Are you tired of being driven to the edge of the road by the big SUV that just keeps overtaking your small car? Or do you love doing the same to someone in your mean machine? No matter which category you belong to, if you have been following the Indian automobile scene recently, you must be amazed by the number of new entrants into the scene. It’s not just the international big wigs, but also companies which rarely leave their home turfs, are trying to make India their favorite destination. Getting back to our main attraction, SUVs today are no less in supply. Whether it is attributing them to the growing concerns in Western markets where people are buying more economic and eco-friendly vehicles or just the plain craving that Indians have for more power, SUVs are flowing relentlessly into the Indian automobile sector. The last few years have seen a tremendous rise in the number of SUV models available to Indians.
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, sale of SUVs of up to seven-seat capacity in the country surged by 62.4 per cent in May to 13,042 units, compared to 8,029 units in the same month last year. The overall passenger vehicle industry, on the other hand, only registered a growth rate of 35 per cent at 190,575 units, vis-à-vis 141,145 units in May 2009. Whether it is the X6, Cayenne or the Xtrail; all are in ruthless demand. The Toyota Fortuner and Chevrolet Captiva have waiting periods of as high as five-six months. With Hyundai promising the Santa Fe and BMW responding with the X1 by the end of the year; we have a really sporty 2010. So what about 2011? What are the things we can expect? Will there be new SUVs? The answer is 2011 will be even better, as more and more SUVs are expected to enter the fray. So why wait, let us spoil your surprises right away.
Upcoming SUVs In India In 2011
Honda CR-V Diesel
The Honda CR-V is all set to bring in its diesel variant into the market by January 2011. If you are guessing that this is not something worth mentioning just remember the fact that CR-V is one of the first SUVs to be launched in India from an international automaker and it remained one of the best selling SUVs for many years, since its launch in 1996. The only problems that cropped up in later years were its low power and a feeling of a mini SUV. But with the diesel variant Honda will improve in the mileage quotient and if rumors are to be believed, the SUV may even get a new look. But for now, its wait and watch! The price range is expected to be somewhere around Rs. 25, 00,000.
Joining the list of entries in the month of January is the Volkswagen Tiguan. The German carmaker has already made an impact with its entries this year. Adding to its already illustrious cap, is the successful admission of its subsidiaries Audi and Skoda, both of which are enjoying great success on the Indian roads. Tiguan is VW’s try at making the brand more viable for Indian markets. Though Tiguan is not completely an SUV but more of a CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle), we still list it here, as it’s completely separate from the MUVs (Multi Utility Vehicle). Tiguan has tasted success in European markets and we expect it to experience some in India too. No price range is touted as of now.
Nissan Murano And Nissan Qashqai
Two separate, compact crossover SUVs; one common maker - Nissan! Nissan has already enjoyed tremendous success worldwide and in India with the X-trail. But alongside its trademark GTR (which will debut in India by Dec-2010), it is also bringing in a fresh slew of homemade SUV delicacies. First up is the Nissan Murano which has been doing rounds of the U.S markets since 2002. The SUV has been replaced in the U.S market by the Rogue but industry sources confirm that Murano is still in production and the new 2011 model is even better than the 2009 version with a grand facelift applied. Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed for the facts to turn true.
The second option is the Nissan Qashqai, which was first launched by the company in 2007 is all set to debut in the Indian markets. This stunningly beautiful vehicle is a direct competitor to Tucson and others in the segment. The 2010 model's front end has been completely restyled, while the rear now includes LED tail-lights. The new interior includes a new instrument panel layout for the vehicle's drive computer, better soundproofing and minor storage additions. ESP is now standard across the range and two new exterior colors have been added. The launch of an eco-friendly Pure Drive variant has also been announced for the year. If all this reaches the Indian shores, Qashqai is sure to light up the battlefield.z
Do not go by the short and tribal name, Kuga is a premium compact SUV sold in European markets in only premium categories. Kuga has a solid performance backed by the credibility of Ford. With Ford making a “sort of” comeback after lying dormant for years in the Indian market, this might serve as a handy inclusion in the Indian stables. Ford has already announced a face-lifted version for Kuga in Europe for 2011. And there are a few reports which claim that a hybrid is on its way too. Did you hear that Mr. Environmentalist?
With the Japanese and Americans are battling it out, there is not reason for the French to stay behind! Bring in the Renault Koleos! The Koleos was designed by Renault and developed by Nissan, which started production 2008. In some parts of the world, it’s also called Renault Samsung QM5. The SUVs body design is based on the Renault Koleos and Renault Egeus concept cars. Though Renault has not achieved much success in the SUV sector, who knows Koleos might just change the fate of the company.
Romanian car maker Dacia is all set to launch Duster in India in 2011, with a price tag looming around Rs 8-10 lakh. The SUV is a tough and reliable off-roader. Manufactured at Dacia’s Pitesti plant in Romania, the Duster is available in both 4x4 and 4x2 versions. The SUV has already roped the market in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America from 2010 and would be made available in India by 2011. The automobile will be available in both petrol and diesel engines, and will be loaded with features like ABS, EBD and airbags.
India’s own Maruti is all set to launch another entry level SUV named “Jimny”. If you are wondering as to where it belongs too, look no further than in a nearby army camp, where you may find the first iterations of the Jimny named “Maruti Gypsy”. Rings a bell? Yes, this new look Jimny is actually the successor to our lovable gypsy. It’s sturdy and good looking too. Let’s see how it measures up with its competition when it is launched towards the end of 2011 with a price range of nearly 7 lakh rupees.