Tata Motors has made its new direction clear with cars like the Tiago, the Kite 5 and the Nexon. What has been showcased so far is a new design language, improved engineering and better levels of equipment and quality â€”Â all of which are a sign of good things to come. There are at least six new cars that the carmaker is actively working on (apart from everything itâ€™s shown so far at the Auto Expo), involving its multiple design studios, engineering arms and its blue-eyed boys â€” Jaguar and Land Rover.
Arguably the more important of these is a car code-named the X451, a premium hatchback that will take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and the Hyundai Elite i20. Unlike the Bolt, which was a rehashed Vista, the X451 is a ground-up design. As seen in our artistâ€™s impression of the car, the X451 will have a design language similar to the Nexon. Inspired from the upcoming compact crossover, the X451 will wear sleek headlamps with projector beam-lamps and low-set fog lights. An additional panel between these lighting elements is likely to house daytime-running lights or turn blinkers or both. Compared to the Bolt or the Tiago, the X451 will get a more aggressive face to go with the premium positioning of the car.
The cabin will boast more upmarket styling cues and material quality than what we have seen so far. These too are expected to be inspired by the Nexon and therefore will get a similar multi-layered design, a stick-out display for the infotainment, Indian lattice-work inspired design bits around the centre/tunnel console and rear AC vents.
The upcoming hatchback will be based on Tataâ€™s new Advanced Modular Platform (AMP), and powertrain options will be new 4-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. We donâ€™t have concrete information about the engine line-up yet, but these will either be similar to the Boltâ€™s supposedly robust, cast-iron powertrains or will be based on the new and lighter aluminium engines that power the Tiago line-up. Rumours suggest that the Bolt Sport shown at the 2016 Auto Expo was a precursor and a dipstick for a possible hot hatch version of the X451.
Like its peers, the AMPâ€™s modular nature will allow it to be scaled up for multiple body styles. The Tiago, Kite 5 and the Nexon are all based on the first-cut iterations of AMP. A sedan based on the X451 is certainly on the cards too to take on the likes the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the Honda City. It would not only help
fill the void that the Manza left in the carmakerâ€™s portfolio but will also materialise Tataâ€™s dream of a premium sedan that the Prima concept portrayedÂ in 2009.
Alongside the hatch/sedan twins, Tata is developing a pair of MPVs and SUVs. The MPVs are code-named X601 and X602. The duo is targeted at the utilitarian market and will essentially replace the Sumo and the Movus. These vehicles are expected to wear a more SUV-ish design as Indian customers seem to be shying away from van-like forms for their MPVs (case in point â€“ Honda Mobilio and Chevrolet Enjoy). The X601 and X602 are expected be loosely similar to each other, save for the seating configurations, a few styling cues and equipment levels. Expect new engines in sub-2.0-litre capacities, with enough grunt to take on the likes of the Bolero/TUV/Scorpio.
The upcoming SUVs on the otherÂ hand will lie on the other end of Tataâ€™s price spectrum and will be positioned above the Safari and Hexa as more premium offerings. Aiding Tataâ€™s cause will be Jaguar-Land Roverâ€™s expertiseÂ and the latterâ€™s Freelander 2 platform. Ever wondered why Tata began production of the Freelander 2 in IndiaÂ at the fag-end of the carâ€™s timeline?Â The answer lies in the localisation ofÂ the platform for the upcoming five-Â and seven-seater SUVs, code-namedÂ the Q501 and Q502 respectively.
The twins are also expected to be classified under a new marketing gimmick called â€˜Aspirational Utility Vehicleâ€™ or AUV. Expect a new range of engines and gearboxes to make their way into these cars. The Q501/502 will straddle multiple segments and take on the likes of the XUV500, the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour.
Speaking of timeline, all the aforementioned cars are expected toÂ roll out between 2017 to 2020. MoreÂ Tata cars to watch out for at the Auto Expo 2018, then!
NOTE: The illustrationsÂ of the Tata X451 posted here are artist impressions made by OVERDRIVE based on information gathered from our sources. These are a speculated representation of how the X451 mayÂ look like and couldÂ vary from the actual car