Lost in translation. This is one phrase that can be applied to many a car that makes the switch from concept to production. The story of the Maruti Vitara Brezza is similar. From a ravishing concept SUV in 2012 to a visually boring compact SUV in 2016, life’s come a full circle for Maruti’s latest sub-4 meter offering. Today, we’ll see how the butch and beautiful XA Alpha concept became the not-so-hot Vitara Brezza.
First the front…
As the image indicates, the XA Alpha is pure menace from up front. The five slat grille, reminiscent of the Jeep brand (Mahindra, if you want to reference something that’s closer home) adds character to the concept’s front end, giving it a distinct, SUV look. Meaty tyres, a bumper that starts from high up and the swept back LED headlamps make the vehicle look quite tall and imposing.
And when Maruti put the XA Alpha into production as the Vitara Brezza, the vehicle lost the LED headlamps, the tall and meaty tyres, lots of height and the simple front grille. Instead, we have big splashes of chrome and a more busy front end, all supported by much smaller wheels. Smaller wheels means a car that sits lower, and there’s little in the way of the imposing looks that the concept had.
Moving onto the profile…
It’s quite apparent that the concept was just that, a concept. The designers were allowed to run riot, and come up with something radical. That explains the sharply raked windowline, massive wheel wells, tall tyres and funky alloy wheels.
For production, designers have to work with the real world in mind, which means costs, functionality and many more parameters that add a lot of constraints to the final design of the vehicle. For instance, a sharply raked windowline will look cool, but may not sit well with rear seat passengers who’ll feel claustrophobic with a tiny window.
That explains why much of the windowline rake is missing on the Vitara Brezza. Of course, you can’t have a budget compact SUV riding on 20 or 21 inch tyres, for the costs of such tyres are quite high. And such a thick C-Pillar won’t do much for visibility.
And now to the rear…
The rising windowline on the XA Alpha concept culminates into tall haunches, giving the compact SUV’s design a lot of aggression. It’s like a crouching tiger waiting to pounce. It helps that the L shaped LEDs give the rear of the concept a futuristic look while the tall tyres and high ground clearance are major SUV cues.
On the production version (Vitara Brezza), the ground clearance is a more humble 198 mm, which is not just about a centimeter more than the Baleno hatchback. This makes the rear of the vehicle look more anodyne. Then you have smaller 16 inch wheels, and large bumper insert that brings the vehicle even closer to the ground. To sum it up, the Vitara Brezza’s rear looks more like that of a raised hatchback than a true blue SUV. It’s good that Maruti offers customization options such as the contrast roof, bumper inserts and interesting decals.