The Japanese A-segment equivalent kei car, Suzuki Hustler, is a popular mini SUV in its home country in the far-east. Though the vehicle has only been launched in two other areas than Japan, we believe that it could actually perform well if launched in the Indian markets and give competitors a run for their money.
Japanese kei cars are certainly very common in their usage as domestic vehicle across the country, government regulations and tax benefits have also made these mini vehicles a lucrative mode of transport. Suzuki Hustler’s market performance will purely be based on how it can persuade Indian customers to make a purchase, though it must also be speculated that this new type of “kei car” SUV’s uniqueness alone would most likely sway some buyers in its favour.
Suzuki’s 2020 introduction of the second generation of this compact SUV encouraged talks around it possibly coming to India soon, though there are no signs of this happening anytime in the near future. Like its predecessor, the latest gen of this crossover-style SUV is also based on Suzuki’s reliable HEARTECT platform, known for its robust safety tech. The powertrain is made up of two petrol engine options- a naturally aspirated 658 cc R06D I3 which gives 36 kW of power and a turbocharged 658 cc R06A Turbo I3-T engine delivering 47 kW; combined with a CVT gearbox. The small SUV has a wheelbase of 2,460 mm and weighs between 810-880 kg. This Mazda Flair Crossover hit the markets in Japan, Hong Kong and Macau in February 2020 and has remained in production ever since, though it’s a shame that it expanded to two new markets and none of them were India. Hustler has an average fuel economy of 22 kmpl and runs on a 180 mm ground clearance, it also comes with hybrid options.
The new Hustler got a variety of new features added to the interior, in addition to seats that are more comfortable than before. An array of advanced features for safety and assistance are also always at work in the Suzuki Hustler. In its home market, the kei SUV has been priced at around 1.28 million Japanese yen which roughly equals to INR 9 lakhs. Hustler does seem like an ideal vehicle to join the compact SUV segment of India, however it would require major tweaks by Maruti Suzuki as it currently only adheres to Japanese kei car size regulations. In India, its rivals would be Nissan Magnite, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet and Tata Nexon.
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