Renault has gone back to the drawing board ever since the Ford EcoSport started eating into the sales of the Duster. The EcoSport has had a clear advantage of positioning as it is a sub-4 metre SUV. However, expecting Renault to sit around is foolhardy. The French automaker been testing a sub-Duster compact crossover to take on the likes of EcoSport, Quanto and other upcoming sub-4 meter SUVs from various automobile manufacturers. Well, the sub-Duster crossover has just been caught on camera under a heavily taped camouflage.
The sub-Duster crossover was caught on test in Germany. The compact crossover is due for a showcasing at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015. The sub-Duster crossover will aimed squarely at emerging markets such as India and Brazi,l which have a high affinity for compact crossovers. Not much is known about the compact SUV for the time being. However, the crossover is expected to be powered by detuned versions of the 1.5 liter K9K diesel and the 1.5 liter petrol motors that propel the Duster, and a slew of other cars from the Renault-Nissan stable.
A CVT automatic gearbox could be a part of the transmission mix, in addition to the 5-speed manual gearbox. Nissan India is also working on a compact crossover to be positioned below the Terrano but the Nissan SUV won’t be a badge re-engineered version of its sibling from Renault. While both crossovers would probably share some of the internals, they are expected to be two different cars in a broader sense. Honda on the other hand is also working on Brio based SUV for the country and Volkswagen has a sub-4 metre SUV for India in the works as well. Ahead of Honda and Volkswagen is Hyundai, which will launch the iX25 compact SUV in India next year.
The list doesn’t end here. Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki too are working on compact SUVs. The needs of car buyers in India are changing and they are gradually shifting from budget hatchbacks towards compact crossovers. A late 2015 or an early 2016 Indian launch would be a safe bet for the sub-Duster SUV from Renault. Expect it to be priced between Rs 6.5-8.5 lakhs, for the base petrol and top end diesel models respectively. The compact SUV arena is where every mass market car maker wants to be in right now and the next couple of years will be shaping the course of this segment.