Why Car Manufacturers Are Focusing On Compact SUVs In India?

Being an Indian who doesn’t like suvs?

We all love a car that has a massive road presence, which has the good ground clearance and good leg space inside. Considering the roads in India it makes sense only to have a car that has enough ground clearance.

SUVs like Toyota Fortuner, Tata Safari these cars became the benchmark for Indians right after they were launched. Initially, the prices were low but as the demand got higher day by day the prices for SUVs started to skyrocket. The cars that were launched at 12-15 lakhs have gone up to 25-30 lakhs. Now the latest Toyota Fortuner costs as high as 50 lakhs on road.

First generation safari
Latest safari

This hike in prices for SUVs opened new doors for compact SUVs. 

Now the trend for compact SUVs is growing every day. Almost every car manufacturer has a compact suv in their line up.

It all started with crossover cars. Where the manufacturers started adding thicker wheel arches and raised up bumpers to their hatchbacks and increased the ground clearance a bit.

Now Manufacturers started making proper compact SUVs that cost anywhere between 10 lakhs to 18lakhs. Hyundai with its VENUE, Kia with its SONNET, Tata with its NEXON, Maruthi Suzuki with its BREEZA, Ford with its ECO SPORT, Mahendra with TUV 300 and there are a lot more other manufactures offering their compact SUVs. 

Not just that, manufacturers started loading their cars with a host of features that are hard to find even on cars that are twice the price!

Features like:

  • 360-degree cameras 
  • Front parking sensors
  • Ventilated driver and passenger seats
  • Premium sound systems
  • Ambient lighting
  • Automatic lights, vipers
  • Dual-zone climate controls
  • Heads up display
  • etc

Not just the technical features, manufacturers even started to provide various engine variants.

Let's talk about the top 3 compact SUVs right now in India.


Not so very long ago KIA Korean-based manufacturer (a sister company of Hyundai) made its debut in India with SELTOS and shook up the market with its bookings and sales! Now they launched their second car THE KIA SONET.

As their tag line says “Wild by design” the SELTOS comes with very aggressive and muscular body design that creates a great road presence.With its signature tiger nose grill and LED daytime running lights one cannot mistake it for any other car. 

Not just the front end, even the read end of the car looks distinctly unique. The LED taillight starts from one side and continues all the way to the other end of the car. While the KIA badging is placed at the center, the SONET badging is placed to the left side of the car.

The interior of the car is very sporty yet elegant at the same time. It comes with part digital and part analog instrument cluster. It also comes with a 10.25-inch touch screen for multi-purpose media consumption. It also comes with the BOSE 7- speaker audio system.

It comes with driver and passenger ventilated seats and also a sunroof. It comes in 6 variants starting from HTE, HTK, HTK+, HTX, HTX+, and the top of the line GTX+.

Dimensions of the car:


Engine variants:

  • SMART STREAM G 1.2 PETROL : 83PS & 115NM
  • SMART STREAM 1.0 T-GDI : 120PS & 172NM
  • 1.5L CRDI WGT : 100PS & 240NM
  • 1.5L CRDI VGT : 115PS & 250NM

Hyundai launched  Hyundai VENUE in 2019 and since then this sub 4 meter SUV has been selling like pancakes. Hyundai because of its quality and premium appeal it has been attracting a lot of customers. When it comes to design, the VENUE is unmistakable to a hatchback. It has got everything an SUV needs. Bigger wheel arches, higher ground clearance, and SUV like seating.

The front end is unmistakable with its signature cascading grill that’s inspired by Hyundai’s overseas models. The headlamp is set below the usual placing covered across with square LED daytime running lights. As usual, the knurling inside the grill varies based on the variant of the car.

The rear end of the car is designed well with the tail lights and bumper that is unique compared to the lineup of their cars. The badging has been placed boldly at the center of the car.

As usual the interior of VENUE is elegant and premium. Comes with part analog and part digital instrument cluster. It also comes with an 8 inch multimedia touch screen. The car also comes with BLUE link technology with 33 connected features right on your mobile. It also comes with the first in the segment AIR PURIFIER that purifies the air quality inside the cabin.

It also has multiple additional features like wireless mobile charging, cooled glove box, rear ac vents, etc.

The latest 2021 model comes with a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. That delivers 120ps of max power at 6000 rpm. It also comes with first in the segment clutchless manual gearbox called Intelligent manual transmission (iMT)




  • 1.2 L PETROL : 83PS & 116NM
  • 1.0 L PETROL : 120PS & 175NM
  • 1.5 L DIESEL : 100PS & 245NM

TATA very well knows how to design an SUV. Back in 2017, they launched TATA NEXON that looked unmistakably SUV. TATA has improved a lot when it comes to quality and design compared to their previous generation cars. It grabbed customers for its rugged built and great road presence. Even now it’s the only car in the segment that scores a 5-star rating in Global NCAP. It shook the market as the first Indian made car to score a 5-star rating in safety and crash test.

It is the widest car compared to Hyundai VENUE and KIA SONET with a wheelbase of 1811mm. With proper SUV seating and ride quality, it absorbs all the bumps and potholes with ease.

Though they have improved a lot from their previous generation cars, they still have to work a lot on interior quality when compared to the Korean competitors. They have added a JBL sound system to their cars to deliver a great music listening experience to their customers while driving. They even have voice assistance named iRA. Which can understand English. Though the seats are not leather, they are well comfortable for long-distance drives.  It also comes with great engine options that are peppy and powerful to drive.

It comes with a host of other features like,

  • Electric Sunroof
  • Cruise Control
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Express Cool
  • Touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Geofencing
  • Tri-tone finish in the cabin
  • Flatbed steering wheel
  • iRA technology
  • Cooled glovebox




  • 1.2L PETROL : 120PS & 170NM
  • 1.5L DIESEL : 110PS & 260NM
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About Author

Jayanth Kumar V

An engineering graduate who has passion for motorcycles and filmmaking. I write reviews on motorcycles and cars also make videos about them on my YouTube channel. Visit my website for more details.


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