Snapshot – Nobody buys SUVs to chase top speeds. Rather, the SUV is bought for the imposing street presence, good ground clearance and the ability to take you to places where other cars will come a cropper. Yet, top speeds have an allure of their own, and it’s nice to be in a vehicle that can cut air faster than the rest of its ilk. Academic it may seem, but we’re taking a look at India’s fastest affordable SUV. Why don’t you join us for this trip?
Drum roll, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys. It’s a petrol powered variant that rules the roost as India’s fastest affordable SUV. What’s more, this petrol engine is the smallest engine that powers an SUV in India. That’s what turbo power can do. The Ford Ecosport with the 1.0 liter-3 cylinder Ecoboost turbo petrol engine clocks a top speed of 181 Kph, with the 0-100 Kph run dispatched in just 12.7 seconds.
This gem of an engine has won numerous awards around the globe, and puts output 125 Bhp and 170 Nm. The motor drives the front wheels of the Ecosport by means of a five speed manual gearbox. At a price of 9.14 lakh rupees, the Ecosport is also very good value for the one looking at a high performance yet compact and affordable SUV. The Ecosport’s other variants clock decent performance numbers too.
The 1.5 liter TDCI turbo engined variants hit a top speed of 160 Kph, with the 0-100 Kph run coming up in 14.4 seconds. The 1.5 liter Ti-VCT petrol engined Ecosport with a 5 speed manual gearbox does 0-100 Kph in 11.6 seconds, with top speed rated at 175 Kph. The automatic variant of the Ecosport 1.5 Petrol, with a 6 speed PowerShift twin clutch transmission, does 0-100 Kph in 13.4 seconds, going all the way up to a top speed of 175 Kph.
The Ford Ecosport is a sub-4 meter SUV that could get a bit cramped for larger folks. Street presence of this compact SUV is nowhere in the league of say a Tata Safari or the Mahindra Scorpio. So, if you want a fast SUV that is also large enough for a better street presence and more spacious interiors, what are your options? There are two alternates in fact – the Renault Duster/Nissan Terrano 110 PS and the Mahindra XUV500 FWD.
Renault Duster/Nissan Terrano 110 PS
The Renault Duster 110 PS is a diesel powered compact SUV that uses the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine in 108 Bhp-245 Nm state of tune. A 6 speed manual gearbox drives the front wheels of this vehicle. Since the Nissan Terrano is an identical machine that is badge engineered from the Duster, we’re considering both these SUVs as one option.
The Renault Duster 110 PS makes good use of its torque to accelerate rapidly, what with the 0-100 Kph sprint coming up in 13 seconds. Top speed is rated at 168 Kph. Where the Duster scores over the Ecosport is in the amount of space it offers and also in terms of the carpet-like ride quality, which is the best an SUV under 20 lakh rupees offers in India. Prices of the Duster 110 PS Diesel start at 11.10 lakh rupees.
For those who feel that both the Ecosport and the Duster are piddly crossovers, the Mahindra XUV500 is the butch, large alternate. The flagship Mahindra vehicle is powered by a 2.2 liter mHawk turbo diesel engine that outputs 140 Bhp-330 Nm. The front wheel drive variants of the XUV500 are the fastest of the lot, with a 0-100 Kph timing of just 12.5 seconds.
Top speed is rated at a heady 180 Kph, making the XUV500 one of the fastest SUV in the sub-15 lakh rupee SUV segment, if both top speed and acceleration is considered as a whole. The XUV500 has recently received a facelift, and the crossover is now loaded with a bunch of new features. For pure bang for the buck, nothing comes close to the Mahindra XUV500 in its segment. Prices of the XUV500 start at 11.21 lakh rupees.
Editors Note – You can’t really chase top speeds in an SUV on unpredictable Indian roads, can you? Ergo, all figures in this story are manufacturer claimed.