The Tata Punch has already become one of the blockbusters from Tata Motors, and that largely has been possible due to its unique positioning as a compact SUV with the footprint of a small hatchback. The formula has worked wonders for Tata Motors so well that other prominent carmakers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are also contemplating following the same. The year 2023 will see both carmakers launching their sub-compact SUVs priced similarly to hatchbacks, given the rising popularity of SUVs as the most preferred body style among cars.
Maruti Suzuki will be unveiling an all-new compact crossover based on its premium hatchback, the Baleno. Currently referred to as Baleno Cross, this compact crossover will be based on the overall styling of the Baleno combined with that of the Grand Vitara. We have already seen this car being tested on Indian roads multiple times, in which it is evident that the car has sought inspiration from the Grand Vitara for its front end, with minor tweaks to the side and rear profiles too.
The new Maruti Suzuki Baleno Cross will either get the 1.2-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated 90 PS petrol engine or will mark the return of the short-lived 1.0-litre three-cylinder 100 PS Boosterjet turbocharged petrol engine. Like the Baleno, the new crossover based on it will be sold through the Nexa chain of premium dealer outlets and will be positioned between the Baleno and the Grand Vitara.
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Hyundai’s upcoming Punch rival
Even Hyundai is aiming to have a share of its own in this space with its all-new sub-compact SUV, which it is planning to position below the Venue. This new sub-compact SUV will see inspiration from the Hyundai Casper, which is already on launch in some of the global markets, including South Korea. However, unlike the quirky design of the Casper, this new India-spec sub-compact SUV from Hyundai will get a lesser radical design and will be based on the same platform as the Grand i10 Nios. It means that it will have the powertrain option of either the 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated 83 PS petrol engine or the 1.0-litre turbocharged 100 PS petrol engine.
The Tata Punch was launched in 2021 and immediately climbed up in the sales charts due to its attractive styling and coveted 5-star safety rating in the Global NCAP crash tests. Positioned between the Tiago NRG and Nexon, the Tata Punch is available with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine, which claims 86 PS of power and 113 Nm of torque and is available with both 5-speed manual and AMT gearbox options.
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