Though the 2014 Chicago auto show may not feature many groundbreaking debuts this year, go halfway across the world and you’ll find that the 2014 New Delhi auto show across the world gives an interesting look into India’s growing car market with many noteworthy debuts. Manufacturers including Volkswagen, Honda, Chevrolet, Renault, Nissan’s Datsun division, and home-market Tata Motors all showed notable concepts and production vehicles at this growing show, and we’ve highlighted a few of these debuts here.
Volkswagen Taigun Concept
The Volkswagen Taigun is a subcompact SUV concept that was first shown at the 2012 Sao Paulo auto show for the South American market, but Volkswagen has now retooled the CUV for India. Volkswagen says that this concept is “near-production” and we predict that a production version of this small SUV is likely to go on sale within the next few years. The Taigun is only 151 inches long, making it nearly two feet shorter than the Volkswagen Tiguan compact SUV sold here. It also boasts has high ground clearance and a fair bit of torque from its 1.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder that Volkswagen says makes this the perfect runabout for the “urban jungle.” Though this Taigun is unlikely to make it to the U.S., it could be a key model for the company’s growth in emerging markets like India and South America, where it would compete with vehicles like the Ford EcoSport subcompact crossover.
Chevrolet Adra Concept
Another subcompact SUV concept came from General Motors, who showed this Chevrolet Adra concept. Similar to the Volkswagen Taigun, it puts a priority on high ground clearance, good visibility, and lots of interior space in a compact footprint. The Adra looks somewhat similar to boxy hatchbacks like the Kia Soul, but it sits higher off the ground and is sized much smaller than compact SUVs in the U.S. The Adra concept was developed by Indian designers at GM’s technical center in Bangalore, and a production version of this crossover is likely to go on sale in the Indian market within the next few years, with expansion to other markets like South America a likely possibility as well.
Datsun redi-GO Concept
The Datsun Go hatchback was the first model to relaunch this Nissan subbrand that is catered towards developing auto markets, and this new redi-GO concept is an example of a possible future Datsun model. The redi-Go is sized slightly smaller than the Go (which is around the same size as a Mazda 2) and features a taller hatchback body with shorter front and rear overhangs. Nissan says it is styled with certain crossover and SUV cues like lower body cladding and an aggressive front end, along with higher ground clearance to give the redi-GO better rough-road capability. The Datsun Go is on sale in India for a price equivalent to $6700, so presumably a production version of the redi-GO could cost even less due to its smaller size. Datsun also showed an seven-seat MPV version of the Go, called the Datsun Go+, at the show.
Renault Kwid Concept
Renault showed its commitment to expanding markets with the Renault Kwid concept, the company’s first-ever concept car to be revealed outside of Europe. This concept also previews a subcompact SUV with a funky design that has been put together by an international team of Renault designers from areas including France, India, and Brazil. Although the concept’s oversized tires, wild interior materials, and exaggerated color scheme aren’t likely to make it to production, this concept otherwise looks relatively production-ready, with its 1.2-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and dual-clutch transmission. Renault also says that the Kwid could accommodate an electric drivetrain.
Honda Vision XS-1 Concept
Honda’s concept shown at the New Delhi show was a slightly larger crossover that looks much like the Honda Vezel compact Fit-based crossover that will make its way to the U.S. this year. The Vision XS-1 concept features more daring styling, though, and accommodates seven passengers in three rows of seats. The Honda XS-1 also has large sliding doors on each side for easy access into the cabin. Despite its large cabin, though, the Vision XS-1 still retains a compact footprint. Honda says there are no mass-production plans for this model right now, but we think it’s likely that Honda will bring a version of a future compact crossover to sell in India within the next few years.
Tata Zest and Tata Bolt
Tata is best known as the purveyor of the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano, but the brand is now expanding into more conventional compact cars with the new Tata Zest sedan and Bolt hatchback models. Tata says these new models embody the company’s new design language, called DesignNext, and are powered by a 1.2-liter turbocharged engine, along with a new diesel option that mates with a five-speed automated manual transmission. The Bolt and Zest also have increased connectivity features like Bluetooth and smartphone integration that allows drivers to integrate phone functions like navigation and social media into the car’s infotainment interface. The Tata Zest and Bolt will be launched this year in India, with expansion to other markets to follow.