Renault Readying Subcompact SUV HBC For World Debut At 2020 Auto Expo

After the Triber and Kwid refresh, Renault has an eye on volumes again. Its next will be the HBC subcompact SUV that will be revealed in February with a launch later in 2020. Expect aggressive pricing, premium looks and a petrol only play with manual and auto variants.

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The Renault HBC subcompact SUV will use the same platform and drivetrains as the Triber

Codenamed the Renault HBC, the next offering from the French carmaker will be a subcompact SUV. After failed attempts with the Pulse in the past and then Captur, Renault India now wants to try and take on the volumes space with a large volumes offering to sit between the Triber and Duster portfolios. The HBC is a sub 4-metre SUV and will compete with the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, upcoming Kia QYI, Ford EcoSport, Mahindra XUV300 and Tata Nexon. Like most offerings in that segment, the Renault HBC will not have 4X4 capability. That will be saved for the Duster. The HBC will be unveiled in a near production-ready concept form at the 2020 Delhi Auto Expo, with a market launch subsequently in mid-2020.

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Unlike the recently launched Renault Kwid Facelift, which is a volume churner, the new Renault SUV will be a premium product

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The two SUV models will then form the mainstay of Renault's volumes at the relatively premium side of things, while the Kwid and Triber will service the more competitive end. This is in line with Renault's intent to double its sales over the next two years as announced a few months ago. The Triber has already started to command a good volume base, as it straddles the compact and premium hatchback segments on price and attributes. The HBC is being built using the same CMF-A+ platform that the new Renault Triber is built on. This is a derivative of the CMF-A compact platform that spawns the Renault Kwid and Datsun Redi-GO in India. The HBC will also share several parts and even chassis aggregates with the Triber.

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The Renault HBC will have a higher ground clearance and will get some muscle in the bumpers like the Kadjar 

But in terms of styling, it will be more upright, with higher ground clearance, exaggerated muscle in the bumpers and fenders and an imposing metal embellished black grille - much like Renault's global SUV models Koleos and the recently facelifted Kadjar sport. Expect Range Rover Evoque-like fenders and wheel arches too. Overall though it is expected to have a closer likeness to the next generation Renault Duster that is due at the end of 2022. That is because as we first reported, the next Duster is being developed out of India, with this as its lead market. So Renault would want a family look between its smaller and bigger SUVs.

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The upcoming subcompact SUV will be based on the same CMF-A+ platform that the new Renault Triber is built on

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The HBC will also use the Triber's 1.0 'Energy' engine. Renault's new global small displacement engine made its debut in India with the Triber. But unlike the Triber, the new subcompact SUV will get a turbocharged version of it (as seen on the Renault Clio premium hatch in Europe). The Triber will also get this version of the engine as a premium and more powerful variant in 2020. The HBC may also carry the regular engine as an option in lower-priced manual variants, to get an aggressive entry price point for the car. We can also confirm that the car will get both the 5-speed manual and AMT (automatic) gearboxes that the Triber has. But what is interesting is that given the recent spate of more sophisticated autos coming to this segment, Renault is also considering a CVT for this one. After all, the car needs to compete with head-on with the likes of the Hyundai Venue, which too is seeing big traction around its petrol DCT variant.

The Renault HBC will also spawn a like model at alliance partner Nissan, though more likely for the Datsun brand. That car will look completely different, and its cabin will carryover aggregates and features from the rest of the Datsun line-up. Datsun has been busy updating the safety features and cabin on most of its offerings, and so expect the Datsun badged version of the HBC to offer similar interior styling. The exterior will no doubt also have the trademark Datsun grille. The Datsun product is slated for a festive season or year-end launch in 2020, while the Renault HBC will hit showrooms by June 2020.

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