Maruti Suzuki’s Chairman, Mr. R.C. Bhargava has confirmed that the Indian automaker would launch a new SUV in the first quarter of 2016. With the S-Cross crossover lined up for a launch early next year, the next SUV offering for the Indian car market will be the XA Alpha compact SUV, which was first shown in concept form at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo.
The production version of the XA Alpha will be launched in the first quarter of 2016, as Maruti Suzuki’s first sub-4 meter compact SUV offering. The XA Alpha is likely to use Fiat Multijet turbo diesel and K-Series petrol engines, along with 5 speed manual transmissions as standard fare.
While a front wheel drive layout is a given, it remains to be seen if Maruti Suzuki considers the addition of a four wheel drive layout on what is essentially competition to the Ford EcoSport, which does not have an all wheel drive option in India. With that, an all wheel drive option on the XA-Alpha seems unlikely at this moment.
Butch looks, tall wheels and ample ground clearance are three prominent features that the XA Alpha compact SUV is expected to pack in. With a compact footprint measuring under 4 meters in length, the XA Alpha seems poised to be a consummate city SUV that can also hold its own on the highway and broken roads.
The XA Alpha will be one of the three SUVs that Maruti Suzuki wants to blitz the Indian car market with, by 2017. The other two SUVs that the automaker has planned for India is the S-Cross (due for a early 2015 launch) and the production version of the iV4 concept, known as the Vitara (due for a 2017 launch) in international markets.
Apart from Maruti Suzuki, a bevy of automakers in India have lined up their SUV offerings for the Indian market. Hyundai will launch the iX25 SUV next year. Mahindra has the S101, S102 and U301 Compact SUVs while Tata Motors has the Nexon crossover.
Nissan is planning a sub-4 meter offering to sit under the Terrano while Volkswagen is also working on a new compact SUV based on the PQ25 platform for India. Honda has announced a compact SUV based on the Brio platform. Fiat has the X3U codenamed SUV under development, for a launch here in 2016.