Environmentalists loathe them but people keep buying them and it seems the SUV will only become more dominant in the years to come. Last year saw a plethora of SUV launches but three stood out and they have ripped apart the rule books along with setting a new world order.
While deciding the three best SUVs of India we took into account several key parameters like value for money, styling, engines and features plus safety too. We only considered SUVs till the Rs 25 lakh threshold for this feature and yes, none of these three have 4x4 or AWD but the market size of that is minuscule so in the large segment parameters these SUVs shown here have come out on top.
Compact: Hyundai Venue
Ford started this segment with its EcoSport, while the Maruti Brezza stoked the fire with its stellar sales numbers. The compact SUV, in essence, comprises SUVs under 4m that prove to be a more desirable alternative to a premium hatchback or a midsize sedan.
2019 saw Mahindra and Hyundai launch their own compact SUVs, with Hyundai clearly stealing the show with its Venue. What makes the Venue the current compact SUV of choice? Simply because it does not feel like it’s built to a price and its compact size is the only thing that tells you it belongs in this class.
The fit and finish, along with the features on offer and the fact that it's the most affordable car in India with 'connected tech', make this a standout car. Equipped with the turbo petrol and DCT, the Venue is also the best car Hyundai has made in terms of driving experience. In its class the Venue is the best to drive, to look at or to sit in. It feels more expensive than it actually is and has moved the goal posts.
Mid-size: Kia Seltos
Many have already waxed lyrical about this SUV and no doubt it deserves every bit of it! The Seltos is our choice in the midsize space, simply because it ticks all the boxes and leaves out none. It's not too big nor too small with just the right amount of flash, while the design reeks of European sophistication. The design is crossover for sure, but the lines are more square along with being overtly butch. The sporty GT line further adds to the looks.
It is Seltos’ cabin quality and features that takes the cake. The Hyundai Creta set new standards when it was launched few years ago but the Seltos takes it way further. Simply put the interior of the Seltos rivals and beat cars that cost twice as much. The feature list is exhaustive and has nearly everything, along with stuff you do not find even on 50 lakh cars. The space is decent, though not the best, but you will not complain.
In terms of its engines and driving experience the Seltos feels more of a European car and that's true praise. The set-up is taut and it feels well put together with the finesse that is usually lacking in cars of this price. Then, you have Kia putting in three types of automatic options to cater to every need while the DCT plus 1.4 turbo combo makes it a pleasure to drive. In short, Kia has left no stone unturned and even its modest price hike recently does nothing to change its incredible value for money quotient.
Full-size: MG Hector
If you want the 'big SUV' stance and feel, then few do it better than the MG Hector. The massive proportions plus the piercing stare courtesy the spill headlamps/DRL set-up makes the Hector stand out quite easily in the crowded SUV market.
If you want presence, show appeal and size the Hector it is, but it's not all-show-and-no-go as the Hector is superb value, and is quite focused in its singular mindset of being a comfortable SUV. The vast amount of space on offer makes this one of the best SUVs to be chauffeured around in while the comfort along with long list of features including the massive panoramic sunroof further gives the Hector an edge.
Of course, the much talked about unique portrait touchscreen along with a plethora of technology makes this one of the most advanced cars at this price. The Hector is not sporty but does not pretend either. The DCT ambles along nicely while the cushy ride makes this a good long distance cruiser. The Hector has everything and more than anyone can want or need from a 'big SUV'.