IndianAutosBlog's artist, Shoeb Kalania, has created a digital mockup of the Tata Hornbill micro SUV, based on a design sketch shown in a Tata Motors backgrounder for the Auto Expo 2018 which took place this past February.
The Hornbill, codenamed Tata X445, takes aim at the Maruti Ignis and Mahindra KUV100 when it comes out in 2021. The Hornbill was earlier planned as a 2022 launch, but the company has reportedly advanced it a year owing to the segment's potential. Another reason could be because No.2 player Hyundai is keen to have a car in this segment post the QXi sub-4 meter SUV's introduction.
The Tata Hornbill will ride on the ALFA platform which marks its debut on the upcoming Tata X451 premium hatchback next year. Power is likely to come from a new generation 1.2-liter petrol engine, which could feature an SHVS-like mild hybrid system minding the upcoming CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) norms. However, a diesel variant is unlikely given the declining trend of small diesel cars due to the price of diesel fuel and the cost structures related to a BS6 compliant small diesel engine.
The Maruti Ignis diesel was discontinued earlier this year owing to poor demand, another reason why Tata won't risk introducing a diesel variant on the Hornbill. Besides, Tata's small cars, the Tiago and Tigor, have customer acceptance mainly for their petrol variants (over 82 percent buyers preferred petrol variants). However, we imagine that the micro SUV would offer manual and automated manual gearboxes.
Expect prices for the Hornbill to start in the region of INR 5 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi.