The SUV in its purest form or the new age crossover sense is the most popular automotive body style in the world at the moment and the same echo in the Indian context too. With the likes of SUV through different price ranges, from small subcompact to luxury showing ever growing sales every year, it is no wonder then that the SUV market in India will see a slew of launches in 2017. Here is our top 10 list of SUVs you can expect to be launched in India in 2017.
Displayed for the first time at 2016 Indian Auto Expo, the Nexon will be Tata’s highly anticipated and much-delayed entry into the subcompact or sub 4-meter SUV segment. The new compact SUV will feature an improvement over the new design language from Tata Motors and also incorporate the two-tone design made popular by the Vitara Brezza. The Nexon will feature the 1.2-litre turbo petrol Revotron 4-cylinder engine and the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine with a variable geometry turbo making 90bhp. The Nexon will also feature a new interior design language for Tata Motors. The centrepiece of this design will be the dashboard mounted infotainment screen that is similar to the one found on the likes of a few Audi products. The new Nexon will also feature a drive mode knob like the Hexa and will be a spacious 5 seater with a large boot. Expect prices of the Nexon to be between Rs 6.5-9.5 lakh with an estimated launch window of November or December 2017.
Jeep made its long-delayed and highly anticipated entry to India in 2016 but quite a few Indian SUV buyers were disappointed at how much their flagship SUVs cost in India. To make a real impact in the Indian auto space, Jeep will bring the brand new Compass to India by mid-2017 at a price that is stated to be just a tad under the Rs 20 lakh mark! This means that the Jeep brand will be accessible to a lot more Indian SUV buyers who are looking for a slightly global brand with a history attached. In a recent interview with Jeep India M.D. Kevin Flynn, plans about very high localisation levels and plans to use India as a global hub for all right-hand-drive vehicles came to light. This means that quality of the Indian made cars will have to be at par with the quality of the cars exported internationally. The Jeep Compass will get both petrol and diesel engines from the get go but it is uncertain on whether a manual gearbox will make it to India. We also expect the Compass to offer both a lower variant in two-wheel-drive the top of the line cars in four-wheel-drive with terrain response.
The Skoda Kodiaq is the first ever 7-seater SUV by the Czech automaker and will go straight up against the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour in India. The Kodiaq will feature a 2.0-litre diesel engine at launch but a petrol engine will be introduced soon later depending on demand. In terms of exterior design, the Kodiaq gets the new three-dimensional grille, sharp LED headlamps and tail lamps and a set of wide wheel arches. The Skoda Kodiaq as we mentioned earlier will be only available with a 7-seater configuration although internationally it is also available with a 5-seater layout. Based on the same MQB platform as the Octavia, expect the Kodiaq to be a great car to drive in terms of overall balance while still offering a pliant ride. For infotainment, the Skoda Kodiaq will get a 6.5-inch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, and Skoda SmartLink with support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.
The Tata Hexa will be the first SUV of 2017 and will be launched in January 2017 and will be Tata’s new flagship product. We have already driven the Hexa in both the manual and automatic avatars and the automatic is definitely the one to go for if you are considering one. Both cars get a 2.2-ltire 4-cylinder diesel engine with 157bhp and 400Nm of torque. The Hexa also gets the best interiors of any Tata product that we have ever seen and gets features like leather interior, touch screen infotainment and drive modes. The Hexa will go up against the likes of the XUV500 and will get a 7 or 8 seater variant. You also get features like LED daytime running lights, 19-inch wheels and dual exhaust tips. The Hexa should be priced at about Rs 13-18 lakh.
Ford Ecosport Facelift
Ford EcoSport Facelift
Till the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza came along, the Ford Ecosport was the highest selling sub 4-meter SUV in India. In fact, the popular SUV actually had a huge waiting period when first introduced. That said, the Ecosport is slightly ageing now and Ford will launch the facelifted Ecosport in 2017. The new Ecosport is much sharper and more butch as compared to the current generation car. The SUV now gets a more aggressive face with new headlamps, a bigger grille, new tail lamps and of course, new alloy wheels. The interior too gets a much-needed refresh with a touchscreen infotainment system that will have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Ford’s own mirror link. The Ecosport might loose the tail mounted spare wheel for India although that isn’t confirmed yet. Expect the prices to be around Rs 7.5-10.5 lakh (ex-showroom).
The Volkswagen Tiguan is Volkswagen’s entry to the sub 30-lakh SUV in India. The 5-seater (7-seater version will follow soon) SUV will be launched sometime mid-2017 and will be assembled as a CKD in India. The Tiguan has the same underpinnings as the Skoda Kodiaq and will feature the same 2.0-litre diesel engine along with an automatic gearbox. The Tiguan will also get optional all-wheel-drive or standard front-wheel-drive and subdued yet classy styling. The SUV will go up against the likes of the Hyundai Santa-Fe along with luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1. Expect the Tiguan to be spacious and comfortable while offering typically good driving dynamics due to the MQB platform that it is based on. Also expect expected features like a large touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and a panoramic roof.
The WR-V will be Honda’s answer to the sub 4-meter crossover segment. While it is based on the Jazz, the WR-V will be a direct competitor to the likes of the Fiat Avventura and the Hyundai i20 Active as compared to the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Expect the WR-V to share a similar interior to the likes of the Honda Jazz and come with the same 1.2-litre iVTEC or 1.5-litre iDTEC engine that does duty in the premium hatchback. While the diesel will only get a manual gearbox option, the petrol will also get a CVT automatic with paddle shifters. The WR-V should make it to India sometime later next year and be priced between Rs 7.5-10 lakh.
Datsun Go Cross
The Datsun Go Cross is a crossover concept based on the Go+ that was unveiled at the 2016 Indian Auto Expo. The Go and Go+ haven’t really attracted the kind of sales that Datsun would have liked but the redi-GO, especially in it’s Sport variant with the plastic cladded cross-hatchback look has attracted a decent number of buyers. That said, the Go Cross’s stance with the butch front end and compact dimensions have taken the fancy of the Indian public and we believe a production version of the car will make its debut sometime mid-2017. That said, we hope Datsun does move into a slightly more premium category with the crossover and offers basic premium interior trim options like a touchscreen infotainment system (from the likes of the Renault Kwid) with an inbuilt navigation setup. The Datsun Go Cross will actually go up against the likes of the KUV100 and even the upcoming Maruti Suzuki Ignis. Expect the same 1.2-litre petrol engine that does duty in Go to do duty here with the chance of a 1.5-litre D4-D diesel engine shoehorned into the subcompact SUV too.
New Audi Q5
The Q5 is one of Audi’s best-selling cars in India and has been around for a while now. That said, with recent launches like the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the Audi SUV has been feeling the heat. A few months ago Audi launched the updated Q5 and the fact that it looks like a mini Q7 is actually a good thing. The new Q7 is much better equipped on the inside with more space and more gadgets than ever before. The new Q5 also gets the 12-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, and a large 8-inch free-standing screen for the MMI infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The new Audi Q5 will be a 5-seater SUV as it always was and should be launched sometime in late 2017. The engines offered should be a 2.0-litre diesel with Quattro all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There will also be a 2.0-litre petrol engine that will be a part of the Q7 range.
Lexus RX (Hybrid)
Lexus RX 450h
The Lexus RX will be the first SUV and the first product that Lexus India will launch when they kickstart their operations in a couple of weeks. The RX will compete with the Q5/GLC/X3 but will be much more expensive than its peers since it will be only available in the hybrid only RX450h spec. The RX will also only be available in a five-seater layout. The combined V6 engine and hybrid powerplant make upwards of 300bhp in the RX450. Although unconfirmed, the RX450h might be available in both standard and F-Sport variants – with the latter adding sportier styling and interiors, along with slightly more power. All Lexus SUVs will be available with standard all-wheel-drive. Expect prices to be somewhere around the Rs 1 crore mark for the luxury SUV. Dealers in Mumbai and Delhi have already started taking bookings for the RX and first deliveries should begin after an official price announcement in a few weeks.