Honda is developing a budget SUV for the Indian market, Autocar India reports. The magazine says that the HR-V, Honda’s compact SUV that has hit the ground running in Asean, is too costly to produce in India, hence the specially-developed model.

The report claims that Honda Cars India recently took top dealers to R&D facilities in Japan, and showed them, for the first time, the “compact SUV” – a seven-seater that will rival the likes of the Renault Duster and Mahindra XUV500 in India.

It is said that the SUV will share underpinnings with the Honda Mobilio and that the front section that shares bits with the MPV, but with traditional SUV cues like bigger wheels, rugged body cladding and skid plates at both ends. Apparently, Honda received criticism in India for the basic interiors of the Mobilio, Amaze sedan and Brio hatchback; so the upcoming SUV is set to get an all-new, higher-quality cabin.

Honda Mobilio Thai Official-08

No news on the drivetrain, but it’s speculated that the Mobilio’s 1.5 litre petrol and diesel engines will be used. A world debut at next year’s 2016 Delhi Auto Expo is mooted.

An SUV body riding on a budget MPV platform is not a brand new idea. The Toyota Rush sold here uses the same formula – unlike the compact JDM Toyota Rush, which is essentially the second-gen Daihatsu Terios a.k.a. Perodua Nautica, the Indonesian-made Rush (recently facelifted) has seven seats and is based on the Avanza people carrier.

The Honda Mobilio MPV is built and sold in Indonesia and Thailand, so there’s some chance that we will see this “Mobilio SUV” in Asean as well. Is there a market? What do you think?

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