What Are The Different Types of SUVs? Best SUV Buying Guide
Micro SUV vs Sub-Compact SUV vs Mid-Size SUV vs Full-Size SUV Comparison - What's the Difference
What is an SUV?
SUV stands for sport utility vehicle and is currently the most popular kind of automobile in India. SUVs were once derived from off-roaders but soon the demand for them exceeded and they now outsell other cars. This trend is not just for India but for other major markets too. As a result today, there are different forms of SUVs and car-makers are creating new categories to satisfy demand. While SUVs were first thought to have 4x4 or AWD, today, in order to save costs there are front wheel drive SUVs which are called as crossovers. Here is a proper SUV-size comparison and a list of SUVs and their types.
What is a Micro / Mini SUV?
It is one of the results of the success of SUVs as Micro SUVs have been a new trend in India. In short they are the smallest breed of SUVs and are basically hatchbacks with more ground clearance and well under 4m in length. They are also the most affordable kind of SUVs and pose as an alternative to a hatchback. The perfect example is the KUV100 from Mahindra and the upcoming Tata HBX. These cars have good ground clearance and SUV-like design, which make them desirable amongst hatchback buyers. Micro SUVs also make sense for millennials plus they are available with a 1 litre or a 1.2 litre petrol engine only with no diesel option in India. In Japan, these kind of SUVs are called Mini SUVs with length under 3,400 mm and engines smaller than 660 cc for tax incentives. Price range in India - Rs 5 - 9 lakh
What is a Sub-Compact SUV in India?
Here is another style of compact SUVs that are a hit in India and only sold in India. These are under 4m SUVs and are made to take benefit of tax laws. These are again small SUVs which are just below 4m in length but pack in premium features and styling to appeal to midsize sedans and premium hatchback buyers. These are 5 seaters and mostly have petrol engines but few also have diesel. That said a majority of the demand is for petrol in this segment. This is one of the most popular segments and has taken off with the Maruti Brezza, Kia Sonet and the Hyundai Venue. These SUVs have engines which are below 1.5l limit and also get all features with recent times seeing compact SUVs being divided into premium and entry level like the Nissan Magnite and the Kia Sonet. Price range-Rs 6 - 13 lakh
What is a Mid-Size Compact SUV?
Now comes the segment of SUVs which see the most demand and buzz around them. We are talking about above 4m SUVs and there is a reason why these SUVs are so popular since they are the perfect size, have enough space and also have the right premium interior quality. The Hyundai Creta which is the highest selling SUV in India right now, belongs to that category. There is also the Kia Seltos that fits in this price bracket. They are the perfect SUVs for our cities and no wonder they are so popular. They have an equal share of both diesel and petrol in this class of cars and these are mostly front wheel drive with no 4x4 on offer. These SUVs pose as a more value and desirable alternative to executive sedans. Price range - Rs 11 - 20 lakh.
What is a Full-Size SUV?
Compared to the above forms of SUVs, this is the biggest and possibly closest to the original definition of SUVs. This is the line-up of SUV well above the 4m space and closer to the 5m length. These are big SUVs and have a lot of presence. For many who like SUVs for their size, will like these types of SUVs more than anything else. This type of SUV also has premium features and luxury. Examples are the MG Hector Plus and the Tata Safari to the Toyota Fortuner. Mostly these SUVs are all offering four wheel drive while being 7-seater make them more practical for large families. Compared to other forms of SUVs these are also very capable off-road and have better ground clearance. Price range - Rs 20- Rs 45 lakh
In addition to the above SUV types, we also have the Off-road SUVs like the Mahindra Thar, Jeep Wrangler & Upcoming Suzuki Jimny (Gypsy) which are mainly used for off-roading to handle rough terrain with greater ground clearance, four-wheel drive, traction control & wider tyres.
Which SUV Makes Sense for You - Micro, Sub-Compact, Mid-Size or Full-Size SUV ?
With so many types of SUVs, you would be confused no less but these are aimed at some clear buyers demands and you have to decide what are you needs and wants. Plus, your budget of course. If you are looking for your first SUV or your first car, then a micro SUV or a subcompact SUV makes more sense. It fits your budget and is also easy to park as well as light on your pocket with good efficiency. We suggest either the Renault Kiger or the Nissan Magnite or budget permitting then the Venue, Sonet or Nexon. These are the perfect small SUVs for our congested cities.
However, if you are upgrading from a sedan or hatchback to an SUV then best check out the above 4m mid-size SUVs like the Creta and the Seltos. These are premium in design plus have good space along with a lot of features. They are also good to drive and easy to park.
Lastly if you have the budget and want to get yourself a big SUV for your large family and often go on road trips, then a SUV like Safari, Hector Plus or a Fortuner makes sense. These are big cars and occupy a lot of space in terms of parking and they are not very easy to use in the city. Plus incase you opt for a petrol engine, these big SUV are not as fuel efficient as a mid-size SUVs like a Creta or Seltos. But they have more presence and look like a proper SUV. They also have a lot of passenger and luggage space for a comfortable long drive. So depending on your budget or needs, picking the right type of SUV is important for you.
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