SUVs or MUVs: Which one is right for you?

SUVs and MUVs have been selling quite well of late. The established makes such as Mahindra Scorpio, Toyota Innova continue to clock good numbers. And the new ones such as Mahindra XUV500, Renault Duster and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, have all outperformed sedans in their respective price bracket.

Considering many SUVs that are sold do not really have all-wheel drive, the real, tangible difference between the two narrows down considerably.

SUV - MPV sales india june 2012

If that is the case, then how should you decide whether to go for an SUV or an MUV?

3 reasons to buy an SUV

1- You like to go off-roading: If you want to ride over really rough roads or no roads then you are better off with an SUV that has all-wheel drive.

2- You like to project a macho/Sporty Image: If you have sporty life style, or just believe like so many of us that you are indeed a fit/outdoorsy person, SUV complements your personality better than an MUV.

3- You want a more powerful machine: Ideally, this should have nothing to with whether a car is an SUV or MUV. But, the MUVs available on the market are considerably less powerful than SUV. So if you want a powerful car, then SUV is the way to go.

Also read: New and upcoming SUVs and MPVs

3 reasons to buy an MUV

1- For better on-road handling: There is no rule that says MUVs should handle better but that’s the way it is given the choice on the market. Both Toyota Innova and Ertiga handle better than any SUV this side of a BMW. So unless you are willing to spend over Rs. 25 lakh or so, you’ll be hard pressed to find an SUV that will beat these two cars on on-road handling. Relative to SUVs, MUVs are set lower—have less ground clearance—and therefore, suffer from less body roll on the bends.

2- You’d like to project a family guy image: MUVs are associated with somewhat different personality type—those who are more family-oriented, responsible. And that’s not a bad thing.

3- If you want more space: MUVs are usually built around a cab forward design—put simply, they have smaller bonnets compared with SUVs and therefore, if both an SUV and an MUV are of equal length, then there is good chance that the MUV will have more space. For instance, Ertiga is more spacious than Duster. Their squar-ish—some might say box-ish—design leads to more usable space too.

Related: 4 best-selling SUVs of 2012

There is one little secret that automakers won’t let you in on—all the macho personality and stuff—it usually costs a bit more too. Renault Duster, which doesn’t even have the all-wheel drive option is priced above Maruti Ertiga as is XUV500 over Toyota Innova.