It has become common knowledge by now, that Tata Motors has been testing the upcoming micro-SUV, the Hornbill (HBX) heavily for quite some time now. The Hornbill is slated for launch very soon and we might actually be able to see the micro-SUV on our roads by mid-2021. The Hornbill will be placed below the Nexon and this will make the challenge very exciting across various segments because of the price range. It may well prove to eat away the market share of the compact SUV or hatchback segments. But let’s not jump the gun here and save our predictions and assumptions for when the HBX actually launches. Till then, let us focus on what we actually know from the spy images that have made their way onto the internet.
Tata Hornbill (HBX) – Exterior and Interior
From what we can tell from all the spy images, the exterior of the Hornbill will almost be identical to the one featured in the Auto Expo 2020. The front has this bold large grille with skid plates and LED DRLs in the bonnet. Like the Harrier, the headlamp unit will be placed down below on the bumper. The rear tail lamps will carry forwards the tri-arrow theme. Since the Hornbill will be based on Tata’s ALFA platform which underpins its premium hatchback, the Altroz, the cabin space is bound to be huge. In fact, it might well turn out to be the most spacious car in its segment. All-in-all, this little SUV is anything but little. It looks very muscular with large wheel arches.
The spy shots clearly shed some light on the interior cabin as well. There is a flat-bottom steering wheel which is becoming very popular with modern cars including some of Tata’s own products. This gives it a very sporty feel which is necessary for an SUV. Some of the other equipment lists include a floating Digital Touchscreen Infotainment System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Air-Con vents and Digital Instrument Cluster which might be borrowed from other Tata products. As seen in the Auto Expo 2020, the quality of the fit and finish is expected to be high.
Tata Hornbill (HBX) – Engine and Transmission
What the spy images confirm is the availability of an AMT transmission gearbox. This is the talking point of the Hornbill. The expected engine options include a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine making 86hp. There might well be turbo petrol on offer as well. This engine will come mated to a 5-speed manual or the spied 5-speed AMT gearbox. This will prove to be a huge advantage in its favour to offer the micro-SUV with engine and transmission options.
Tata Hornbill (HBX) – Expected Prices and Competition
The Tata Hornbill will be placed in a sweet spot between the compact SUV and the entry-level hatchback segments. This indicates a likely price point of Rs 4 lakh to Rs 8 lakh, ex-showroom. This can challenge the cars from across the segments and therefore the rivals might include the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ignis, Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, Renault Kwid, Hyundai Santro and Maruti Suzuki Celerio. This will surely shake up the segments once it is launched by mid-2021.
Image Source: AutocarIndia