The Sub-4M SUV segment is one of the most competitive segments in the country right now, and other brands want to join the race too
There was a time when the word ‘SUV’ would remind you of something gigantic, like the previous-gen Ford Endeavour, the Toyota Land Cruiser, or even the Mitsubishi Pajero. Indian SUVs like Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio might be relatively smaller, but still are pretty big in terms of size.
However, the current situation is very different and the market has been stormed by smaller SUVs. One of the most popular segments in the market currently is the sub-4m SUV category, which hosts cars like the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon etc.
These sub-compact SUVs might not be suitable for off-roading adventures, but you sit higher as compared to sedans or hatchbacks. With a length of under 4 metres, these cars also enjoy tax benefits – which lets the manufacturers price them aggressively. Since you’re seated higher, these cars give you the feeling of owning an SUV, without burning a hole in your pocket.
The Ford EcoSport was the first sub-compact SUV to hit the Indian market. With the rising popularity of the segment, other carmakers joined in soon. As of now, the segment hosts a total of 5 cars including Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon and Mahindra XUV300.
Vitara Brezza continues to be the most popular of the lot, with the Japanese carmaker managing to ship 13,658 units of the car in December 2019. Hyundai followed at second, with a total sale of 9,521 units of the Venue.
The former is recently got a mid-life refresh last month with a new BS6-compliant petrol powertrain. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to the petrol-powered Vitara Brezza, which was a diesel-only model until now.
Many other manufacturers are working on bringing new sub-4m SUVs to the Indian market, including Kia’s Sonet SUV based on the Hyundai Venue; the Renault HBC and Nissan’s Sub-4M SUV. All 3 new SUVs will be launched by November 2020 in India.
The Sonet will have plenty in common with the Venue and is expected to be powered by 1.2-litre petrol, 1.0-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel engines. The HBC will likely use the BSVI 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine only while the Nissan compact SUV could use the same powertrain with manual and automatic transmission options.