India’s five best selling SUVs in 2013

Snapshot: Indian road conditions are improving what with the construction of well paved highways across the country. However, large sections of the country still struggles with sub-par road surfaces, pockmarked by pot holes and interrupted by ill designed speed breakers. Amid such conditions, SUVs make better sense than hatchbacks and sedans. With might being right on most Indian roads, butch looks, a higher driving position and the added visibility it brings to the table are other factors that swing the pendulum towards SUVs. Sales of SUVs have been climbing with the addition of new entrants such as the Mahindra XUV500, Renault Duster and the Ford EcoSport. CarToq profiles the five best selling SUVs of 2013.

Toyota Fortuner : 17,352 units

Although an SUV that is priced well over 20 lakh rupees, the Toyota Fortuner’s massive street presence, bomb proof reliability and Toyota’s terrific after sales service has meant that this body-on-ladder bruiser is the best seller in the luxury SUV category, so much so that it outsells many SUVs that cost half as much. The Fortuner is powered by a 3 liter turbo diesel engine that outputs 169 Bhp-343 Nm. A five speed manual gearbox is standard while a 4 speed automatic is offered as an option. The Fortuner gets a shift-on-the-fly 4 wheel drive option as well as a rear wheel drive option on lower priced variants. A 7 seat SUV, the Fortuner starts at 22.23 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi.

Why should you buy one?

  • Tough build
  • High Quality
  • Great Reliability and Resale Value
  • 3 liter diesel engine that’s a mile muncher

Why you shouldn’t buy one? 

  • Cumbersome for tight parking spaces
  • Relatively cramped middle and third row
  • Bumpy ride

Mahindra XUV500 Crossover : 30,462 units

The XUV500 crossover, a flagship product for Mahindra, is a success for the Indian automaker. At one point, the XUV500 outsold the Scorpio, and was India’s best selling SUV. Now though, sales have stabilized at the 2,500 average monthly units mark. The crossover is powered by a 2.2 liter turbo diesel engine (138 Bhp-330 Nm) and comes with a 6 speed manual gearbox as standard. Available in front wheel drive and all wheel drive variants, the XUV500 is a monocoque bodied crossover that is capable of seating 7 adults. Prices of the XUV500 start from 11.86 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi.

Why should you buy one?

  • Terrific value for money
  • Loaded with features
  • Fuel efficient
  • Relatively affordable

Why you shouldn’t buy one? 

  • Niggle prone
  • Lack of a traditional 4 wheel drive system like the one on the Fortuner/Scorpio
Ford EcoSport : 33,702 units
A best selling car for Ford, the EcoSport crossover is currently the highest selling SUV in India. However, the crossover was launched only in the second half of last year, which meant that it sold 33,702 units, a commendable number for the limited run it got in 2013. Like the duster, the EcoSport is sold with petrol and diesel engine options. The EcoSport also offers a petrol automatic variant, the only sub-20 lakh rupees SUV to do so. More of a hatchback with high ground clearance than a true blue, the monocoque bodied EcoSport comes with a sub-4 meter length. With good ride and handling, the EcoSport is a car like alternative to the body on ladder SUVs. The crossover starts at 6.2 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi.
Why should you buy one?
  • Compact size
  • Feature loaded
  • Good ground clearance
  • Varied engine options

Why you shouldn’t buy one? 

  • Long waiting periods
  • Cramped interiors
  • Lack of 4X4, even as an option

Mahindra Scorpio : 49,455 units

A best seller for many years, the Scorpio continues to be a strong performer for Mahindra. The SUV managed to find close to 50,000 homes in India during 2013, making the Scorpio the second largest seller in the SUV segment. The Scorpio is available with 3 turbo diesel engine options (2.5 M2DICR, 2.6 CRDe and 2.2 mHawk), and with 2 body styles (SUV and twin cab pick up truck). A body on ladder SUV, the Scorpio is a seven seater. The Scorpio is sold with 5 speed manual and 6 speed automatic gearboxes while a shift-on-the-fly four wheel drive with low ratio is available on select variants. The Scorpio starts at a price of 7.83 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi.

Why should you buy one?

  • Butch looks and good street presence
  • Tough and rugged
  • Easily serviceable across India
  • Smooth and torquey 2.2 liter mHawk diesel engine

Why you shouldn’t buy one? 

  • Nervous high speed handling
  • Bumpy ride
  • Cramped middle row and side-facing seats for third row

Renault Duster : 51,411 units

French car maker Renault in India, is a one product wonder. The Duster is that one product which has brought in the big volumes for the French automaker and has made Renault a household name in India. The Duster managed 51,411 units, making it the best selling SUV in India for 2013. Available with petrol and turbo diesel engine options, the Duster is one of the more affordable crossovers sold in India, and one that brings a higher level of fit and finish when compared to what’s offered on homegrown SUVs such as the Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari. A standout trait of the Duster is its exemplary ride quality. Compact and fuel efficient, the Renault Duster is an ideal option for the urban SUV buyer. The Duster starts at 7.17 lakh rupees.

Why should you buy one?

  • Butch looks
  • Outstanding ride quality
  • Good ground clearance
  • Fuel efficient diesel engines

Why you shouldn’t buy one? 

  • Not value-for-money
  • Low rent interiors
  • Lack of 4X4, even as an option