When is the right time to replace your SUV?

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Sport utility vehicles are really quite versatile, being many vehicles rolled into one. They have better go-anywhere ability than sedans. Most have better space inside than hatchbacks. And most of all, they have tremendous road presence, which could be an image booster for many buyers.

However, what if some of these equations change? For instance, a new ruling is about to make all diesel vehicles over 10 years of age in the Delhi-NCR region obsolete. Here are four criteria that would tell you it is probably time to sell your SUV.

When its resale value is still good

Depending on the SUV you have, resale value may or may not hold. For instance, four-to-five year old Toyota Fortuners still hold their resale value pretty well, with very few available for less than Rs. 14 lakh. On the other hand, a Honda CR-V or Mitsubishi Outlander would tumble in value in the same time frame, being worth less than Rs. 10 lakh. Among the lower budget SUVs, the Mahindra Scorpio holds its resale value pretty well, even better than the Tata Safari.

The ideal time-frame to sell your SUV would be when you still get good resale value. For a Mahindra Scorpio, anytime between 4 years to 6 years would be ideal, as you’ve used up warranty, but there’s good demand in the market for vehicles that age. For a Honda CR-V, don’t hold on to it for more than 3 to 4 years if you want a good price. If you’ve got a Toyota Fortuner, you can hang on to it for longer (the Fortuner itself is only a little over 5 years old in India now).

When it no longer suits your lifestyle

You probably bought an SUV with dreams of driving across the country, touring the mountains or exploring jungles. Yes, these are ideal vehicles for rough terrain and an outdoors lifestyle. However, if your needs change and you find yourself stuck to commuting around the city or making multiple trips to places where you would want more fuel efficiency, an SUV would probably be overkill, with problems of parking and fuel bills taking centre stage. You may have moved houses and don’t have a spare parking spot or a big enough one for an SUV. Or you suddenly develop a conscience and agree with the environmentalists about the effects of pollution. These are indications that it’s time to move on from that SUV to something more compact.

When your maintenance bills mount

SUVs demand their fair share of maintenance. During the first few years of their life, most SUVs demand little more than routine preventive maintenance and service, with warranty taking care of the rest. But for avid travellers and high milers, once the warranty runs out the maintenance bills can mount. Replacement parts for SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner or Pajero Sport are expensive, but they are fairly reliable. However, SUVs such as the Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio are far more demanding in terms of preventive maintenance as they age. Once you see your bills cross Rs. 30,000 a year, it’s time to move on.

When there’s a better one available

Of course, there’s vanity has no bounds. If a better SUV drives into the neighbour’s garage, you are bound to lust after it. Every few years, your own brand of SUV would probably have improved considerably enough for you to think of an upgrade. Or perhaps you’ve just landed a pile of cash and need to pick up a new one either to keep the taxman happy or satisfy your own lust. The new Mahindra Scorpio for instance is a significant upgrade from the older Scorpio. The new Tata Safari Storme is leagues ahead of the old Safari Dicor. Toyota too has upgraded the Fortuner constantly, with more features and subtle design changes, making the latest Fortuner much better than the one from five years ago.

So when is the right time for you to replace your SUV? Tell us.