The cool factor in SUVs – the SUV/MUV with the best AC within Rs 1 crore bracket

This is going to be real exhaustive with us finishing the hatchbacks, small saloons, the big ones and the very big ones. What remains to be seen are the SUVs or the MUVs within the Rs 1 crore budget. Thankfully enough, that’s not an entirely exhaustive things as the cars were. SUVs are big in size and not only do they have more cabin to cool but some have less AC vents and all. So there would be a problem regarding those vehicles. However overall, the SUVs cannot match the cooling efficiency of the sedans and by a far margin. Sort of surprised with the results but then results always tend to shock people. With SUVs, the bigger is better mantra doesn’t apply as far as air-conditioning is concerned. We have taken the basic MUVs to the status quo SUVs within the Rs 1 crore budget and have evaluated their AC powers. Now, the route remains the standard one and the cars would be preheated to a temperature of 50 degree Celsius under the scorching sun. Once they are all hot, they are driven across a 10 kms route wherein which the AC is turned on at full blast. After the end of the 10 kms journey, the final temperature of the cabin is taken using a thermometer.

Hyundai Santa Fe : The recently debuted SUV from Hyundai, the Santa Fe has set the sales chart on fire and has captured some of the Toyota Fortuner’s market share. However as discussed earlier, the Santa Fe has got a huge spacious cabin and Hyundai have done precious little to ensure that the air-conditioning stands up to the task. The Santa Fe could only cool the cabin down to 35 degree Celsius at the end of the journey.

Skoda Yeti : Skoda’s compact SUV, the Skoda Yeti is named after an abominable snow man. However it seems that all the snow melted in the Indian summer as the Skoda Yeti could only manage to bring down the cabin temperature to 32 degree Celsius. The car’s all black interiors would have contributed to the less cooling effect. Probably beige or light colored interiors would have made a big difference.

Maruti Grand Vitara : The Maruti Grand Vitara is Maruti’s now lone offering in the SUV segment and has that all black Maruti interiors. Though the interior quality can hardly be faulted, the black interiors take a long time to cool down. However the chrome bits strewn around do help in making the cooling process a bit efficient with the cabin temperature showing 30 degree Celsius.

Chevrolet Captiva : The only SUV offering from General Motors or Chevrolet in general, the Captiva mirrored same figures of cabin temperature like the Grand Vitara. Though the exteriors look of both are different, the interiors are almost similar with both displaying black plastic and chrome matte trim levels.

Mitsubishi Pajero : The old work horse of Mitsubishi Motors, the Mitsubishi Pajero still goes by conventional engine technologies. Though there is nothing new under the hood, or even for the interiors with their dated style knobs and old world charm, the AC of the Pajero can teach the more modern cars here a thing or two about the cooling efficiency. Its cabin temperature came down to 29.3 degree Celsius.

Ford Endeavour : The big bad brute of a SUV, the Ford Endeavour is one big machine. It has got oodles of space inside the cabin as its brick like exterior construction would make one believe. Done in dual tone, the interiors, are a pleasant place to be in. The air-conditioning in this car is very effective and it cools down the cabin to 28.4 degree Celsius. The figures in isolation may not seem that good but overall considering the dimensions of the Endeavour, it is a commendable feat.

Tata Safari : The Tata Safari has been long slated for a replacement with a new chassis and design theme. Not only has the Safari fended off competition but also is one heck of a comfortable SUV. Though its due for a replacement anytime now, the Safari’s AC managed to cool down the hot cabin from 50 degree Celsius to 27.5 degree Celsius which is quite commendable job by Tata Motors.

Mahindra Scorpio :
The Safari’s nemesis, the Scorpio astonished us with its outright performance. It has the required space inside the cabin and seems a bit more upmarket than the Tata. This all Indian SUV ticks all the right boxes, the airconditioner included. The Scorpio managed to bring down the cabin temperature to 25.3 degree Celsius from the sweltering 50 degree Celsius it was earlier at. Not only cool in its looks but also inside the cabin.

Toyota Fortuner :
This SUV commands a huge waiting list and currently is off the production brackets due to the deluge in Japan. However this very capable SUV rarely elicits any bad comments from its owners. Well, the AC should also not make them voice out a complaint since it manages to cool the cabin to 27.2 degree Celsius, ensuring that they don’t break into a sweat.

Mitsubishi Outlander :
The Outlander is one of the best designs in SUV limbo. It has got that EVO type face and not only looks cool outside but also delights the owner with its array of gizmos inside. One such gizmo would be the AC which brings down the cabin temperature to 27.1 degree Celsius from the 50 degree Celsius mark.

Honda CR-V :
Once upon a time the highest sales garner in the SUV sales chart, the Honda CR-V is no longer the preferred choice for many. Production halts and also non availability of a diesel engine coupled with a higher sticker price have hit the final nail in its coffin. The AC of this SUV also fails to impress with a cooling effect of 28.3 degree Celsius. Not so cool then considering that even lesser priced SUVs with the same seating capacity and dimensions demonstrate better cooling capability.

Nissan X-Trail : Another Japanese car which already has an uphill task of competing with the Hondas and Mitsubishis, the Nissan X-Trail has got very tiny AC vents. However appearances can often be deceptive and the good positioning of the AC vents ensure that the entire cabin is cooled down to 29.5 degree Celsius. Good for a 5 seater which is priced higher than the Outlander but lower than the CR-V.
BMW X1 : The baby Bimmer from BMW has got a long waiting period to it and noticeably so due to its BMW badge. While we have a grouse with the BMW ACs in all the tests, the ones on the BMW SUVs are as per class standards. The X1 manages to bring down the cabin temperature to 28.7 degree Celsius from its designated 50 degree Celsius. The performance is a bit disappointing considering BMW X1’s small cabin and compact dimensions.

Volvo XC60 : The Volvo XC60 has been a runaway hit on the Indian soil considering its not so upmarket brand image and the relative lack of service centers in India for it. However while the leather interiors may be preferable for many, during summers, it would make people to shy away from this car’s cabin. However like its sedan siblings, the Volvo XC60 has got a very good AC unit which helps it to cool the cabin down to 27.2 degree Celsius.

BMW X3 :
The Bavarian’s mid SUV offering is sort of medium in its cabin space however as far as the cooling capacity stands, the Bavarian disappoints with the final reading standing at 29.5 degree Celsius. We do hope that some BMW official does read this comparison and put in a word to rectify the cooling capacity of the ACs in their cars or SUVs.

Audi Q5 : The Audi Q5 in India was reviewed last night however the AC vents temperature wasn’t specifically noted then. It was checked out later. The Audi is a built for Europe car where heaters are used more than the air conditioners and it shows in the cooling stakes where the Audi Q5 cannot simply bring the temperature below the 30.3 degree Celsius mark in the 10 kms journey.

BMW X5 : The biggest of the BMWs available in India, the BMW X5 with an even bigger cabin than the X3 fared at par with the smaller Audi Q5. The BMW X5’s temperature reading at the end of the drive was 30.4 degree Celsius however the beige interiors make it a cool place to be in.

Audi Q7 : The Audi Q7 is one of the biggest SUV money can buy in India. It has got lots of space inside the cabin and also equipment by the galore. However the sheer size of the Q7’s cabin means that AC in the Q7 isn’t that effective and it manages to bring down the cabin temperature to only 31.3 degree Celsius.

Volvo XC90 : The Swede has also got a very large cabin and black interiors which would make it to be a heating pan in summer. This might just be the first time that anyone would have actually commented on the AC of this car. The Swede however couldn’t hold a candle to its sedan offerings and displayed a very poor 32.8 degree Celsius reading at the end of the drive. Disappointing because after the performance in the AC stakes by its sedan forms, Volvo should have ensured that the XC90 has a better cooling component fitted into it.

BMW X6 : This quirky shaped SUV/car may be just what a certain Sahil Khan needs to bolster his image and also suit his personality but then once inside, he would be sweating it out since the huge cabin coupled with the inefficiency of the BMW aircons in general would make it a heating oven. The X6 could only manage to bring down the temperature of the cabin to 33.3 degree Celsius.

Volkswagen Touareg : This big Volkswagen has been given the thumbs down in India with not much of marketing going its way plus other more capable and “badge” conscious SUVs patrolling around. However the sporty beige interiors of this SUV ensured that all the heat that it faces outside isn’t transferred inside. The final reading temperature of the Volkswagen stands at 29.3 degree Celsius. Going on with the Volkswagen trend, one certainly expects better performance from the aircon unit of the Touareg.

Mercedes ML-Class :
There is nothing that one faults in a Mercedes. There is everything to satisfy some one in a Mercedes car. However actual gauging of a Mercedes car’s AC shows that there is lots of scope for improvement as far as the AC unit functions. The cabin temperature dropped down to 29 degree Celsius after the initial 50 degree Celsius that it started out from.

Mercedes GL-Class : The big daddy in Mercedes vehicles, the GL class is luxury personified. It has got a big cabin with a 7 seater configuration. Not only does it have credible off-roading technology going for it but also on-road technology is also equally brilliant. The aircon inside the GL’s cabin cools down the cabin to a chilling 25.8 degree Celsius. Perfect we would say for such a big SUV.

Toyota Land Cruiser : The biggest SUV in this comparison which nearly dwarfs even the Mercedes GL class, the Toyota Land Cruiser is the one for hard off-roading and also for carrying its passengers in the maximum comfort however one failed to understand that this big SUV also has one of the most efficient cooling systems that can be found in this class. The Toyota Land Cruiser recorded a temperature of 25.9 degree Celsius at the end of the test. Impressive for a vehicle which is bigger than even the Mercedes GL.

Toyota Prado : The smaller sibling of the Land Cruiser, the Prado also demonstrated a good cooling capacity. Needless to say, with the same aircon components and a smaller greenhouse, the Prado registered a chilling 24.7 degree Celsius at the end of the test and ultimately our top pick for the day.

As far as MUVs go, there are even lesser picks than the SUVs, however we have indeed tested them as well in this test and have recorded the best temperature amongst them.

Tata Sumo Grande :
This MUV has come a long way from being the basic bread box that it was earlier to the now upmarket thing that it is. However even though Tata have kitted out this car with equipment, they forgot the AC cooling system. The Tata Sumo Grande managed to bring down the cabin temperature by about 20 degree Celsius. Fine for an entry level MUV and a competitively priced one.

ICML Rhino : The bull dozer of an MUV, the ICML Rhino is not to be found much in Mumbai but up the northern part of India, it is a ubiquitous figure. The Rhino has a better AC and fit finish than the Tata one with the temperature coming down to 29.7 degree Celsius from the designated 50 degree Celsius.

Chevrolet Tavera :
Chevy initially had a long throng of customers outside its show rooms when the Tavera was launched. However after 3-4 years, the excitement fizzled out. Must have got to do with its utilitarian image. The Aircon also shows the same and remained one of the hottest cars (and by it we mean the heat quotient) in this comparison. It could only manage to bring down the 50 degree Celsius starting temperature to 34.1 degree Celsius. Maybe, the new Tavera with the Rhino engine would be able to fare better.

Mahindra Xylo :
The MUV from Mahindra and Mahindra which was supposed to take on the Toyota Innova heads on sees comfortable sales each month. As we had checked out the Scorpio earlier, it was quite evident that the Xylo would also have a good AC and it didn’t disappoint on this count. The Xylo achieved a cabin temperature of 28 degree Celsius at the end of the long test.

Tata Aria : The biggest car from the Tata stables, the Tata Aria was supposed to take all the other MUVs by its horns and throw them all away with its 4×4 configuration and all. However due to its highish price, the Aria couldn’t quite manage it. Its AC also doesn’t quite match the expectations with a huge cabin to cool down. The Aria’s AC managed an end temperature of 29.6 degree Celsius.

Mercedes R-class :
The biggest and costliest MUV in this comparison, the Mercedes R-class with its opulent luxury and cosseting interiors did manage to cool down the cabin impressively with its powerful airconditioner bringing down the cabin temperature to 27.4 degree Celsius. This is very good for a MUV this big.

Toyota Innova : One of the most successful stories for Toyota in India, the Toyota Innova ticks all the right boxes when it comes to buying decisions. This big Toyota not only imparts a luxury feel but also keeps its occupants in perfect luxury and cool. The Innova managed to bring down the cabin temperature to a bearable 26.8 degree Celsius and remains our top pick for the prize of the best AC in a MUV.

That was a mammoth comparison that we completed and in the end it happens that both the MUV and SUV cooling prizes have been won by Toyota. So, Toyota makes one of the best ACs for the Indian market and this result is proven after the end of this test.

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