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Delhi show: SUVs all the rage at Indian show

Coupe style: The Mahindra XUV Aero concept's rear styling mimics that of the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe.

Local manufacturers Tata and Mahindra show off new concepts at Delhi


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8 Feb 2016

INDIAN car-makers Tata and Mahindra have had a starring role at this year's Delhi Auto Expo, with a series of concepts and new production models creating buzz for both brands on the show stands.

Local-market heavyweight Tata showed off a couple of SUV models in production guise, indicating they will be ready to be sold in India in the coming months.

First was the Nexon crossover, a diminutive high-riding hatch comparable in size with the Mazda CX-3 and Indian-built Ford EcoSport.

Revealed at the Delhi show two years ago as a concept, the Nexon will be paired with either a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, or a 81kW/260Nm 1.5-litre turbo-diesel unit.

Tata also revealed the Hexa, a larger, more richly appointed SUV based on the Aria MPV, a people-mover sold in India.

The Hexa features an interior boasting a 5.0-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, six airbags and a reversing camera.

It will be powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 115kW and 400Nm.

Despite a considerable range of models in the Tata stable, the Indian giant has been hesitant to dive into the Australian market with passenger cars and SUVs, as it has previously stated that it will wait until the standard of their vehicles meets Australian consumer expectations.

It currently offers the Xenon utility range Down Under that retails from $19,990 driveaway.

Indian rival Mahindra ripped the covers off the XUV Aero, which channels the design of the BMW X4/X6, with its sloping rear end and muscular front fascia.

It is based on the existing XUV500 SUV, currently on sale in Australia, which uses a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 103kW/330Nm.

Maruti Suzuki, the Indian arm of the Japanese brand, also premiered a bunch of new models at Delhi.

First of which was the Ignis, the tiny crossover SUV which is being resurrected after being sold in Australia between 2000 and 2005.

The Ignis is the production version of the previously-shown iM-4 concept, and was first shown at the 2015 Tokyo show.

Suzuki says that the Indian version will largely be the same as its Japanese sibling, with only a few minor changes being made for the local market.

The company also showed off the Baleno RS, which is essentially the same model as the Baleno that was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

The Baleno RS will use a peppy turbocharged three-pot engine, and will go on sale in India later this year.

The three-cylinder turbo engine is not exclusive to Maruti Suzuki and will be used on international models of the Baleno.

Not to be outdone in the SUV segment, Maruti Suzuki also exhibited the new Vitara Brezza, a car that shares most of its DNA with the new Vitara, released in Australia in September last year.

It will use a 1.3-litre turbo-diesel engine paired to a five-speed manual transmission.

The engine choice is notably different to its Australian counterpart, with no oiler present anywhere in Suzuki's Aussie stable.

General Motors subsidiary Chevrolet also showed off two new models at Delhi, the small five-door Essentia sedan concept, and the Beat Activ hatch.

Both built in India, the Essentia is slated for production from 2017 onwards, initially for the Indian markets, with global expansion hopefully coming later.

The Beat is based on the currently outgoing Holden Barina Spark, and according to Indian press speculation, the 2017 Beat is expected to carry over the current Beat’s three-cylinder engine options – the 42kW/142Nm 1.0-litre diesel and 57kW/106Nm 1.2-litre petrol.

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