The Tata 45X was first unveiled as a concept version of a production car that would rival the Maruti Baleno and Hyundai i20 at Auto Expo. Tata is hard at work getting its premium hatchback challenger for the Maruti Baleno ahead of its launch next year and a camouflaged test mule of the upcoming car has been spied testing by ZigWheels.
The Tata 45X will be Tata’s premium hatchback offering for India when it arrives in India and multiple reports have suggested that the large hatch is expected to launch in the second half of 2019, which suggests that it could arrive just in time for the festive season next year. However, Maruti is expected to play interference by launching a facelifted version of the Baleno at around the same time claims the report by ZigWheels.
The test mule seen in these spy images is not the final production version of the hatchback considering it has bolt-on headlamps and a few bulges on its fenders and doors under the camo wrap or paint applied to it.
The test mule though retains a toned down version of the overall edgy design of the concept car. The 16-inch wheels seen on the test car though seem to be the production version of the ones fitted to the concept seen at Auto Expo, earlier this year. The spoiler at the rear end though has been ditched, though it could just be a change affecting this specific test mule.
When it arrives in 2019, the production-spec 45X is expected to feature the same engine options as the Nexon. The Nexon gets turbocharged petrol and diesel engines that displace 1.2 and 1,5-litres respectively. However, the engines are expected to arrive in BS-VI spec under the bonnet of the production-spec hatchback that will challenge the Maruti Baleno. The hatchback is expected to be offered with both manual and AMT gearbox options.
Speaking of the Maruti Baleno, Tata is expected to allow its performance arm, Jayem Tata Performance (JTP), to have a crack at the 45X to bring out a proper hot hatchback that would sit atop its performance range that currently boasts of the Tiago JTP and the Tigor JTP. Considering that Tata is already said to be working on a Nexon JTP, there could be a big chance that the 45X in JTP guise could arrive with the same boosted powerplant under its hood. If Tata really does allow JTP to tweak the 45X, then we may have a real contender to challenge the Polo GTI on our hands in the future on Indian roads.
Other than the facelifted Baleno, the production-spec Tata 45X is expected to take on the next-gen versions of Ford Figo, which is also expected to arrive in 2019 and the Hyundai i20, which is expected to launch in 2020.