Maruti Suzuki will launch the Grand Vitara by the end of September and even as you’re reading this, the media drives for the compact SUV are on. Bookings for the Grand Vitara have been open at NEXA dealerships across India for over a month now and today, Maruti Suzuki has revealed that it has received 53,000 bookings for the new compact SUV. Of these bookings, 23,000 are for the Strong Hybrid variants. So, 2 out of every 5 buyers are opting for the Strong Hybrid variants of the Grand Vitara. Toyota will build the Grand Vitara alongside its version of the same SUV – Hyryder Urban Cross – at its Bidadi factory, near Bengaluru, and ship the Grand Vitara out to Maruti Suzuki dealers. The Grand Vitara replaces the S-Cross in Maruti Suzuki’s NEXA line-up.
The Maruti Grand Vitara, which is a badge engineered version of the Toyota Hyryder, will be offered with two engine options: a mild hybrid and a strong hybrid. The mild hybrid powertrain will consist of a 1.5 liter-4 cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine (100 Bhp-135 Nm) paired with a SHVS (Suzuki Hybrid Vehicle System) mild hybrid system. The mild hybrid powertrain will be offered with 5 speed manual and 6 speed torque converter automatic gearboxes. Additionally, an all wheel drive option will be offered with the manual gearbox equipped mild hybrid powertrain. The all wheel drive option will make the Grand Vitara, along with its sibling the Toyota Hyryder, two of the most capable SUVs in their segment.
Coming to the strong hybrid, the powertrain consists of a 1.5 liter-4 cylinder TNGA petrol engine (91 Bhp-122 Nm) that runs on the Atkinson cycle, and a electric motor that makes 78 Bhp-141 Nm. The combined output is rated at 114 Bhp. All strong hybrid variants of the Grand Vitara will use a CVT automatic gearbox as standard. The Strong Hybrid version of the SUV will also get a dedicated all-electric mode, in which the vehicle can be driven for up to 25 Kms purely on battery power. This is another segment first feature offered on both the Grand Vitara and the Hyryder.
While Toyota launched the Urban Cruiser Hyryder last week, and adopted a premium pricing strategy with prices starting from Rs. 15.09 lakh, it remains to be seen what Maruti Suzuki does with the Grand Vitara’s pricing. Given the fact that the S-Cross started from under Rs. 10 lakh, a premium pricing strategy for the Grand Vitara will leave a significant gap in Maruti Suzuki’s product line-up. Pricing the Grand Vitara much cheaper than the Toyota Hyryder will affect the latter’s sales, and this is something that is not likely to go well with Toyota. So, Maruti Suzuki will have to walk a tightrope while pricing the Grand Vitara. It’ll be interesting to see what India’s largest car maker does in this regard. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our first drive review of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara.