Hyundai upcoming micro-SUV (Ai3) will be based on Grand i10 platform and share some of the features with Casper hatchback sold in South Korea
As an answer to Tata Punch’s spectacular success, Hyundai is readying a new small SUV codenamed Ai3. There’s plenty of scope for new products in the lower tier sub 4m SUV segment, as an increasing number of buyers are switching from hatchbacks to an SUV experience.
Hyundai will launch its mini-SUV in India later this year, around the festive season. Ahead of that, it has now been spied in India for the first time. It will be competitively priced and expected to offer a comprehensive range of features. Other contenders in this space are Citroen C3, Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger.
Hyundai mini-SUV styling – To be loaded with features, have sunroof
Hyundai mini-SUV has a boxy, compact profile, which makes it suitable for busy urban streets. As compared to the conventional hatchbacks, the small-SUV has a far more dominating persona. Although the test mule is heavily camouflaged, some of the exposed sections reveal sharp body panelling and thick body cladding. These features further enhance the mini-SUVs street presence.
Some of the key highlights include a compact, sculpted bonnet, H-shaped lighting element, LED headlamps, compact grille and prominent bumper. Side profile has dual-tone ORVMs with integrated turn indicators, blacked out pillars, roof rails and sporty alloy wheels. At rear, Hyundai small SUV gets shark fin antenna, edgy tail lamps and thickish bumper. As compared to the rest of the car, the rear section seems more familiar with the design of a hatchback.
Hyundai has always focused on introducing segment-first features, a strategy that has been hugely successful. It will be safe to assume that the upcoming mini-SUV will be getting the same treatment. The single-pane sunroof has already been spotted and there could be more goodies on the inside.
While it has a compact profile, Hyundai small-SUV will have ample space for four adult passengers. It will be dimensionally close to Tata Punch that is 3,827 mm long and 1,742 mm wide. Hyundai mini-SUV is expected to have a wheelbase of around 2,450 mm. Cabin will be intelligently designed to ensure adequate space for all passengers.
Hyundai small-SUV performance – Best in class?
New Hyundai Small SUV is expected to borrow powertrain options from cars like Grand i10 and Venue. One option could be the 1.2-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder petrol motor that churns out 75 bhp of max power and 95 Nm of peak torque. Top-spec variants could get the 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor that makes 99 bhp and 172 Nm.
While there won’t be a diesel option, Hyundai mini-SUV could eventually get CNG variants. Tata Punch is also expected to get CNG, although there hasn’t been an official statement from the company. Fitting CNG in a mini-SUV can compromise a lot of space. So, it will be definitely challenging if not impossible for both Hyundai and Tata Motors. Electric versions of these mini-SUVs can also be launched, as already seen with Citroen eC3.