With Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai joining the fray, compact crossovers are set to soar

Compact crossovers have been a rage in India for quite some time now. Surprisingly though, not one of the top six car-makers have a representation in this booming segment till date. Its hard to believe but the fact is even Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai, the compact car kings that are quick to identify emerging trends in the market and respond, were caught napping. But, all that is about to change. As if to compensate for the time and volumes lost all these years, both the biggies are on the prowl all guns blazing with their respective crossover offerings. If we were Renault or Ford, we would be very worried.

First up would be the Hyundai Creta slated for launch towards the end of this month. With the South Korean brand in terrific form after back-to-back hits in Grand i10, Xcent and Elite i20, the Creta has risen to become one of the most eagerly awaited launches in recent years. Based on the ix25 that's been on sale in China for almost a year now, the Creta wears Version 2.0 of Hyundai's striking 'Fluidic Sculpture' design language. Powering this cute ute are a range of engines borrowed from the Verna - a 1.6-liter petrol and 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter diesel engines. Mated to them are 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, with the latter available only with the 1.6-liter diesel. This is Creta's biggest USP as the most-affordable diesel SUV on sale now costs upward of INR 30 Lakhs. Fellow automotive journalists who have experienced the Creta first hand have come back raving about its interior quality, fit and finish as well as the features on offer. Connect all the dots and we are probably looking at the next big hit in the Indian automotive industry.

Joining the fray not far behind Creta would be Maruti-Suzuki's S-Cross. Unveiled earlier this week, the India-spec S-Cross boasts a couple of oil-burners under its hood. The big news is the new Fiat-sourced 1.6-liter diesel engine, dubbed DDiS 320. Of course, the popular 1.3-liter DDiS engine that also does duty in the Swift, Dzire, Ertiga and Ciaz is on the cards too. To tackle the competition, Maruti-Suzuki is said to have equipped the S-Cross with a whole lot of features too while the cabin itself looks pretty upmarket. Though the erstwhile premium products from Maruti-Suzuki - Baleno, Grand Vitara and Kizashi - flopped badly in India, the Ciaz has been a big hit recently. Maruti-Suzuki is hoping to carry on the momentum with the S-Cross by positioning it as a premium crossover. In fact, the Japanese brand is in the process of setting up exclusive sales outlets under the brand name 'Nexa' for retailing the S-Cross. With so much efforts being put in by the country's most influential car-maker, the S-Cross could be in for a big haul, its staid design and styling notwithstanding.

Mahindra, Honda, Toyota and Tata are said to be working on compact crossovers and sports utility vehicles of their own too, with all of them hitting the market within the next couple of years. 

The Renault Duster and Ford Ecosport may have enjoyed a monopoly all these days priced and positioned differently but their numbers are under serious threat right now. For the discerning Indian customer though, it can't get any better. The compact crossovers have well and truly arrived on the Indian scene!


  1. The S-Cross with the superb Fiat 1.6 Multijet engine would beat Hyundai Creta handsomely. Moreover this is a Maruti product.

    1. The S-Cross appears to be good no doubt, but don't under estimate the Hyundai. The Creta has all the makings of a big winner and will no doubt be a hit in India.