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The sports utility files

An SUV might never see off-road action in its lifetime, but they are ideal for India’s potholed roads. We feature some of the most popular utes in the market.

By Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: October 7, 2007

An SUV might never see off-road action in its lifetime, but they are ideal for India’s potholed roads. We feature some of the most popular utes in the market.

Ford Endeavour
 
This is a big car in more ways than one. The Ford is huge, and is not a driver’s car in the true sense of the term.

Ford Endeavour
 

While the recent upgrade has meant that Endeavour has acquired some more power, this is a car you would buy only if sheer road presence is your top priority.

Engine: 2499cc 4-cylinder Diesel

Power/Torque
143bhp/33.6 kgm

Top Speed:
155 km/h

Length/Width/Wheelbase:
4998/1789/2860 mm

Price (ex-showroom Delhi):
Rs 14.82 lakh (4x2)

Honda CR-V

This is the most radical (though slightly dainty) looking car in the segment, and actually feels more like an overgrown sedan than a sports ute, and that reflects in its handling and ride quality; this is not a vehicle that will be very comfortable in really rough conditions.

Honda CR-V

The newer powertrain on this version is more thrifty than before.

Engine: 2354cc 4-cylinder Petrol

Power/Torque:
161bhp/22.2 kgm

Top Speed:
205 km/h

Length/Width/Wheelbase:
4530/1820/2620 mm

Price (ex-showroom Delhi):
Rs 17.8 lakh (Manual)

Suzuki Grand Vitara

 

The latest entrant in the segment is well-priced, very thrifty on fuel, but lacks the get up and go of its hyperactive fuel-guzzling predecessor and is best driven at a leisurely pace. However, on the plus side, it has four-wheel drive on the fly and good off-road abilities. The interiors on this car are too black, though.

Engine: 1994cc 4-cylinder Petrol

Power/Torque:
120bhp/17.3 kgm

Top Speed:
165km/h

Length/Width/Wheelbase:
4470/1810/2640 mm

Price (ex-showroom Delhi):
Rs 13.8 lakh (Manual)

Hyundai Tucson
 
Fantastic value for money, but the Tucson looks dated compared to some of the competition and suffers from “torque steer”—it sometimes seems to get ahead of you if you apply too much power too soon— occasionally.

The Common-Rail Diesel on the car is uncannily peppy, but does not have the verve of the petrol cars in the segment. But the Tucson is a good off-roader.

Engine: 1991cc 4-cylinder Diesel

Power/Torque: 112bhp/25 kgm

Top Speed:
165km/h

Length/Width/Wheelbase:
4325/1830/2630 mm

Price (ex-showroom Delhi):
Rs 15.98 lakh

Chevrolet Captiva

General Motors India’s first foray into the sports utilities was the fantastic Forrester, which was a Subaru.

However, that car looked too much like an Estate and did not appeal to Indian buyers who like big, chunky and shiny cars.

The new Captiva looks aggressive and will pack a lot of power with its 2-litre diesel engine. This car is expected by late-2007 or early-2008.

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