The Indian automotive market is seing a mass of people who wish to own an SUV for its practicality. It is quite evident that having an SUV gives a much better image than other vehicles due to its go anywhere ability. Many carmakers have brought their bigger SUVs to the Indian market but due to the larger number of cars running on the Indian roads, the focus has shifted towards owning a compact SUV rather than a bigger one. The automaker that first came out with a compact SUV was Premier with their RiO but due to the less number of showrooms, the vehicle has not seen many going for it.
This unseen segment was then seen by many carmakers but the company that came up early was Renault, with the Duster. Since then, the Duster has been a massive hit for the French automaker. The Duster is sold in India under the Renault badge, rather than Dacia’s. It has now seen a long queue of buyers waiting to buy the SUV.
The Renault Duster is running high on success as it does not have any other competitor currently. It has two diesel options (85 BHP and 108 BHP) along with one petrol version (103 BHP). The diesel is the most popular variant as the Indian market has seen the sudden rise in the price of petrol. Renault has recently added a touch screen system in their top of the line RxZ variant to increase sales. The Duster is a hot favourite in the Indian market due to its muscular styling starting from the wheel arches to the massive front grille. It also possesses a decent amount of space and a large boot adding to the value of the car.
Another compact SUV that is currently creating a buzz in the entire automobile industry is the Ford EcoSport. The company is soon bringing this compact SUV in the Indian market to pit against the already hot-selling Duster. The American automaker is introducing the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine that churns out 120 BHP of power and they are confident this will change the opinion of car buyers on petrol engine, as it is not just good in performance but is also cost-effective.
There will also be another diesel variant of the car employing the 1.5-litre 90 bhp unit from the Fiesta. The EcoSport will be less than 4-metres in length which will enable it to get a duty cut that would make it cheaper than the Duster on taxes without even considering the price of the vehicle. So if priced the right way, this compact SUV could well be a potent rival for the Duster as it is more stylish and better equipped. It’s now time to wait and see if Ford can get its pricing right as it has made many good products like the Fusion and Fiesta go fail due to wrong pricing.
Others to enter the compact SUV space in the near future include Nissan (with the Duster based SUV), Maruti Suzuki (with the production version of the XA Alpha), Volkswagen (with the Taigun but not before 2016), Tata Motors (with the sub 4-metre Aria), Honda (with the Urban SUV), Mahindra (with the S101) and Hyundai (no details available yet).