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Old 23rd November 2010, 23:00   #46
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I'd like to just point out that all sedans are not unsuitable for bad roads. Both the SX4 and the Scorpio have the same ground clearance of 180mm, making the SX4 equally capable of handling the type of bad roads that we encounter on our highway trips.

IMO the SX4 is a fantastic car for Indian conditions. The absence of a diesel engine really sets it back though.
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Old 23rd November 2010, 23:45   #47
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India at present is not really sedan friendly. Be it roads, the traffic (sense), policemen and eternal construction that is going on in India.

Fully agree to GTO on the merits of sedan but all said and done if you want to reach from point A to B quickly on a highway in India chances are you would make it faster in a SUV than a sedan. Get right of way, don't bother much about construction, cratered roads and khaki men think twice before unnecessarily bothering you.

SUV/Crossovers are just more practical in India of now.
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Old 24th November 2010, 00:04   #48
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Very interesting thread GTO! For me, its sedans and hatches all the way.

Regarding safety of SUV vs sedan, IIRC, there was a frontal crash carried out between an Accord and a CRV, - though the safety ratings for both were similar, the structure of the CRV was less damaged compared to the Accord though occupant safety was not much different.

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Old 24th November 2010, 00:13   #49
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Well , for me , my preference will always go to sedans , for highway duty . But for the sake of roads , I'll have to go for a rugged SUV .
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Old 24th November 2010, 00:23   #50
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I am one those impractical guys who will buy an SUV for the heck of it and also the fact that in near future after my brother gets married we will need something to pack a family of 6 + kids. So I am open to an SUV or an MUV.
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Old 24th November 2010, 00:23   #51
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Roads and infrastructure is improving everywhere.

Have driven a MUV/SUV but always come to a stop (almost) prior to corners and I for one don't appreciate the floaty ride quality provided by the MUV's/SUV's over a regular Car on good roads.

Though on bad roads, you have to literally pick the Car up in your laps and cross the treacherous stretch. Agree that in India there in no dearth of bad roads and it is entirely upto a person as to which mode of transport would he choose and prefer.

The Dynamics
Road Presence

^^My mode of transport has been a Safari (not me at the wheel and while doing intra-city runs) and at least in my part, its the hatch-backs/sedans which don't catch attention and aren't checked. Its the SUV's which are stopped by cops. If you are that important, there is always a beacon to warn the khaki or a board claiming you are so & so.

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Old 24th November 2010, 00:24   #52
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Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Sedans may seat 4/5 but the minute you load 'em up to 4/5 passengers, the handling/performance and the already-low Ground Clearance goes down. Technically a sedan may seat 4/5 but they perform best with 2/3 occupants (incl. driver). Go for a long drive with 4/5 occupants in a sedan and you will see. Whereas, it doesn't make much of a diff whether an SUV is empty or is loaded with 7/8 passenger.
I agree that the handling of a sedan is different with more load, but not drastically so. On the other hand, I found that some S/M UVs were jumpy with less load (Sumo, Bolero, Scorpio, Qualis and Innova). Safari, Xylo and Grande were exceptions though, with ride being carpetlike whatever the road or load. I haven't ridden in any other SUV, so I can't comment on them.

I'd prefer an SUV because I like the high seating position and the ability to handle bad roads without crawling through or breaking something. I accidentally damaged a strut in my car when I drove over a speedbreaker I didn't see. I keep wondering, if I'd been in an SUV, would I have been relieved that the suspension took it, or in a hospital bed after losing control. I confess to also feeling safer and more powerful in a big SUV.

I think that the most important aspect for many people is the ability to intimidate other drivers or at least, immunity from being intimidated by other road users. How many of us have wished we were driving a Humvee when some idiot brazenly moves into our way and forces us to the side just to overtake? *raises hand* But it is generally considered bad form to confess to this, so most people don't mention this as a factor at all.
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Old 24th November 2010, 01:57   #53
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Excellent thread and excellent discussion! Let me narrate two of my experiences. But before that I drive a Ford Fusion (I live in the US and Fusion is a pretty spacious everyday sedan).

Some time back when I was just married we rented a 2.5L 170HP Jetta. It is awesome on the road, compact, planted and provided plenty of grunt. The experience of flooring the pedal, hear the engine roar without missing a beat and then see the car that was just infront of you disappear in the rear view mirror was such a fun experience. And for every weekend getaway we wanted a Jetta!

Then things changed, we had a baby and going out meant always carrying car seat/strollers/diaper bags in addition to our bags. The Fusion despite plenty of space inside does make life difficult when there are so many items to be stuffed in. The low hight of the car does not help either.

Then one day my in-laws came visting us. Going out in the Fusion was ruled out and so we rented a Chevy Tahoe. The sheer proportions of the vehicle game me jitters! So much so that I bought additional insurance coverage! Once inside I felt as if I am driving a bus. The boot opened wide enough and ate all our bags with plenty to spare. It was powered by a 380HP V8, though nothing the vehicle did reflected it. On the road, it was very smooth, towered above everything else on the road and gave me that "I own the road" feeling. I think it was riding on air suspension, so the cabin was incredibly isolated. And yes, we never raced any other vehicle on the road and let all the Jetta's pass us!!! But at the end of the day it delivered us back absolutely satisfied.

Now, this is not to say I got converted after driving a Tahoe, but by next car will be an SUV (of the crossover variety) for the practicality it offers. And if I were to maintain a second car it will be a performance sedan to enjoy driving.
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Old 24th November 2010, 02:23   #54
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A great thread GTO.

In my opinion, formed after driving around in some of the worst roads in India, nothing beats the comfort and safety provided by an SUV.

A sedan is indeed very comfortable for both city and highway driving. I also agree that sedans have greater maneuverability in curves. But do all of us really drive through all curves and ghats at 120 kmph??? An SUV can handle most hairpins easily at 50 -70 kmph speed. I do so in my Tavera!

My point is that a sedan is indeed very comfortable. But it is true only as long as you drive in a city like Mumbai or Delhi or Pune, known for well tarred roads and not many potholes.

But the moment you step into the state and national highways in Karnataka and MP and especially, the brilliant NH 17, in a comfy sedan, the nightmare starts. Even a Merc or a BMW, known for its state-of-the-art suspension systems, may scrape its bottom in roads like these!!!

Should you buy an SUV? The definitive Sedan vs SUV debate-d-road-kerala_nh-17-.jpg

Should you buy an SUV? The definitive Sedan vs SUV debate-d-road-kerala_nh-17.jpg

I feel that an SUV or an MUV is surely more suited for Indian roads. You NEVER know where the next pothole is!!!

Another point I would like to stress is the road presence of an SUV. I have seen and experienced first hand how truck drivers and private buses mercilessly run smaller vehicles off the road, when they overtake, on single lane highways, without a median. Those who have travelled even once between Trivandrum, Cochin and Palghat or between Udupi, Kannur and Trichur will know what I mean.

I have noticed that those trucker morons automatically give more respect to bigger vehicles like SUVs.

I once had the misfortune of driving over one well-concealed hump near Chitradurga, on the NH4 at 120 kmph at night. My MUV came out of the incident without a scratch. I don't know how a sedan would have handled a similar situation!!!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 24th November 2010 at 02:37.
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Old 24th November 2010, 06:44   #55
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Originally Posted by vivekgk View Post
Fusion was not way ahead of its time, it was simply priced (ridiculously) wrong. There was nothing in the Fusion that made it more expensive to make than the Figo. If Ford had priced it more reasonably it would have sold well. What I find bizzare is that no Indian manufacturer has thought of a similar crossover vehicle. Tata came the closest with the Marina concept at some show.
I beg to differ here. Some how I did not feel it was overpriced (a small bit though). But later when every one mentioned the same, I pondered why? I realized, that most folks take it as a hatch (it is one!) and then think why would some one pay 8L (OTR BLR) for such a vehicle. As at that price one could also buy a Honda City. And immediately then comparison becomes apples to oranges.

6 years after its first release today see we Polo/Fabia 1.6 versions are today priced at 6.2 L ex-showroom ( but these are proper hatches and not cross overs. Read less space; Fabia comes close). For space of a Fusion, 198mm GC, 15 inch wheels and 100BHP power, I would pay another 40K more. But having said, one wishes to get good interiors, which some how is not a Ford strong point.

Key point which I wanted to convey was: Between 8-12L range, a niche market does exist for X-overs, which would satisfy 50-60% of folks who want to buy SUVs today.

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Old 24th November 2010, 06:59   #56
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My submissions on my own reasoning for preferring SUV's over Sedans/Hatchback cars:

1. SUV's have lots of space - hence if space and passenger/ luggage capacity is a priority, it is very useful.
2. Ground clearance - on roads like ours which are badly maintained and badly surfaced I know my SUV can handle them more easily than either a sedan or hatch.
3. Long drive trips - The SUV enables you to quite literally carry "your house on your back" like that Indigo Marina ad.
4. Diesel Power - I prefer Diesel because it is less expensive and I dont have to think twice about Fuel costs while taking a driving trip.
5. Going to the hilly areas, rural places, jungles etc - prefer my SUV for this kind of thing on account of its inherent toughness and ability to take rutted tracks easily though it is only a 2WD.
6. Cornering etc (as per GTO's post) - one should not try and drive an SUV the way one drives a typical low slung hatch or sedan - it is useless to even try and match up to a low slung car. The basic purposes of the two different types of vehicles need to be borne in mind as also the Centre of Gravity.
7. Respect on the roads - unfortunately today's road manners leave a great deal to be desired. Hence the SUV tends to be intimidating to the rule-breakers, such as pesky Autos and two wheelers. Yet, it is our responsibility to drive our SUV's with care. I dont support bullying on the road.

End of the day it is all about personal needs/ requirements and one will always end up buying what one prefers - because for the most part, a car/ vehicle is purchased with one's heart and not one's head only. So the "desire" aspect comes into play. It is what you identify with more, that you will go for. In my case, I ve always been exposed to my Dad's Jeep (s) and hence somehow have always preferred the Jeep type thing over a car.
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Old 24th November 2010, 07:35   #57
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Default How about a similar comparo between a Sedan and a Hatchback

For most people with two cars, I really do not see a Sedan fitting into the picture. Daily drive = hatchback (gets you to your destination without fuss). Weekend drive = SUV/MUV (gets you, your family and your luggage around more comfortably).

Based on my observation (and of course I can be wrong) over 90% usage for city folks is with single or dual occupants carrying no (or minimal) luggage. Of the remaining 10% usage, probably less than 5% times does one carry luggage that really cannot fit in a hatchback (I own a Fusion and with its massive boot, that probably would be under 1% for me personally). So why spend extra for a boot. Unlike earlier days, modern day hatches come fully loaded. Enough for one not to miss a sedan.

It's probably engraved within our minds that a car means a "three-box" sedan (and I have heard so many ppl say this), that we simply cannot think "out-of-the-box". Honestly, for pure practicality, sedans just don't seem to make the cut.
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Old 24th November 2010, 07:39   #58
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GTO: Great thread as usual, your posts make reading more easier and better to understand. Hats off to you for making it more easier for newbies to get their preference right.

As has been said in the numerous posts, I prefer sedan over an SUV anytime. The main reason is easier to handle, fuel efficient, lesser parking space than SUV and lots more.

What about the MUV's then? where do they stand in this debate? The idea of an MUV was to give a sedan experience coupled with rugged, spacy SUV. Which these days are better known as crossovers.

Any given day my preference would be a sedan (Since I drive a Fiesta), but I do drool over the mighty SUV once for a while (Read Fortuner, Santa Fe)
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Old 24th November 2010, 08:59   #59
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Originally Posted by burnt. View Post
I'd like to just point out that all sedans are not unsuitable for bad roads. Both the SX4 and the Scorpio have the same ground clearance of 180mm, making the SX4 equally capable of handling the type of bad roads that we encounter on our highway trips.
Don't take the GC figure as the yard stick to measure the useful clearance on bad roads. The GC merely indicates the lowest point anywhere on the underbody. The useful clearance depends on the entry/exit/rampover angle of the vehicle. Scorpio obviously has way superior entry/exit/rampover angle compared to SX4.
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Old 24th November 2010, 09:19   #60
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@GTO: Great choice of article - good reading. Could you please expand the scope and cover Crossovers like the X1, Yeti (I guess even outlander and CRV) etc. in a little more detail than it is covered now.

I am not an SUV guy at all. But I would seriously consider an Outlander / X1 type of 5 seater cross-over vehicle purely for the slight ground clearance advantage that can be quite handy even in metros.

Two ways of looking at crossovers.

1. They are neither as good as sedans nor do they have the offroading capabilities of an SUV

2. They provide nearly as much of the driving pleasure and dynamic pleasure of sedans while providing just a little extra comfort of ground clearance, better visibility etc AND without having the bulkiness of conventional SUVs.

I perceive crossovers more on the lines of point 2 above than point 1 and that's the key reason I would go for them.

We can even consider a few live examples - the closest comparable options I can think of off hand is BMW 3 series v. X1 followed by Laura vs. Yeti:

3 series vs. X1
(Haven't test driven either but comparison below based on gut feel and general reading - please feel free to correct)

- price: nearly the same for comparable models
- boot space: probably comparable but the X1 will probably offer more flexibility in what you can do with the seats. Quite handy if it means I can chuck a bicycle at the back and go all the way to Juhu to join a group of cyclists living away from home. Or really lug a heck load of luggage for an airport drop with 3 in the car and only one seat dropped.
- interior space / comfort at back: presumably comparable although the X1 will offer easier ingress and egress. I'm sure ride comfort at the back in an X1 is not inferior to the experience in the 3 series.
- comfort in front: again probably comparable but the X1 would offer better visibility and a more commanding position.
- driving pleasure: you tell me!! what is really the delta that we're talking about here for the same engine. Is it more than 10 - 15%? If not, I don't drive to the limit often enough to give up the above just for this.
- maintenance: probably comparable.

If my next purchase was in the above segment, I would seriously consider the X1 over the 320d for the above reasons. (Its a different matter I may consider an Outlander and Superb as well getting much more bang for buck at a lower cost but lets assume the above two bimmers were the only purchase contenders).

GTO - Care to make it a full blown 3 way analysis? It would be interesting to read your perspective in more detail in that light.

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