The Maruti Alto is still India’s best selling car by a comfortable margin, but it’s safe to say Renault’s latest hot-cake, the Kwid, is encroaching on its territory. As of March 2016, the Alto outsells the Kwid by a factor of about 2:1, which says quite a lot about the Kwid, which has been around for only a little over six months. When the Santro started getting long in the tooth, Hyundai introduced the Eon to take on the Alto. Unfortunately, it was never able to achieve the same kind of success, selling fewer units than even its more expensive stablemate, the Grand i10. And now with the upcoming Redigo, Datsun has the Alto in its cross-hairs too.
Built on the highly indigenised CMF-A platform that also gave us the Kwid, the Redigo is Datsun’s bid at sales success in India, given the lacklustre performance of its first two launches, the Go and Go+. While an all-out head-to-head comparison between the Redigo, its French cousin, the Eon and Maruti’s stalwart won’t be too long from now, here’s how the baby Datsun stacks up against its rivals on paper.
The Redigo sticks to the design of the original concept that was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo. In the process, it looks a lot more expensive than its expected Rs 2.5 lakh price suggests. Also, its urbane, mono-volume, ‘tall-boy’ styling is a marked departure from the Kwid’s muscular design. Datsun has also given the Redigo a planted stance by pushing its wheels out to the extremities of the body, and in the process, leaving very short overhangs. The short bonnet too hints at the carmaker’s attempts at maximising interior space.
It was the Hyundai Eon that first offered a truly attractive design in the budget hatchback segment. It challenged the Alto’s basic looks with its ‘fluidic’ design, replete with curves, and broke the mould for the class. However, it was the Kwid that wowed Indian buyers with its SUV-esque looks, thus far unheard of in this segment. The square shape and big chrome grille give it such an upmarket appeal, that you can ignore some of the ‘budget’ details like the very basic wing mirrors and the small, three-nut wheels. As for the Alto, on the design front, there’s little to write home about – as with most Marutis, it’s very safe and unadventurous with a view to appealing to the widest possible audience; a strategy that’s clearly worked all these years.
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Issue: 209 | Autocar India: January 2017
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