Top 3 most awaited upcoming SUVs

CarToq Community members have been repeatedly querying about SUVs to be launched in the coming months. Here, we pick the top three SUVs that the community wanted to know more about.

Renault Duster – June 2012

renault duster launch photo
Photo: The Duster is an interesting SUV from Renault and many are waiting for its launch

The Duster 5-seater SUV was unveiled at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo and there are many potential buyers eager to drive home this French compact SUV. The Duster doesn’t have an imposing presence but has enough muscle and curves to give a planted and solid feel.

Also see: renault Duster car research hub

The Duster may attract urban dwellers; thanks to its compact dimensions (4.3 m length and 1.8 m width) parking in tight spaces and driving through narrow roads will not be as difficult as it is with bigger SUVs. Besides, the generous 210 mm ground clearance means you need not worry about even the high speed breakers and poor road surfaces. The short overhangs (822 mm at front & 800 mm at rear) makes the Duster, off-road ready provided it comes with a 4×4 system. Also read: Ertiga vs. Ecosport vs. Duster: Compact SUV/MPV comparison

The Duster will likely be powered by the 1.5-litre diesel motor which already does its duty in the Renault Pulse. However, the power and torque will be upped to 85 Bhp and it may return a mileage of around 19 Kmpl. The Duster may also be offered in petrol version, powered by a 1.6-litre motor that puts out 105 Bhp of power and returning a mileage of around 13 Kmpl. The Duster will be equipped with features such as dual front airbags, ABS with Brake Assist and EBD, keyless entry, rear parking sensors, rear wiper & washer, electrically adjustable mirrors, music system with aux-in, USB, Bluetooth connectivity and alloy wheels. Despite its compact dimensions, the Duster will offer 475 litres of luggage space.

The Duster may be offered in four variants that consists of two 4×2 variants and two 4×4 variants and could be priced in the range of Rs. 7 lakh – Rs. 10 lakh. The launch is just a couple of weeks away.

Tata Safari Storme – June 2012

tata safari storme photo gallery

The Safari has a lot of fan following and the Safari Storme, is one of the most awaited launches this year. Though visually the Storme looks like just a cosmetic facelift, it is much more. The Storme has a Land Rover-like look, fresh headlamp cluster with projector headlamps, chrome-tipped dual exhausts, and redesigned tail gate with new taillamp cluster. A grey band and an integrated roof spoiler gives a new look to the SUV’s rear styling. Read more: Communityspeak: Tata Safari versus Safari Storme

The Safari Storme will be launched with mechanical updates such as 2.2-litre Dicor engine that puts out 138 bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque with changes only in gear ratios (no changes in specifications). The Storme will also feature rear disc brakes, light hydroformed chassis and new rack-and-pinion steering wheel. The Safari Storme is built on X2 platform of the Tata Aria. These changes may collectively improve the new Safari’s performance and handling characteristics.

The Storme disappoints a bit when it comes to features. The model displayed at the Auto Expo had single DIN audio system, shift-on-the-fly 4WD, power windows, electrically adjustable mirrors, turn indicators on outside mirrors and 16-inch alloy wheels. These features have become quite basic especially after the launch of Aria and XUV500. The Safari Storme will likely come in the same 2+3+2 arrangement with jump seats on the third row as in the Safari. Though there may not be much difference with regard to space and comfort, the Storme will have improved in terms of interior quality and fit & finish as well.

Expect the Storme to be close to that of the current model which is priced between Rs. 8.15 lakh and Rs. 12.29 lakh. The Safari Storme may be launched in June 2012.

Ford EcoSport – January 2013

ford ecosport front
Photo: The Ecosport could be a revolutionary vehicle for Ford as a brand in India

The EcoSport compact SUV was the highlight of the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo and continues to garner interest among SUV buyers. The EcoSport production version largely resembles the EcoSport concept showcased at the except for a few elements such as LED headlamps, LED tail lamps and the alloy wheel pattern. The signature trapezoid grille and elongated headlights gives the EcoSport, a bold road presence despite its compact exterior dimensions.

The side profile reveals the SUV’s massive 200 mm ground clearance and off-road friendly approach (25 degree) and departure (35 degree) angles that will safeguard the SUV’s underbelly from scrapping the road undulations. The rear has taillamp cluster looks sharp but slightly resembles BMW rear designs. The body colored spare wheel cover giving it a muscular look.

The diesel version may have a 1.5-litre motor borrowed from the Fiesta diesel sedan that puts out 90 Bhp of power and 204 Nm of torque. The EcoSport petrol will be powered by a 1-litre, 3-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine that churns out 118.4 bhp (120 PS) of power and 170 Nm of torque. Ford bets big on the EcoBoost engine as it is expected to deliver performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. However, with sky rocketing petrol prices, even if EcoBoost engine returns high mileage, the diesel EcoSport will likely have more demand than the petrol EcoSport. Also read: Ford EcoSport launch postponed to 2013

The EcoSport will come with interesting features such as ABS, ESP, hill launch assist, steering mounted controls, Bluetooth connectivity, smart start (engine start button), traction control and voice activated controls. The EcoSport will be a practical SUV for family outings as it will feature plenty of cubby holes including seven cup holders, a cooled glove box, and a slide out drawer under the front seat and a pocket to hold an umbrella. The EcoSport will offer 346 litres of luggage space and by folding the 60:40 rear split seats, the EcoSport can carry up to 560 litres of luggage.

The EcoSport is a sub-four meter SUV making it a small car (which attracts 12% excise duty only) as per government norms. Hence, expect the EcoSport to have an aggressive price range starting at Rs. 6 lakh but potential buyers may have to wait for 7 more months because launch is expected to happen only in January 2013.