One thing that manufacturers have realized in the past few years is that developing markets such as India have a growing high demand for compact SUVs. Given the variety of terrain and traffic conditions, they make good sense while keeping the investment costs lower than a full size SUV. Their sub 4-metre size and large cabin space are ideal for a multitude of functionality, making them highly versatile. Exactly what developing markets need, an all-in-one vehicle that efficiently handles all kinds of road situations. Some of the manufacturers have already started cashing in hugely with compact SUVs like the Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster while the rest are lining up their attack with launches planned in 2015. Here are a few of the most anticipated compact SUVs to hit the Indian subcontinent.
Although with the Quanto Mahindra did foray into the Compact SUV market but hasn’t seen major success yet as the SUV lacks in features and styling compared to the competition from Ford and Renault. To reclaim the contended space, Mahindra plans to launch a new Compact SUV codenamed S101, which would draw its design cues from the aggressively styled XUV500 and would debut Mahindra’s new 1.2-litre turbo-petrol powerplant while also offering an updated 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre diesel engine from the Quanto. Already spotted testing, the new SUV could launch as early as the first quarter of 2015.
Maruti Suzuki is one of the manufacturers who has been under constant attack from all fronts. With Hyundai giving them a tough time in the compact hatchback segment with their i10 and the recently launched Honda Mobilio outselling the Ertiga in the MPV segment, Maruti is desperate to reclaim lost ground by expanding their offerings into new segments as well as strengthening their offerings in the existing ones too. Showcased at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo the XA-Alfa concept certainly looks like the SUV to bring Maruti Suzuki back into fame. While Maruti currently is busy in aggressively sharpening up their already existing line of offerings with the Celerio and the soon to launch Ciaz, the next big move is certainly in the direction of the XA-Alfa. With the new compact SUV, Maruti is also looking to showcase their in-house developed diesel engine that would finally replace the 1.3-litre Fiat multi-jet that currently does duty in all the Maruti diesel offerings. The XA-Alfa is poised to make its debut sometime by the middle of 2015.
What we have learnt from Hyundai cars in the past few years is that it isn’t that difficult to provide a quality product that is laden with features and comes in at a reasonable price point. It seems like Hyundai has got the Indian market bang on and they are relentlessly looking to extend their lead in every direction. After being recently uncovered at the Beijing auto show, Hyundai’s compact SUV would make way into Indian waters by the mid of 2015. The company would slot the ix25 between the Xcent and Verna sedans. While it borrows heavy chunks of its powertrain from the Verna, which is no bad thing, we could also see a proper 4x4 variant with locking differentials. It is certain that the ix25 would mash out the competition in the list of features that will be at offer.
Showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, the VW Up! based compact SUV would launch by the first half of 2015. With very stylish and sporty exteriors, the Taigun sports DRLs, rugged underbody cladding as well as the spare wheel mounted at the back to give it a sporty SUV look. VW is known for its top-notch build quality, and that reflects within the Taigun. The interiors are simple yet elegant, and while they might not have the creature comforts on par with other cars in the segment, VW could bring year-on-year updates to the features, a trend recently seen with the Polo and Vento. Expected to be priced anywhere between Rs 8-14 lakh the Taigun would certainly face stiff competition in its segment.