In India, the sub-four-meter segment is a hotly contested one due to the excise duty that the government imposes on such vehicles. Naturally, carmakers have jumped at the opportunity, creating a variety of models to attract prospective buyers.

Given the popularity of SUVs these days, the segment has quite a few entrants, including the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Mahindra XUV300, Honda WR-V, Tata Nexon, Ford EcoSport, Kia Sonet, Toyota Urban Cruiser, as well as the upcoming Nissan Magnite.

Renault is no stranger to this segment, as it currently offers the Kwid and Triber in India. The French carmaker is looking to expand its range of offerings further with a new model called the Kiger, with the compact SUV being previewed in concept form for now.

According to the company, the final production version will be 80% similar to the show car we see here. Design-wise, the Kiger is the result of a collaboration between automaker’s design teams in France and India, with the company saying it has an “adventurous look exuding an attractive energy that catches both the eye and the mind.” At first glance, it certainly has echoes of the K-ZE and Dacia Spring Electric that were revealed previously.

Up front, we get Renault’s signature face design, with slim LED DRLs/indicators that are linked by a light bar running through the centre-mounted badge. A small grille carries “wing-like” slats within them, while the angular lower apron accommodates the main headlamps, along with what appears to be side vents and a lower intake.

A sculpted bonnet leads into bold fenders with decorative gills on them, while the sides exhibit prominent creases and a strong shoulder approaching the rear. Meanwhile, a two-tone paintjob provides a “floating roof” look, while obligatory cladding over the wheels, rocker panels and a futuristic-looking roof rack provide the ruggedness that Renault is talking about. Also present are a set of 19-inch wheels and funky door handles, while the ground clearance is pegged at 210 mm.

At the rear, the C-shaped taillights have trailing creases leading to the model script on the tailgate, which itself has a slight lip under the curved window, and a roof spoiler. Two reminders that you’re driving a Renault can be seen on the tailgate badge, along with the embossed script on the black trim further down. The bumper also sports a honeycomb mesh grille near its base, with a H-shaped surround for the centrally-located exhaust tailpipes.

No interior shots for now, but under the bodywork, the SUV will ride on the Renault CMF-A+ platform, which is also used by the Triber and Nissan Magnite. Details about the Kiger’s powertrain are unknown for now, although given the underpinnings, it should get the same options as the Magnite.

The Nissan model is offered with two 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engines, including a naturally-aspirated unit with 71 hp and 96 Nm of torque, plus a turbocharged version developing 99 hp and 160 Nm. A five-speed manual and a CVT are available transmission options with these engines.

Aside from vehicle size, India also requires vehicles to have petrol engines with capacities no larger than 1,200 cc, or under 1,500 cc for diesel powerplants. So, whatever engine Renault decides to use, it shouldn’t be any larger than 1.2 litres.

The Kiger is expected to be launched in India during the first quarter of next year, before making its way to other markets. “India is the second most populous country in the world and also one of the fastest growing countries,” said Fabrice Cambolive, SVP and chairman of AMI-Pacific, Groupe Renault.

“Thanks to the Duster, Kwid and Triber models, Renault is the leading European brand in India. Renault Kiger, this compact SUV of less than four metres, different from the ones we see on the roads today, will strengthen our presence and help us to win new customers,” he added.