The Hyundai Creta has been enjoying a free run in the Indian compact SUV segment ever since its launch back in 2015. A vast engine portfolio as well as loads of features have helped the Creta, which received a facelift recently, cement its position as the number one SUV in its segment. This has led to various other carmakers announcing their intention to launch a host of compact SUVs in an attempt to replicate Hyundai’s success. Here’s a list of eight compact SUVs that are set to arrive in India by 2020.
Launch: January 2019
The Nissan Kicks is expected to put the Japanese manufacturer back on track in India. It is Nissan’s first all-new product in years and can be viewed as a make-or-break model for the company. Based on the Renault Captur’s B0 platform, the India-spec Kicks is longer, taller and wider than the Micra-based model sold overseas. The carmaker seems to have packaged the Kicks well with features such as a 360-degree camera, a semi-digital instrument cluster, LED headlamps and more in a bid to appeal to the masses. It’ll even be offered with the brilliant 1.5-litre K9k diesel engine that powers a host of Renault and Nissan cars in India. And yes, there will be a petrol option too.
Kia SP-Based SUV
Launch: September 2019
Hyundai’s sister company Kia is set to begin its Indian innings in September 2019 with the launch of the production version of the Kia SP Concept. Based on a modified version of the platform that underpins the Hyundai Creta, the Kia SP Concept-based SUV promises to be a competitive and feature-rich offering. Kia recently ran a naming contest for the SUV and the ‘Tusker’ had been ahead of other options in the poll, which was closed quite recently. The Kia SUV is expected to share a lot of components with its sibling, the Creta. And Kia is planning to heavily localise the SUV to keep its price in check.
Second-gen Renault Duster
Although Renault hasn’t confirmed the launch of the second-gen Duster yet, it is likely to be introduced in the country sometime next year. Already on sale in markets like Europe and the Middle East, the new Duster has retained the classic boxy and muscular design of its predecessor, while addressing issues such as the low-rent dashboard. It also packs a new infotainment system with the latest connectivity solutions - Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Tried-and-tested engines, especially the potent 1.5-litre K9k diesel, will continue to power the new SUV. Like the current model, it is expected to be the only SUV to feature an AWD (all-wheel-drive) system with independent rear suspension setup.
Launch: Expected in 2019
Following a top-down approach, Jeep's next product for the Indian market is expected to be its globally popular Renegade compact SUV. The recent facelift has not only added more features to its equipment list, but it now also comes with new turbocharged petrol engines. The Renegade carries its own charm thanks to the Wrangler-inspired boxy styling. If launched, the Renegade will hope to cash in on the reputation built by the Compass over the last year and a half.
Launch: Expected in 2019
Honda's global compact SUV contender, the HR-V, has long been missing from the Indian market. The HR-V shares its platform and several bits with the Jazz and the City, which are heavily localised in the country. The HR-V received a mid-life update in various global markets quite recently. The HR-V’s equipment list looks quite competitive with goodies such as full-LED lighting inside-out, a panoramic sunroof and Honda’s Magic seats, and more. Beside the existing 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol, the HR-V will soon get the 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine in Europe. With Honda adding a diesel engine to the HR-V’s engine portfolio for the first time ever, we are quite hopeful that the compact SUV will be launched in India soon.
Volkswagen, which showcased the T-Cross Breeze drop-top compact SUV concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, finally revealed the production-spec version of the SUV recently. Called the T-Cross, the compact SUV will be offered in three versions tailored for various market requirements, namely Brazil, Europe and China India is likely to receive the Brazil-spec SUV by 2020. The Brazil- and China-spec SUVs feature a longer wheelbase. It is, in fact, identical to the wheelbase of the Virtus (second-gen Vento) sedan, which is yet to make its way to India. The Euro-spec model, on the other hand, is smaller as its wheelbase is nearly the same as the new Polo. The T-Cross is a feature-rich offering with goodies such as a fully-digital instrument cluster, a sliding rear seat with variable boot space, a panoramic sunroof, and others. So far, a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine has been confirmed for the India-spec T-Cross compact SUV.
'Made-in-India’ Skoda SUV
Launch: Late 2020
The made-in-India and heavily localised Skoda SUV is reported to be the Czech carmaker’s version of the Volkswagen T-Cross. It is set to become the first product under VW Group’s ‘2020 India 2.0’ midterm business plan. While the platform will be identical, both SUVs – the T-Cross and Skoda made-in-India SUV – will have different top hats, unlike the current-gen Rapid and Vento. However, both SUVs will share other mechanical bits as well as features to keep costs in check.
Pictured: Skoda Kamiq's sketch for representation
Launch: July 2015 Facelift: 2018 Next-gen model: Expected in late 2020
There’s a possibility that by the time the VW T-Cross arrives on our shore, Hyundai might launch the second-gen Creta. That’s because the popular SUV will be over five years old by then and that’s generally the Hyundai gives a certain model before it introduces a replacement. The next-gen Creta will, in all likelihood, feature a much bolder design, quite like the India-bound Santa-Fe and Kona Electric. Like the aforementioned cars, the next-gen Creta is likely to feature a split headlamp and DRLs setup along with a larger cascading grille. It will continue to be a feature-rich offering with goodies like a sunroof, wireless charger, power adjustable driver seat and more. Like the current model, it should come with petrol and diesel manual and automatic powertrain options.
Renault Captur Update: 2019
While the Renault Captur is a pretty well-loaded SUV, it falls behind the aforementioned SUVs when it comes to the infotainment department. Renault currently offers the old-school Media Nav 2 across its Indian lineup, right from the Kwid to the flagship Captur. The new Media Nav Evolution infotainment system, which was announced at the Paris Motor Show this year, is expected to make its debut in India with the second-gen Duster. Hence, expect Renault to update the Captur with the same system post the launch of the once-popular SUV.
Only time will tell how the MQB A0-based VW Group SUVs as well as the others mentioned above fare against the best-selling Hyundai Creta. Moreover, upcoming mid-size SUVs such as the Tata Harrier and the MG SUV are expected to undercut their segment in terms of pricing, which will square them up against higher variants of these compact SUVs. So, expect fierce competition in the compact SUV segment by the time the VW Group launches its upcoming, locally-made SUVs in India.