The Tata HBX (rumoured as Hornbill) concept was showcased at the Geneva Auto Show in 2019, The car was able to capture the attention of the Indian audience and we have been anticipating its launch ever since. As claimed by Tata, the concept was 90% production ready and was supposed to be launched at the beginning of FY21. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the launch of this mini compact SUV. It is now expected to be launched in Q3 or Q4 of FY21. Once launched, this is how the Tata HBX could disrupt the much sought after compact SUV segment-
Yes, we are getting right to the price, since that will be one of the USPs of the SUV. The Tata HBX will be placed below the Tata Altroz in Tata’s line up and the expected price is between ₹4.5L-7.5L. The Renault Kiger and the Nissan Magnite have already created a price segment for themselves with the price they offer. Their sales numbers have only kept moving northwards since their launch and the pricing has played a key role in making them a success. Renault and Nissan have proved that a good SUV need not have a huge price tag and consumers are more likely to choose a product that delivers value for their money. If the HBX lives up to the rumoured price and features, it is sure to attract a majority of consumers who are in the market for a budget compact SUV.
Like the pricing, the design and styling of the HBX is expected to be aggressive. It is based on Tata’s Impact 2.0 design philosophy. The car has an upright SUV stance, a split headlamp setup like we see on the Harrier and the newly launched Safari, the LED DRLs that double up as the turn indicators, a very aggressive front end and so on. Based on some spy shots, Tata has toned down the ruggedness of the SUV a bit. However, it still retains its butch character. This is a very unique design in this segment and is sure to grab a ton of attention.
We expect the interiors to be as seen on the concept – a floating touchscreen infotainment system, steering mounted controls, auto AC, push-button start, projector headlamps, rear parking camera and sensors, and maybe even the little compass. Tata might also offer some optional add-ons, like an adventure package that has bigger wheels, the roof carrier mounted with the spare wheel and jerry cans, and some additional features.
We expect the HBX to get the same tried and tested 1.2L Revotron petrol engine that powers the Tata Altroz. This naturally aspirated engine churns out 86PS of power and 115 Nm of peak torque. The powertrain will be mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and we expect to see it being offered with an AMT unit as well. There are no talks of a diesel offering right now, however, Tata may launch one later.
The Tata HBX is set to enter a crowded compact SUV market, however, it sure has a lot of things going for it. If Tata is able to deliver these features in the production variant of the HBX, they already have a winner on their hands. This car will not only redefine the compact SUV segment but more likely will create a new one for itself. Given the price range, it will be a perfect micro-SUV going up against the Suzuki Ignis, Mahindra KUV NXT, and the upcoming Hyundai AX1.