Top 5 Indian Cars In Their Own Niche
As certain segments have faced increased competition, these mass-market models have carved out a space of their own
The Indian automotive space is split into multiple categories and segments based on varying criteria. The most widely used basis for categorisation are size and price, which makes it easier to understand how carmakers are positioning their models and against what competitors. However, each new category begins as a niche started by one or two models which may or may not become popular enough to be considered a proper segment. Today, we’re looking at the top five mass-market models in India that have made a niche for themselves with their unique proposition:
Prices: Rs 5.93 lakh to Rs 9.49 lakh
The Punch is Tata’s entry-level SUV offering, positioned under the Nexon subcompact SUV, occupying a segment termed as micro-SUV. Unlike the Renault Kwid and Maruti S-Presso, it is a proper crossover with a premium feature set with proportions bigger. Its length is similar to that of the Maruti Swift while being wider and taller with a healthy ground clearance of 187mm.
The equipment list of the Punch includes a 7-inch central display for the infotainment system, a semi-digital instrument cluster, auto AC, auto headlamps, and cruise control. It is only offered with a 86PS 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual with the choice of an AMT as well.
Prices: Rs 5.92 lakh to Rs 8.51 lakh
The Triber was Renault’s first new model in India after many years. It is a sub-4 metre offering with three-rows of seats and MPV-like styling. The seating layout is highly configurable to suit various purposes, and the two seats in the back can even be removed entirely. With the discontinuation of the Datsun GO Plus, the Triber is the only offering that kind of utility in that size.
Renault offers the Triber with a 72PS 1-litre petrol engine with choice of 5-speed MT or AMT. It has a mixed bag of features with an 8-inch touchscreen, digitised instrument cluster, four airbags and dedicated vents for the second and third rows featuring a separate cooling coil. However, it does not get comforts like auto AC, cruise control, fog lamps or even any alloy wheels.
Mahindra Scorpio N
Prices: Rs 11.99 lakh to Rs 23.9 lakh
Mahindra has managed to carve a niche among the compact to mid-size SUVs with its most recent model, the Scorpio N. It is a seven-seater offering as standard with similar proportions to the XUV700. It even gets the same powertrain options - a 2.2-litre diesel engine offering up to 175PS and 400Nm, and a 2-litre turbo-petrol unit making 203PS and up to 380Nm. Both engines get the choice of 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, while the diesel is also offered with 4WD.
While the Scorpio N is a relatively premium offering compared to its predecessor, it is still a rugged alternative to the XUV700. Its feature list includes dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, 8-inch infotainment touchscreen display, 7-inch display in the instrument cluster, and front and rear cameras.
Prices: Rs 5.71 lakh to Rs 8.06 lakh
The first mass-market car from Citroen in India is the C3. It brings French SUV-like styling to the hatchback space along with a spacious cabin and excellent ride quality. However, its feature list is too bare to compete with similarly sized models like the Maruti Baleno, Swift and Hyundai i20. At the same time, the C3’s equipment and pricing positions it closer to the Maruti Wagon R, Celerio and Tata Tiago. As a result, the C3 exists between segments with no direct competition.
Citroen has equipped the C3 with a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen as the star of the cabin. Some of the comforts on offer include a manual AC, steering mounted audio controls, and a digitised instrument cluster. The C3 is offered with two petrol engines -a 82PS 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated unit, and a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine with 110PS and 190Nm. The former is mated to a five-speed manual while the latter gets a six-speed manual.
Tata Nexon EV
Prices: Rs 14.99 lakh to Rs 20.04 lakh
The Indian electric car segment has been dominated by the Tata Nexon EV since its debut in 2020. It is an all-electric version of the usual Nexon sub-4 metre SUV and is currently available in two versions with different battery sizes. The Nexon EV Prime uses a 30.2kWh battery pack for a claimed range of 312km while the Nexon EV Max version has a 40.5kWh and a claimed range of 437km.
The Nexon EV continues to be the prime mass-market long range EV in India. It is fairly well-equipped too with features like a 7-inch touchscreen display, air purifier, cruise control and even gets ventilated front seats in the highest specification. However, Tata’s solo journey in this space is about to end with the introduction of the Mahindra XUV400 and an MG sub-4m electric SUV in 2023. Until then, the Nexon EV continues to be in a league of its own.
All prices listed above are ex-showroom, Delhi
Read More on : Tata Nexon EV Prime Automatic
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