.
The price for the M-Hawk in America, not to mention how it will be sold and serviced has not been set. I’m not sure if another SUV is needed in America right now, in fact I’m pretty sure it, doesn’t. But don’t be suprised if you see one parked at your closest strip mall in the near future.