The compact SUV space, despite being one of India's favourite, has been silent for quite a while now. As of now, we only have the best-seller Hyundai Creta, the Renault Duster that introduced the segment in 2012 and its fancier sibling, the Captur. However, things are expected to heat up, starting next year, with new offerings flooding the market. Meanwhile, Hyundai's readying the Creta facelift which is also around the corner. Until then, let's take a look at eight such SUVs that are set to hit the roads by 2020 and take on the Creta.
Kia SP-based SUV
Launch: September 2019
Kia made a big splash at the Auto Expo 2018 with the world premiere of the SP compact SUV concept. Its production version will be Kia’s debut offering in the country and will take on its cousin, the Hyundai Creta, along with other compact SUVs.
Kia’s debutant model in India, the SP, is based on a modified version of the Creta's platform. It is also touted to be more premium than the already feature-rich Hyundai. More so, because even globally, Kia cars have been positioned slightly above their Hyundai counterparts and it is expected to be the same in India as well. The production-spec model is likely to borrow the SP concept’s design without significant changes - that will make it butch and upright. Expect its prices to be similar to the Creta’s (Rs 9.29 - 14.59 lakh ex-showroom Delhi).
MG's Halol plant, that it acquired from GM is set to be in operation from mid-2019. And recently, the carmaker announced that the first product to roll off the plant will be an SUV. However, unlike Kia, that already has the immensely popular Creta to base its product on, MG has had no connections with the Indian market whatsoever and would offer a completely fresh SUV.
Pictured: MG ZS
That said, the upcoming MG SUV will be made for the Indian market and will not be something from MG’s current SUV lineup that includes the ZS compact and GS midsize SUVs. Considering its two SUV siblings, especially the newest ZS, the SUV is expected to have edgy styling and will be loaded with features such as a sunroof, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With as much as over 80 per cent localisation, we reckon the first ever MG to be competitively priced with its entry-level variants overlapping the top-end Creta.
Tata H5X-based SUV
Launch: By April 2019
Tata debuted the H5X concept to the world at Auto Expo 2018. And even though it's not exactly a rival to the Hyundai Creta, it is said to take on both the Creta and the Jeep Compass. While it will be as big as SUVs in the Compass’ segment such as the upcoming Honda CR-V, its prices are expected to hover around Rs 14 - 15 lakh.
Tata is stepping up its game with the H5X-based SUV that is based on a Land Rover-derived platform. We expect fit and finish levels at par with the rivals along with class-leading features such as a premium sound system, large touchscreen, driving modes, sunroof and more. It is rumoured to get Fiat’s 2.0-litre Multijet diesel that also powers the Jeep Compass.
Mahindra Tivoli-based SUV
Launch: Late 2018 or 2019
Pictured: SsangYong Tivoli
Mahindra has been testing its compact SUV, codenamed S201, since it debuted the SsangYong Tivoli in 2016 at the Auto Expo. That’s because the S201 will be based on the Tivoli and might share some design cues as well. However, the Tivoli-based SUV will wear Mahindra badging as SsangYong is still a lesser known brand in India.
Information about the Tivoli-based SUV is scarce at the moment as it is also expected to get new engines that Mahindra is co-developing with SsangYong. That said, it is unlikely to get an AWD (all-wheel-drive) option. Expect prices to be similar to the Hyundai Creta.
Ford Compact SUV
Launch: ~ late 2019 or 2020
Mahindra and Ford have recently agreed to evaluate co-development of a compact SUV. The Ford SUV in question could be based on the SsangYong Tivoli’s platform that Mahindra is also utilising for the S201. Since Ford is still ‘evaluating’ this, we don’t expect anything concrete coming from the American automaker before late 2019 or early 2020. While Ford wasn’t present at the Auto Expo 2018, it might be saving pennies for the 2020 edition, where it could debut this new compact SUV like it did with the EcoSport at the 2012 Auto Expo.
Pictured: Ford Off-Road Small Utility concept
At this moment, it is unclear whether Ford will only use the platform or share body panels with the Mahindra SUV as well. Although we believe that the American automaker will only share the underpinnings. In their strategic alliance, Ford should borrow powertrains from Mahindra which means that the Ford SUV might also share engines with Mahindra. However, we also expect Ford to use its latest 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel (125PS/300Nm) that debuted with the EcoSport facelift in Europe and supports AWD (all-wheel-drive) as well.
Skoda Vision X and Volkswagen T-Cross
Pictured: Skoda Vision X
The Volkswagen Group has commissioned Skoda to localise the group’s smallest modular platform, the MQB-A0, in the country. The MQB A0 underpins entry-level cars such as the next-gen Polo and the Vento (now known as the Virtus) along with compact SUVs under the VW umbrella. The India-spec platform, however, will be known as the MQB-AO IN.
Pictured: Skoda Vision X
Both the Skoda Vision X and the Volkswagen T-Cross are based on the MQB-A0 and are expected to be the first products to be launched here on the newly localised platform by 2020. Expect these SUVs to feature TDI diesel and TSI turbocharged petrol engines with manual or DSG dual-clutch transmission options. Expect their prices to be slightly higher than the Creta’s.
Pictured: Volkswagen T-Cross Breeze Concept
Launch: ~ 2019 or 2020
Pictured: Suzuki Vitara
While the rest of the SUVs mentioned here are either confirmed or most likely to be launched here, the Suzuki Vitara still looks like a far-fetched dream. That’s because the current-gen model (launched in 2015) will receive its midlife update/facelift this year globally. If Maruti launches the Vitara as a Creta rival, the product will have a short model life as the global replacement model is expected in less than three years from now. That said, how can we not expect the country’s largest automaker to not enter one of the hottest segments. So we simply cannot rule out the possibility of the new-gen Vitara or a completely new product being introduced here.
Pictured: Suzuki Grand Vitara
Don’t get confused between the Grand Vitara (now discontinued) and the Vitara as the former is a midsize SUV, while the latter is a compact SUV and is available with both petrol (1.4-litre turbo and 1.6-litre petrol) and diesel (Fiat’s 1.6-litre Multijet) engines in Europe.
SUVs have become cash cows for automakers and it was rather expected that this Rs 10-20 lakh price bracket, which is presently dominated by the Hyundai Creta and the Jeep Compass, will become see more competition in a couple years.
Read More on : Hyundai Creta diesel
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