Renault is developing a new low-cost hatchback codenamed XBA. However, the talking point of the XBA is the engine. Codenamed BR-8, the motor is an all-new 800cc, three-cylinder unit, and will make its debut in this car. Renault isn’t stinting on the engine and the motor will feature a twin-cam, four-valves-per-cylinder setup, making it quite a sophisticated piece of hardware. Thanks to the advanced design, both efficiency and power should be excellent.
The big news though is that it will also come with the option of an automated manual transmission (AMT), pitting it directly against the new AMT-fitted Alto K10. So, Renault will clearly be watching the customer’s response to the K10 AMT over the coming months. Additionally, future engine options could include a more powerful 1.0-litre petrol motor (codename: BR10).
The option of a diesel engine has been ruled out for two reasons. Firstly, the engine bay is designed to accommodate just the BR series of small motors. And secondly, while a three-cylinder diesel motor was in the pipeline, Renault has shelved the plans as future regulations could lead to diesel losing its cost advantage.
The low-cost XBA hatchback is expected to be priced at around Rs 3 lakh, and should be in showrooms by mid-2015.