Car makers have shied away from offering all-wheel drive (AWD) layouts on their budget cars in India despite offering this feature in other markets, and for good reason. Demand for all wheel drive variants in India is quite low, and this is why car makers generally avoid launching all wheel drive variants of popular cars. Maruti Suzuki has bucked this trend, and is all set to launch the Grand Vitara compact SUV with all wheel drive layout. Toyota has already launched the Hyryder Urban Cruiser, a sibling of the Grand Vitara (both SUVs are the same save for styling and trims), with AWD. We now learn that AWD trims of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara have received about 5-7 % of the total bookings, which now stand at over 53,000. What this means is, only 1 in 20 buyers is opting for an all wheel drive variant of Maruti Suzuki’s latest SUV. The numbers are likely to be similar for the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder.
Here’s Shashank Srivastava, the senior executive officer – marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki – revealing plans for the Grand Vitara,
What I feel will turn out to be very positive for the Grand Vitara is the sheer range of options on offer. Within the SUV segment, it will attract different customers, those who are looking at a hybrid, the convenience of an automatic, or the capabilities of an all-wheel drive SUV. As it happens with any new model, they end up uplifting their respective segments. We expect a bit of both – cannibalisation of existing models within midsize SUV segment as well as its overall expansion with the entry of the Grand Vitara.
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and the just-launched Toyota Hyryder Urban Cruiser are the latest entrants to India’s compact SUV segment, currently dominated by the duo of Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. Maruti Suzuki will launch the Grand Vitara in the end of September, and the compact SUV’s bookings are open all NEXA dealerships at a booking amount of Rs. 21,000.
The Grand Vitara sold in India gets two powertrains: a 1.5 liter mild hybrid petrol that is available with an all wheel drive layout, and a 1.5 liter strong hybrid petrol that’s front wheel driven. The strong hybrid gets a CVT automatic gearbox as standard, and with a claimed fuel efficiency of about 28 Kmpl, is one of the most fuel efficient compact SUVs ever sold in India. In fact, the Grand Vitara Strong Hybrid is more fuel efficient than diesel cars, all thanks to the combination of the 1.5 liter Atkinson cycle TNGA petrol engine (91 Bhp-122 Nm) and the electric motor (78 Bhp-144 Nm).
The mild hybrid engine on the Grand Vitara is the tried and tested 1.5 liter K15C motor that puts out 101 Bhp-137 Nm. This motor is paired with a mild hybrid called Suzuki Hybrid Vehicle System (SHVS). The mild hybrid assists the engine during hard acceleration, and also offers brake energy regeneration and idle-stop features.