As the sub-compact SUV segment continues to attract more and more buyers, Renault, Datsun and Kia want a share of the pie too
The sub-4m SUV space was originally created in the country with the launch of the Ford EcoSport. Now at the start of 2020, the segment hosts a total of five SUVs. However, the total tally is set to go up to eight by the end of this year as Datsun, Renault and Kia plan to launch their own sub-4m SUVs.
Starting off with Renault, the carmaker had a pretty successful 2019 with a year-on-year growth of 8% in terms of annual sales, thanks to the successful launch of the Triber MPV. Now, the carmaker wants to enter the ever-growing sub-compact SUV segment and offer a comparatively affordable alternative to the segment leaders Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Hyundai Venue.
Internally codenamed ‘HBC’, the SUV will be built on Renault & Nissan’s CMF-A platform, and will likely be powered by a 1.0-litre ‘HR10’ three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which will have a maximum power output rated at 95 hp. The French carmaker will price the HBC aggressively, and launch during the second half of this year.
Nissan’s sub-brand Datsun was launched with the aim of developing entry-level cars in emerging markets. The carmaker currently offers only three cars in India – Redi-Go, Go and Go+, but none of these manages to sell in mass volumes, and hence the Japanese carmaker wants to step into one of the most prospective segments in the market.
Datsun’s sub-4m SUV, which will likely be called the Magnite, will share its underpinnings with the Renault HBC, including the CMF-A platform, as well as the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine. A lucrative price tag in the range of Rs 6 – 9 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom) would help Datsun pick its pace up in the Indian market.
Kia Motors is planning to launch its second SUV in the Indian market, which is internally codenamed QYI, with reports suggesting that it could be called ‘Sonet’. The car will be based on Kia’s sister brand Hyundai’s Venue, albeit with unique styling and features to set it apart.
The car will likely be offered with BS6 version of Venue’s 1.2-litre petrol engine rated at 83 PS/115 Nm, and its 1.0-litre turbo-petrol unit that makes 120 PS power and 172 Nm torque. The Sonet will also be offered with a detuned version of the Seltos’ BS6-compliant 1.5-litre diesel engine, which will also be shared by Hyundai Venue and i20 once BS6 emission norms come into action on April 1.