DT INDIA CAR OF THE YEAR: VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE UV
The UV market that consists majorly of crossovers nowadays still has few other cars left to satisfy niche needs. That said, let's see our nominees!
This year saw several new UVs entering the market while even more got new facelifts or variants to quench the thirst of SUV-hungry Indian buyers.
Covering new cars first, we have:
Credit: Mahindra XUV300 website
Venue’s direct rival – XUV300 is also a very feature-packed crossover. Firstly, the SsangYong Tivoli-based car offers decent performance with its turbo-diesel and turbo-petrols. Next, the safety is not compromised – it offers 7 airbags, TMPS, TCS. The comfort features also count towards this car’s total appeal and the stylish looks double it! It is not shocking after all this that Mahindra chose this very car as their rally car!
Credit: Nissan India
Nissan’s latest offering in their long-forgotten Indian market is the Kicks, a crossover based on the same platform as the Nissan Terrano, Renault Captur, and Duster. It is quite a VFM car considering it offers 4 airbags, rear AC, cabin boot-access, 360 camera, keyless start/stop etc. The performance from the 1.5 petrol and 1.5 diesel engines is quite modest, although way outperformed by Hector’s 1.5 petrol and 2.0 diesel. Needless to say, Kicks was a much needed refreshment in Nissan’s aging roster, though its performances has not been as promising.
Credit: Kia India
Kia’s maiden vehicle in India, Seltos has already proven itself as a master player. Entering the country at a time of universally low sales, it managed to attract an impressive number of sales on the stronghold of its unique style, aggressive pricing and Kia’s advertisement campaigns. Offering three engine options – a 1.4 petrol, a 1.5 petrol and a 1.5 diesel; Seltos boasts decent performance but slightly lacks at the ride quality part.
Credit: MG Motors India
Seltos’ arch-rival, the Hector is also a very similar success story. MG had a lot going for it by Benedict Cumberbatch’s famous campaigns; very unique looks; and segment-first features like Internet Connectivity and a hybrid powertrain. Released few weeks before Seltos, it managed so many sales that right now, the waiting list is of six months! This is a clear indicator of how much of a sensation Hector became – and deservedly so.
Maruti Suzuki XL6
Credits: Nexa Experience
The XL6 basically seems like Maruti’s trick to sprinkle their Nexa showrooms with extra variety. They merely picked the normal Ertiga and raised it up by a few millimetres; snapped on some unnecessary plastic body cladding for iNcReAsEd OfF-rOaD pRoWeSs; and hiked up the price slightly – justified by the addition of features such as ESP and Hill Descent Control. The negatives aside, XL6 still is a value for money family hauler just like the normal Ertiga. Moreover, if you discount the disproportionately small wheels, the MPV indeed has a smart and rugged look to it.
Facelifts and Variants:
Credits: Honda India
Honda’s third instalment to the ‘R-V’ crossover line, WR-V stands at the lowest pedestal with a starting price of just ₹8.22 lakhs (€10376). Again, this is not a bad car but is just one amongst the crowd of subcompact crossovers. The features at offer are fine, the looks are unconventional thus not up to everyone’s taste, the performance is just about average and Honda’s brand image helps it attract sufficient customers.
Ford EcoSport Thunder Edition
Credit: Ford India
As the car that pretty much started the compact crossover market in India (along with the bigger Duster), EcoSport still stands strong after around six years of its release. Throughout its lifetime, it has constantly received updates to keep it fresh and in 2019, it received the brand new Thunder Edition. This special addition added plastic body cladding, a blackened hood and other black bits to the aesthetics as it is placed as a middle variant in the lineup. The price for the TE petrol is 10.39 (₹13116) and for the diesel is ₹10.9 lakhs (€13759).
Mahindra TUV 300
Credit: Mahindra TUV 300 website
One of Mahindra’s five attempts at a subcompact SUV, the TUV 300 stands as the second-most SUV-like as the others are actually crossovers. Although the supposed USP of the TUV 300 is the 7 seat arrangement, the sub4 metre dimensions suggest otherwise. Still, they came up with a new facelift this year that brought a blackened grill, clear taillights and other minor aesthetical changes as the car had not received any changes since the initial launch in 2015. The prices start from ₹8.59 lakhs (€10843) for the T4 Plus variant and go up to ₹10.61 lakhs (€13393) for the T10 (O) Dual Tone.
Mahindra Thar 700
Credit: Mahindra Thar YouTube channel
The legendary off-roader from Mahindra, at the near end of its first generation and also celebrating the 70 years of Mahindra Jeeps, received a special edition to commemorate it. Only 700 to be made, this special edition is priced at ₹10.1 lakhs (€12749). Despite the second generation speculated to be equipped with a new engine (that could be shared with the new Scorpio as well), the 700 continues utilizing the 2.5 litre I4 diesel for producing the rather weak outputs of 105 bhp and 247 Nm. Still, the 4WD and the rugged body itself cement it in Indians’ hearts as one of the best Indian off-roaders ever.
Force Gurkha Xtreme
Credit: Force Gurkha website
India’s other beloved off-roader, the Gurkha is in fact the best cheap off-roader you can buy in India right now. It redeems its squary aesthetics from the legendary German Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Force utilizing its partnership with Mercedes also borrowed their 2.15 litre I4 diesel producing 140 bhp and 321 Nm, which are unparalleled outputs in the segment. This new engine is offered only in the Xtreme and Xtreme ABS trims, both of which are 3-door SUVs and this is understandable considering you would not haul your family while off-roading on Mt. Everest. The price is indeed on the higher side at 12.98 lakhs (€16385) and 13.3 lakhs (€16789). However, it is to an extent justified by the off-road features like front and rear locking differentials.
Credits: Renault India
One of the first crossovers to enter the Indian market, the Duster still holds viability after seven years of its release. Although a new generation has gone on sale globally, India receives the first one even in 2019 and the plans remain unchanged even for 2020. The crossover is not really outdated per se due the refreshment Renault gave it in the form of a facelift. This new facelift provided it front fascia updates, new alloy wheels and a new infotainment system. Furthermore, Duster gets additional accessories such as a spoiler for added appeal. Unique in the segment, it also offers an AWD system in the top diesel trim that actually makes it quite a commendable off-roader. Therefore, this car proves yet again that it is a VFM crossover that balances luxury and off-road capability brilliantly!
Credits: Hyundai India
Arguably, the most popular name in the compact crossover market in India, Creta has proved to be a storm over other crossovers since its launch. The strong seller is although getting a quite old and has its second generation scheduled for 2020, received the new Sports Edition in the manual variants. The Sports Edition petrol and Sports Edition petrol Dual Tone are priced at ₹12.79 lakh (€16145) and ₹12.91 lakhs (€16297) respectively while the diesel and diesel Dual Tone are priced at ₹14.14 lakhs (€17849) and ₹14.26 lakhs (€18001) respectively. This places these special models right at the middle of the lineup, ensuring better sales numbers. Whatever is the case, it is needless to say that the strong seller a top-notch city hauler with decent features and comforts.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
Credit: Maruti Suzuki Arena
Towards the end of this article, we have the trusted MPV – the Ertiga. While the second generation was released towards the end of 2018, 2019 saw the onset of the new CNG option in the VXi variant at the price of ₹8.88 lakhs (€11209). This new addition is of great significance since it makes the hauler much more economical for use. Paired with the CNG is a 1.5 litre petrol producing 91 bhp and 122 Nm. What puts the Ertiga CNG in great advantage is the fact that it does not have any direct rivals at this price point, both from the body-style standpoint and from the CNG availability standpoint. The excellent interior space, great looks, easy and comfortable drive make this a brilliant value for money family MPV.