Maruti Suzuki on Tuesday announced its entry into the compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) market with the launch of the Vitara Brezza at an introductory price of Rs 7.35 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).
Designed and developed fully in India by, it will not only take on the likes of Ford EcoSport and Mahindra TUV300, but will also compete with Hyundai Creta and Renault Duster. The Brezza whose top-end costs Rs 10.14 lakh is the second most affordable SUV after the TUV300.
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Maruti has launched the Brezza only with a diesel engine for now and has used the same 1.3 litre engine which is also seen in the Swift and Dzire.
The engine is claimed to return a mileage of 24.3 kmpl. But, a petrol engine could be added later depending on demand, company officials said. The EcoSport, Creta and Duster are the only models in this class of sub-Rs 10 lakh that offer petrol engines.
Maruti Suzuki Managing Director Kenichi Ayukawa stated that like the compact car segment the company will look for leadership position in the compact SUV segment , too. “Vitara Brezza marks our entry into the popular compact SUV segment. No doubt, we want to be the leader in this segment”.
Maruti enters compact SUV segment However, Brezza does not look as powerful as its peers in terms of specifications.
For instance, the Ford EcoSport not only has the most powerful engine, but is also the longest in its segment. The SUV will be sold through the traditional Maruti Suzuki outlets and not through Nexa.
The SUV, which will have three trims and seven variants, will have infotainment system and built-in navigation, climate control, automatic headlamps, reverse parking camera, push button start and rain sensing wipers.
Driver-side airbag has been made standard across all variants. It is also the first car in the country that is certified for offset and side impact crash tests which will be enforced in India in 2017.
Another crucial aspect is the option of automated manual transmission (AMT). Several cars where the option is offered like Maruti Alto, Tata Nano, Maruti Celerio and Tata Zest are witnessing a surge in AMT demand.
Mahindra TUV300 is the only SUV in India being offered with an AMT option at present. Maruti officials said the company would explore the possibility of exploring AMT on the Brezza too.
Soon, Brezza will find competition with Honda set to launch its own compact SUV the BR-V and Tata Motors expected to launch the Nexon. Maruti’s arch rival Hyundai will also enter this space with an all-new product slated to hit the market in 2017-18.
General Motors, Skoda, Toyota, Volkswagen are also expected to enter this segment in due course. Companies are rushing to meet consumer demand for smaller SUVs even as buying aspiration remains suitably high.