The meteoric rise in the significance of sub-compact SUVs in the Indian market is underlined in bold red and highlighted in a bright shade of fluorescent by the number of new launches that have taken place in recent times. The massively-popular segment was almost non-existent till a few years ago but now sees competing products from almost every major car manufacturer in the country. While the SUV-ish proportions may be the underlying factor for the rise in the segment's prominence, other factors such as attractive price structures, mile-long feature list, spacious cabin and design philosophies may also be working well for the cars here. As such, prospective buyers in the Indian market now have a problem of plenty.
In many ways, Vitara Brezza is considered to have been the product that set the segment alive. First showcased at Auto Expo 2016, the Maruti Suzuki product took the crown, almost seized it, with a whole lot of vigour. Subsequent years saw Hyundai driving in a feature-packed Venue and Mahindra offering the five-star safety rated XUV300. Despite all its challenges, 2020 has also seen key launches like the Sonet from Kia and the Ubran Cruiser from Toyota.
And there are new entrants warming up.
Magnite from Nissan is gearing up for a launch which is expected end November while Renault is giving finishing touches to its own product for the segment and the market.
Question then is: Is now the absolutely right time to buy a sub-compact SUV.
The ambiguous answer is maybe but the definite answer would be no.
While each buyer has his or her own need which decides how soon to buy a vehicle, the sub-compact SUV segment does have a whole lot of options which would make making an informed decision after comparisons the practical option. The offerings from Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Kia, Mahindra and Toyota are with their respective strengths and follies. And yet, if the need is not quite urgent, it would be better to wait for the two upcoming offerings - from Nissan and Renault.
This is because while both Nissan and Renault are relatively sideline players to the likes of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, both are determined to change that status and are aiming to prop up their respective offerings as their biggest weapons yet.
Even otherwise, since both launches are slated for the next couple of months, buyers with the privilege of time may factor in the new products while homing in on their final choice.
What is certain here is that while the newer offerings may or may not be at par with the existing offering - or they may be better, of course, the best option here may be to factor in as many options as possible before driving in in that sub-compact SUV.