Ever since India became familiar with Tata Safari, the first true-blue sports utility vehicle (SUV) in 1998, the market for such type of cars in the country has steadily grown over the years. Once the offshoot of estate cars that were quite popular in the West, SUVs today have evolved into large 7 seater cars that have spacious interiors and look masculine on the outside.
India, arguably, had its first brush with SUVs in the 1950s when British tea planters imported the iconic Land Rover to Darjeeling. The vehicles were strong and robust and were known for their superb manoeuvring capabilities especially in hilly terrains. They were, of course, not branded as SUVs back then. Nearly seven decades later, these hardy old workhorses can still be spotted in generous numbers in the Himalayan town, taking tourists from Mane Bhanjang to Sandakphu on an extremely hostile road (or the lack of it) that only these vehicles can negotiate.
The demand for SUVs, more specifically 7 seater cars, has grown exponentially over the past few years. So much so that automobile manufacturers have started introducing compact 7 seater cars to cater to budget customers. The traditional SUV still conjures the image of an oversized vehicle with a boxy design and three rows of seats. But design aesthetics have changed over the years and SUVs have today overlapped into the crossover segment and the features have certainly bettered.
Best Upcoming 7 Seater SUV Cars in India.
1. Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda cars haven’t particularly been a hit in the Indian market with only the Octavia notching up some numbers. But the Czech automobile manufacturer is banking on the Kodiaq to reverse its fortunes. It’ll also be the company’s first 7 seater car in India. The vehicle was showcased as the Vision S concept car in the Geneva auto expo and generated quite a buzz.
The Kodiaq will be fitted with either a 2.0 litre diesel or petrol engine, with both DSG and manual powertrain options. The TSI turbocharged petrol engine will output 177bhp power at 4,200rpm and 320Nm torque at 1,500rpm. The diesel trim will output a marginally higher power of 187bhp at 3,800rpm and 400Nmpeak torque. While the entry-level version will have a two-wheel drive, the higher trim will feature a 4×4 drive. The Skoda Kodiaq is a full-sized 7 seater SUV in India with a length of 4.7 metres.
Also Read : The 5 Best 7 Seater MUV/MPVs in India
The interior of the Skoda Kodiaq is a balance between the new generation Superb and Octavia. If you’ve driven either of the two, you’ll instantly find the Kodiaq familiar. The seven seater car is fitted with the latest infotainment system from Volkswagen with touch-sensitive buttons. The car has a dual-zone climate control system with the rear seats having separate blowers. Electric folding ORVMs, auto-dimming interior mirrors, and a headlamp wash function is standard to all versions.
The first among 7 seater cars from the Skoda stable will have the distinct family face with rectangular headlights and the signature moustache grille. The Kodiaq sports a prominent shoulder like, a long hood, square wheel arches and the distinct sloping roof.
Expected price — ₹20-25 lakhs
Expected launch date — Early 2017
2. Nissan Patrol
This is a beast of a SUV coming from the Japanese carmaker. The Nissan Petrol will be available in the Ti and Ti-L versions. At 5.1 metres in length, 2.0 metres width, and 3.0 metre wheelbase, the car is extremely spacious. It exactly has the dimensions required for 7 seater cars. The car accommodates three rows of comfortable seats that can tuck in 550 litres of luggage space and a whooping 3,100 litres with the rear seats are folded.
Also Read : The Cheapest SUVs in India
Under the hood, both the Ti and Ti-L versions will come with a 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine that outputs 400bhp of maximum power and 570Nm of peak torque. The engine of one of the boldest 7 seater cars is mated to a seven-speed or five-speed AT with manual mode override & a six-speed manual. Power is transferred to all four wheels.
This giant among 7 seater cars in India has 283mm of ground clearance for off-road manoeuvrability. The radiator grille represents a broad snout with enough chrome embellishments. The crafted body has bold character lines. The sides too look stunning with the 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels and body-coloured ORVMs.
The cabin of the Nissan Patrol comes with advanced features that make driving the car a pleasure. It includes satellite navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, four-spoke leather steering wheel, reverse parking camera, 7-inch infotainment screens on the second row passenger seat, automatic climate control and various other features.
Expected price—₹80 lakhs to 1 crore
Expected launch date—January 2017
3. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Facelift
The new Pajero Sport is one of the most eagerly awaited 7 seater cars in India. If the ark teaser images from the Japanese automaker are to be believed, the car will sport Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” design language that features an oversized X-shaped radiator grille and the stylised swept back headlights, not usually seen among 7 seater cars in India. The 2016 Outlander features the new design aesthetics of Mitsubishi. Like the existing version, Mitsubishi’s new seven seater car in India will share its platform with the Triton pickup which was introduced earlier this year.
An exhaustive update in terms of mechanics is well on the cards for the 2017 Pajero Sport Facelift. A 2.4 litre MIVEC 4-cylinder diesel engine is expected to power the vehicle. It’s the same engine fitted fitted to the 2015 Triton. The new powertrain will be more frugal among all upcoming 7 seater cars and powerful than the existing version. It’ll offer maximum power of 180bhp at peak torque of 430Nm. The transmission option will be upgraded to an 8-speed automatic in the new version with paddle shifters mounted on the steering to alternate between manual and automatic.
One of the best 7 seater cars to be introduced in India, the new Mitsubishi Pajero is built on a ladder frame chassis which has a spacious cabin that can comfortably seat seven adults in a 2+3+2 layout.
Some of the noticeable changes in the new Pajero include a new grille flanked by the somewhat modified headlights. The fog lights have new surroundings. The new bumpers and state-of-the-art multimedia infotainment display ups the interior looks of the car.
Expected price—₹24-27 lacs
Expected launch date—January 2017
4. Renault Duster 7 Seaterer
The Renault Duster has been one of the most successful SUVs in India. Its attractive pricing has been a major factor behind the car’s success and is sold in the international markets as Dacia Duster. The car already clocked more than one million units in sales. The French automaker has plans to introduce a seven seater version of the Duster which will surely delight large families that go on frequent weekend trips.
Renault has already earned enough goodwill in the Indian market and the new Duster promises to be a bestseller among all 7 seater cars in the country. Looks-wise the car may appear as its regular five-seater cousin but will have extended dimensions. Grapevine has it that the length, breadth and height would be substantially increased to accommodate the dual third row. The car is in its final stages of production by Dacia. In all probability, it will get an overwhelming response like it already found in the Brazilian and European markets.
Also Read : The 6 Best Compact Sedans in India
The car could be about 4.5 metres in length and one of those seven seater cars in India that can give the Mahindra Scorpio some tough competition. The latter is the market leader of Indian SUVs. The looks of the new Duster will be more attractive and practical. The exterior is likely to sport restyled headlamps with daytime running lights. The engine options are likely to be the same as the five-seater Duster.
Expected price—₹8-14 lacs
Expected launch date—March 2017
5. Mahindra SsangYong Rexton Facelift 2017
The Mahindra SsangYong Rexton hasn’t really been a hit in India and has been a poor cousin in terms of sales to the more popular Scorpio SUV. But it is a more edgier and contemporary concept car that was first unveiled in 2013 at Seoul. It’s shape is strikingly similar to the LIV-1 concept car.
The 2017 Rexton promises to be much sportier than the present-generation model and all 7 seater cars in the country, courtesy the sharp lines on both sides, the square wheel arches, sloping roofline, large back and front bumpers, slim A and B pillars, daytime running lights and LED headlamps.
The exterior appearance of the car looks aggressive, while the cabin looks pragmatics sans any fancy gadgets. The vertically mounted touchscreen interface is the only thing that catches your eye inside the cabin. The masculine 7 seater car has a dual-tone interior, a three-spoke steering, and telephone and audio control buttons as seen in the Liv-1 concept car. The leather seats make the car look more premium.
Also Read : Hatchbacks with the Best Interiors in India
The SsangYong Rexton Facelift 2017 is Mahindra’s renewed attempt to break into the premium 7 seater cars segment which has been largely dominated by the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. The SsangYong Rexton 2017 has a spacious boot even with all seven seats raised. The third row of seats would come as an option. It can be fully folded. The 7 seater car comes with electronic brakeforce distribution, selectable 4×4 drive system, hill assist and other functions.
Expected price—₹25-30 lacs
Expected launch date—April 2017
6. Chevrolet Orlando
The Chevrolet Orlando has been long in the pipeline and the car will replace the popular Tavera in the Indian market which is in its last leg of production. Tavera has been one of the better performing 7 seater cars in the country. It’s more of a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) than an SUV and could become one of the best 7 seater cars in India because of the attractive price tag. It’s expected that the Orlando will be fitted with a 1.8 litre petrol and a 2.0 litre diesel engine. The first variant is likely to produce a peak 141bhp power, while the diesel option is expected to output a maximum of 131bhp. The gearshift options are likely to come in a four, five, or six speed automatic option. The MPFI system with the four inline cylinders will provide excellent driving and a smooth handling of the car. The Chevrolet Orlando is mounted on a superior suspension assembly that ensures a cushioned ride on potholed roads.
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The exterior of the Orlando will sport an additional grille and glossy chrome finish. The Detroit-based car manufacturer has kept most details of the car tightly under wraps. That’s not surprising because this is going to be Chevrolet’s answer to the Toyota Innova, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, and the upcoming Maruti Suzuki WagonR 7 seater. Chevrolet’s cash registers haven’t been much encouraging in India and the US automobile major is eager to turn the tides with the Orlando. It’s aimed at the more budget customers.
Expected price—₹9-11 lacs
Expected launch date—March 2017
Which of these six upcoming 7 seater cars are on your radar? Let us know in the comment box below.