Expected Price: Rs 8 to 13 lakh
Think the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport are the only compact SUVs you can buy? Think again. This year, the two big guns of the motoring industry, Maruti and Hyundai, will launch their respective first compact SUVs, and trust us, there are going to be fireworks. Hyundai’s iX25 is a rugged, yet modern looking SUV that should set pulses racing. It’s a bit of a shrunken Santa Fe, with sharp styling cues, five seats and classy interiors. In typical Hyundai fashion, expect it to be loaded to the gills, and to offer two diesels and a petrol option – a 90 bhp and 125 bhp diesel and a 127 bhp petrol. With either a five or six-speed manual transmission, with a likely auto option as well, the iX25 might just be the kind of SUV you need.
MARUTI SUZUKI A-CROSS
Expected Price: Rs 9 to 14 lakh
India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki is jumping on to the crossover bandwagon with its first of two SUVs, the A-Cross. It’s not a sub 4-metre model, but a premium crossover that’s positioned against the likes of the Renault Duster. Called the S-Cross in international markets and based on the second-generation SX4 platform, the A-Cross is more urban than a serious off-roader, though it will come with all-wheel drive as an option. Under the hood is a 1.6-litre, Fiat-sourced diesel engine with 120 bhp. Mated to a five or six-speed manual transmission, it will have classy interiors and decent space. What the A-Cross does is increase Maruti Suzuki’s premium quotient, and if it becomes a runaway success, expect more premium offerings from them in the coming years.
Expected Price: Rs 22 to 27 lakh
The big brute is back. Having enjoyed reasonable success in India, the third-generation Endeavour is ready to strike, and it seems it’s going to be yet another success story. Still built on a body-on-ladder frame, like several Mahindras and Tatas, the Endeavour looks a bit soft on the outside, but is still quite intimidating. It gets a host of features like lane departure warning, blind spot warning, roll stability control and electronic stability, to name but a few – these features are generally the preserve of more premium SUVs. Under the hood, this seven-seat SUV will be powered by a 2.2-litre, 148 bhp diesel motor, with the option of a massive 3.2-litre diesel, producing nearly 200 bhp and with the option of a 6-speed auto. Locally assembled, the SUV will be priced competitively and will take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Expected Price: Rs 90 lakh to 1.4 crore
The sports utility coupe is back! It created the segment and now, in its second avatar, wants to expand its reach further. On offer for India will be two engine options – the X6 40d and the X6 M. The former is a 300 plus bhp variant of the 3.0-litre diesel, while the latter gets a full-fat 552 bhp from its 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8. With an 8-speed automatic gearbox and all the bells and whistles you can think of, the X6 is lighter and more agile than before and can now seat five in comfort, instead of four. It’s also the closest competitor in the handling stakes for the Porsche Cayenne. The X6 won’t be cheap, but expect it to turn heads wherever it goes.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT
Expected Price: Rs 45 to 60 lakh
The Freelander 2 is on its way out, and into a museum. However, Land Rover has a replacement, and it’s called the Discovery Sport. Wider, tauter and most importantly a 7-seat SUV now, it’s also more practical. The cabin is roomy, the interiors and features are all new and the infotainment system feels perfectly useable, unlike the last generation. Powering those four wheels is a 2.2-litre, 188 bhp diesel mated to a nine-speed gearbox, which is the last word in refinement in that segment. What it will do is make a dent in the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, neither of which has the off-road ability of the Disco; they aren’t as practical, either.
Expected Price: Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore
Based on Volkswagen’s MLB platform, the new Q7 is significantly lighter (by nearly 300 kg), sharper and boasts of better dynamics than ever before. Traditional Q7 lovers may find the styling a bit tame, but it still manages to seat seven, has lovely interiors and that refined 3.0-litre diesel on offer, except that it now makes a bit more power. With the kind of success that the previous Q7 saw in India, we won’t be surprised if it continues to fly off the shelves this time around too.