The Mahindra XUV500 has been the king of a segment with no direct competition. Yes, that’s true. India has had no other affordable, 7 seat monocoque crossover at D-Segment sedan prices. The initially overpriced Aria was doomed right from the start. This, and super sharp pricing on the XUV500(Initial price: Rs. 10.8 lakhs) has meant that the Mahindra crossover has enjoyed a near monopoly for nearly half a decade. All that will soon change. Here’s why.
Tata is readying up the Hexa for a launch. A luxury crossover with 7 seats, significantly more space than the XUV500, and plenty of features, the new Tata flagship vehicle is also styled well. Gone is the MPV-like stance, and in its place is a much more butch front end. The Hexa finally look like an SUV, which the Aria should’ve looked like in the first place. Now, if Tata Motors can combine the 2.2 liter Varicor turbo diesel engine with 154 Bhp-400 Nm, the 6 speed manual gearbox and the Land Rover inspired terrain response 4 wheel drive system into a compellingly priced package, the XUV may face significant headwinds.
Hyundai will showcase the Tucson at the Auto Expo, and will launch the 5 seat premium SUV later this year. A five seat SUV that will sit in between the Creta and the Santa Fe in terms of price and positioning, the top-end XUV may come under threat from the lower variants of the new Hyundai if the South Korean automaker gets the pricing right. The Tucson is likely to be sold with 2 liter petrol and turbo diesel engines. Both manual and automatic gearboxes could be on offer, and so could be an all wheel drive option.
By the end of this year or early next year, Maruti could bring in the Vitara, which is likely clash with the XUV’s lower variants. The Vitara is expected to sit above the S-Cross, which recently saw a price drop. More aggressive looking than the S-Cross, the new Suzuki SUV for India also comes with compelling off roading kit in the form of the Suzuki ALLGRIP all wheel drive system that offers different grip modes for different conditions. The Vitara is likely to pack in 1.6 liter petrol and turbo diesel engines.
The BR-V will be Honda’s big splash at the Auto Expo. Based on the Brio platform, the BR-V will be the priciest vehicle to use this platform. It’ll be Honda’s first compact SUV for India. Why then is the XUV coming into the picture? Simply because the BR-V is not only longer than the likes of the Creta and Duster, but also packs in 7 seats, which puts it squarely in XUV territory. Now, if Honda decides to undercut the XUV and price the BR-V at Creta levels, the Mahindra could face some more competition. The BR-V will feature 1.5 liter petrol and turbo diesel engines.
Ford has imported the Kuga into India, and it’s unclear as to whether the American automaker would launch the SUV here. However, there’s a chance that Ford would slot the Kuga in between the EcoSport and the Endeavour, given the big space between the two SUVs. Ford could show this SUV at the Auto Expo. So, more details about the Kuga’s launch plans are likely to be revealed once the showcasing happens. For now, the intesresting bit is that the Kuga uses a 2 liter TDCI turbo diesel engine with 147 Bhp-370 Nm on tap. Now, that’s prime XUV territory.