When you think SUVs, what comes to mind are the large, powerful and imposing SUVs like Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Endeavour and Mitsubishi Pajero. However, things have changed quite a bit and automakers have endorsed a new strategy offering more compact SUVs that retain much of the exterior characteristics of SUVs while sacrificing their off-road ability.
These compact SUVs have shown immense growth in India as compared to the global market. The major contributors to its growth have been from automakers like Ford, Renault, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra, Hyundai, and Tata Motors. Each of these offerings are fundamentally different but at the same time, their compact dimensions and rugged exteriors have made them favourites among Indian drivers.
The Kia Sonet is the newest entrant in the very competitive compact SUV segment. The Kia Sonet is aimed at those looking for a more compact version of the Kia Seltos, which has been very successful in India so far. The Sonet brings the iconic tiger mouth grill along with the premium interior experience Kia is known for.
Inside, you will find a large touchscreen display that dominates the all-black interiors. The Kia Sonet is also equipped with up to 6 airbags on the highest variant and you can expect dual airbags to be standard across the range. Kia is equipping the Sonet with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol, 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine, and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. These engines will be available with either a 7-speed automatic, 6-speed manual, or a 6-speed iMT transmission.
The Kia Sonet has been launched in India at a starting price of Rs. 6.71 lakhs (ex-showroom) and goes up to Rs. 11.99 lakhs (ex-showroom) for the GT Line variant. The Kia Sonet has been priced competitively against other compact SUVs and it is expected that it will do well considering the success Kia has had in India so far.
The Tata Nexon remains one of Tata Motors’ most popular models. While it has received a refresh and an EV variant in its lineup, used Tata Nexon cars continue to offer immense value in the used car market. The quirky styling of the Tata Nexon helps it stand out from most of the boxy designs in the compact SUV segment.
The Tata Nexon has also been given a 5-star NCAP rating, one of the few Indian cars to have received the rating. Performance is delivered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. Being a Tata, you can expect the diesel to offer great driveability while returning good mileage. The Tata Nexon is definitely for those looking for a quirky compact SUV that is feature-loaded and safe.
The new generation Tata Nexon has been priced between Rs. 6.99 lakhs to Rs. 12.70 lakhs. The popularity of this compact SUV means that some great used Tata Nexon cars are available in the used car market starting as low as Rs. 5.59 lakhs on Spinny.
Hyundai Venue is a compact SUV that brings the allure of the larger Hyundai Creta in a smaller form. The distinctive styling has now come to define Hyundai’s SUVs while many segment-first features have made the Venue an attractive small car to own. The reliability of Hyundai’s engines and their comfortable handling further make the Hyundai Venue a great compact SUV perfect for the city.
The Hyundai Venue offers dual airbags as standard safety equipment making it ideal as a city car. Hyundai has also equipped the Venue with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol, 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine, and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. You can expect to find the Hyundai Venue equipped with a 7-speed automatic, a 6-speed manual, or the recently launched 6-speed iMT transmission options.
A new Hyundai Venue is priced between Rs. 6.7 lakhs – Rs. 11.4 lakhs (ex-showroom). It will be some time before prices for used Hyundai Venue cars stabilise in the used car market.
The Renault Duster is a compact SUV that is simplistic in its purpose but excels in its simplicity. The Duster has contemporary design details, with a rugged exterior and sophisticated interior, lending it an impressive stance. The Renault Duster is the only compact SUV on this list that has an AWD variant on offer.
The brand new Renault Duster does away with the 1.5-litre diesel engines for 1.3-litre turbo petrol and 1.5-litre petrol engines. If you’re considering buying a used Renault Duster, expect to find a 89 bhp 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine and a 109 bhp 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine. The rugged Renault Duster boasts ample boot space as well, making it a compact SUV that is capable of off-road camping trips
A new Duster is priced between Rs. 8.49 lakhs – Rs. 13.59 lakhs. However, a used Renault Duster has a starting price of Rs. 4.2 Lakhs only.
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
The Maruti Suzuki Brezza is a car that brought a breath of fresh air to Maruti Suzuki’s offerings in India. The Vitara Brezza revitalized the Vitara SUV brand and brought a practical interior, capable handling, and a compact form factor. While initially being offered with only diesel engines, the BS6 norms has seen this popular SUV become a petrol-only compact SUV.
The Brezza in its name may mean ‘breeze’ but the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza actually took the market by storm. The Vitara Brezza comes powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine on the newest iteration while older models of this compact SUV are available with Maruti Suzuki’s 1.5-litre diesel engine. All variants of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza come equipped with dual airbags as standard.
A new Vitara Brezza has priced between ₹7.34 lakhs – ₹11.2 lakhs. A used Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is priced starting from Rs. 6.73 lakhs.
The Ford EcoSport is the trailblazer compact SUV that manufacturers dream of launching. Ford gave the EcoSport an aggressive exterior that matched it’s much bigger sibling, the Endeavour. On the inside, Ford kitted the EcoSport with a stylish and functional interior. The refreshes throughout its life have ensured the Ford EcoSport remains relevant.
For safety, the Ford EcoSport comes with dual airbags as standard. Powering the Ford EcoSport are 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine options that are responsive and fuel efficient. Ford’s famed handling has been paired with these engines to deliver an engaging compact SUV driving experience.
A new Ford Ecosport has priced between ₹8.54 lakhs – ₹11.7 lakhs. However, a used Ford EcoSport has a starting price of Rs 4.3 Lakh only.
These compact SUVs may not have the off-road capabilities of AWD or 4×4 SUVs but they do bring the defining features down to a more affordable price. Their success is almost entirely down to people wanting a large car for not a large price. This convergence is where these compact SUVs reside and thrive in.