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Compact SUVs for 2014

The fastest growing and hottest segment in the Indian Automotive scene is about to get hotter and even more competitive!

The Compact SUV segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the country and the only one that is showing consistent growth while the automotive industry in general slows down. Although Premier Automobiles was the first official compact SUV in India with it’s Rio, bad sales and service networks translated into almost negligible sales figures. The real action in the segment began in August 2012 when Renault finally launched it’s much awaited Duster which in turn became a roaring success. Earlier this year, Ford’s Ecosport too turned the market upside down with roaring sales changing Ford’s public perception. This year though, the compact SUV segment will be THE segment to look out for with Maruti, Mahindra, Hyundai and Honda gunning for the top spot. Read on to know more.

Maruti Suzuki XA Alpha
Expected Launch : Early 2014
Expected Price : Rs 7-10 Lakh

Maruti first unveiled its compact XA Alpha SUV/Crossover concept at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo in Delhi and if sources are to be believed shall launch the production version of the same in early 2014. Based on the Swift platform, the XA Alpha is most certainly going to be one of the most highly anticipated cars of 2014 and will revolutionize the compact SUV sector in India.
The XA Alpha’s production version will be powered by the same Fiat derived 1.3 Litre Multijet engine and a 1.2 Litre K-Series 4-cylinder petrol powertrain. The XA alpha will also showcase future design elements in terms of interior and exterior trim while sharing components from the current crop of Maruti’s wide offerings.
With a retro touch combined with a fresh new design, the XA Alpha’s chunky look harks back to the days of the original Suzuki SJ (Gypsy in India) series. With large chunky wheels and a wide stance, the Suzuki XA Alpha will certainly appeal to both the established car buyer and the first time car buyer in one swoop. All of the above combined with Maruti’s service network will most certainly give cars like the Ford Ecosport and the upcoming Honda SUV a run for it’s money. We expect an entry level petrol version to be priced at about Rs 7 lakh whereas the entry level diesel should be priced anywhere between Rs 7.5-8 lakh

Honda Small SUV
Expected Launch : Mid 2014
Expected Price : Rs 8-12 Lakh

Honda’s foray into the compact SUV/crossover segment will be as important as the XA Alpha from Maruti-Suzuki. With Honda’s reputation for building bulletproof cars, the compact SUV will definitely be a hot seller. Just like the new Honda City (which will be unveiled on November 24, 2013), the new compact SUV will be based on the new Jazz platform.

Honda recently released pictures of what they call the ‘Urban SUV Concept’ and the similarities to recent Honda offerings like the new Jazz are quite obvious too. The Urban SUV concept features a large grille and long horizontally stretched headlamps, compact overall proportions and a swooping roofline. From the rear too, the horizontally stacked tail lamps and the a large chrome accent piece running across the sculptured tail gate.

The compact SUV will share the 1.5 Litre i-Dtec engine which will also do duty in the Honda Mobilio and will get either the 1.2 i-Vtec engine from the Brio or the 1.5 Litre i-Vtec engine from the Honda City. It is unclear whether this new compact SUV will be under the 4-meter mark to take advantage of excise duty exemptions but it does look like Honda could pull it off by reducing bumper overhangs. Expect this compact SUV from Honda to cost between Rs 8-12 Lakh.

Hyundai ix35
Expected Launch: early 2014
Expected Price: Rs 7-9 Lakh

Hyundai’s compact SUV, the ix35 will make to Indian shores in the first half of 2014 going head to head with the likes of Maruti-Suzuki’s XA Alpha and the Ford Ecosport. The ix35 looks distinctively like a Hyundai with its fluidic design language.
At first glance, the ix35 looks like an expanded Verna with a similar split grille and swept back headlamps. There are several little chrome details that make the ix35 look much more expensive than it actually is while giving it a mature and grown up feel. The ix35’s compact size along with it’s striking design will definitely strike a cord with eager Indian audiences.

Mechanically, the ix35 will feature the same small 1.1 Litre Crde engine that does duty in Hyundai’s new Grand i10 but with a greater power output. We also expect Hyundai to offer the 1.6 Litre Crde engine that they currently offer in the Hyundai Verna as a range topping engine.

Expect the ix35 to be priced extremely competitively with prices for the petrol starting at just under 7 lakh and the base model diesel costing not more than Rs 7.25-7.5 lakh.

Mahindra Compact Suv
Expected Launch: Late 2014
Expected Price: Rs 6-9 Lakh

Although details are sketchy about the compact SUV project, a recent concept from SsangYong called the SIV 1 may provide us with clues on what the Mahindra Small SUV could look like. Slated to launch with the same mechanicals as the Mahindra Quanto, the new compact SUV from Mahindra is internally referred to as the S102 project.

The S102 will feature modern styling, which will be influenced by the SIV 1 concept from SsangYong while staying true to a few Mahindra traits like their distinctive grille. The S102 will also feature Daytime Running Lights like the XUV500 and will share a lot of internal gadgetry with it’s bigger sibling too.

If the success of the XUV500 is anything to go by, the S102 compact SUV is sure to be a runaway success when it gets launched at the end of 2014. Considering Mahindra’s track record with killer pricing strategies, we expect the compact SUV to be priced around the Rs 6-9 lakh segment with the top of the line SUV offering 4WD and maybe even an automatic transmission.

Chevrolet Trax
Expected Launch: mid 2014
Expected Price: Rs 9-12 lakh

Although Chevrolet will drop the name ‘Trax’ for India (Force Motors owns the rights to this name) this tough looking compact SUV will soon make it’s way to Indian shores. The Chevrolet Trax based compact SUV will be offered only with the Fiat derived 1.3 Multijet engine that will also do duty in the Suzuki XA Alpha. The Trax might also be offered with 1.4 Litre Turbocharged petrol engine, details of which are still sketchy.
The Trax derived compact SUV will share a lot of design elements with the larger Captiva and will feature Chevrolet’s new family look like the split grille and the large bow Chevrolet logo. The chunky headlamps compliment the large chunky wheels giving the Trax a burly muscular look.

We expect the Chevrolet Trax derived compact SUV to be available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive options and to take interior design elements from the highly successful Cruze saloon. With its compact size and well-crafted design, this compact SUV might do for Chevrolet what the Ecosport has done for Ford.

Kia Sportage
Expected Launch: Late 2014
Expected Price: 9-11 Lakh

Kia has long contemplated it’s entry into India and now with it’s new hot image makeover, 2014 could be the correct time for them to finally foray into the uber competitive Indian automotive market. And the car they should enter with is the new Kia Sportage.

With it’s fresh design featuring what Kia calls the ‘Tiger Nose Front’ and sharp headlamp design the Sportage is definitely a sharp looking SUV. The Sportage’s bold and sleek looks certainly has what it takes to stir up the Indian market and with an equally appealing interior, this new entrant is certainly an enticing option if you are in the market for a new compact SUV next year.

The Sportage’s compact dimensions may not be under the crucial 4 meter mark, but with competitive pricing, Kia can most certainly aim to make quite the impact.

Although the Kia Sportage internationally comes with a 1.7 Litre Crde engine, the Indian spec ones might get a smaller capacity version to boost fuel economy. The Sportage should be priced between Rs 9-11 lakhs making it an extremely good proposition for someone looking for something new and fresh.

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