In this day and age, SUVs are the most sought after body style in India. This trend has even reverberated across the globe and carmakers are coming up with SUVs in all price segments to plug the gaps in their portfolios. 2019 has already seen the launch of three SUVs in our country - the Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV300 and Hyundai Venue. And here’s what the rest of 2019 has in store for us.
Kia’s innings in India is set to start soon with the launch of the much-awaited compact SUV based on the SP Concept. Codenamed the SP2i, it was first unveiled at the 2018 Auto Expo and is almost ready for launch. In fact, Kia has also released the first official design sketches of the Hyundai Creta rival. Expected to be called the Trailster or the Tusker in India, the SUV will get BS6-ready 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines at launch. When launched, the Kia SP2i will not only face stiff competition from its Hyundai cousin, the Creta, it will also look to outsell the likes of the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, Nissan Kicks, and the Renault Duster. Expected to be priced between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom), it will also rival midsize SUVs like the Tata Harrier and the upcoming MG Hector.
Expected Launch - September 2019
The MG Hector has finally been unveiled in India. Set to launch in June, the Hector packs a whole host of features. The highlight, though, is MG’s iSmart connected car technology that lets you control various cabin features like AC, tailgate release, opening and closing the sunroof, and more remotely. The Hector will be offered with two engine options: a 2.0-litre diesel good for 170PS of power and 350Nm of torque as well as a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol that churns out 143PS and 250Nm. While both engines will be offered with a 6-speed manual as standard, the petrol engine will also come with the option of a dual-clutch automatic. The petrol motor will also be offered with a 48V mild-hybrid system with idle start-stop function to aid fuel efficiency and torque boost for overtaking. The Hector will be launched in four variants and five colour options. It is likely to be priced in the range of Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh (ex-showroom) and will take on the Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, Mahindra XUV500 as well as the Hyundai Tucson.
Expected Launch - June, 2019
* Image for representational purposes
Mahindra is working on a new generation update for the Thar which is expected to be revealed at the 2020 Auto Expo. It will be based on a new ladder-frame chassis. The engine will also be a new 2.0-litre diesel unit that will be BS6-compliant and will be used in other Mahindra vehicles too. The Thar’s cabin is also expected to get plusher, with Mahindra ditching the barebones approach. A hard top version of the Thar has also been spotted on public roads and Mahindra could choose to offer it as a separate variant too. Previously, the hard top for the Thar was only available as an accessory. Expect it to be priced around Rs 10 lakh mark. In its second generation, the Thar will offer better creature comforts as the new version will focus on improving the passenger experience.
Expected Launch - Early 2020
Back in March, Tata Motors revealed the Buzzard at the Geneva Motor Show. It was pegged as the seven-seater Harrier slated for an India launch before the end of 2019. The seven-seater Harrier will not be called the Buzzard when it is launched in India and will get a different moniker for our market. It will use the same 2.0-litre diesel engine of the Harrier, but in a higher state of tune. An automatic gearbox, a 6-speed torque converter from Hyundai, is also expected to be offered right from launch. If there is demand, Tata will also consider offering a 4x4 option as well. When launched in India, we expect the Buzzard to command a premium of Rs 1 lakh or more over the Harrier, which retails between Rs 12.70 lakh and Rs 16.26 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi). Mahindra’s XUV500 will be a direct rival to the Buzzard, thanks to its seven-seat configuration.
Expected Launch - October, 2019
Jeep will launch the hardcore, off-road-focused version of its standard Compass by July this year. Christened the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, the SUV gets better off-road capabilities in the form of an Active Drive Low 4X4 system, off-road-specific suspension, tyres and protective skid plate. The engine is the same 2.0-litre diesel unit (173PS/350Nm) also seen on the regular Compass. However, it will be compliant with BS6 emission norms when it makes its way to the Trailhawk. On the outside, the Trailhawk variant features a chunkier front bumper which should tackle harsh terrain better. The rear bumper is beefier as well, with the iconic red tow hook. Inside, the gloss black inserts have made way for more off-road-specific features. The Trailhawk variant will also debut the long-awaited diesel-automatic combo for the Compass. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is expected to be priced around Rs 26 lakh when it hits showrooms.
Expected Launch - July 2019
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