Tata Motors' next-gen hatchback X451 caught testing, found wanting

Tata Motors has begun testing its next-generation hatchback (codenamed X451), which was caught on camera for the first time by AutoCar.

The X451, which is positioned above the Tiago hatchback, will be Tata Motors' first premium hatch and has its sights on the Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Baleno, the segment leaders.

Although the car in the pictures is heavily camouflaged, one can spot the design similarities with the Tiago. The X451, however, will be the first car to be based on Tata Motors' Advanced Modular Platform (AMP). The spy images clearly suggest that the X451 will be longer and wider than the Tiago, slotting it in the premium hatchback segment.

Tata Motors has never had a car in this fast-growing segment and the X451 is expected to play a crucial role in pushing the company's sales.

In the pictures, one can spot makeshift round headlamps, but the real wraparound units haven't been hidden completely. The roofline tapers towards the rear, suggesting a sporty styling. At the rear, it's hard to make out the tail lamp design but one can notice that sharply the rear windshield rakes outwards, much like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno.

The test car was running on steel rims but AutoCar expects the top variants to sport 15-inch alloy wheels with the diamond-cut finish as the Tigor petrol too has them.

There is no information about the interior of the X451 but it is expected to share parts and design with the recently launched Nexon, with some improvements. This would put the car on par with the competition, especially the Hyundai i20, which is widely considered to have the best interior quality in its segment now.

In terms of powertrain, expect the X451 to be powered by the same engines powering the Nexon as they would complement the premium positioning of the vehicle. AutoCar suggests that the diesel unit could be similar to the 1,050 cc diesel engine from the Tiago but with more power.

According to Financial Express, if this is true it would be a bad move by Tata, as people willing to spend more than Rs8 lakh on a car demand more, and Tiago's diesel engine even with added power and tuning doesn't seem to be capable of delivering on consumer expectations.

Tata Motors is yet to make an official statement regarding the X451 but the car is expected to be launched in 2019. It will be built at the company's plant in Sanand, Gujarat.