Biggest problem: Bad on-road performance; Alternative: Mahindra Thar
The Gypsy is the only petrol UV you can buy in the country. It’s a force to reckon with off the road, but once back on it, it turns into a disappointment. The main reason behind that is while the simple mechanicals work great off the tarmac, the suspension isn’t made for on-road duties and the ride quality suffers a fair bit because of that.
But if you look at the Thar, it’s got a better on-road driveability, has enough grunt to do both highway speeds and off-roading (not at the same time), and with a diesel engine, it’s more frugal to run than the Gypsy. Another major point in favour of the Thar is that while it still doesn’t use any trick suspension, with an independent front and leaf springs at the rear, it eclipses the Gypsy. Aftermarket hard tops are widely available, which add to the vehicle’s everyday usability.
Maruti Vitara Brezza
Biggest problem: Space, Road presence ; Alternative: Mahindra TUV300
Maruti’s compact SUV ticks all the right boxes: it drives well, comes with a frugal diesel engine, and is competitively priced. But it lacks space and the road presence of many a rival.
Especially of the Mahindra TUV 300! While the built like a tank approach might not get any design graduates to appreciate the vehicle, but the TUV has massive road presence and a lot of space. It can seat seven, if the need arises, too.
Biggest problem: Value (Lack of it); Alternative: Mahindra XUV500
The Creta has helped Hyundai make up for its absence in the segment. It drives well, has good space, and as far as its on-road abilities are concerned, it’s a well-made product.
But in terms of a value for money offering, the Creta isn’t the best option around. For the same amount of money, you can get the Mahindra XUV500, which offers more space (ability to seat two more people), and the optional AWD system.
Toyota Corolla Altis
Biggest problem: Underpowered diesel; Alternative: Chevrolet Cruze
The Toyota Corolla Altis is the most sorted D-segment buy if you’re looking for longevity and reliability. But if you’re looking for something powerful and fun to drive, it’s likely to be a disappointment.
Instead the Chevrolet Cruze with its 2-liter diesel engine (164hp, 360 Nm) makes the 1.4-liter (87 hp, 205 Nm) engined Corolla Altis look and feel slow. And comes at around the same price. Also, it looks more muscular and has enough space to keep the rear passengers happy, too.
Biggest problem: Ride, brakes; Alternative: Ford Endeavour
The Fortuner is the most popular vehicle in the segment, and with its ethos (longevity, reliability, and the ability to travel fast both on and off the tarmac) it’s hardly a surprise. While it can eat up miles, it lacks the ride quality of its smaller sibling the Innova.
The Endeavour on the other hand is better in almost all aspects. It has a good on-road performance, feels more stable, and has a much better cabin. The ride quality is sorted, and has macho looks to ensure that it appears as interesting, too.