The SUV market in India is fast growing. There are a bunch of SUVs in the Indian market that address different buyer needs. Some are for pure comfort, some are hard core offroaders, and some are compact and versatile enough to do duty in the city all day long.
If you are an SUV aficionado and can’t really see any sense in vehicles beyond SUVs, here are three SUVs that you can have in your garage that will suit different needs. Also read: India’s 6 most comfortable SUVs
Best off-road SUV
If you love to get off the beaten track on weekends and indulge in some mud baths, the Mahindra Thar would be the ideal choice for you. For one, it has a low purchase price, and won’t break the bank if you do break something off-road. It has a competent low-ratio 4×4 gearbox that can pretty much handle any kind of terrain.
It has an all-steel rugged body, leaf spring rear suspension, independent front suspension and a manual Borg-Warner 4×4 transfer case. The Thar is powered by a 2.5 litre common-rail diesel engine that puts out 103 bhp of power and 247 Nm of torque, with a five-speed manual transmission. It comes with creature comforts now such as air-conditioning and power-steering. The Thar costs about Rs. 6.86 lakh ex-showroom. Also read: Best SUVs for off-roading
Best compact city SUV
The Skoda Yeti is a really refined 4×4 SUV that’s quite understated but packs a whole bunch of tricks. The top-end 4×4 Elegance Yeti is fully feature loaded and makes for a comfortable compact SUV for four people.
The Yeti is powered by a 2 litre diesel engine that puts out 140 bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque. It has an on-demand 4×4 system that does not require any driver intervention. It can handle any kind of terrain thrown at it, so if you live in a city that sees heavy rains or snowfall, it’s a vehicle that can easily handle all that. The Yeti comes with interesting features including dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, hill descent control, versatile flip and fold seats, cornering fog lamps etc.
The top-end 4×4 Skoda Yeti is priced at Rs. 17.75 lakh ex-showroom, while the mid-variant is Rs. 16.2 lakh. Another alternate choice to the Skoda Yeti, in case you don’t want to splurge so much is the Renault Duster at between Rs. 9 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh, but it does not come in a 4×4 variant (not needed anyway for the city). Also read: Best performance SUVs between Rs. 15 lakh and Rs. 25 lakh
Best highway, out-of-town SUV
If you are the kind who does frequent long-distance trips and needs an SUV that can handle the pace of highways, twisty mountain roads, broken roads and no roads, and also be one that’s robust enough not to develop any snags in remote areas, you are probably looking at a vehicle like the Toyota Fortuner.
The Fortuner has pretty robust mechanicals. It is powered by a 3 litre diesel engine that puts out 169 bhp of power and 343 Nm of torque, with a five-speed manual transmission and full-time 4×4 system in the top-end variant. You also get two lower variants now – a 4×2 manual variant and a 4×2 automatic variant.
It has the basic safety features you need – two airbags, ABS and traction control, has high ground clearance, good visibility and is quite rugged to handle long haul, cross-country touring duties without tiring you out. Other choices would include the Mahindra XUV500 and Tata Safari, at lower price points, but these are not as reliable. Also read: Most value-for-money SUVs in India
Share your thoughts on the three SUVs you would buy and keep if your garage had to have one for the city, one for off-roading and one for long journeys.