French automaker Renault has begun testing a crossover that will slot in below the Duster SUV in terms of price and positioning. Other details about the sub-Duster crossover from Renault remain unavailable at the moment. From the looks of it though, the crossover could have a future mainly in emerging markets of the world. The Duster in itself, is a low cost SUV that was developed by Dacia, a Romanian car maker that is now owned by Renault.
Given the steady demand for compact SUVs and crossovers from markets in the emerging world, automakers around the globe are developing a slew of affordable vehicles in this category. For instance, Mahindra is putting together two sub-4 meter SUVs that will both sit below the 7 lakh rupees mark. The Mahindra S101 is a Micro SUV that is likely to feature a sub-5 lakh rupee starting price tag while the U301 Bolero is a compact SUV that is expected to sit in between the 6-7 lakh rupee marks.
On a similar note, Nissan India is putting together a compact SUV to be slotted below the Terrano in terms of price and positioning. Volkswagen is building a sub-4 meter SUV developed mainly with India in mind while Honda is using the Brio platform for a new compact SUV that will have affordability as one of its cornerstones. India will receive more than a dozen new compact SUVs over the next 3 years.
Low cost SUVs based on monocoque platforms and featuring key attributes such as a high driving position, high ground clearance, spacious seating for five adults and a sub-4 meter length could eventually nibble away market share from budget hatchbacks in emerging car markets of the world. In such a scenario, a low cost crossover from Renault seems like a step in the right direction.