Tata Motors has been busy readying a sub-4-metre cross-hatch that has been codenamed Hornbill, it will be slotted between the Nexon and the Tiago in the carmaker’s lineup
The Tata H2X made its world debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show last year. The concept car is now likely to grace the floorspace of the Auto Expo 2020 in a near production guise as the Tata Hornbill. The upcoming model will launch later this year and upon its introduction, it will become the second product, after the Altroz, to be underpinned by the company’s ne ALFA modular architecture.
This should lead to a pliant ride and confident road handling. Also, the new model will become the smallest crossover from the company ever if you can ignore the Tiago NRG, which, in essence, is a pseudo crossover.
While the Tata Hornbill will be underpinned by the same ALFA modular architecture as the Altroz hatchback, it will be a tad smaller than the upcoming Maruti Baleno rival. The new model will be 3,840 mm long, 1,635 mm tall and have a 2,450 mm long wheelbase.
It will offer a robust design, which is something that can be gauged from the concept show at the Geneva Motor Show last year. Also, Pratap Bose, VP Global Design, Tata Motors has already said that the show car which was seen at Geneva last year is roughly ”70-80%” of what the actual model would look like.
Some of the highlights of the H2X concept shown at the last Geneva Motor Show include a split-headlamp design like that of the Tata Harrier, along with some huge alloy wheels with boldly flared fenders and a large-size panoramic sunroof. While not all of these elements would make it to the production-spec Hornbill, what’s for sure is that the overall design and the dimensions will stay almost unchanged.
On the inside, the Tata Hornbill will offer a minimalistic design, along with a premium ambiance similar to the one found in the Tata Altroz. The speedo cluster, in all likelihood, is going to be a semi-digital unit similar to that of the Altroz, while the dashboard will hold a touchscreen infotainment unit similar to that of the upcoming Maruti Baleno rival. This unit will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features on offer could include automatic climate control, electric-folding ORVMs, multi-function steering wheel
Unlike what has been the norm, Tata Motors could skip providing a diesel engine option on its upcoming offering. The only powertrain on offer could come from the Tiago, which means the new model would feature a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine that will be compliant with the BS6 emission norms. For the Tiago, the motor currently outputs a maximum power of 84 PS and a peak torque of 114 Nm. Transmission options for the Hornbill could include a 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT unit.
Prices of the Tata Hornbill could start pretty low, at roughly Rs 5.5 lakh. However, the top-spec model could cost north of Rs 7.5 lakh, which means the new model will end up facing competition from the likes of Maruti Ignis and Mahindra KUV100. Also, it would rub shoulders with the top-spec Maruti S-Presso in terms of pricing.
So far, the crossover-hatchback version has been dominated mostly by the Maruti Ignis, while the recently launched crossover-style S-Presso has also found a decent following. It would be now interesting to see if the Hornbill could perform better than its adversaries owing to the image of its carmaker as the maker of some of the most robust SUVs around.