What defines an SUV? Well, in India, any car with high ground clearance and bold looks will get the tag. However, in real terms, an SUV, which stands for Sports Utility Vehicle must have the capability of going through extreme road conditions, challenges and obstacles. For that, you need two things – a 4X4 set-up and a low-ratio transfer case, or at least an AWD system. There are many such vehicles available in the Indian market but due to the high cost, manufacturers offer these vehicles in 2WD set-up too! They are much cheaper, affordable to run and get full marks for intimidating other vehicles on the roads. But can they really do what their 4X4 cousins can do? Well, we have a few examples that show how miserable the 2WD “SUVs” can be when the situation becomes tough.
One of the most capable SUVs in the Indian market, a Fortuner equipped with 4X4 system and A-Trac system can conquer almost every kind of terrain. Here is a video that shows a 4X2 Fortuner on snow. The video has been uploaded by the owner of the vehicle who wanted to show how embarrassing a 4X2 can become on the slippery terrain. The location of the video is Ladakh and it shows the RWD Fortuner not getting any kind of traction from the surface and just slipping along the way. Mind you, this can turn out to be dangerous really quickly.
Since the Harrier is the first Tata vehicle that is based on the platform derived from Land Rover Discovery, everyone expected it to get a 4X4 or at least AWD system. However, at the time of the launch, Tata said that they sell around 1% AWD and 4X4 cars out of their total sales in the country. We get the point, there is no demand for such vehicles and it requires a huge budget to develop such systems, especially for a newly developed platform. Tata instead offered a Terrain Response System that controls the vehicle’s traction control system in a way that it goes through light off-roading trails without much of an issue. But what if people get carried away and take the Harrier to a slippier, more difficult terrain? Well, here is the result.
Force One was an intimidating looking vehicle and was endorsed by Mr Bachchan himself. The Force One was available in both 4X2 and 4X4 drive set-ups but as always, the 4X2 variants were more popular in the market. Here is a Force One 4X2 showing off SUV skills on muddy terrain. The result is something that may surprise you.
Mahindra Scorpio is currently one of the most popular SUVs in India and is a great off-roading vehicle too. However, 4X2 Scorpios are cheaper to buy, which makes them more popular in the market. Here is a video from far North-Eastern part of the country where a stuck Scorpio is trying to get its “SUV” image back! Please ignore the human who came in the video frame.
The XUV500 is an extremely popular vehicle in the Indian market. Since it is also aimed at the travellers, Mahindra offers an AWD version of the car in the market too but there are not many takers of the version. Instead, they test the limits of the 4X2 XUV500 The result? Not quite great.