India loves SUVs and small cars. This is a fact which has been proven by the sales charts of many manufacturers which claim that their SUV portfolio nearly outsells their car sales. Here is a list of the new SUVs making it to the Indian shores by early 2012 or late 2011. Well, some may also be launched ahead of schedule or even be delayed till the later half of 2012. Don’t worry, we will keep you updated on all the news, whether the SUVs are getting delayed or rather would be launched early. Here is a rundown on which all SUVs would make it to the cut in the Indian market soon.
2012 Mercedes ML class :
The 2010 Mercedes ML model may not have exactly set the sales chart on fire but the 2012 model promises to change that. The looks are now more in the ballpark of its famous AMG variant and its wheelbase has been enhanced as well, though not encroaching on bigger brother GL’s territory. Amongst premium SUVs, the ML seems the least ponderous to drive and also has a certain amount of off-road cred to its construction. Engine options would be petrol and diesel. The most obvious choice would be the 350 series with V6 diesel and petrol engines. Expected launch date is by January 2012 while the price tag would be Rs 52-55 lakhs.
2011 Force One :
This is one eagerly awaited SUV and throughout 2010 and now 2011, there have been many spy pics as also threads on what all would go into the making of this SUV and what all would be offered in it. Though many would be tempted to believe that this is an all new company coming into India, the fact is that Force have their Indian presence from a very long time. With this SUV, Force Motors is looking to compete against the likes of the Ford Endeavor and that too with a price tag not too off the Mahindra Scorpio mark. This would be in a 7 seater configuration and would feature a Mercedes engine. Don’t be in shock and awe of getting a Mercedes engine in a Force SUV. This engine is actually a decade or two old one. An estimate says that it would produce about 140 Bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque. Lotus Engineering once again comes to the fore by aptly fine tuning the handling as also the ride quality of this SUV. Its would be priced between the Rs 10-14 lakhs mark and would be launched in August 2011.
Ssangyong Korando :
After Mahindra acquired the ailing Ssangyong company, there were many reports that this acquisition would have a good bearing on the Indian SUV market since Ssangyong is a well known SUV maker. The Korando would take on the likes of the Santa Fe and also the Chevy Captiva in the soft roader field. A good quality engineering plus style dialed into it spells success and this is what the Korando plans to do. A 2.0 liter turbo motor sits under the hood of this SUV and it would produce 175 Bhp of power and would be aligned with a 6 speed gearbox which would either be auto or manual. Needless to say, it would be a CKD unit and would be assembled at Mahindra’s facility based in Pune. It would launched in late 2011 or early 2012. Its price is estimated to be between Rs 16-20 lakhs.
Mahindra W201 :
After the Force One SUV, this is another one which has been donning the disguise mantle for a long time. However its fake covers would be unveiled very soon as this SUV has reached the final phase of testing and would be soon in the product launch category. It will sport a monocoque construction and would also be the first from the Mahindra stables regarding its construction. This one would be a slightly less premium thing than the Korando, however would jostle for the same intended clientele. It will have the same 2.2 liter diesel engine from the Scorpio, codenamed as mHawk. About 140 Bhp of power would be on offer and also significantly more torque than the Scorpio. An all new 6 speed manual plus automatic transmission would be on offer and many segment firsts like LED lamps, daytime running lamps, TCS, 6 airbags and stuff would be on offer. Moreover, like all the other SUVs form its stables, this one would also have a 4 wheel drive system offered however, the details of the same would be only revealed at the time of the launch. Its launch is expected by October 2011. An estimate to the price of the W201 would be around Rs 10-15 lakhs.
2011 Tata Safari Merlin :
Coming this October or latest by December is the new Tata Safari Merlin. It’s look is said to be a significant shift from the current look of the Safari. It would also have a revised interior part, engine refinement would be in a class of its own and also dynamics have being given a good overall tuneup. Taking the features list forward would be cruise control, 6 air bags and a variety of others. Moreover, the existing 2.2 liter mill would be tweaked to have a better power output and more fuel efficiency. Fit as also finish levels would see a big improvement and also quality of materials would go one level up. The drive comfort factor would be not tinkered with much. Prices would however be on the higher side than the current version. The estimated price range would be a Rs 45k hike than the prices of the current version.
2011 Volkswagen Touareg :
Though the Touareg brand name would make one stretch their grey cells to a limit, it is a crossover by the VW badge. It is already present in India and VW are only giving it an all new look and some more interior features. It is a 7 seater and has got an eight speed transmission and 240 Bhp power from its diesel motor sweeping 3 liters. Does that ring a bell? Yes, this is the same powerplant used in the much bigger and expensive Audi Q7. Toning down is the new mantra in the automotive world and the 2011 VW Touareg would lose about 200 kgs from its current avatar. The Porsche Cayenne also is built on the same platform as the Touareg. Being faster and also efficient at the same would describe the Touareg. The features list would include departure warning for lanes, blind spot information system, adaptive lights and also cruise control. Expect it to make it to the Indian shores by September or October 2011. The price tag would be Rs 2-3 lakhs more than what the current SUV goes for.
Audi Q3 :
The baby Audi would compete against the likes of the BMW X1 and the other lower mortals. The BMW X1 was a runaway success when it was launched not so long ago. The Q3, though, would try to erase some of the sales figures that the X1 has been raking up consistently. While the Q5 was the scaled down version of the Q7, the Q3 would be the scaled down version of the Q5. So everything is the same as the Q5, but only in a smaller way. However, unlike the X1, this one would be a pure 5 seater without the middle hump for company. Like the X1, there would be a host of petrol as also diesel engines on offer. This Audi would make its Indian debut only by May 2012. It would have a slightly heftier price tag than the BMW X1. Expect prices to be in the region of Rs 24 lakhs to Rs 32 lakhs.
Renault Koleos :
Renault Motors has always mentioned that they plan on introducing upto 5 cars in India by 2012. Of this, they have already launched one and the second one would most probably be the Renault Koleos. It would be a soft roader and compete against the likes of the Ford Endeavor 4×2, Chevy Captiva amongst others. Just like the Honda Jazz, this one would feature magic seating arrangement and this means that owners wouldn’t have to search for cubby holes or more space and it simply would be available in this SUV. Throw in a reasonable off-roading capacity and you have one hell of a machine. The off-roading capability can be judged by the Hill Descent program as also the on the fly 4×4 mode. A 6 speed automatic gearbox coupled with a 2 liter diesel motor, which at the flywheel produces 150 Bhp of power and 323 Nm of torque, means that performance wouldn’t be lacking either. It would be launched by November 2011 and the price tag is estimated to be around the Rs 17 lakhs mark. To top it off, the Koleos is one of the few SUVs to have received the much coveted 5 star Euro NCAP rating.
Renault Duster :
The Renault Duster should be one familiar product in India. Why so? Coz, this is built on the Logan’s platform. The Duster doesn’t have the same flair as the Koleos but then it would definitely appeal to the head much like how the Logan or rather the Verito does. The 1.5 liter engine would be borrowed from the Fluence and in the Duster, it would produce 5 Bhp more. As of now, no petrol options are being spoken about. Renault may think of offering a 4×4 option for this SUV as it has got about 200 mm ground clearance which can be put to good use considering the athleticism of the chassis. Interiors also would sport more of the Logan style plastics. It is scheduled to make its debut in India by May 2012 and would be priced around the Rs 7-9 lakhs mark.
2011 BMW X3 :
The 2011 BMW X3 is a benchmark in SUVs as far as the dynamics are concerned. The 2011 model however betters the interiors as also the looks from the 2010 model. It also now is in sync with the new design language being spoken post the Chris Bangle era. The best part is that it has got a wide array of refreshed engine options which put it right in the way of the new Audi Q5. There would be two diesel engines on offer plus a single petrol engine. Power output as also projected fuel efficiency would be the class best in all the three engines. Also the interiors would feature more options and a supposedly better trim level as well. BMW has now become a very popular car manufacturer for the luxury seekers and this only means that the new X3 would be a welcome addition to its fleet. Expect this model to make its debut here as early as next month. The prices would hover around the Rs 45 lakhs mark.
Skoda Yeti 4×2 :
Though this small SUV has been already launched in the Indian car market, in a bid to widen its appeal, Skoda Auto are planning on bringing in a 4×2 variant for this SUV. The interiors would all be the same and chances are there that Skoda may plonk in the 1.8 liter TSI motor from the Laura. Driving dynamics would almost be the same and there are no other exterior changes to be noted. Expect prices to be in lower by about Rs 1lakhs. The 4×2 option for the Yeti would be in the market by early 2012.
All these SUVs are good in their own right and highlight a single thing – the Indian car buyer would be spoilt for choices in the coming times.