The company is likely to exhibit the model at the Delhi Auto Expo next year and launch it in early 2012. This was the strategy followed with the Aria crossover in 2010.
The new Safari will not grow significantly in dimension. It is based on the Aria platform and every body panel is different. Interiors are built making use of better quality plastics.
Merlin will borrow features and functions from the Aria. Technical changes have reportedly made the car much easier to drive in the city with a reworked steering system and gearbox. The engine and gearbox have been retained and the power and toque outputs could rise marginally.
IndianAutosBlog can reveal that the name 'Merlin' is only an internal code. The commercial name will be different. Given that this is replacement for the existing Safari, it could use a suffix or continue without additions.
Spyshot sent in by Pune reader Anant Prakash.