DELHI SHOW: India set for a surge of small SUVs
VW's Taigun concept looked production ready
India could be awash with small SUVs by the time of the next Delhi Expo in 2016 if all the concept cars on view this year come to fruition.
As well as Renault's audacious Kwid concept, a pretty crossover show car from Honda, the XS-1, is making its global debut while Volkswagen brought the more sober-looking Taigun concept first shown in Brazil in 2012 to India.
Officially, the coupe-like XS-1 is "a creative study model which embodies Honda's vision for the future of manufacturing", but insiders are not even trying to disguise that something along similar lines will be part of the company's next compact car family.
"We see a lot of potential in a car like this," one said. "Demand is growing in the compact SUV segment."
Its most striking feature is the vast sliding side door on each side - something which will be abandoned on the production model because of cost and weight.
The car has Honda's new signature headlights, powerful and edgy surfacing and a strong stance. There are three rows of seats despite the compact dimensions, although there is no confirmation this layout would be maintained in a showroom model. It would almost certainly be powered by Honda's new family of direct-injection (turbocharged and normally aspirated) downsized engines.
VW's Taigun - a nifty bit of juxtaposition of the letters from the larger Tiguan SUV - looks ready to be slipped into a showroom tomorrow. Ever since it was revealed in Brazil there have been rumours it would slot perfectly into the Indian market, and now it appears the time is imminent.
"It is a glimpse into the future line-up we are contemplating for India," said the company's managing director for the region, Arvind Saxena.
The show car is powered by a 107bhp one-litre TSI petrol engine which is said to deliver excellent fuel efficiency. VW is also trumpeting space within compact dimensions and - after one or two embarrassments in India recently - safety.