While there are plenty of excellent sub-4 metre B-SUV options in India, when it comes to premium B-SUVs like the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Creta, the decent choices are limited. Here are five global premium B-SUVs we'd like to see in our market in the future:
Honda HR-V (Honda Vezel)
One of the most anticipated premium B-SUVs in the Indian market from a very long time is the Honda HR-V (Honda Vezel) that slots below the Honda CR-V in Honda’s global lineup. Introduced globally back in 2013 for the first time, the Honda HR-V was given its mid-cycle update in 2018, which saw the vehicle getting a fresher front fascia and introduction of some new features onboard.
Honda had evaluated the HR-V for India for a long time and ruled it out owing to high costs. The HR-V was deemed too expensive for our market because of its sophisticated equipment. However, the relaxed import norms motivated the company to reconsider the model, and this led to giving the project a go. The plan is to import the SUV's knocked-down kits from Thailand and locally assemble them, at the Noida plant.
The first-gen Honda HR-V is reaching towards the end of its lifecycle now, but it will still be launched here to gauge the market response. Limited numbers will be imported, no more than 2,500 units in one whole year, just enough to understand if it would be worth investing in the local manufacturing of the next-gen model due in 2020 and launching it as a high-volume product in our market. Road testing in the country has commenced, and the launch is scheduled to take place this festive season.
Given its dimensions (length – 4295 mm, width – 1770 mm, height – 1605 mm, wheelbase – 2610 mm, ground clearance – 180 mm), the Honda HR-V will slot perfectly in the premium sub-compact SUV segment. However, with its coupe-like stance and a rounded profile, it looks more like a crossover rather than SUV.
The updated version of the Honda HR-V gets all the premium features, which are becoming standard in all the recent Honda offerings, like full LED headlamps, sleek chrome grille, 17-inch machined alloy wheels, sunroof, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
The Honda HR-V will likely be available in India with a 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol engine (141 PS/174 Nm) paired with a CVT and a 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine (120 PS/300 Nm) linked to a 6-speed MT, exclusively in front-wheel drive. Expect the prices to start at around INR 15 lakh (ex-showroom).
It's a shame that the Nissan Juke isn't sold in India, where there's a huge appetite for sub-compact SUVs. Introduced in 2010, the Nissan Kicks is the model that globally popularised the segment. Over 1 million units of this premium B-SUV with a quirky front-end and a coupe-style falling roofline have been made by now.
A full-model change is on the works. The second-gen Nissan Juke will be unveiled to the world at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It will be underpinned by the CMF-B platform and be a way more sophisticated than the market-specific outdated platform (B0/Logan)-based Nissan Kicks sold in India. Don't expect it to hit our market until early next decade, and that's hoping Nissan has learnt its lesson from the Kicks and plans to discard it after the first generation here.
While MG has already confirmed the electric version of the ZS, the eZS, for India, the standard ZS is still not in the plans. Also, while the eZS will be positioned as a niche product with limited availability and be very expensive because of being an import, the standard ZS could be a locally manufactured, high-volume model.
The MG ZS measures 4,314 mm in length, 1,809 mm in width and 1,624 mm in height. It has a 2,585 mm wheelbase. The China-made premium B-SUV is packed with features like LED headlamps and DRLs, 17-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, dual-tone interiors, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, electrically adjustable front seats and push-button start.
The MG ZS is available with two engine options internationally – a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (125 PS/170 Nm) and a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine (106 PS/141 Nm). 5-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed torque converter are the transmission choices.
The Ford Puma nameplate has been rejuvenated, for the successor of the Ford EcoSport in Europe.
The Ford Puma might look like a bigger hatch and not a conventional SUV to one. However, the bulked-up body and the curvy styling inspired by the new generation Fiesta gives it a striking road presence with the sportiness.
The Ford Puma is armed with all new and contemporary features like LED headlamps, tail lamps and daytime running lights, a 12.3-inch full LCD instrument console, 8-inch floating style touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, 10-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system, tyre pressure monitoring system, semi-autonomous park assist, adaptive cruise control and electric tailgate.
The Ford Puma is available with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine is available in two states tune – 125 PS and 155 PS, with both the versions getting a 48V mild-hybrid setup. 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic will be the transmission choices. Later, a 1.5-litre diesel engine will be introduced.
Undoubtedly the most radical-looking option in this segment, the Toyota C-HR has the potential of creating ripples in the segment, owing to its extremely extrovert design language in and out as well as Toyota’s legendary quality and reliability levels.
The Toyota C-HR looks quite sharp and aggressive with swanky-looking LED headlamps and tail lamps. The sports coupe-like design does give the Toyota C-HR a stand-out road presence. With other noteworthy features like 18-inch machined-face alloy wheels, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 9-speaker JBL premium sound system, dual-zone automatic climate control and ambient lighting.
In global markets, the Toyota C-HR is being offered with a choice of two conventional engine options – 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol and 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol. A 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT sends drive to the wheels. There's a full-hybrid variant too, using a 1.8-litre petrol engine along with an electric motor.