Upcoming compact crossovers - India
With the arrival of the EcoSport, Ford is banking heavily on the growing trend of compact crossovers in India. The recent success of the Renault Duster in this SUV-loving car market goes on to show that big doesn’t always necessarily mean better. While Ford readies the EcoSport for the showroom floors, the bigwigs from the auto industry have scrambled back to their drawing boards, to grab a piece of the action in the up-and-coming compact crossover segment of India.
Maruti Suzuki XA Alpha
The XA-Alpha was one of the first concepts to hit the limelight at the 2012 Auto Expo, and expectedly, the compact SUV concept caught the fancy of many viewers (a brand new concept from Maruti always does!). Based on the same platform as the current generation Swift, the XA Alpha will be powered by the same range of K-Series petrol and DDiS diesel engine found in the Ertiga MPV.
Both the 1.3-litre DDiS turbocharged diesel and the 1.4-litre K-Series petrol engine could be optimized for class-leading fuel economy despite the XA Alpha’s sporty appearance. Also, Maruti Suzuki could plonk in an automatic variant for the petrol-powered model.
The XA-Alpha is expected to make its debut sometime between the festive season and the 2014 Auto Expo. When launched, the XA Alpha will be positioned above the hugely successful Ertiga MPV. The entry-level model could come with a starting price of around Rs 7 lakh while the top-spec model could probably breach the Rs 11 lakh mark.
India’s largest utility vehicle maker, Mahindra & Mahindra is no stranger to the concept of compact crossovers. The brand has already had a taste of success with the Quanto. The Quanto, however, weighs in heavily on the utilitarian side (it is based on the Xylo MPV, after all); which is why Mahindra is busy readying an all-new compact crossover. Codenamed the S101, this new vehicle was recently caught testing on the streets of Chennai.
The S101, undoubtedly, will be the smallest Mahindra yet when it goes on sale. What we do not know at the moment is what’s underneath it. The S101, nonetheless, could come with the Quanto-derived 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. In terms of quality and feel, the S101 will feature a more premium interior design, and not to forget, a higher price tag than the Quanto.
Tata's EcoSport rival
Reports first surfaced earlier this year that Tata is looking to venture into the compact crossover segment. While there aren’t many details available on this upcoming offering from Tata, the brand is said to be developing a new model based on the X1 platform which also underpins the Vista hatchback. As for the mechanicals, the only bit of info doing the rounds on the internet is that the firepower will be courtesy of Fiat’s current power-train technologies.
Hyundai's compact crossover
Korean auto giant Hyundai too will be coming up with its own contender to tackle the compact crossover segment of India. As a part of its recent announcement of developing a new compact crossover and an MPV, Hyundai is looking to price the former aggressively in order to take on the upcoming Maruti XA Alpha and the Ford EcoSport.
The compact crossover will be based on the i20 platform and will make use of the same set of engines as the i20 and the recently-introduced HB20S sedan.
Honda's compact crossover
Back in January 2013, Honda took the wraps off its new Urban SUV Concept at the Detroit Motor Show. The concept showed a glimpse of a compact crossover that the Japanese carmaker is planning for 2014. Unlike the Ford EcoSport, the upcoming crossover from Honda is said to breach the crucial 4-meter mark, meaning that it won’t be able to attract the tax cut in India.
Under the hood, the crossover will get Honda’s new ‘Earth Dreams Technology’ laden line-up of engines, which includes highly fuel efficient range of petrol and diesel engines. With cars like the EcoSport, the Duster and the XA Alpha in sight, the upcoming crossover from Honda is expected to come with the same 1.5-litre diesel engine (albeit in a slightly different state of tune) that powers the Amaze sedan.
While the Jazz-based compact crossover will make its debut in Japan by the end of 2013, we expect Honda to introduce it here in the Indian market by early 2014.
Nissan's version of Renault Duster
Platform sharing is something that the Renault-Nissan alliance has used to very good effect. Both the brands have already carried out the process with the Micra/Pulse and the Sunny/Scala. With the Duster however, Nissan is looking to strike an assault on the compact crossover segment with an aim to price it lower than the Renault-badged Duster.
Like their earlier collaborations, Nissan’s take on the Renault Duster will come with the same engine as the latter. The powerful yet economical 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine will continue to power the upcoming model from Nissan. While there is no official word on the launch date, we expect the Nissan-badged Duster to roll out before the end of 2013.