The Indian market is all about the SUVs now. There is a wide spectrum of models starting from crossover hatches to compact SUVs to premium luxury ones. But the D2 segment was the one that started it all with the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour. Though at a 30Lakh+ price point, Fortuner still sells a whopping 2000 units per month beating even its own lower priced brothers Etios and Liva in the numbers game. It is proof that Indians are now willing to pay more for quality premium off roaders.
Mahindra hasn’t still lost hopes on the Rexton, which was launched a few years back but didn’t take off well. Hence, it has now launched the Alturas G4, the next gen Rexton in hopes to break even in the market. Mahindra is so ambitious with this car, evident from the grand launch it organised with a polo match and a poetry recital!
See the Royal launch of the Alturas at Jaipur
The Beefy Behemoths…
The Alturas G4 looks properly premium with a hint of the aggressiveness that lies beneath. The toothed grille, the sculpted X-shaped bumper and the 18inch diamond cut alloys merge beautifully with its shape to give the Alturas a royal feel that has been missing in this segment. The car feels a bit bloated at the rear due the ginarmous C-pillar. But the rear end has its own interesting touches such as the LED tail lamps and the shapely bumper with the scuff plates.
The Fortuner has the most radical design of the bunch. The super sleek headlamps and the taillamps, the sharp kink in the windows near the C-pillar look like they should be on a sporty sedan, but Toyota somehow makes it work with this big, brawny SUV. The squared off wheel arches and the huge chrome bathed V-grille demand serious road presence. This gargauntan mammoth could easily scare off a nano or two on the road!
The Ford Endeavour adopts several styling cues from the rugged pickup trucks of USA, resulting in a butch look. The imposing grille and the silver skid plates make up a rugged front face. The side profile though is a bit too conventional and appears very tall due to the raised suspension setup. The rear too again has silver skid plates and LED elements in tail lamps to spice things up.
From the helm of the steering wheel…
Mahindra has opted not to provide side steps on the Alturas, to go with its more smooth design. Hence it is a bit of a climb into the cabin and this surely won’t please customers. But once inside, the dashboard and the seats feel quite plush and comfy. The brown nappa leather carries the premium feel inside too. Space is superb in front, mediocre in the middle and abysmal in the last. Also it doesn’t have one touch seat tumble. Hence you have to use two levers to slide the middle row to get to the last.
The Fortuner’s dash may split opinion. Finished in a black and maroon colour scheme, it looks durable but also a bit dull and boring. More silver finishes such as on AC vents and the steering wheel would have livened it up. Space is generous in the middle row with good all round supports. Access and space in the third row is average at best.
The interiors take a U-turn from the butch exterior of the Endeavour and are more modern. A dual tone black beige scheme is adopted with metallic grey inserts thrown around. Overall the dash design is minimal and pleasing to look at. The space department has the same pros and cons as its competitors.
The ‘U’ of the SUV…
Sports Utility Vehicles should be capable of off roading too and hence, all SUVs here are equipped with all-wheel drive systems. The conventional ladder chassis setup is adopted on all these cars to aid the durability.
The Alturas performs well ‘on’ the road rather than the ‘off’. The 2.2L diesel engine is superbly refined and makes a maximum of 178Hp and 420Nm of power and torque respectively. There is good noise insulation provided all around the cabin. Low speed response is exceptionally good for a car of this size. It gets a creamy smooth Mercedes sourced 7 speed automatic gearbox. The car also can tackle some tough terrain with its shift on the fly 4WD system. This system enables the driver to change between RWD and AWD on the go.
The Fortuner borrows its 2.8L diesel engine from the Innova Crysta. It produces a similar 175Hp power and 420Nm torque as the Alturas. The car also has an eco-mode to boost fuel economy. The power unit is quite vocal and offers decent performance throughout the speed range. Where the Fortuner really excels is in the mud and earth. The manually selectable high-low 4WD modes can get you out of any slippery surface with ease. Basically these modes change the torque supplied to the wheels to vary traction.
The Endeavour has two diesel engines on option- a four cylinder 2.2L or a five cylinder 3.2L. The 2.2L has 158Hp and 385Nm performance stats which provide immediate low end responses making this car easy to drive on traffic. The bigger 3.2L engine offers 193Hp and 470Nm which can propel this 2.2 ton car to a top speed of 178kmph! Only a 6 speed Automatic transmission is on the cards. Also the Ford is the only car that offers terrain management system. The system offers 5 modes to boost the off roading ability of this car according to various terrains.
The feature bucket
The Alturas G4 comes in two variants being the two wheel and four wheel drives priced at 26.95 and 29.95 Lakhs respectively. Mahindra has once again stocked up several first in class features such as ambient cabin lighting, memory seats, 360 degree cameras and a total of nine airbags. All these features are available only on the top variant except the ventilated seats. The base variant too has a long feature list with electronic tailgate & parking brake, cruise control, a host of driver assists (ABS, EBD, ESP, ARP,etc.,), keyless entry, and AC vents for all rows. Sunroof with anti-pinch feature is available in the top variant.
The Fortuner diesel has a standard set of features across all of its 4 variants. The price determines the type of transmission (Manual/Automatic) and the drive (4X2/4X4). The list of features includes 7 airbags, driver assist systems, powered seats on all rows, electronic tailgate, cruise control and keyless entry. But it misses out on a parking camera and puts up with only parking sensors instead.
The pricing is definitely on the higher side with even the base variant starting at 29 Lakhs.
- 4X2 MT- 29.28 Lakhs
- 4X2 AT- 31.07 Lakhs
- 4X4 MT-31.18 Lakhs
- 4X4 AT- 32.97 Lakhs
The Endeavour has 3 variants on option. The lowest variant skips out many features to accommodate the 26Lakh price tag. The titanium versions offer the full feature list on offer.
- TREND- 4X2 with 2.2L engine- 26.32 Lakhs
- TITANIUM- 4X4 with 2.2L engine- 30.57 Lakhs
- TITANIUM- 4X4 with 3.2L engine- 32.81 Lakhs
The Trend variant has dual airbags, AC vents on all rows, voice controls and keyless entry. The Titanium version is fully loaded with 7 airbags, auto headlamps, a semi auto parallel park assist and a panoramic sunroof.
The premium SUV segment is split into two- the offroaders such as Fortuner and Endeavour and the softroaders such as Kodiaq and Tiguan. The new Alturas aims to bridge this gap with its myriad comfort features and refinement. It offers the best of the both worlds at a marginally lower price point. The Endeavour and the Fortuner too have their own strengths in offroading and performance, though priced a bit steep.
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