Hyundai begins rolling out compact Exter SUV ahead of July 10 launch
The Exter, which is manufactured at the Chennai plant, gets petrol and petrol-CNG powertrain options and segment-first features like a sunroof and a dashcam.
A fortnight before it launches the sub-compact Exter SUV, Hyundai Motor India has commenced production from its plant in Sriperumbudur. The first made-in-India Exter rolled off the assembly line on June 23 clad in the signature ‘Ranger-Khaki’ colour, which is exclusive to the Exter.
According to the Chennai-based carmaker, the Exter production line deploys industry 4.0 automation, fourth-generation robots and a highly skilled workforce. While Hyundai has opened bookings for a token amount of Rs 11,000, pricing for the latest Hyundai SUV will be announced on July 10 when the Exter will be officially launched in India.
Styling, interior and features
Though based on siblings, the Grand i10 Nios hatchback and the Aura sedan, the Exter looks hugely different. Like other Hyundais, it gets a parametric design on the front grille, C-pillar and tail-lights. There’s an H-patterned signature for the LED daytime running lamps and the tail-lights. The Exter also features body cladding on the wheel arches and the doors, and it also gets faux skid plates in the front and rear bumpers.
In contrast to the exterior, the Exter has a lot of similarity with the Grand i10 Nios and Aura when it comes to the cabin. It is apparent in the dashboard design and the 8-inch touchscreen albeit the instrument cluster is a full-digital unit seen in the i20 and the Verna sedan.
Segment-firsts for the Exter SUV are get a sunroof and a dashcam. The sunroof is a single-pane unit that can be controlled via voice commands, and will most likely be available on the higher variants. The dashcam records both the cabin view and outside view, and has three recording modes – Driving (normal), Event (safety) and Vacation (timelapse). The only other Hyundai model to feature a dashcam is the Venue N Line.
Petrol and CNG powertrains
The Exter gets Hyundai’s 1.2-litre petrol engine that develops 83hp and 114Nm of torque. It will be mated to either a 5-speed manual or an AMT. The Exter will also get a factory-fitted CNG kit, with the engine producing 69hp and 95.2Nm of torque (in CNG mode) and will only come with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The Exter will also be the first sub-compact SUV to offer a factory-fitted CNG kit.
Six airbags standard fitment
Hyundai has announced that all variants of the Exter will come with six airbags (driver, passenger, curtain and side) as standard. While the six-airbag rule will be in effect for all passenger vehicles in the coming months, Hyundai claims that the Exter is the first sub-four-metre vehicle to have this as standard. It also gets a dashcam upfront with dual cameras, and a reverse camera in the higher variants. Upon launch, the Exter could even be the most affordable car on sale with six airbags as standard.
Additionally, the higher trims of the Exter will be equipped with the usual safety features such as ESP, hill assist control, three-point seat belts with reminders, rear parking sensors, ABS, and EBD, among others. One will also be able to add these features as optional extras in the entry-level E and S trims.
The micro-SUV will also get automatic headlamps with follow me home function, ISOFIX mounts, and a tyre pressure monitor, which are more or less similar to the safety list available in its rivals.
At launch, the Hyundai Exter will be the most affordable SUV in Hyundai’s line-up and will go head-to-head with the Tata Punch, Citroen C3 and Maruti Suzuki Ignis.
Exter as a volume driver
Hyundai Motor India, which is the longstanding No. 2 passenger vehicle OEM after Maruti Suzuki India, is seeing an aggressive Tata Motors hot on its heels. In CY2022, it registered its best-ever annual sales of 552,511 units, up 9% YoY, and followed it up with FY2023’s 567,546 units, up 18% YoY and also a best-ever fiscal performance. However, the bulk of its sales continue to come from the Creta and the Venue, the No. 2 and No. 6 best-selling SUVs in India in FY2023.
In the first two months of FY2024, Hyundai has sold a total of 98,302 cars and SUVs, up 14% year on year (April-May 2022: 86,294 units). While the Hyundai Creta remains India’s best-selling midsize SUV and is the company’s best-seller too, it clearly needs another volume driver in the face of increasing competition in the SUV market. Will the soon-to-be-launched Exter prove to be that?
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