Of late, the Indian automobile industry has found a gripping contender in the form of SUVs. A Sport Utility Vehicle or Suburban Utility Vehicle, better known as a SUV, has an additional capacity in the form of a two-box design along with the traditional front and back seat design rather than having a ‘boot’ space. It usually comes equipped with a four wheel drive for off-roading and is bigger in body size and engine capacity than the usual sedan. Due to a consistent rise in fuel prices, the increasing demand for best SUV cars by the consumer base has led the automobile manufacturers to roll out compact SUVs, which have smaller cargo space and engine but are much more fuel efficient.
Best SUV Cars
According to a study published by the global research firm JD Power, the SUV segment in India is expected to grow two-fold by 2020 and may even overtake the overall sales growth of passenger vehicle market in India. The emerging Indian economy has sprung increasing infrastructural facilities, aspirations and living standards in major cities, leading to an increase in sales of SUVs. For those who have their heart set on big burly SUVs, we’ve compiled a list of best SUV cars in India.
1. Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
(7.19 lakh – 9.88 lakh)
A Maruti Suzuki always finds a way in lists about automotive vehicles in India, even if the list is about the best SUV cars, a segment previously unfamiliar to the company. Although making its global debut only recently in the 2016 edition of Auto Expo, Vitara Brezza has already crossed the 50,000 sales milestone.
Maruti Suzuki has introduced a dual colour scheme, an initiative that hadn’t been taken earlier in the SUV segment. The ‘bull horn’ headlights emphasize its masculine exterior, which is complemented by a glossy grey interior equipped with Suzuki’s Smartplay infotainment system, Apple Carplay and automatic climate controls.
Maruti Suzuki is known for the fuel efficiency their cars provide and Vitara Brezza is no different. It provides a segment-topping fuel economy of 24.3 kmpl which definitely puts it right up as one of the best compact SUV in India. The car is backed with a 1.3-litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder unit that makes 90PS of peak power and 200Nm of peak torque, mated to a custom designed 5-speed gearbox. The small SUV car is only available in diesel and offers standard ABS and EBD in its variants.
2. Hyundai Creta
(9.22 – 14.57 Lakh)
Hyundai jumped into the cheap SUV car arena in India in July last year, introducing a powerful but well-proportioned body structure. Adapting a design similar to its i10 series and its successors, called the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, Hyundai has built in Creta a brawny but smooth exterior, with broad head lights and split-type tail lamps. With total length and width of 4270 mm and 1780 mm respectively, there is no doubt about the comfort in space for passengers. The interiors look classy, with sleek beige roof and dashboard complementing the rest of the cabin, which is black.
Creta comes in two variants of diesel- 1.4 litre and 1.6 litre-and a 1.6 litre variant of petrol. The petrol variant provides a fuel economy of 19.67 km/l and 260Nm of peak torque, mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Coming to the diesel variants, which are a more popular choice in the SUV segment. The smaller engine belts out a power of 90 PS and 220 Nm of torque. The 1.6-liter engine is considerably ahead in terms of performance, boasting a 128 PS and 260 Nm engine.
Continuing its appreciation of safety standards, Hyundai has attached ABS and EBD in all variants of Creta and also provides a vehicle stability management system which combines the ESP inputs with the steering for manoeuvring in emergency situations. Although lacking the ability to drive off-road due to lack of four wheel drive, Creta more than makes up for it by providing sufficient space and excellent power. It is another contender for the crown of the best compact SUV car in India.
3. Ford Ecosport
(6.93 – 9.93 Lakh)
Ford responded to the SUV market by introducing Ford Ecosport which is next on our list of best SUV cars. Ecosport has been Ford’s bestselling car on Indian roads since its launch in the country, giving direct competition to the Renault Duster in the compact SUV segment. The height and build of the car make up for the lack of rear space. On the outside, the Ecosport has sleek front hood with aggressive front and rear. From the inside, cabin has a sleek black and grey matte finish with an edgy design which lives up to the sporty factor Ford promises to deliver. The voice recognition system, called the SYNC system, easily understands your tone and dialect.
Ecosport is offered with 3 engine options – 1.5-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel, and a 1.0-litre Ecoboost. The 1.5 diesel variant is second to only Brezza in terms of fuel efficiency, providing an efficiency of 22.67 km/l. The 1.0-litre Ecoboost was awarded the 2012 International Engine Award, which says a lot about its credibility. What prevents the car from becoming the best cheap SUV is its lack of a four wheel drive, even though it provides brilliant comfort in on-road driving.
Along with the conventional ABS airbags, the Ford EcoSport also debuts SYNC emergency assistance, a free for life emergency service which dials 108 if an airbag is deployed or the fuel pump shut off is activated. It is a great compact SUV, well suited for Indian roads & conditions.
7. Maruti S-Cross
(8.03 – 12.03 Lakh)
Another Maruti on the Best SUV cars list & a crossover no less. With the S-Cross, Maruti intended to penetrate the SUV car market with a crossover, a mini SUV of sorts, an idea which hadn’t worked well with Indian customers earlier. It is a revamp on the SX4 sedan, and although it doesn’t live up to much in looks on the outside with its bland looks, the cabin offers a sight to behold. The interiors are black with a sporty hexagonal-shaped dashboard soothing your sight in the front. The word ‘premium’ used by Maruti Suzuki for this car is emphasized with the visible use of leather on seats, door pads, steering wheel and more.
There are two diesel engines that are offered on the S-Cross – the 1.3-litre and the 1.6-litre. The 1.6-litre DDiS diesel engine offers 320 Nm of torque and 120 PS of power and is rated for a good mileage of 22.7km/l, a characteristic common in Maruti Suzuki vehicles. The 1.3 litre engine is termed as DDiS 200 because it produces 200 Nm of torque. The power output is 90 PS and the claimed mileage is 23.65 km/l. The engines are matched to a 6-speed gearbox. In terms of performance and comfort, the S-Cross does surprisingly well off-road as well at decent to high speeds due to a stringent suspension setup.
Every S-Cross, irrespective of the variant, comes with ABS and dual airbags. Although the S-Cross doesn’t have the presence and arguably even the looks you expect from a car of this segment but it does good to justify both its premium crossover tag and presence in best SUV cars list by being performance-driven and heavily loaded.
4. Renault Duster (Face-Lift Edition)
(8.47 – 13.77 Lakh)
NO best SUV car list would be complete without Renault’s champion compact SUV. Launched in 2013, the Duster is a familiar name on Indian roads, having already sold 150,000 units in the country. It is among the best SUV cars simply because of the value for money it provides. Renault has revised the bumper design and the front and rear lights, adding more attractive LED elements to the essentially same brawny and muscular outlook of Duster. The interiors get a beige finish with a steel black dashboard and a touchscreen infotainment system.
There are not much changes made in the mechanics of the Face-lift edition from the original compact SUV. This one also comes powered by 3 engine options – a 1.6-litre petrol (103bhp), and two 1.5-litre diesel mills which generate 84bhp and 108bhp of power respectively. The face-lift edition lives up to the Duster name in terms of driving comfort, and even provides an AMT system and a cruise control feature.
The face-lift edition borrows the ABS and EBS systems from its predecessor. It also features Hill Hold and a traction control system for hilly or mountain roads. The face-lift edition, with its superb additions to the already established Duster name, will only strengthen Renault’s hold in the SUV car segment in the time to come.
5. Mahindra Scorpio
(8.94 – 12.46 Lakh)
The Scorpio can be safely proclaimed as the oldest name on the best SUV cars list. Originally launched back in 2002, the third/current generation of Mahindra Scorpio was launched back in 2014, with updated LED lights, grills and bumper. The interiors are a huge step up from previous editions of the Scorpio, with more contemporary seat designs and a system buttons supported steering wheel. The top-end variant has a 6-inch infotainment system with voice assist.
The latest editions of Scorpio have witnessed entirely new mechanics. Launched with a 2.6-litre and a 2.2-litre motor initially, Mahindra in 2016 introduced a 1.99-litre diesel engine in the car as well, which was launched with the company’s Intelli-Hybrid technology. What the old Scorpio used to lack in driving comfort and handling has been made up in its latest editions, justifying it’s position as one of the best SUV cars in India.
Mahindra doesn’t offer side airbags but does offer front airbags in its S8 and S10 variants, with standard ABS in S6+ variant and upwards. The car has a seat belt reminder lamp, collapsible steering column and side intrusion beams. The new Mahindra Scorpio currently sells about 4000-5000 units/ month.
6. Mahindra XUV 500
(12.43 – 18.03 Lakh)
Not the cheapest SUV car per se, but what the XUV 500 demands in price, it provides for in looks, performance, features and comfort. The SUV recorded cumulative sales of 1.5 lakh units including exports last year in October and is still going strong in terms of sales. Since its launch, the Mahindra XUV500 turns heads due to its menacing looks. The doors are wide and the steering wheel is stable and compact.
Since its launch in 2011, XUV500 has gone through many changes, with one of the most vital being addition of AT and AWD variant. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and automatic units. The all-wheel drive system is available only in the top variant. The car boasts of a 2.2-litre mHawk engine that draws 140 BHP of power at 3750 RPM and 330 Nm of torque from 1600 to 1800 RPM and is one of the many reasons this hulk of a car is one of the best SUV cars in India.
Mahindra pays a lot of attention to safety features. Every variant comes with high class safety features such as ABS and ESP. The XUV500 has a 4-star rating from the Australian NCAP for its safety features. There is no doubt that Mahindra will continue its good streak in the SUV segment with this one.
8. Honda BR-V
(8.88 – 13.04 Lakh)
The last car on our list of best SUV cars is Honda’s answer to the ever-growing competition in the compact SUV segment. After the spectacular failure of Honda Mobilio, Honda sure would have it’s fingers crossed & would be praying for the success of the BRV.
The exterior of BR-V is clearly based on its smaller cousin, the Honda Brio and boasts of all the characteristics of a SUV like the muscular frame, high ground clearance and a condescending front. The lights, both on the front and rear, with their sleek looks, can be compared to Honda City’s. The interior is equipped with a three spoke steering wheel. There is no infotainment system in the BR-V which is a big turn off but Honda does offer a Bluetooth audio system across all variants. The cargo space consists of foldable seats which make it a 7-seater in a segment dominated by 5-seaters.
The diesel variant produces a power output of 100 PS at 3600 RPM and torque of 200 Nm at 1750 RPM. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, visibly similar to the City. The petrol variant is a 1.5-litre i-VTEC unit and this engine churns out 119 PS at 6600 RPM and a maximum torque of 145 Nm at 4600 RPM. Dynamically, the car is stable at high speeds and does excellent off-road due to its high ground clearance and brilliant steering.
The BR-V comes equipped with dual front airbags and ABS across all variants (except the base E petrol variant). Overall, the BR-V offers good value for money with its performance and looks and the trust associated with Honda.
With that, we have come to the end of the best SUV cars list. Own any of these monsters & would like to share your experience with us or felt that we left out on your favorite flamboyant SUV? Don’t be shy to comment!