SUVs have caught the fancy of Indian car buyers in recent years. Size does matter and these large vehicles also end up massaging the owner’s ego, apart from providing a commanding view of the road, ample ground clearance and cabin space for weekend adventures. Thankfully manufactures have responded well to the growing need and buyers can pick from 9 different options, all under Rs 10 lakh, on-road pricing. However only five offer 7 seats or more.
We have sorted the list as per price below (on-road price)
1) 7 Seater SUV cars under Rs 10 lakh: Maruti Gypsy
Price: Rs 7.12 lakh onwards (on-road before discounts)
India’s most affordable 4×4 and 8 seater is also part of the list here. The good old Maruti Gypsy is still a hit in various 4×4 groups and why not? With a peppy 1.3 litre petrol motor and light weight, the Gypsy gets good performance for both on and off-road usage. It gets a manual 4×4 transfer case with low ratio as well. Bare to the bones, the Gypsy is not your everyday car but one that can serve you for over a decade without requiring any major maintenance at all. The design has largely remained unchanged since its launch and so have the interiors. Basic, utilitarian and made for a purpose, there are no creature comforts at all. But this one can carry as many as 8 people in comfort with the side facing rear seats through any terrain, a reason why it is still so popular for jungle safaris as well as off-road adventures. However, ride quality is bouncy and good only when you load it up with passengers and their luggage. This is one area where Maruti has made no effort to make an everyday 4×4 for Indians. The new Jimny was highly anticipated but Maruti has made no official statements about its launch in India. Till then, to satisfy 4×4 fantasies of adventure seekers, the Gypsy is the only petrol option. It has been proving its reliable credentials for years now by serving various armed forces.
- Go anywhere capability
- Peppy petrol, reasonably efficient too
- Long term reliability and maintenance
- Relatively lower price as compared to other 4x4s
- Uncomfortable – hard ride quality
- No creature comfort at all
2) 7 Seater SUV cars under Rs 10 lakh: Mahindra Thar
Price: Rs 7.8 lakh onwards (on-road before discounts)
Discounts: Benefits of upto Rs 6000
Yes, another 4×4 in the list. But let us warn you – if you are looking for a car primarily meant for family use, skip to the next car in the list. The Thar is manufactured for a reason and that is to ferry people in rural markets or to have a reliable workhorse for your farm or estates. Do note that only the Di model is available for under Rs 10 lakh on road and gets an optional 4×4 as well. The CRDe model, the one that looks and feels better is about Rs 11 lakh on-road. As you can see here, the Thar Di wears an old school theme and frankly, looks basic. Step inside and the same theme continues – its made for a purpose and so we won’t complain much. Apart from a lockable glovebox, no other creature comfort is offered. The Di Thar comes with a 2523cc engine which puts out just 63 bhp of power (the Eeco puts out 73 remember?) along with 195 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox which average shift quality. However, the gearing is rather tall which does help you during highway cruising of 90-100 km/h and the engine is fairly efficient too, delivering an easy 11-12 in city usage. If you hit rural markets of states like Rajasthan you will see a lot of these working overtime, hauling no less than 12-15 people along with goods and even animals! Overall, the Thar is more of a recreational vehicle for city dwellers like us and for pure family use, it can be skipped.
- Most affordable diesel 4×4
- Can take in a lot of abuse
- Requires minimal maintenance
- Feature stripped
- Looks Basic
- Not your every drive!
Sales: (clubbed with CRDe)
3) 7 Seater SUV cars under Rs 10 lakh: Mahindra Bolero
Price: Rs 8.57 lakh onwards (on-road before discounts)
Did you know the largest selling Mahindra in India is the Bolero? Drive outside the confines of your metro city into small towns and rural markets or towns based in mountains and you will be amazed with the number of Boleros on the road. This rugged MPV continues to bring in great revenues for Mahindra and is available in various body styles including pick-ups. However we will concentrate on the passenger version here, the latest sub 4 meter version which is called the Bolero+. Mahindra cleverly shaved off some length from the bumpers of the Bolero in order to get it under 4m in length. Next, they introduced a diesel unit with capacity of less than 1500cc. These two factors allowed the Bolero to enjoy small car tax benefits which means in terms of value for money, you can’t get a bigger 7 seater for your money. The top end version for example retails at an onroad price of Rs 9.7 and gets audio system with Bluetooth, a proper driver info display, air-con with heater, front demister, all four power windows and even voice massaging system! Slap on a set of great alloy wheels with wide tyres and you will get a show stopper for sure.
The Bolero+ continues to look old school but this goes down well with a large set of buyers. Step inside and the same story continues – we dont remember the last time Mahindra updated the Bolero’s cabin. Space is good in the 1st rows but not so at the back – the last row also sees the vehicle using side facing jump seats. But the Bolero offers an easy drive for the size and comes with bullet proof reliability. Safety isn’t its fore (no ABS, no airbags) but as we said, this is one of the backbones of rural markets and smaller towns. The Bolero continues to set sales charts on fire…
- Substantial vehicle for the price
- 1.5 diesel offers ample low end grunt
- NVH levels are superb on the inside
- Old school design works well for most
- No safety aids
- Limited passenger space
- Not an everyday personal vehicle
Sep : 7046
4) 7 Seater SUV cars under Rs 10 lakh: Tata Sumo
Price: Rs 8.9 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
And how could we forget the Tata Sumo? Launched in 1994, it was a runaway success for the company but today, struggles to get past 750 units on a monthly basis. Tata tried reviving it with models like the Grande and Movus but failed. The current Sumo comes in three versions of CX, EX and GX and largely sells under the commercial plate. This has also effected its brand appeal for private buyers. Tata Motors hasn’t changed the design of the Sumo apart from minor cosmetic tweaks and the same goes for the cabin which frankly isn’t expected from a vehicle that can cost over Rs 10 lakh on-road for the top spec version. However what the Sumo offers is space and comfort, one area where it is far better than the cheaper Bolero. Feature wise though, it again disappoints for family usage. Missing on the option list are Airbags, ABS, audio system and other features. To be honest, as a commercial cab, the Sumo does just fine. But for private use, its better to invest more into a proper, safe and a comfortable 7/8 seater option. Which also gets us to the last option in this listing, so read on…
- The Sumo offers excellent space for 7-9 passengers
- Long term reliability is excellent – its a tried and tested product
- Ride quality is good
- Wears a commercial tag – hence private buyers stay away
- Missing safety aids
- Boring cabin design, missing features
5) 7 Seater SUV cars under Rs 10 lakh: Mahindra TUV3OO
Price: Rs 9.5 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: Upto Rs 38,000 cash, upto Rs 15,000 exchange bonus (November)
The most rugged and butch looking compact SUV (SUV under 4m in length) is the Mahindra TUV3OO. The boxy design works well for a lot of owners and its the TUV that gives you the most ego massaging driving experience. It also looks larger than the EcoSport and Brezza and this works well in terms of road presence. The front grille does remind us of the Jeep brand and enthusiasts love spicing up the looks further with wider tyres and alloy wheels.
Getting inside is tough as compared to other SUVs but once seated, you are surprised with the fit and finish levels as well as above average cabin design. Given the massive discounts, you can pick from the base T4+ or the one up T6+ variant. The latter gets an infotainment system with 4 speakers, Mahindra BlueSense app compatibility, air-con, power steering, all four power windows, dual Airbags, ABS and even a rear was wiper. And unlike the EcoSport / Breeza, this one has a unique 3rd of seats that makes this a 7 seater. However, the last row is best for kids or adults not over 5.4 in height. Further, getting into the 3rd row is a task as you need to climb up from the back door.
Powering the TUV is a 1.5-litre turbo charged diesel unit that offers excellent NVH (noise, vibrations, harshness) levels – infact, on the move, the TUV is impressively quite on the inside. However, outright performance is lacking due to its weight and the TUV feels best under 3000rpm. The gearshifts are smooth though and there is also an optional AMT but will not fit in the budget mentioned here. Mahindra also sells a longer TUV Plus but price for that start upwards of Rs 11 lakh on-road. Lot of variants you see!
To summarise, the 7 seater TUV is a great product from Mahindra, comfortable and smooth but lacks the eagerness of rivals or a spacious 2nd row.
- Looks big – good for massaging owner’s ego
- Commanding driving posture
- Smooth diesel, NVH levels are excellent
- Body kits available at dealer level
- Extra weight hampers performance
- Cramped 2nd row
- Subjective looks
- Dynamically not as good as rivals
August : 1966
September : 1786
Latest update: TUV300 Plus launched
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