Spied: New Hyundai sub-compact SUV to rival Tata Punch

    The mini SUV, codenamed Ai3, has been spotted in South Korea with a sunroof and alloy wheels.

    Published On Mar 18, 2023 07:30:00 AM


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    Hyundai is set to launch a sub-compact SUV rivalling the Tata Punch. The SUV, codenamed the Ai3, has been spotted testing in Korea previously, however, those were the initial days. New spy pictures have now emerged giving out more details of the Ai3.

    • Length could be increased from 3.6m to 3.8m for India
    • Likely to share the same 1.2L engine as Grand i10 and Aura
    • Tata's competitor Punch sold 11,000 units in February; highest in its category

    Hyundai Micro SUV: what is it?

    The Ai3 is visually comparable to the Hyundai Casper, which is Hyundai’s smallest SUV on offer overseas. The Ai3 will be built on the same platform as the Grand i10 and Aura compact sedan that are currently on sale in India. 

    The Hyundai sub-compact SUV has also been spied with a sunroof, a feature loved by Indians. But, more importantly, it is something the Tata Punch misses out on.

    The car might come with an 83hp, 114Nm, 1.2-litre petrol powertrain – same as the Grand i10 Nios and Aura – with manual and automatic gearbox options. Hyundai could also offer the Ai3 with a CNG option.

    Hyundai Micro SUV to be smaller than the Venue

    While the Ai3 looks like the Hyundai Casper, the latter was designed keeping in mind the Korean government's levies – lower tax for cars under 3.6 metres in length. We expect Hyundai to tweak the dimensions for the Indian market and it could measure 3.8 metres, thereby offering consumers more legroom, while still being comfortably below 4 metres.

    Hyundai Micro SUV: competitors

    In the thriving micro SUV category, Tata has been dominating the sales charts with the Punch. In February, Tata sold 11,000 Punch sub-compact SUVs, while its nearest competitor, the Maruti Suzuki Ignis, sold just 4,700 units. The Citroen C3, its only other competitor, sold a meagre 111 units in the same time frame.

    The Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger compact SUVs didn’t manage to dent the sales of the Punch either, with the Magnite and Kiger selling 2,184 and 1,802 units, respectively. In fact, Hyundai itself sold just 9,997 units of the Venue compact SUV in February.

    Hyundai’s bestselling cars have consistently been the Creta midsize SUV and the Venue. With the public already accepting them as a reliable brand for SUVs, the Ai3 can be a hit if priced competitively.

    Hyundai Micro SUV: expected price

    We expect the Hyundai Ai3 to be priced similar to the Tata Punch, starting at Rs 6 lakh and going up to Rs 10 lakh, with a launch expected this festive season.

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    Which car would you pick between the Hyundai Ai3 and the Tata Punch? Let us know in the comments.

    Also see:

    Hyundai Aura facelift review: More style, more safety 

    Hyundai Grand i10 Nios facelift review: The sensible city car 

    Hyundai Cars

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