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Mahindra XUV500 confirmed for European market

The XUV500 is the brand's first vehicle developed for the global market.

Mahindra & Mahindra is one of India's largest automakers, but it doesn't have much of a presence on the international scene. As of late it has been on a quest to change that and is setting its sights on the European market.

The brand has announced that its new seven-seater XUV500 will be exported to Spain as early as next summer. It is the first Mahindra-badged vehicle to be developed specifically for the global market.

The XUV500 marks a big break with the past. Mahindra has mostly made a name for itself by building body-on-frame pickups like the T20 and the T40, but its new SUV uses a unibody structure to achieve a more car-like ride. It boasts four-wheel independent suspension and disc brakes all around.

Under the hood is Mahindra's mHawk140 2.2 liter diesel engine. Thanks in part to a turbocharger with a variable geometry, it is rated at 140 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. The only gearbox available is a six-speed manual, but buyers can choose whether it spins two or four wheels.

Two trim levels will be available when it hits the Spanish market, W6 and W8. The latter comes standard with a hill hold function, ESP, alloy wheels, a DVD player and a navigation system. Both trims come with what the brand calls racing-styled twin exhaust pipes.

No price figure has been announced yet, but the XUV500 will likely play the low-cost card and go head-to-head against the Dacia Duster. If the Spanish market endeavor is deemed successful, the brand will gradually expand throughout Europe in 2013.