The Renault HBC has been spied testing again and it is expected to hit the showrooms by Diwali this year. It is expected to be priced very aggressively with prices starting from around Rs 6 lakh.
We have already reported to you that Renault is working on a new sub-compact SUV for India to take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the Hyundai Venue and also the upcoming Nissan Magnite. It has been codenamed the HBC and it was previously expected to debut at the 2020 Auto Expo. While that did not happen, Renault has again been spied testing the HBC compact SUV on our roads as lockdown restrictions have begun to ease out.
Immediately at first glance, the Renault HBC looks like a larger cousin of the Kwid. The Kwid already has a crossover-ish stance and with relatively the same design elements on a much larger car, the HBC truly looks like the SUV derivative of the Kwid. There’s a familiar large Renault grille on the face flanked by split LED headlamps on either side just like the Kwid. The SUV will also come with body cladding all around and stylish looking 16-inch wheels. From under the wraps, it looks like the HBC will be a pretty stylish and distinct looking SUV.
This new sub-compact SUV from Renault will slot under the Duster in the French carmaker’s lineup in India. It will be underpinned by the Compact Modular Family (CMF-A) platform. It is the same platform on which the Triber is based and like we have seen with the Triber, Renault has given utmost priority to cabin space with this sub-compact SUV. Although we have not seen interior images of the HBC yet, we expect it to borrow a lot of design elements from the Triber. You can expect features like a touchscreen infotainment systwm with Andriod Auto and Apple CarPlay, cruise control, automatic climate control, digital instrument cluster, keyless entry with push-button start, and steering-mounted audio controls.
The Renault sub-compact SUV will thus be powered by petrol engines only in India. We will see Renault’s 1.0 liter, three cylinder petrol engine making its way into the HBC SUV. This engine produces 72 bhp and 96 Nm of torque. Renault will soon update this engine to comply with the BS-6 norms in the triber and it will be launched in BS-6 guise with the new sub-compact SUV. A 5-speed manual and a 5-speed AMT are expected to be on offer with this engine. There are also talks of Renault introducing a turbocharged petrol engine in India. That could very well be Nissan’s ‘HR10’ three-cylinder turbocharged motor, that makes around 100bhp of power. This engine is likely to be reserved for higher variants of the small SUV.
We expect Renault to price the HBX sub-compact SUV quite aggressively as the the platform it is based on is pretty cost-effective. Prices are likely to be in the Rs 6 lakh to Rs 9 lakh range. It is expected to hit showrooms in Diwali this year and according to a patent filed by Renault earlier, we expect it will be called the ‘Kiger’. With the upcoming Nissan Magnite and then the Kiger and also the Kia Sonet, this segment seems to be getting quite crowded.