Maruti Suzuki recently unveiled the Grand Vitara in India, a mid-size SUV for the Indian and global markets. The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is an important product for the carmaker, as it will compete in a popular, yet populated segment that consists of the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Skoda Kushaq, Volkswagen Taigun, and the Nissan Kicks. Maruti Suzuki has a lot to live up to but may just have a trump card up its sleeve — an all-wheel-drive system.
While none of its competition offers anything more than a front-wheel drive layout, including vehicles in higher segments such as the Tata Harrier and Safari, Maruti Suzuki has introduced its All-Grip AWD system with the Vitara. Let’s take a closer look at its competitors.
The Hyundai Creta is offered with three engine choices, 1.5-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel, and 1.4-litre turbo petrol. Gearbox options include manual and automatics, however, the drive is directed towards the front wheels of the Creta.
Similar to the Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos is based on the same platform and offers the same engine and gearbox options, including the FWD layout. However, for the global markets, Kia does offer an AWD system with the Seltos, and it’s a standard feature in some global markets. So if Kia thinks the new Grand Vitara’s All-Grip system is an advantage, the carmaker could offer it with the high-end trims of the Seltos in India.
Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder
The Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder is in essence the new Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, as both vehicles are based on the same platform. The Hyryder is available as a hybrid, while one variant, the Neodrive V is offered in AWD, mated to a manual gearbox. Engine options include two 1.5-litre engines, one that makes 100 bhp, while the other engine with the help of a hybrid system makes 114 bhp.
The Skoda Kushaq is based on the MQB A0 IN platform, which also underpins its VW sibling, the Taigun. Powering the Skoda Kushak is either a 1.0-litre or a 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine mated to manual or automatic gearbox choices that drive the front wheels. Skoda does not offer an AWD trim with the Kushaq in India.
Similar to the Kushaq, the Volkswagen Taigun is underpinned by the same MQB A0 IN platform and gets the same engine and gearbox choices. VW does not offer an AWD trim in India, instead choosing to offer 2WD alone.
The Nissan Kicks has no AWD system as well. The Kicks in India is sold with 1.5-litre petrol or a 1.3-litre turbo petrol option with a manual or a CVT gearbox that drives the front wheels. Even in international markets, the Kicks gets no AWD option.
An interesting fact when comparing all of the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara’s competitors in India is the fact that all of them have chosen to opt for 2WD systems, apart from the Hyryder which is the same vehicle as the Vitara. Tata Motors had earlier claimed that the demand for 4WD vehicles in India is low, thus not including a 4X4 or an AWD system with any of its SUVs, including the Safari.
However, Maruti Suzuki has a different view, as the company claims that customers wanted an AWD feature. The Maruti Suzuki All-Grip system features four modes:
Auto: In the ‘Auto’ mode, the Grand Vitara primarily runs on 2WD, but if it detects the need for AWD, it automatically engages it to offer better traction.
Sport: In the ‘Sport’ mode, the Vitara is primarily driven on two wheels, but during hard acceleration and cornering, it engages all four wheels.
Snow: In the ‘Snow’ mode, the vehicle drives on two wheels, but when it detects loss of traction, all four wheels are engaged ahead of losing traction completely.
Lock: The final mode is ‘Lock’, which as it suggests, permanently engages all four wheels while driving.