Snapshot – For the purists an SUV means a vehicle with a tough ladder frame chassis, a largish turbo diesel engine, copious ground clearance, a commanding driving position and a four wheel drive system with low and high ranges. For the rest of the market, ample ground clearance, butch looks and a highish seating position will do, and this is the market that’s growing in leaps and bounds, enough to have every automaker worth its steering wheel to be deeply interested. CarToq profiles five potential game changers in this segment.
Being endowed with a surfeit of features is a typical Hyundai trait, and one that has been attracting car buyers by the hordes. Even as the South Korean automaker readies up its first compact SUV offering, the iX25, for India, expectations are rising. The iX25 is likely to be one of the best speced SUVs in its segment, which will include the likes of the Nissan Terrano and Renault Duster. With a launch timeline rumoured to be pegged in August-September 2015, the Hyundai iX25 is one compact SUV to watch out for.
The Mahindra S101 aims to entice hatchback buyers with a taller ground clearance, better seating capacity and a high seating position, at a price of a B-Segment hatch. The S101 will also spawn an all-new segment, dubbed the Micro SUV. In terms of engines, triple cylinder petrol and turbo diesel units are likely to power the S101. While a manual gearbox will be standard fare, Mahindra is expected to offer an automated manual transmission (AMT) option considering the fact that test mules have already been spotted with this feature. A monocoque body design, a 6 seat layout and a front wheel drive layout will be standard. The S101 is one vehocle that could upset the applecart of budget hatchbacks.
Mahindra U301 Bolero
The Mahindra U301 Bolero aims to offer a more rugged alternative to monocoque bodied compact SUVs in India. The ruggedness will come courtesy a hydroformed ladder frame chassis and a rear wheel drive layout. To keep pricing competitive, a sub-4 meter route is being plotted, along with a 1.5 liter twin scroll turbocharger equipped diesel engine. An AMT option is also likely to be a part of the mix. An end 2015 launch timeline is expected for the U301 Bolero, with pricing to rival the Ford EcoSport. If you’re on a budget and want an expedition vehicle that can also be your daily drive, the U301 Bolero may tick all the right boxes for you.
Maruti Suzuki YBA
Market leader Maruti Suzuki is yet to make a mark in the sub-4 meter compact SUV segment. The automaker is readying up a YBA code-named vehicle that will measure under 4 meters in length, and that will be equipped with petrol and turbo diesel engines. Knowing the kind of demand that emanates from the Indian market, a four wheel drive layout may be eschewed for a simpler, lighter and more fuel efficient front wheel drive set up. The YBA will be a Ford EcoSport rival and for the very fact that it is a Maruti, expectations of it shaking up the market have been steadily rising.
Nissan India needs a big volume product quickly and the Kicks concept based sub-4 meter compact SUV is expected to fill in the void that currently exists in the Japanese automaker’s Indian product portfolio. The Kicks concept based vehicle is anticipated to make a debut at next year’s Indian Auto Expo. A diesel engine will be a given, with the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel motor to play a vital role. Since the Kicks will be a sub-4 meter vehicle pegged under the Terrano, it will also be the most affordable SUV in Nissan India’s range. The V-Platform that underpins the Micra and Sunny is expected to be the base of the new SUV.