The Indian market has always loved the big SUVs. However, there were times when manufacturers launched the SUVs but they did not become as popular as the others in the market. We bring you fifteen forgotten SUVs from the past of Indian automotive market.
The Trekker was a utility vehicle based on the Ambassador chassis. It was also known as the Pushpak in many regions. The Trekker was built to be tough and rugged and was very popular among the Tier II and Tier III towns and villages. The SUV had basic things like a frame and canvas doors.
It was propelled by a 1.5-litre diesel engine that produced a maximum of 38 Bhp – 80 Nm. Hindustan Motors also offered the 2.0-litre diesel engine that produced 51 Bhp – 106 Nm from the Contessa for a brief period of time.
The Sierra was a radical SUV that had a futuristic design. In the 1990s, the Sierra offered three doors and huge glass panels in the rear, which was unusual. The car was powered by a 2.0-litre indirect injection diesel engine that churned out 68 Bhp – 110 Nm. Tata also introduced 2.0-litre engine later with the Sierra.
The Chevrolet Captiva was available in the market until quite recently. The monocoque SUV was powered by a 2.2-litre VCDi turbo engine from the Cruze sedan that produced a healthy 184 Bhp – 424 Nm of torque. The Captiva was one of the quickest vehicles in the segment and it also offered AWD option.
The Trailblazer was Chevrolet’s bid to bring American big bad SUVs to the Indian shores. The car is very potent with a powerful 2.8-litre diesel engine that generates 197 BHP of maximum power and a huge torque of 500 Nm. The car also comes with gadgets like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It was the fastest car in the segment.
The Chevrolet Forester (known as the Subaru Forester globally) was a pretty capable SUV and one that would have easily continued to sell well today had it been around. This was the perfect crossover type SUV, allowing smaller car-like handling with the high ground clearance and all-wheel drive capability of an SUV. However, when GM sold its stake in Subaru’s holding company, it also lost the rights to sell the vehicle in India. It sold between 2002 and 2006.
The Terracan was one SUV that came way before its time. It was the only full-size SUV at that time. It also happened to be the torquiest of them all. Power came from a 2.9-liter engine that produced 148 Bhp and 343 Nm. The AWD system with the ladder on frame chassis gave it the power to reach the toughest corners.It was also well loaded and looked good too.
Hyundai Tucson (first generation)
The Tucson was a 5 seat SUV that Hyundai sold for a brief period in India. The Tucson was available with a 2-litre turbo diesel engine that put out 120 Bhp-270 Nm. A four-wheel-drive transfer case and a 5-speed manual gearbox were standard. Hyundai skipped a generation to launch the all-new Tucson in the Indian market recently.
Maruti Grand Vitara
The Maruti Grand Vitara was a petrol only SUV that was a fantastic all-rounder. The vehicle was powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that put out 164 bhp of power and 225 Nm of torque, with a choice of either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission with full-time 4×4 with high and low-ratio selections. The car was good value for money but found very few buyers.
The Invader was the cool looking version of the Bolero. It featured only 2 doors and had a soft roof at the rear, something like what is offered with the Gypsy. Power came from a 2.5-liter engine making 63 Bhp and 177 Nm. There are a lot of special editions of the Invader that Mahindra customized for various celebrities.
The Legend name did not become as famous as the other Mahindra vehicles in the market. The Legend was based on the MM-540/550 platform, in turn was based on the Willys Jeep. The Legend can be considered the spiritual predecessor of the Thar. Power came from a 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine that produced a tiny 58 Bhp.
The Premier Rio was the first sub-4 meter compact SUV of the Indian market. The mini-SUV design looked quite engaging. It was powered by a 1.2-litre diesel engine that produced a maximum of 75.5 Bhp – 103.9 Nm. Later, Premier also launched the BS IV version of the vehicle powered by a 1.3-litre diesel engine that produced 74 Bhp – 190 Nm.
Mahindra launched the SsangYong Rexton in India after it bought the South Korean brand. The Rexton was a large 7 seat SUV that was introduced to take on the Captiva, Pajero and the Fortuner. It was powered by a 2.7-litre engine that was either mated to a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed auto box, based on the variant. Power ranges from 162 Bhp and 340 Nm to 184 Bhp and 402 Nm.
The Koleos was the first SUV that Renault introduced in the country. At that time, Renault only sold the Fluence sedan and had not really caught on the Indian market share. It came in 3 variants, a 4×2 manual, 4×2 auto and a 4×4 auto. Powering them is a 2.0-litre engine that churned 170 Bhp and 360 Nm.
The One was introduced by Amitabh Bachchan in the Indian market. The old generation Endeavour look-alike and was priced extremely well. The sub 10 lakh vehicle did look good on the road. It was powered by a 2.2-litre engine that produced 139 Bhp and 321 Nm.
The Nissan X-Trail was launched in 2009. It looked butch, was spacious, and had a panoramic sunroof. The X-Trail was powered by a potent 2-litre diesel engine putting out 150 bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque. It also had selectable all-wheel drive. Nissan discontinued the vehicle in 2014.