Snapshot – In the next twelve months, the luxury SUV segment in India will see a sea change. The move towards feature packed luxury, which started with the Hyundai Santa Fe, will get a big fillip with the launch of three muscular and contemporary luxury SUVs. The upcoming launches in this segment will also set the bar for the future. Here’s what you need to know.
When the Chevrolet Trailblazer was showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, few expected General Motors India to launch this SUV here, considering the American automaker’s laid back attitude towards the car market here. The General is now on the move, and is moving first. The launch blitz will begin with the Trailblazer, which will blaze trails from the end of this year.
The massive, ladder frame SUV could arrive through the completely knocked down (CKD) route with the kits arriving from Thailand, a major manufacturing hub for the Trailblazer. Testing of the SUV on Indian roads has already commenced. A 2.8 liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel (200 Bhp-500 Nm) motor will power the new Chevrolet, which could also get manual and automatic transmission options.
Since the Trailblazer is priced under the Captiva in international markets, a similar strategy seems in store for India. This, especially considering that the Captiva that arrives as a CBU is nearly 20 % pricier than its ladder framed sibling. A sub-20 lakh price tag for the new SUV would be very yummy, and CKD assembly will make this a realistic possibility.
Next Generation Ford Endeavour
There is just one vehicle that are older than a decade in the luxury SUV segment, and that’s the Ford Endeavour. The big Ford has been around in India since 2004, which is a long time even by SUV standards. The next generation model has already made its debut in Thailand, and is expected arrive into India by the end of this year, or early next year. Meanwhile, Ford has already started testing the 2016 Endeavour on Indian roads.
The new Endeavour gets two turbo diesel motors, both downsized units. 2.2 liter-4 cylinder and 3.2 liter-5 cylinder engines are what the India-spec SUV is also expected to be offered with. 6 speed manual and automatic transmissions could be offered with these engines. An all wheel drive layout with a Land Rover inspired terrain response system will be the highlight of the new Ford, which will continue to use a ladder frame chassis.
The 7 seat layout will be retained but the interiors get a major once over. With the new Endeavour being a contemporary product, Ford has packed it with luxury, and new age connectivity options. In terms of pricing, expect to pay a premium rupee for the new Endeavour, as the SUV will offer a lot more than the outgoing model. The new SUV will be CKD assembled at Ford’s Maramalainagar factory, off Chennai.
Next Generation Toyota Fortuner
India’s best selling luxury SUV will get a brand new avatar early next year. The 2016 Fortuner is all set to be unveiled in Thailand shortly. The vehicle will be based on a new iteration of the IMV platform, tweaked to confirm to the Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA). Test mules have revealed that the new Fortuner will look sharper while the word on the street is that the SUV will also feature upmarket interiors.
In terms of engines, smaller, four cylinder turbo diesel motors with 2.4 liter and 2.8 liter capacities are likely, albeit with boosted power and torque outputs. The new Fortuner will retain seating for seven adults and its ladder frame chassis. Improvements to ride quality and braking are aspects that prospective owners of this big Toyota would be looking forward to. In terms of positioning, the new SUV is expected to command a higher price tag.