The way the SUV segment is growing in India, it is difficult to lose out in this segment if your vehicle is relatively better than other cars. Manufacturers around the world are scrambling for a piece of the pie with new offerings that have pushed the benchmark considerably in recent times. In fact, as per data shared by Tarun Garg- Director, Sales, Service and Marketing, Hyundai India, SUVs, from 13% in 2015 have gained 34% in 2020. But most of these SUVs are not proper off-roaders and are aimed at urban buyers. However, if you are in the market looking to shell out some cash to bring home an SUV that has a 4-wheel drive or an AWD system and falls under INR 40 lakh, here are your 5 best bets:
Mahindra launched the second-gen Thar to an eager crowd. The popularity of the SUV was reiterated after Mahindra decided to auction the first unit online. The car went under the gavel for a whopping INR 1.11 crore. The money from the auction is going to be put to use for Covid-19 relief. There are a total of 13 variants to choose from, depending on engine, gearbox, roof type and features. Designed and engineered in India and manufactured out of Mahindra’s Nashik Plant, the all-new Thar is available in 6 colour options - Red Rage, Mystic Copper, Napoli Black, Aquamarine, Galaxy Grey and Rocky Beige.
In its second generation, the new Thar comes with two engine options – a 2.0-litre mStallion TGDi Petrol engine and a 2.2-litre mHawk Diesel engine. These are available with the choice of a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission and a 6-speed manual transmission mated to an authentic manual shift-on-the-fly 4x4 transfer case. Mahindra has also come out with three roof options that include a Hard Top, a first-in-class Convertible Top and an optional Soft Top. In addition to this, one can have the Mahindra Thar in two seating options - 4 front-facing seats and 2+4 side-facing seat configuration.
The Jeep Compass is the brand's most affordable offering in India and gets many Jeep trademarked elements making it a popular choice among buyers. Starting at INR 16.99 lakh*, the Compass operates in the same segment as the Tata Harrier or the Hector, but is only a 5-seater SUV. What is gets additionally is an all-wheel-drive system and many off-roading related tech. You can have the facelifted Compass in four trims: Sport, Longitude (O), Limited (O), and Model S.
It has a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine that delivers 163PS and 250Nm of torque, and a 2.0-litre diesel that produces 172PS and 350Nm torque. Both engines are offered with a 6-speed manual as standard. While the turbo-petrol engine gets the choice of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, its diesel counterpart gets a 9-speed automatic option. The AWD (all-wheel-drive) is limited to the diesel models. In terms of features, the car comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with FCA's UConnect 5 and connected car tech, powered tailgate, ventilated front seats, wireless charging, a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, auto AC, electronic parking brake, and a 360-degree camera.
The Ford Endeavour is among the best-selling full-size SUVs in India. Prices for the SUV starts from INR 29.99 lakh to INR 35.10 lakh*. The car comes in four variants including the Titanium AT, Titanium+ AT 4x2, Titanium+ AT 4x4, and Sport AT. It can seat up to seven people. In its BS-VI avatar, the car comes with one diesel engine: a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel unit producing 170 PS and 420 Nm while paired to a 10-speed AT transmission (a first in India). There is no manual transmission on offer. It comes with both 2WD and 4WD drivetrains.
In terms of features, the car comes with FordPass connected car technology as standard, allowing users to perform remote vehicle operations, track its live location, and get an overview of the car’s telematics via the smartphone app. Other features such as active noise cancellation for the cabin, semi-autonomous parallel park assist, power-folding third-row seats, dual-zone climate control, and a panoramic sunroof continue to remain on offer. It also gets an 8-inch SYNC 3 touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
The 2021 Toyota Fortuner facelift gets an updated face with tweaks including redesigned LED headlamps which also include the LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), updated grille and a new, more aggressive front bumper design. On the insides, the car now gets a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system which now supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The other changes include the introduction of an 8-way power-adjustable and ventilated seats for front passengers, an 11-speaker JBL audio system, a 360-degree camera for parking, parking sensors, and ambient lighting.
At its heart, the updated Toyota Fortuner continues to be powered by the same 2.7-litre petrol engine which makes 166 hp and 245 Nm of torque and is available with the option of a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The other engine option is the same 2.8-litre diesel engine as before which continues to make 177 hp and 420 Nm of torque along with the choice of a 6-speed manual. However, this engine can now also be had along with a new 6-speed torque converter gearbox that helps it makes 204hp and a massive 500 Nm of torque.
Volkswagen Tiguan All-Space
A bit unconventional, and more of a city car, but the Volkswagen Tiguan All-Space ships with an AWD, making it to our list. It can be bought in a single fully-loaded variant priced at INR 33.24 lakh* and offers a 7-seater layout. It has a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine that develops 190 PS and 320 Nm. This unit comes paired with a 7-speed DSG transmission option. Volkswagen offers the Tiguan Allspace with a permanent all-wheel-drive (AWD). In the domestic market, the Tiguan All-Space goes up against the likes of Hyundai Tucson and Citroen C5 Aircross, both of which are 5-seater SUVs.
In terms of design, the All-Space is essentially a long-wheelbase version of the Tiguan and gets the same design language with sharp lines. In terms of features, the car gets a digital driver’s display, connected car tech, a panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control, and powered front seats. Its safety features come with gets seven airbags, electronic stability control (ESC), and hill descent control.