and their heavyweight cousins

Updated: Feb 2 2013, 07:51am hrs
The success of the Renault Duster and Mahindra Quanto in 2012 proves again that we are an SUV-crazy people. This comes on top of the success of BMW X1 and Audi Q3the entry-luxury SUVs. Here are a few SUVs that will come your way in 2013. But, mind you, all are not true sport utility vehicles

Ford EcoSport

Engine: 1.0-litre turbo-petrol, 1.5-litre diesel

Price: Rs.7-9 lakh

Expected: June 2013

Sharing a lot of its underpinnings with the new Ford Fiesta, the EcoSport, like most Fords before it, promises fantastic driver appeal and an accomplished ride. Powered by the 1.5-litre 89bhp diesel engine from the Fiesta and a new 123bhp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol that offers the performance of a 1.6-litre engine with the efficiency of a smaller motor, theres a lot to look forward to when the new Ford is launched. And, despite its sub-four-metre length, theres decent space on the inside. The best part It qualifies as a small car in the eyes of the Indian government and therefore will be priced very competitively.

VW Polo variants

Engine: 1.2-litre petrol, 1.6-litre diesel

Price: Rs.6-8 lakh Expected: March-December 2013

Volkswagen is keen to cash in on Indians craze for SUVs with a rugged version of its Polo hatchback. To be called the Cross Polo, the car will come with restyled bumpers, a matte plastic band along the lower portion of the body and roof rails. An SUV-like tailgate-mounted spare wheel is a possibility too. The Cross Polo wont, however, come with any off-road hardware, though it will receive a new 1.5-litre diesel engine. A CNG version for the Cross Polos new turbocharged 1.2 petrol engine is on the cards as well. This TSI engine will debut on the regular Polo in March and will be offered with a sophisticated twin-clutch automatic gearbox. Volkswagen will also launch the Polo with the 1.6-litre diesel engine from the Vento. It will be considerably more expensive than the smaller 1.2 diesel version, but could set a new benchmark for performance among hatchbacks.

Jeep Wrangler & Grand Cherokee

Engine: 2.8-litre and 3.0-litre diesel

Price: Rs.35 lakh and R40 lakh Expected: End-2013

You dont really need an introduction to Jeep thanks to Mahindra, but now the original Jeep is coming in. Initial offerings will be the Grand Cherokee, a luxury SUV with dimensions somewhat similar to the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and the go-anywhere, hardy Wrangler. Under the hood of the Grand Cherokee is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel designed by Fiat that wont disappoint on power and refinement. The Jeep Wrangler will have off-road enthusiasts in India salivating, with its 197bhp common-rail engine and its off-road suspension. The good news is that Jeeps parent company Chrysler understands the nature of the Indian market and is working hard at pricing both vehicles competitively.


Santa Fe

Engine: 2.2-litre diesel

Price: Rs.24-25 lakh

Expected: Mid-2013

If you are in the market for a large, seven-seat SUV, its worth your time to wait for the new Hyundai Santa Fe that goes on sale in India in mid-2013. As is evident in the picture, the new car looks far more attractive and sporty than the current model. It is also slightly longer than the existing car, courtesy the slightly larger rear overhang. If anything, this promises more space in the cabin, especially for third-row occupants. As with the exterior styling, the interior looks very contemporary too, with an attractive dashboard that features a large touchscreen. While we dont know the final spec for the Indian version, it is safe to assume that the Santa Fe will come loaded with equipment and will also feature the powerful 2.2-litre diesel from the current model. We expect pricing to be in the region of R24-25 lakh, which will make this an attractive proposition.

Honda CR-V

Engine: 2.4-litre and 2.0-litre petrol

Price: Rs.20-22 lakh Expected: February 2013

The Honda CR-V has always stood out for being among the sportiest SUVs you could buy in India and, in terms of desirability, it still ranks very high. Sadly, being an import, the CR-V is no longer as affordable as it once was. The good news is Honda will assemble the next-generation CR-V in India, which will translate to a big reduction in prices. How does a R20 lakh starting price sound Before you ask, no, there wont be any diesel to begin with, but the new CR-V will offer a lot to make you ignore that. For starters, styling is much sharper both inside and out and the cabin is roomier too. The current Honda CR-Vs 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol engines have also been tweaked a bit for better performance, while changes to the body help improve dynamics. If theres a downer, its the new CR-Vs electrically-assisted steering that takes away a bit from that fun-to-drive factor. That said, this is still an SUV you simply cant go wrong with.

Volvo V40 Cross Country

Engine: 2.0-litre diesel

Price: Rs.30 lakh Expected: March 2013

The V40 Cross Country wants to be to Volvo what the X1 is to BMW and the Q3 is to Audia small SUV with seating for five. The Cross Country may lack the stance of a proper SUV, but it still looks really attractive. Key to its appeal is its muscular body kit and large 17-inch alloy wheels. The V40 Cross Country will be sold in India with a 163bhp, 2.0-litre diesel engine that powers the front wheels. Unlike the Q3, there will be no all-wheel drive on offer here, though the 173mm of ground clearance should be sufficient to explore grassy paths at the very least. Volvo is likely to sell the V40 Cross Country in India in a fully-loaded avatar and price it around R30 lakh. For many, that should be reason enough to wait for this interesting new car, which goes on sale in March.