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New Tata small SUV planned for launch – Rival to next gen Maruti Alto 2020

The micro-SUV marketing which is currently served by the Maruti Ignis and Mahindra KUV100 looks set to witness a lot of action in the coming years and Tata Motors is keen on taking advantage of this trend. Given the Nexon sub-4 crossover has found a comfortable rhythm in the market, it’s now time for Tata to focus on a smaller UV offering.

The automaker is currently working on a micro-SUV which is internally called as Hornbill (codename X445). The new Tata small SUV was initially supposed to be market-ready by 2022 but according to Economic Times, the project’s timeline has been advanced by a year to 2021. The segment looks like it’s about to explode and Tata Motors wants to be ready with a relevant product when that happens.

New small SUV of Tata will sit below Nexon. Sketch of Nexon concept used for reference.

Without confirming the existence of Hornbill or its revised timeline, Mayank Pareek, President of Tata’s PV business unit, said that India sells over 1 million hatchbacks and about 58% of these customers replace their cars every six years. A micro-SUV would be a good alternative to those customers looking for an upgrade.

Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, India’s leading passenger car makers, also seem to agree that this segment is the one to watch out for. The former is working on a micro-SUV to complement the Ignis while the latter is studying the market for a similar product. In all this, Maruti is already working on the new gen Alto, which will be coming with SUVish looks by 2020. Its design was showcased as a concept at the Auto Expo earlier this year, as seen in the image below.

New Maruti small car will have its design inspired from the Future-S Concept which was showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo.

Coming back to Tata Hornbill, the micro-SUV would be based on Tata’s upcoming Advanced Modular Platform (AMP) which will make its debut with the production version of 45X. The architecture will also underpin a Honda City-rivaling mid-size sedan which was previewed by the EVision concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The Hornbill is expected to borrow its powertrain range from the Tiago to keep the costs in check. This means, we can expect a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, 1.05-litre turbo diesel, both mated either to a 5-MT or a 5-AMT.

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