Hyundai AX1 micro SUV: What to expect from the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, Tata HBX rival

A new small Hyundai is expected to make its global debut soon. Aimed to be an SUV smaller than the Venue, we believe it will arrive in India eventually. So here is what we can expect from the Hyundai AX1.

By:May 5, 2021 3:39 PM

The Hyundai AX1 is a codename given to an upcoming micro SUV from the Korean marquee. The official name is still locked in a safe somewhere in Seoul. But the automaker has hinted with a couple of obscure teaser pictures of the AX1 SUV, meaning a full reveal is around the corner. At the moment, nothing is set in stone by Hyundai in terms of specifications and what it would offer. The test mule images and the two teaser images are the only real evidence we have at hand. However, what we can do at the moment is take a look back at trends and see what could Hyundai possibly have in store with the AX1.

The AX1 will be an SUV that will be positioned below the Venue SUV. Like the Venue, the AX1 will be a global product, but we believe it will see more demand in places like India, Asia and Africa. Sticking to the Indian context, there are two possible scenarios for the Hyundai AX1.

The Budget Offering Scenario

The first route Hyundai could choose to take is to make the AX1 micro SUV a budget offering. Keep costs down as much as possible, keep it bare bones equipped with the bare necessities and fit it right in the firing line of the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, Renault Kwid and the Datsun Redi-Go.

The Premium-Bridge Scenario

The second choice available for Hyundai is to position the AX1 half a step higher to bridge the micro SUVs like the S-Presso and Kwid, but also try and steal away some market share from a segment higher which include models like the Mahindra KUV 100 NXT, Maruti Suzuki Ignis, and the upcoming Tata HBX.

Hyundai AX1 Engine Choices

When it comes to matters of the heart, Hyundai has a few motors in its arsenal. But it will all come down to how Hyundai wants to package and price the micro SUV. As the model would be positioned somewhere in parallel to the current Santro, Hyundai does have the 1.1-litre 4-cylinder engine at its disposal. However origins of the engine are quite old, and Hyundai does have a line of modern engines at hand. the other path available is a two-engine offering with the modern 1.0-litre GDI motor for the lower spec and the 1.0-litre Turbo-GDI engine (tuned to 99bhp) for the higher-spec models. Additionally, the 1.2-litre petrol motor from the Grand i10 Nios may also be an engine that Hyundai may look to equip the AX1 with.

Hyundai AX1 Transmission Choices

A manual transmission option would be offered as standard regardless of the engine path Hyundai chooses to go for. If the GDI or Turbo GDI engines are chosen, it is possible that the new iMT could be offered with the AX1. The other two engine options could see themselves with the automated manual transmissions seen on the Santro and the Grand i10 Nios.

The sensible choice?

Looking at the trends that Hyundai seems to follow, it doesn’t want itself to be considered as a budget brand. It wants to be a premium player in every segment it can. With offerings that cater to all and more needs that a customer is looking for, and an acceptable and competitive price. Setting new benchmarks, and possibly bridging segments if not creating new ones. In all likely hood, the AX1 will also see the same treatment.

We believe that Hyundai could position the AX1 in the middle. The lower trims would eat into the demand for the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso and Renault Kwid, while the higher-spec versions taking a bite out of the market populated by the Mahindra KUV 100 NXT, Maruti Suzuki Ignis and the likes; In the same fashion as the Nissan Magnite is doing to the compact hatchback and the sub-compact SUV segments.

The AX1 would most likely be borrowing some kit from the Grand i10 Nios while improving on the items available in the Santro. We currently wait for Hyundai to reveal the model. It is unconfirmed if Hyundai will showcase a concept vehicle first at the global unveil before we see the actual product. Hyundai India is currently working to launch the Alcazar. It is yet to confirm the AX1 for the Indian market.

But as demand for such type of vehicle is quite high in the Indian market, if the AX1 does arrive, the best-case scenario would see it being launched by late 2021, and the latest would be by mid-2022. For now, we shall wait for Hyundai to unlock the safe, and put our anticipations to rest.

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