Hyundai has been doing well in the Indian market since the lockdown opened up. They recently launched the i20 which has received more than 20,000 bookings despite its expensive price tag for a premium hatchback. However, they also know the fact that currently, the market is leaning towards SUVs of all sorts. You can get a full-size SUV which is the MG Gloster, a mid-size SUV which is the Hyundai Creta and compact-SUV like the Hyundai Venue. Last year there was a new type of SUV launched by Maruti Suzuki which was the S-Presso, the manufacturer calls it a “Micro-SUV”. People instantly started preferring the S-Presso to the likes of Maruti Suzuki Alto, WagonR, Renault Kwid, Hyundai Santro etc.
Due to this, Hyundai and Tata realised the potential in a vehicle of this sort. So, both of the manufacturers also started developing their micro-SUVs. Tata showcased the HBX concept at the Auto Expo 2020 which was quite well received. The new SUV from Tata has also been spied quite a few times being tested on the Indian roads and should be launched in 2021. However, there was no news or concept from Hyundai which was surprising until now because recently a small micro-SUV has been spied on the international roads. We know from the spy shots that it is a Hyundai because it carries the same split headlight setup that we have seen on the Hyundai Venue where a slim LED Daytime Running Lamp is placed above and the main headlamp unit is placed in the bumper. The new micro-SUV is being called AX1 internally by Hyundai.
Hyundai AX1 derives a lot of styling cues from its elder sibling, the Venue. For instance, the headlamp setup, flat bonnet and raked rear end. The new car looks like a small hatchback with a tall boy design that has been lifted up. Because of this, there will be plenty of ground clearance which is essential for our Indian roads that can be quite rough. So, it will come with a tall driving position which will help within increasing the visibility all around.
The rear door handle has been placed on the C-pillar which we have also seen on Indian hatchbacks like Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Tata Altroz. This gives a two-door effect to the people who are looking from far away. The test mule here gets stylised wheels with pronounced squared wheel arches. It also gets roof rails and a shark fin antenna. Some people might say that from certain angles especially with the camouflage the AX1 resembles the design of the Maruti Suzuki Ignis which is now also is being marketed as “Compact Urban SUV” by Maruti Suzuki.
Powering the Hyundai AX1 could be the 1.1-litre engine that will be derived from the Santro. It will be mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox or an AMT. The engine produces 69 PS of max power and 99 Nm of peak torque. However, the higher variants could get an option of the 1.2-litre petrol engine that we have seen on the Grand i10 Nios. The engine produces 83 PS of max power and a peak torque output of 113 Nm. It is also mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox or an AMT. Once launched, the Hyundai AX1 will be rivalling the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso and the production version of the Tata HBX.