The three-row mid-size SUV segment is seeing a huge resurgence in the Indian market currently. This segment was shed some new light with the launch of the MG Hector Plus late last year. Tata Motors jumped in with the new Safari earlier this year. Even Hyundai recently entered this segment with the new Alcazar. Meanwhile, Mahindra have officially announced the coming of the XUV700 later this year. Heck, even Jeep is going to join this segment with a three-row version of the Compass. Most of these SUVs are seven-seater derivates of their five-seater siblings. Here we will take a look at why the three-row mid-size SUV body type is so suitable for India and why so many manufacturers are keen to exploit the potential.
Capacity to seat seven people
A vast majority of Indian families are more than just 4-5 people. In that case, a five-seater vehicle, even if it is an SUV, becomes quite limiting in certain circumstances. We, Indians, love travelling with our families or friends fully-loaded in a car, and in that sense, a seven-seater SUV serves a lot more practicality. It's never pleasant when you have to omit out certain people just because they wouldn't fit in your car. Having the option of seven seats always leaves room for more people.
Inherent advantages of SUV body type and styling
India's love for SUVs is no secret. Apart from lending you a dominating presence on the road, SUVs have a practical purpose too. Our road conditions in the city and even out on the highway are far from perfect. SUVs really come into their own over bad road surfaces. Given how frequently and suddenly we encounter such patches on our way, the added ground clearance and extra suspension travel in SUVs give them a more comfortable and plusher ride quality.
Optimum size for most Indian roads
One of the biggest advantages of these three-row mid-size SUVs is that they have an optimum size for most Indian roads. Large-size seven-seater SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavor sometimes feel too big for our roads when you are driving in small towns or through narrow lanes. On the other hand, three-row mid-size SUVs have a very convenient size that fits most of our roads and lanes. They are only marginally longer than their five-seater sibling and still have the practicality of the third-row of seats.
All three-row mid-size SUVs are offered with a diesel engine
A lot of manufacturers have adopted the petrol-only route for their sub-compact and compact offerings in the country. Unfortunately, if you are in the market for a small diesel vehicle, you do not have many options. That said, diesel still remains the preferred fuel choice for a lot of car buyers in India. Interestingly, all the models in the three-row mid-size SUV space are still offered with diesel engines. That is what makes most sense in larger vehicles or SUVs as frugality becomes quite important here.
If you do not have the budget to stretch up to a large-size seven-seater SUVs, these mid-size seven-seater SUVs are a great alternative. The third-row may not be as spacious as some large-size seven-seater SUVs, but in most cases, they are pretty usable. The fact that these SUVs only cost about INR 1-2 lakh more than their five-seater siblings, it makes them great value for money. For just a little premium over the five-seater SUVs, you get much better road presence and more practicality and usability with seven seats. That already suffices what most Indians want from their SUVs.