Indian customers have shown immense love for SUVs in the past few years. In Fact, the SUV segment is the second most selling after the hatchbacks, we buy more SUVs here than sedans. SUV gathers for around 25 percent of the market share in India.
Also, it’s not always about a proper SUV, anything that even tries to look like SUV gets a thumbs up from Indian audience. So there are quite a few SUV globally which can be a good offering and should come to India. Here we will talk about the Top 10 SUV that should make it to our country.
Let us start with the big guns, the ultimate luxury SUVs. Cadillac Escalade, it is a true American luxury SUV, which packs all the feature and its distinctive styling that everyone recognizes.
The new 2020 Cadillac Escalade is here and it brings some great features with it. But let’s talk about the looks, huge and the bit is what it is. It carries that status and similar design that you’ll recognize instantly, but with more modern accents. Big massive chrome grille upfront and LED treatment all over. Even the door handles have LED light. The rear looks fancy with long vertical vehicle strip.
Getting into the car will treat you with a plethora of leather and wood. Interior space for up to 8 passengers, the second and third-row entertainment system paired to 16 speaker BOSE system, safety alert seat that gives you vibration from the side of potential threats.
Escalade has always been powered by good old V8, this one makes 6.2 litre V8 churning 420hp paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. RWD or AWD as an option along with a hauling capacity of 3,700kg.
Different from the Britishers, American have their own way of making big and luxury SUVs. Lincoln Navigator kind of started the large size luxury SUV trend back in 1997 when it was launched and the latest iteration is better and more luxurious than ever. Its show was stolen by the Cadillac Escalade for awhile but the 2020 Lincoln Navigator seems a pretty serious contender.
A massive Chrome grille with an illuminated Lincoln logo in the centre, even the headlights are huge. The Navigator will give you a light show as you approach it with the sequenced LED show. But the most loved and talked about thing about the Navigator is the interior. Extreme customizability and luxury options to choose from.
For example, let’s talk seats, Lincoln calls them Perfect Position seats and they offer 30-way adjusting options! Yes, 30. 11 independent air cushion is seats, thigh support, various massaging options, you name it and they have it. A huge panoramic sunroof, an elegant piano button gear shifter is some of the interior highlights.
Powering the Navigator is a twin-turbocharged V6 making 450hp and 690Nm of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with four-wheel drive.
Let us come to mid-size SUVs and Crossover now which seems to be the demand of the hour in India. Even though Peugeot is not much heard of they have a good lineup of cars. One such SUV from their range is the Peugeot 3008. It has been praised globally as a very practical and good looking SUV. As a matter of fact, it has won more than 65 international awards.
Given all the trend for mid-size SUV and crossovers, the Peugeot 3008 fits well. It has a raised front end look with feline Full LED headlamps, blackened out roof and claw led tail lights. Interior looks as good as the exterior, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen along with 8-inch touchscreen above the centre console. It even has practical 590 litres of boot space.
Two petrol engine, a 1.2L and 1.6L and two diesel option, a 1.5 litre and a 2.0-litre engine. 6-speed manual gearbox or the 8-speed automatic. All of these are FWD. But Peugeot also offers Hybrid4 variant with AWD and 300hp.
Every car enthusiast here in India wants Subaru to make a debut and bring their amazing range. From WRX to BRZ and their SUVs. But even though the WRX would be too much of a stretch for our country, we can still vouch on the range of SUVs Subaru has to offer. And their legendary All-Wheel Drive they bring.
And what better car to debut with than the Forester. It has been one of their best selling products. Subaru Forester is currently in its fifth generation. From the first look, you can guess it’s a Subaru, the same design with few changes has been carried over to the fifth generation, and it still looks functional. The rear taillight design is somewhat unique and you will either like it or not.
The Forester gets an 8-inch touchscreen with Subaru Smartlink, it also gets heated seats for rear passengers, it also offers better legroom than its competitors. Another good thing is 220mm of ground clearance which sure will help you tackle all the terrains along with X-Mode which engages Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
Powered by the iconic Subaru Boxer engine with 182 horsepower and mated to a CVT. One thing you should know about Subaru Forester is these things are very reliable, according to Subaru 97% of Forester sold in the last 10 years are still running. That says a lot.
As much as we want Subaru to make a debut in India, we think the same about Mazda. Mainly because of that sweet Miata, but you gotta bring an SUV if you’re trying to set a foothold in India. Mazda has one sweet SUV ready, the CX5. It sits right in between the CX3 and the bigger CX9.
One look and its design will make you appreciate it, smooth flowing lines and curves, proper stance and no busy or overdoing of design elements anywhere around the body. Simple yet elegant. It is aesthetically pleasing.
The interior is the same story, Nappa leather, wooden trims, interior finish in black looks sporty and commends the styling. Mazda has specifically worked out to reduce the sound coming in the car to provide a pleasant experience.
Powered by SKYACTIV-G1 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder engine which makes 187hp to 250hp in different variants. AWD comes as standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Sport
I’m sure this will be the Pajero Sport you will want to see it India, rather than what was being offered. In India, we had the second generation Pajero Sport but globally Mitsubishi has the third generation which recently received a facelift. The latest Pajero Sport, and it looks futuristic and right up ready to get back in the game.
It gets Dual LED headlamp set up in the front which looks distinctive, the rear tail lap feature a unique vertical LED strip design which goes further down the assembly. Interior gets an 8-inch colour LCD cluster for instrument cluster an 8 inch unit for the infotainment system.
Globally the car has been praised for its great off-road and towing capacity. It gets three engine options, a 2.4-litre MIVEC Diesel with 178 bhp, a 2.5 litre with 134bhp and a 3.0 litre V6 MIVEC petrol with 206bhp, all these mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and an option for the 6-speed manual.
Nissan couldn’t get the traction with the Kicks which they have hoped for. It was a good product but could not translate to sales due to failed marketing and Creta’s success. In Fact, Nissan Kicks sells in good numbers globally. But hardly any numbers in India.
We think Nissan should bring the bigger Kicks, Nissan Rogue in India and price it aggressively to heat up the competition and get back to SUV game. Nissan Rogue globally is a great selling product due to good old popularity and reliability.
The Rogue sits in as a middle man with competing SUVs. It’s no all rugged and hardcore, neither it is curvy and sporty, it carries a familiar design which most people will accept and wouldn’t complain about.
Coming to the interiors it gets a 7-inch touchscreen display with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Nissan Connect with support for Alexa and google assistant, TPMS, heated steering wheels and front seats dual-zone climate control. It also gets convenience feature such as motion-activated tailgate and memory front seats.
Powering the Rogue is 2.5L, 4-cylinder petrol engine which makes 170bhp and comes mated with a CVT.
Since we are on the topic of reliability how can we forget Toyota? Toyota globally is a synonym for reliability, and they proved that here with the Innova and the Fortuner. Toyota is doing great with both of these vehicles and seems to have no plan to introduce a crossover/SUV around sub 20 lac segment. But they have a very potent SUV ready if they go ahead and introduce it in India.
Yes, I’m talking about the Toyota RAV4, is the best selling SUV in the United States, it surely is a complete product. It carries a modern yet decent looking profile, especially the front looks bold and helps it maintain the SUV look. The rear has creases and lines along with LED tail lamp and dual chrome exhaust tips.’
It gets all the features as you would expect from an SUV of this range, the speaker system gets an option for an 11-speaker set from JBL and interior mood lighting. RAV4 also comes with many variants, be it the TRD off-road or a hybrid variant.
The only shortcoming to say for India is no availability of a Diesel engine, but with the hybrid drive as an option, it can still make up for it and be future proof. Powered by a 2.5 litre, 4-cylinder making 203bhp and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. IT also comes with AWD.
Kia has already made a cracker of an entry in India with the Seltos. They are already selling 6000+ Seltos every month and giving a great competition to Hyundai Creta. But as it is happening with Jeep India, you cannot rely on just one product.
Kia has a great set of SUVs lined up globally and bringing another one in India should be a good move. As Kia is still settling in we would like to an offering above the Seltos, the more bigger and premium, Kia Sportage. Kia Sportage to Kia is what Hyundai Tucson is to Hyundai. A premium SUV offering more space and comfort.
Kia Sportage is 180mm longer, 55mm wider than the Seltos. Currently, in its fourth generation, Kia Sportage has been one of the best selling compact SUV in the US. It comes loaded with features such as all headlamps and fog lamp setup along with high beam assist, 19” Alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, 10-way Driver’s & 8-way Passenger’s Power Adjustable Seat, 360-degree camera, 8-inch touchscreen unit along with 8-speaker system from JBL.
Kia Sportage comes with 1.6 petrol motor which comes in different states of tune, 130bhp and 174 bhp. It also comes with two diesel engine, a 1.6 litre unit with 134bhp and 2.0 litre with 182bhp. Kia Sportage also comes with AWD as an option.
Ford India has a huge gap between its SUV offering in India which needs to be filled. There’s no SUV above Ecosport until all the way to Endeavour. Luckily Ford globally has many offerings which can fill this gap. The one perfect for our needs will be the Ford Kuga.
Ford Kuga is also known as Ford Escape in North America. Ford Kuga features a crossover type design language, which now is sleeker and aerodynamic with the newest generation. Kuga is a no-frills family car with enough space to carry 5 people with utmost comfort. Upfront it gets Bi-Xenon Headlamps. Inside of the Kuga, you get a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, Ford SYNC3, automatic wipers, TPMS and reclining rear seats.
Powering the Kuga is the 1.5 litre EcoBoost with a different state of tune, it also gets a 2.0-litre diesel which also offers three states of tune in the range of 120bhp, 150bhp, 180bhp. Mated to either a 6-speed manual or DCT gearbox. It also gets AWD as an option.
We have been waiting for Ford to launch the Kuga in India since its new generation came in. Hope Ford India makes it happen and prices it well.
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