There are cars of all shapes and sizes available in the Indian market today. And while most of them focus on carrying five aboard, we look at options that can seat up to seven in comfort, while without losing the ability to tackle bad roads. SUVs are famous because they offer lots of grip on less than perfect terrain, and while they are a bit off when it comes to cornering (in comparison to cars), their straight line stability is commendable.
Also, to ensure that their forte, which is the ability to go off-road, isn’t compromised, we are looking at the ones with 4WD (four-wheel drive) versions only. As for the budget, we’re looking at options between Rs 15 lakh and 50 lakh, ex-showroom.
Mahindra XUV 500
XUV 500 has proven itself to be a gateway to premium feel and features. Prior to it, if you had to buy a premium SUV, jumping the Rs 20 lakh barrier was almost taken for granted.
The only Mahindra SUV to feature a car-like monocoque structure, the XUV soon became a market favourite, and enjoys its almost undisputed position rather well.
AWD variants are available in the top W8 and W10 trim levels, and while they still won’t break bank, its 140hp engine will happily cruise on the highway, and will handle everyday condition without troubling you.
Price: Rs 15.12 lakh onwards, ex-showroom
While most of the Fortuners we come across every day are either on highways or on city roads, the vehicle is a potent off-roader, too. The seven-seater SUV is powered by a 3-litre engine that makes 171hp and 343Nm. Full-Time AWD is standard, and there’s a less powerful 2WD variant, too, but it’s not of interest here.
At 4.7-meters long, the Fortuner isn’t made for doing urban commuted, and shines both on long trips and off the road. It weighs 2 tonnes, and with 17-inch tyres, it feels stable while on the move.
Price: Rs 26.02 lakh, ex-showroom
A part of the Mahindra group, the Rexton is the only offering by Ssangyong in India. Prices start at Rs 19.84 lakh for the RX-5, which like the better equipped RX-6 gets torque on demand, while the top end, AWD RX-7 is available for Rs 23.53 lakh.
The latter is powered by a 3-litre engine that makes 184hp and a smidgen above 400Nm of torque.
Price: Rs 19.84 lakh onwards, ex-showroom
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Mitsubishi India’s line up, which was once full of rugged and halo products, now is solely made up of the Pajero Sport SUV. Based on the Triton pick-up, the Pajero Sport competes directly with the Fortuner.
It is powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine that makes 176hp and 350Nm of torque. While the 2WD variant is also available with an automatic gearbox, the 4WD Pajero Sport comes with a 5-speed manual transmission.
And like the Fortuner it also comes shod with 17-inch wheels. It must be noted that both Fortuner and Pajero Sport are due an update, and the same goes for Ford Endeavour as well. And while the latter has already made it to the Ford India website with an upcoming tag, it remains to be seen when the market gets the next generation versions of the trio.
Price: Rs 25.45 lakh, ex-showroom
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Based on a new platform that will spawn lighter and more capable models, the Discovery Sport was launched earlier today with prices starting at Rs 46 lakh onwards. The 7-seater version retails for Rs 52 lakh onwards, ex-showroom.
For the Discovery Sport to have a Land Rover moniker on its body, it needs to have class-leading off-roading prowess. Which, according to most reviews, it does.
Powering the vehicle is a 2.2-litre diesel engine that’s available in two states of tune: 148 and 188hp. It sends power to all four wheels via a 9-speed gearbox. And with a ground clearance of 211mm and 17-inch wheels, it’s clearly up there with the rest of the SUVs here. Just a lot more premium.
Price: Rs 46.1 lakh onwards; 7-seater available for Rs 52.5 lakh onwards