South Korean automaker wants a bigger slice of the Indian SUV market, a segment where it has had minimal presence in the past. Let’s turn the clock back a bit. Winter 2011 saw Anand Mahindra drive down to Mahindra’s Chakan factory, to unveil a vehicle that would indelibly change the fortunes of India’s D-Segment sedans forever. The XUV500 was launched and ever since, this flagship Mahindra crossover has done outsold the entire D-Segment sedan pack. Car buyers have voted with their wallets, and crossovers/sports utility vehicles are what they now seek in the 12-20 lakh rupee segments.
In the past, Hyundai has made a bunch of half hearted attempts to tug at the purse strings of SUV buyers in India. Good SUVs such as the Terracan and Tuscon were launched more than a decade ago, but failed to make lasting marks in their respective segments. The first major success for Hyundai in the SUV segment was the current-generation Santa Fe luxury crossover, and this seems to have whetted the automaker’s appetite for more such offerings. A pseudo-crossover and a damn good looking example at that was launched a month ago, in the form of the i20 Active, a jacked up, butch looking version of the best selling i20 Elite hatchback.
Hyundai is said to be planning a new premium crossover for the Indian car market. This crossover could be based on the iX35’s underpinnings. The iX35 is sold as the Tuscson in many markets of the world, and is a monocoque bodied crossover that sits in between the top-of-the-line Santa Fe and the relatively affordable iX25, due to be introduced in India later this year. The new premium crossover is a good three years away from the Indian market though, with 2018 said to be the timeline for its launch here. With the new premium SUV, Hyundai is taking aim at the XUV500. Expect both petrol and turbo diesel motors to be served up.
Even a hybrid variant might be a part of the mix as it is 2018 we’re talking about here. Hyundai even showcased two hybrid variants of the third, and latest generation Tucson at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. In terms of powertrain options, turbocharged petrol (1.6 liter) and diesel motors (1.7 liter and 2.0 liter) are on offer, along with a 2 liter naturally aspirated petrol engine powering the base variant of the crossover. Front wheel drive and all wheel drive layout, and manual and automatic transmission options, are also served up. The 2015 Tuscon/iX35 is larger and better equipped than the version it replaces.