What’s common between Bongo, Toppo, That’s, Fuga, Probe and Naked?* All these are unusual-sounding names for a car, or for any product. Add Fronx to the list. It’s an SUV that Maruti Suzuki displayed at the Auto Expo 2023 last week, and which will be launched in the market soon.
“Fronx has a meaning to it,” CV Raman, chief technical officer (Engineering), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, told FE. “It’s a portmanteau of ‘Frontier neXt’. It’s a vehicle with a trendy design, latest features and a catchy name.”
Although the Fronx may look like a crossover version of the Baleno, it’s actually an all-new SUV developed ground-up, keeping in mind what customers expect in an entry-level SUV. It will be positioned below the Brezza (Rs 7.99 lakh to Rs 13.8 lakh).
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“Our studies showed that entry-level SUV customers look for SUV ‘feel’ in a vehicle, like high ground clearance, high seating and macho exteriors. But they also want a value-for-money offering,” Raman said. “The Fronx will meet all their expectations. While it’s being targeted at 25-30 years old first-time car buyers, it’s a car that meets every car buyer’s needs.”
As far as exterior design is concerned, the Fronx has a wide bonnet, roof rails, bold grille, wheel-arch cladding, and day-time running lamps positioned above the headlamps. Inside the cabin, it gets technologies such as advanced telematics, touchscreen and a 360-degree camera.
But what possibly sets it apart is the engine.
A new engine
While the Fronx will have the 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, it will also bring back Maruti Suzuki’s turbocharged engine—the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Boosterjet (last seen on the Baleno RS from 2017-20). “It’s a small, but very powerful engine,” Raman said. “Possibly, on the Baleno RS, this engine didn’t find high acceptance because the Baleno RS didn’t look much different from the regular Baleno. But the Fronx is an altogether different model. When people want to buy a car with a powerful engine, they also want the car to look powerful. The Fronx looks like that.”
Watch Video | Maruti Suzuki Fronx – Crossover or SUV?
What’s in a name?
Coming back to the name, a brand expert FE talked to said that the name is a masterstroke.
Harish Bijoor, brand-strategy expert & founder, Harish Bijoor Consults, told FE that names that are created (like Fronx is a portmanteau of Frontier Next) will always have a unique twang to them, and the Fronx has that. “At the end of the day, a brand name needs to be small and memorable, and hopefully Fronx will be more memorable than something that is generic,” he said.
*(These cars are Kia Bongo, Mitsubishi Toppo, Honda That’s, Nissan Fuga, Ford Probe and Daihatsu Naked.)
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