For more than a year now, a Suzuki Vitara SUV has been regularly spotted testing on Indian roads, particular in the National Capital Region, which also hosts the Maruti Suzuki factory, and its research and development center. The Suzuki Vitara SUV, which was thought to be Maruti’s challenger to the Hyundai Creta, will not be launched in India. Instead, Maruti Suzuki is working on a crossover version of the second generation Ertiga. The Maruti Ertiga Cross will take on the Hyundai Creta and be positioned as a compact SUV. The Suzuki Vitara that has been spied testing in India is here for specific component testing, and Maruti has no plans to launch this 4-year old SUV here.
While the Suzuki Vitara just received a facelift globally, the SUV is still a little staid when compared to the best selling Hyundai Creta compact SUV. This is said to be a big reason behind why Maruti is not considering the Suzuki Vitara as a potential Hyundai Creta rival. On the other hand, the all-new Ertiga, whose Cross version is yet to be revealed, is a lot fresher, and can be used as the base for a crossover that will be better placed to compete in the Hyundai Creta segment. Already, Maruti has the S-Cross crossover, which is the second best selling car in the compact SUV segment that’s led by the Creta. By launching another SUV/crossover based on the new Ertiga, Maruti can further attack the Creta.
The Ertiga Cross is expected to a butch version of the 7-seater MPV, which will be launched in India later this year. The Cross version of the Ertiga is likely to be a 7-seater, and will sit on the same HEARTECT platform as the new Ertiga. On the new Ertiga, a 1.5-litre K-Series petrol engine with 104 Bhp-138 Nm has already been confirmed, while the diesel engine is likely to be the 1.3-litre Fiat Multijet unit with 89 Bhp-200 Nm. For the Ertiga Cross model though, Maruti is likely to bring in the 1.6-litre Fiat Multijet motor with 120 Bhp-320 Nm on tap as the smaller motor would just not make the vehicle interesting enough for a Hyundai Creta buyer, who already has much more powerful motors to choose from.