Snapshot – The traditional, ladder frame equipped sports utility vehicle may be more rugged than its monocoque brethren, but when it comes to tauter handling and a more pliant ride, old school SUVs lose out to the new generation of monocoque bodied SUVs/crossovers. Apart from a better ride and handling package, monocoque bodied SUVs also feel more refined than their ladder framed siblings. While folks who want solid mud plugging and rock crawling ability still swear by old schoolers, and their four wheel drive systems with high and low ratios, the new generation of SUV buyers want a vehicle that can get them out of a sticky situation with minimal fuss. This is a reason why all wheel drive system equipped crossovers find big favour across the world. Here’s a list of 5 hot, all wheel drive,monocoque bodied SUV buying options in India.
The Renault Duster is the least priced AWD SUV that money can buy in India, what with the RxL 110 PS AWD variant of the vehicle being pegged at 12.4 lakh rupees. The Duster features a 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine with 108 Bhp-245 Nm outputs. The 6 speed manual gearbox gets lower first and second gears to aid off road performance. Apart from the all wheel drive system, other goodies such as a hill hold assist, traction control and electronic stability program are now standard. The rear suspension gets a once over too, doing away with the torsion beam set up for a more pliant independent layout, which also improves articulation.
Mahindra will only sell 700 units of the XUV500 Xclusive Edition The Mahindra XUV500 is the first vehicle from the Indian automaker’s line up to feature an all wheel drive layout. It is also the first Mahindra SUV to gain a monocoque body. The AWD system is offered on the top-end W8 variant of this 7 seat luxury crossover. Pegged at 15.06 lakh rupees, the all wheel drive equipped XUV500 is powered by a 2.2 liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel engine with 140 Bhp-330 Nm on tap. Torque transmission is handled by a six speed manual gearbox. ABS+EBD, 6 airbags and ESP are standard safety features. The XUV500’s W8 AWD variant is big on value, and the least priced, 7 seat, all wheel driven SUV in India.
The Skoda Yeti is an underrated and understated SUV. Armed with fantastic on road manners and decent cred off the road, the Yeti packs in a Haldex clutch equipped all wheel drive system on its top end, 2 liter TDI turbo diesel engined variant. This motor makes 138 Bhp-320 Nm and is paired with a 6 speed manual transmission. The monocoque bodied SUV’s compact dimensions make it an effective tool even in congested city streets. Big on safety aids, the Yeti AWD has a long list of kit ranging from 6 airbags, ABS+EBD, ESP, traction control, hill hold assist, hill descent control, electronic differential lock and a tyre pressure monitoring system. The Yeti 4X4 is priced at 21.8 lakh rupees.
The only petrol powered all wheel drive SUV in this list is the Honda CR-V. Known for its car-like drive and handling in an SUV shell, the CR-V has a dedicated bunch of buyers who are willing to live with the lower fuel economy of a large, 2.4 liter petrol motor for the refinement that this Honda offers. The 2.4 liter engine of the crossover puts out 187 Bhp of peak power and 226 Nm of peak torque. Transmission duties are handled by a 5 speed automatic gearbox while an all wheel drive system gives the CR-V enough muscle to overcome the occasional patch of slush and sand. The all wheel drive variant of the CR-V is priced at 25.09 lakh rupees.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe is the most expensive of the sub-30 lakh rupee, AWD equipped SUV lot. The large crossover, which seats 7 and gets a monocoque body, is priced at a hefty 29.95 lakh rupees. For this kind of money, you get a 2.2 liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel engine that makes 194 Bhp of peak power and 437 Nm of peak torque. A 6 speed automatic transmission handles gear shifting while a full time all wheel drive system gives this SUV loads of grip even under trying conditions. The Santa Fe is well appointed on the inside, with high quality interiors and a generous set of features.