The introductory video of the Tata H5X Concept and Tata 45X Concept released in February by Tata Motors may have previewed some other future Tata Motors models as well, including the alleged Tata Hornbill (codename: Tata X445) micro-SUV.
From its design and footprint, the Tata Hornbill (if indeed this is), as expected, is a proper Maruti Ignis rival. The butch micro-SUV features a high-set hood, an upper grille that blends into the sleek headlamps and C-shaped aggressive bumper-ends at the front.
On the sides, strong fender volumes are clearly visible. The trapezoidal fenders house wheels of segment-leading size (at least 15-inch). The black C-pillar blades is another interesting detail on the sides of this funky SUV. Thanks to the floating roofline, this model is quite sporty from this angle.
The Tata Hornbill will ride on the Advanced Modular Platform that will debut in the Tata X451 hatchback in 2019. It will likely employ a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine which can meet BS6 norms. Micro-SUVs or cars in that size class don’t feature turbocharged petrol engines because it is an expensive technology for base vehicles. Transmission choices could include 5-speed manual and 5-speed automated manual.
BS VI norms are going to make diesel engines, which are already more expensive than petrol engines, costlier. Diesel engines are already not preferred in the class of the Tata Hornbill (the Maruti Ignis diesel was discontinued this year), and the increased costs is not helping the cause. Data released at the end of last year showed that in the April-November period, 82% of Tiago sold and 83% of Tigor sold employed a petrol engine.
The Tata Hornbill’s launch was initially to take place in 2022, but Tata Motors has advanced it a year seeing the potential in the segment and the few competitors.