For a country that's crazy about SUVs, Toyota has only the Fortuner in its portfolio. The Japanese carmaker plans to launch a new SUV in India but which of these three would it be?
The compact SUV space is all the rage these days with the Hyundai Creta topping sales charts. The mid-size SUV segment, which comprises of SUVs larger than the Creta, too has picked up pace ever since the introduction of the Jeep Compass in 2017. Meanwhile, Toyota, which is leading the full-size premium segment with the Fortuner, doesn’t have any SUV in the Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh space. With a strong brand loyalty and booming SUV segments, Toyota could gain a lot by introducing more SUVs in its portfolio. Here are a few options that Toyota could introduce in the Indian market in the coming years.
It might be trending online, but if you ask us, the second-generation Rush is unlikely to make it to India. First-off, it looks like a beefed-up MPV and such vehicles are not favoured here. Case in point: the Honda BR-V. The Honda SUV resembles the now-discontinued Mobilio MPV in more ways than one. Although it earlier appeared that Toyota would launch the Rush in India, its body-on-frame set up puts it at a slight disadvantage when compared to monocoque SUVs such as the Hyundai Creta in aspects such as fuel-efficiency (since it will be heavier), refinement and driveability, among others.
Get a detailed look of the Toyota Rush here: In Images: 2018 Toyota Rush
While the Rush is almost out of the equation, Toyota still has a couple of interesting options up its sleeves. However, it all depends on the localisation of its new modular platform, Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), in India.
The TNGA platform made its debut with the Prius in 2015. Currently, the Prius plug-in hybrid, the India-bound eighth-gen Camry and the C-HR compact SUV are based on this platform. The upcoming next-gen Corolla will also based on the TNGA platform. So, expect a majority of Toyota’s future models to be based on this platform as well.
Hence, it would certainly be wise for Toyota to localise the TNGA platform in India as it would open the doors for more global models to be introduced here at a later stage. Take Volkswagen, for instance. Volkswagen Group tried to tie up with Tata Motors to utilise the latter’s new modular platform. However, the plan failed to materialise due to unknown reasons. Now, its Indian subsidiary will reportedly receive fresh investments to localise the MQB-A0 platform to drive in future models in the market. Like Toyota’s latest platform, VW’s MQB platform too is modular in nature.
Being one of the very first products to be based on TNGA, the C-HR (Coupe High-Rider) could become a Hyundai Creta-slayer for Toyota in India. It has got the style, substance and a hybrid powertrain as well! It might appear too busy to some, but it is certainly not boring to look at. With the C-HR, Toyota has made it clear that it doesn’t make boring cars for retired people anymore!
Once TNGA has been localised, it would become fairly easy for Toyota to introduce the C-HR in India. It is roughly the same size as the Creta and the swooping roofline will undoubtedly make it stand out in the segment. In Europe, it is powered either by a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol or a 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain.
Toyota FT-AC Concept
The Toyota FT-AC (Future Toyota Adventure Concept) concept made its world debut at 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. According to the automaker, it was a design study and was conceptualised on an ‘outdoor-inspired’ theme. While Toyota has not officially confirmed if the SUV will enter production, it is speculated that the FT-AC previews the design cues of the next-gen RAV4 mid-size SUV, which is expected to be revealed later this year. And indeed, the test mule of the 2019 RAV4’s, which was spotted for the first time in January 2019, carries design elements from the FT-AC. Like the C-HR, the RAV4 will also be based on the TNGA platform.
While Toyota hasn’t introduced the RAV4 nameplate in the country so far, it is certainly the right time to do so. With the launch of the Jeep Compass, which is the highest selling SUV in this space (~ 2K monthly sales), the segment has picked up pace like never before. Later this year, we will witness the launch of the Skoda Karoq (Yeti replacement) and the fifth-gen Honda CR-V too. So, it’s quite evident that the segment is gaining momentum here.
Let us know which Toyota SUV would you prefer in India in the comments section below.
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