India cannot get enough of SUVs and this month we have seen a huge number of them entering our shores at various price points. The SUV market continues to grow and is now the most desirable segment in terms of new cars. We drove all these SUVs to tell you everything about them.
Hyundai struck gold with the Venue and the Creta but now it’s eyeing the small SUV space with the funky Exter. The Exter sits below the Venue and is their most affordable SUV while a cursory glance at its equipment list suggests that is as well-equipped as SUVs costing a lot more! The Exter is a small SUV but packs a different style, laced by the global look of the new Hyundai SUVs. The front-end is funky and gets you attention, while the same can be said for the eye-popping blue shade amongst a lot of other interesting colours. While it is compact in length, the Exter is bursting with traditional SUV design cues like skid plate, roof rails and a boxy roofline. The ground clearance of 185mm is also impressive and helps you navigate over bad roads with ease.
The interiors though are the best bit with an all-black look being peppered with coloured accents. Similarly, the quality levels are much better than other small SUVs too. However, the standard 6 airbags while extra features like a dashcam plus a sunroof round off this impressive package. Space is decent too, while the boot is as big as you can expect an SUV of this class to have. The Exter brings in the attributes of SUVs but in a smaller package.
The powertrain here is a 1.2l petrol while the automatic AMT also gets paddle shifters- something again seen on much more expensive SUVs. To drive, the Exter maintains the ethos of any Hyundai with a smooth performance while it is a capable city commuter too with a relaxed vibe about it. You drive the Exter at a relaxed pace and it responds well too. AMTs are traditionally slow in shifts but the paddle shifters eradicate that to a large extent. You could say that the Exter brings in big SUVs features at a smaller size and price with its competitive introductory pricing. It is a bit of an all-rounder with good looks mixed with high equipment levels along with a refined powertrain.
The Seltos has been the backbone of Kia sales in India and now there is a new one armed with a suite of technologies while there is a new engine too. In India, SUVs like the Seltos have seen big demand due to the correct size and the positioning. It is premium, but not too expensive, while being spacious enough for most families. You can see what has changed at first glance with a sharpened-up exterior as the new Seltos get a larger grille along with a DRL extending into it plus a tweaked bumper along with LED sequential turn indicators.
Depending on the trim chosen you can spec 17-to-18-inch wheels too. Move to the rear and there are connected LED tail-lamps while they are also much larger. Inside, the quality levels are high along with a sporty design while you can get a mix of interior colours depending on what you want. The much-awaited new panoramic sunroof also makes its way here to the new Seltos finally plus there is dual-zone climate control and a powered handbrake too. Kia has also changed the entire dashboard with a twin-screen layout along with new switchgear. The feature list though is stuffed with everything you can think off with a 360-degree camera with a blind view monitor, a Bose audio system, a powered driver seat plus connected car technology while the new Seltos also gets ADAS. Powertrain wise there is also a new 1.5l turbo which cranks up the power output to 160 bhp and that is a big jump over the earlier engine. That said, you can get the new Seltos with a diesel engine too or a lesser powerful petrol engine along with a raft of gearbox options. The top-spec 1.5 turbo remains the pick of the range though with its 7-speed DCT with paddle shifters plus driver modes.
The Elevate is finally the Honda SUV that we have been waiting for a long time. This is a Honda SUV made for India and it is its much-awaited entry into the world of compact SUVs. Styling wise the upright proportions plus the thick chrome being used on the Elevate adds a purposeful touch to the car plus it sure does have a lot of presence while the styling adheres to the traditional Honda DNA. Large wheels plus the simple, but distinct styling enables it to stand out in the crowd. Notable mentions also include a large and spacious cabin along with a vast boot capacity.
Honda has also provided soft touch dash inserts while the steering or even the dials are like the one on the Honda City. The Elevate does get a big touchscreen though while getting goodies like ADAS, sunroof and more. The Honda Lane-Watch system is also included here. Elevate is petrol only for now with a 1.5l engine which delivers 121 bhp with gearbox options ranging from the likes of a standard 6-speed manual plus a CVT automatic with paddle shifters. There will not be a strong hybrid on offer for the Elevate as instead it will get a full EV version within a few years’ time which is in contrast to the City which is having a strong hybrid powertrain currently. The Elevate remains a very important model for Honda and an entrant to a huge segment in terms of market sales.