Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Auto Expo: Maruti Suzuki XA-Alpha concept analysed

Maruti Suzuki XA-Alpha concept was showcased on Day 1 of the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi; we bring you our thoughts about the same.


 Maruti Suzuki, as usual, was the show-opener for the Auto Expo – but contrary to everybody’s expectations of witnessing the launch of the Ertiga on day one – it was the unveiling of the XA-Alpha Concept that got the Expo underway.


In a nutshell, the Maruti Suzuki XA-Alpha is a compact-SUV concept. Its dimensions look very similar to that of the beloved Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, but this concept looks brawny with its muscular design, unlike the understated (and outdated) looks of the Gypsy. Maruti Suzuki implies that the XA-Alpha’s design is inspired from the moves and the body language of Indian wrestlers – and therefore you see the muscular lines and the butch stance on the XA-Alpha. The Lava-red colour in which the XA-Alpha was displayed, is said to add vigor to the overall design.


To us, the concept looks like it is inspired more from the Land Rover Evoque than Indian wrestlers – the receding and floating roofline, the flared wheel-arches, the shape of the air-dams on the front bumper, the gills on the side – they all look too much like the Land Rover Evoque (pictured below). But the XA-Alpha, even in its concept form, doesn’t look even half as polished as the Evoque. But frankly, it doesn’t even need to. Its production version will be look conventional and will be placed in the Rs 8 to 12-lakh bracket – which is at least four steps lower than the segment in which the Evoque dwells.


 We expect the XA-Alpha to go into production in the next couple of years, so probably the 2014 Auto Expo should see a ready-for-the-road version of this concept. When produced, it will compete with the likes of the upcoming Ford EcoSport and the Renault Duster. The model will, in all likelihood, replace the aged Maruti Suzuki Gypsy (and Jimny in the global market). In fact, the production version of the XA-Alpha will be co-developed by the Indian team at Maruti Suzuki, in collaboration with Suzuki’s team in Japan.


Such compact SUVs / Crossovers are soon to become popular in countries like India for their practicality in the congested conditions that our automobiles are subject to day in and day out. If the Gypsy’s cult following is anything to go by, we expect the production version of the XA-Alpha to be a big hit as well!

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