Could More 'LUV' Come to U.S. Shores?

Korando Sports front II
Some may remember the concept SUT 1 that showed up at last year's Geneva International Motor Show, but now there are rumors that the production version, called the Korando Sports, could be the vehicle Mahindra wants to use to break into the U.S. vehicle market.

As you recall, we've done a number of stories recording the troubled relationship between Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra and importer Global Vehicles USA. In fact, just yesterday we posted a story documenting the final insult. Mahindra has started a relationship with Korean automaker SsangYong and is likely to work that angle in order to import a vehicle to the U.S. market. And the Korando Sports — which is being called a leisure utility vehicle, or LUV — could be it.

Korando Sports int II
The Korando Sports is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that makes 155 horsepower and 265 pounds-feet of torque. The truck's towing capacity is 4,400 pounds.

Early reports have the four-banger rated at 36 mpg. The media photos show an automatic transmission, but it is a safe bet that entry-level models will be offered with a manual gearbox. Rear- and all-wheel-drive versions will be available in South Korea.

Some reports say Mahindra is targeting the 2016 model year to introduce the Korando Sports to the U.S. market, but many safety and EPA regulations must be met first. In the meantime, it is believed the Korando Sports will make it to European markets by next year. No word yet on pricing.

Korando Sports back II

Korando Sports rear II


Mahindra can go to hell. Their last truck (whatever it was called, can't even remember anymore) that was supposed to get 10K mpg ended up getting like 20 when it got to the US. A wimpy, ugly, underpowered piece of crap that could just barely compete w/ an F150 on the mileage front. The concept pictures you show are also not something I would even think of as a truck, that has all the functionality of a CUV (which is fine, if that's what you want). Why wouldn't I just go to another Korean automaker and buy a Hyundai Santa Fe? Better warranty, better power, likely better handling, and certainly a better dealer network. If you want to see a unitbody truck succeed it need to start with what Honda did with the Ridgeline, and then fix everything they muffed up. Mostly: less ugly, fold down midgate, new interior w/ interior features, better transmission, MUCH better motor (to get rid of the ridiculous axle ratio that thing has). Improve on each of those aspects while either improving aerodynamics, weight, or motor efficiency in order to bump up the mpgs a bit and you'll have a winner.

Might as well call it 2020 since Mahindra is involved. By then the above will be an outdated and long in the tooth design destined to struggle for sales and government requirement testing.

Looks better than that mutt that Mahindra original tried to bring over. Not sure what it would be good for but I do like the idea of a small turbo diesel powered "truck". Even a diesel half ton would be most awesome! Anybody listening out there? I'm not alone on these thoughts.

EPA will kill it

It will never come close to their advertised mileage. Go to india sometime and breath the air. Its filthy, no emissions controls on their cars. Once you put emissions and safety into cars in America you will drop the "amazing" mileage these jokers advertise down to current 1/2 ton levels. Just like their last super truck this will never become an actual product because its garbage.

Toyota could bring the Hilux at any point and drop a bomb on anybody hoping for success with a compact diesel. I'd by a Hilux right now. I'd never by this thing.

looks like an updated Subaru Baja? better too I might add.

Wish Kia or Hyundai would make a compact truck. It would force the big 3 to make them to replace lost full size sales.

I do like the looks of this much more than the TR trucks and the extra power is certainly needed. I know the "winglets" just aft of the C pillar are for aerodynamic purposes but they look bad and reduce some of the functionality of the bed. I'd do away with those and see if a 5.5' or 6' bed could go on back, then you'd have a winner.

Mahindra is really determined to get into the US market so I assume either this or the Genoa will make it to our market within 2-3 years.

@ Mark Williams,
Any word on the payload ratings to go with the 4400 lb towing?

that thing is feminine with a capital F.


But it won't.

People that want a truck buy a truck.
People that want to carry a couple of bikes can use any car with better mpg and more interior space.

And if anyone ever tried to carry a surfboard like they have it in the picture it wouldn't be there when they got to the beach. At least not in one piece.

Not to mention that surfboard looks to be about 4 or 5' tall. Poor photoshopping.

Automakers need to offset the truck and suv gas hogs that is their primary source of profit with smaller cars to comply with the new regs. More slow sellers with the pathetic 16-20mpg v6 gas engine is a mistake they wont make.

This is about keepn it real for many of us.

If you don't own a boat or a trailer chances are you don't tow.. or rarely tow... and paying an extra $150/mo in fuel in case you might need to tow or because you are worried about the how you might look in something like this just a crazy luxury.

Can this trucklet do things a Van or SUV just can't easily do? Yes

Could this trucklet be designed to look and feel more like a RWD muscle car? I think so.

Worth considering if it can save you $10k in fuel cost over 5 years? Hell yes.

Still two many doors. I just want a small truck to carry the occasional outsized item that wouldn't fit into an SUV. Using a car to carry the bikes? Um... yes, if you don't mind adding brackets or a frame of some sort onto the car and ruin the aerodynamics. A small truck is still the better choice to carry oddly-sized and -shaped loads and gets better economy and is more fun to drive than those big full-sized road whales.

No thank you, i wouldnt buy this piece of junk. I want a thirty v eight not a wimpy 4 cylinder diesel.

Look at the demand, is it at 4 cylinders or diesels? no

Mahindra owns SSanyong , that makes this. Ssanyong struggled to make any impact with their previous strangely styled efforts in Australia, although they sold a LOT BETTER than the Mahindra from India.

@Unclebud, The New Hilux is roughly 18 months away, what it tows and carries is going to be interesting as this segment is getting better with each new introduction.

VW Amarok, now has a 8 speed Automatic that improves towing too 7,200lb and the standard payload is now 2,500lb
It is better than the Ranger and Mazda sibling Off and On Road. I think VW has its first Global pickup 90% right. More to do about body variety, price and reliability.

This trucklet actually looks good. I can see why Mahindra bailed. This might sell well as long as it is as cheep as current small CUV's, and gets comparble mpg to small CUV's. A midgate would improve its cargo capacity keeping the wheelbase short. The tiny box, for me would kill it right off the bat. My wife probably would like it. You can carry one's kids and fit 2 large dog crates in the back.
I'd be more in line to agree with UncleBud. Bring the Hilux diesel to NA and kill any wet dreams the competition may have in the small truck market.

The reason you won't get any diesel pickup trucks in the US is that, for some reason, the prices of cars are half of everywhere else in the developed world. Unless you want to pay more, you will not get modern technology. Your truck market is a prime example of this. While everyone else has been using efficient medium size diesel trucks for years, the US is stuck with gas guzzling dinosaurs.

All the truck manufacturers (Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Izuzu, Mazda, Ford...) use diesels almost exclusively in Europe and we pay 40 - 60k for a truck in the Hilux class. This, of course, gives budget room for some technical development. 30 - 40 mpg is no big problem with these trucks and they tow and load as much as the dinosaurs.

As a side note...
There is also a very small specialized import of US trucks here in Europe. These vehicles are only bought by real enthusiasts who can swallow the gas bills. The US trucks cost even more than the japanese (almost all are made in Thailand). Gas costs more than twice what you pay in the US and diesel is normally a tiny bit less expensive than petrol.

That is why it's impossible to start making profit on mid size diesel trucks in the US. You simply wouldn't buy them for a "normal" price...

@HHH. They are cheaper here than in Europe I noticed, the Japanese sourced vehicles.

@ hhh

People here pay 40-60 thousand USD for pickups.

Lots of people. I don't know if you can go to any of the websites and try to build your own but you'll see there are a lot of ways to get above 40k. Buying a bare-bones Ford Raptor is one of those ways. Or buying one of the King Ranch, or Harley Davidson branded trucks.

You can even find 4wd Tacomas for around $40k here.

Diesels are available in our larger trucks and commercial vans and trucks and people that want them pay the money for them. What people might not want to do is pay an extra $7k for a diesel on a consumer car or light truck when the gas model is so much cheaper and I think the reality of the situation is that car makers don't want to be first to gamble on that.

Another thing I will add is that you can find diesel Hilux and Navaros and some vans and things in central and south america that don't cost that much so I'm not buying the "we pay more for more modern technology" theory that you have. People here buy hybrid lexus and hybrid tahoes. People here are clearly willing to pay more for more modern technology.

@ Vulpine,

I'm not sure where on the planet you live but where I live, the spring and summer are very hot and can have heavy rain. Driving without air conditioning just so can fit your bikes and having all that rain mist blowing into the car doesn't sound all that pleasant to me. When it comes to carrying bikes, I don't see how the vehicle pictured brings much to the table.
I'm not making the case for "road whales" as you put it but I don't see enough demand for these.

People that want a small truck have plenty to choose from.

No Thanks

CUVs will do whatever SUVs, Pickups can do. We dont need anymore pickup. Gas prices have crossed 3.82, so better to go for smaller vehicles.

@robert ryan,
I would l love to see the Hilux here. Do you have any evidence that it is truly coming here? If so I'm thrilled.

It's a shame they want to bring ugly vehicles in with diesels, rather than throwing diesels in our proven reliable and beautiful looking vehicles. Toyota has proven that their fullsize truck has been a nightmare, along with the late model Tacoma's. Weak ball joints, frames, body strength, oh my!

@Unclebud. At this stage ,unfortunately it is going to be for everyone outside North America. Seeing we have this benchmark raising contest going, it will be interesting to see how they are going to raise the stacks in this game of "Pickup Poker" I cannot see Toyota watering down their best Pickup product in the US, by introducing the Hilux. The Hilux without a diesel would not make sense either.

@Mark Williams...
Why was the Ford story "No Big Changes in F-150's Future, Ford Analyst Says" pulled???????????

@robert ryan, so you are suggesting that the Hilux will replace the Tacoma soon?

@Lou sounds like somebody wasn't supposed to be talking. Ironic thing is that is was probably Levine that picked up the phone and told Mark to pull it.

Yeah i was wondering what happened to that story. Your not the only one.

I don't see the Hilux coming here either, but it sure would be nice. I've got no interest at all in the Korando sport or anything else that matches the combination of less practical and less comfortable (not a good pickup truck, and not a good car, the worst of both worlds). I wish the deal with the Mahindra truck had gone through, I think it would have caused an improvement in our market even if it wasn't a big success. The rest of the world has to think we're jokes for buying into the silly stuff that passes for transportation here, so of course, somebody thinks the Korando would be a good match for our market. That's just sad.

Well girls can drive trucks too. That would leave us with the manly man full size trucks.

My problem is not with the looks of the truck or how it will function, my problem is with Mahindra. I would not trust Mahindra after this last fiasco they pulled. Let Hyundai or Kia come up with a good compact or midsize truck--both of them have a good track record at least. As for the bashers of smaller trucks it is their perogative to drive what they like and let the rest if if choose a smaller truck if we want or need one. If I needed or wanted a larger truck I would get one and I would have no problem in selecting one from any of the current manufacturers because they all make quality trucks despite what the Ford fans say. I have driven all of them and they all have things that I like and don't like about them. If anything the Ford cheerleaders turn me off to Ford despite my being a Ford owner and open to their products. I am much more influenced by the qualities of a product than someones derogatory remarks and constant bashing of a particular brand. Give me the positives and the negatives of each brand and then I can make the best decision for myself and my decision will not be used to degrade the product that I did not buy. That is my opinion.

Most of you have brought up some valid concerns and points on this website but some like @Allistar want to bash anything that he does not like. I get it you don't like smaller trucks and you prefer Ford. I have no problem with that and I am glad you found something you like but I like to read about other choices as well and appreciate the stories on the smaller trucks as well.

Thank you Mark for the diversity of truck news. The diversity makes this site worth reading and I am better informed about what is going on in the truck world.

@Maxx: I would argue that your excuses fit the Chevy Avalanche as well as many other vehicles. The only time you would have the back open is WHEN you're carrying an outsize load for the bed and the rest of the time it would be closed so you could enjoy the comfort of your air conditioner. The Avalanche seems to be a pretty popular truck, as are several similar full-size models. A more compact version would just fit some people's lifestyle better than the larger one.

@Allistar: While you may want your big road whale, not everybody has the need or desire for one. For those, something like a mini Avalanche (meaning this Mahindra model) might meet their purposes cheaper and compactly. As for the availability of small diesel trucks vs market? Well, there's no market because there's no availability. The only available diesel trucks in the US now are more than 20 feet long; they won't even fit into your garage (if you had one) or your off-street parking if you live in a townhome community. While a 4-cyl diesel may not have that massive horsepower and torque you love, when the vehicle weighs half as much then it really doesn't need it. Add to that a 1/3rd better fuel mileage rating (or better) then the lower price, lower overall fuel cost and other factors make something like this a much more economical choice for many people who would otherwise not buy a truck of any kind.

Meanwhile, I wait for either my Gladiator or a decent compact truck. Currently, no trucks available in the US are as small as I want and/or need. They're all road whales, even the "midsized" models. Let's go back to the S-10, the original Ranger and the once-popular Japanese compact trucks. These huge things on the road today are far larger than they really need to be unless you use it for truly heavy work.

I bought a two door standard bed Nissan pickup back in '93 and it was just what I needed. I'm still driving it and it has been great. Yes, there were times I wish it had a bigger bed, times I wished for more passenger space, bigger engine, four wheel drive, tougher suspension . . . but I made the decision to save money and go with what I needed most of the time instead of paying all the time for what I rarely needed. If they sold a new model of what I have I'd buy it all over again, if it had today's safety features and a small diesel engine I'd pay extra for it. As long as this truck keeps running and the market has gone astray, I'm holding onto my hard earned cash.

The days of humongous houses with unused rooms, and monster vehicles with unused horsepower have largely passed; it's time for the auto manufacturers to recognize that some pickup truck drivers are ready to downsize. Gas consumption, garage space, parking/turning radius, insurance, visibility, driving enjoyment- all factors to consider when deciding how much truck you really need. Some people really do need a big heavy duty truck, but for the rest of us we need a good, capable, efficient smaller truck like they have now in other countries, and if they offered one we would buy it.

Mahindra burnt their bridge by screwing over Global Vehicles USA. Nobody is going to even consider a partnership with them, lest they be a repeat!

@Vulpine and @pee wee Amen I agree. There are a few times I wished for a larger truck but most of the time I am happy with what I have. I bought a 2008 Isuzu Crew Cab and it is nice but it is still bigger than I need, but I kept my 99 S-10 extended cab with a 5 speed manual and a 2.2 4 cylinder. Guess which one I drive the most? It is still the old reliable economical S-10. I agree Vulpine there is a market for an even smaller more economical truck than even my old S-10. Sure the numbers would not be in the F-150 or Tacoma range but sharing a like platform with a smaller crossover and manufacturing on the same production line would lower the cost and not require as large a volume. Even if I did not want a smaller truck than the S-10 there is a market for it and with the right marketing it would sell. Oil prices will continue escalating up.

I agree that there would be a market for this kind of vehicle but not if Mahindra tried to fill it. I wouldn't trust them either. A midgate that could be moved foreward and set up behind the front seats might put an end to the issue of the driver being exposed to the elements when needing more cargo length. Unless you live in a mild climate without weather extremes, a midgate could be a problem. Pickups form a big "air bubble" in the box. Try opening a camper window with a bunch of loose dust and debris in the box. It all ends up in the cab.

That's true about the air bubble @Lou. I would be driving around in my 85 Mitsubishi Mighty Max and open the sliding window in the back and invariably something that was in the bed like leaves or maybe a paper item would come flying into the cab.

Yeah its like when you put a windshield on a Ranger or a Mule. You end up covered in dust.

It sure would be nice to see that Dodge M80 on sale and on the road.

@Unclebud. It is really the exact opposite. The Hilux would not have a diesel in the US, so no Hilux. Toyota is trying to move the Tundra in the US, so they are concentrating on that at the moment, although I think their window of opportunity for doing something with the Tundra has passed.

@robert ryan, you have confused my simple mind. I guess you are saying that while the new Hilux is 18 months away, you suspect that it is not coming here... I see now.

I will say that despite the time that has passed the Tundra still feels pretty current. I think Toyota will make a player next model. Their crew cab is by FAR the most comfortable as well.

Something similar has just gone on sale here:

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