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Old 30th September 2014, 20:33   #1
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Default Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

Friends,

Thought of starting a new thread itself as couldn't get any convincing answer in these forums. Also going a little offbeat, with so may ownership and new car, test drive threads, no one is even sure about the actual ground clearance of XUV. Whether it is 165mm or 200mm? Strange!

However now coming back to the original topic, I am a keen birder who doesn't believe in going for paid safaris rather enjoy being a roving birder, venturing and exploring new places, on my own and that too alone. Also like any mango people, can't look at buying a 4X4 off-roader which is not fit for family outing as well. For example Thar or Gypsy etc...although I doubt if they too are true off roading vehicles. Will come to that later.

So my broken record is stuck now on XUV500 X8 AWD, Tata Storme VX 4X4 or unknown Force One 4X4. Duster AWD I am not considering at this point nor Scorpio as they lack basic big car concept.

Now the dilemma is should I spent south of 15lacs+ for going with AWD or 4X4 option. I will tell you why I think it will be disaster:

- Weight of these SUVs is such they not fit for off-roading
- I spent whole weekend watching virtually all the you tube videos and saw, these so called 4X4s struggling to cross even 20mt stretch of basic slush which you generally find on a village road/off beat track during monsoons. Be it Storme or Scorpio or Thar. I even saw a video where LandRover was simply hitting kerb each time it was able to spin the wheels.
- So forget about true off-roading, these so called sub 20 lacs 4X4 are even struggling on basic off beat track. Now I know not every time, but if you don't have 100% confidence then who would like to venture out in a no mans land with a huge SUV. What I am saying is that confidence of crossing that patch is same as in a 4X2.

So my question is that though there are undertones everywhere that these are soft off roaders, I am looking for a confirmation if they are truly capable of delivering anything over and above their 4X2 trims with respect to off roading?

From what I have watched on you tube, I feel if there is adequate GC and off-roading tyres then 4X4/AWD or 4x2 would deliver similar experience for our Scorpio, Stormes and XUVs

Would luv to hear your view.

Cheers

Manu

PS: BTW I saw many videos where Pajero Sport was able to conquer any kind of terrain
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Old 30th September 2014, 21:08   #2
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by manupriyam View Post
So my question is that though there are undertones everywhere that these are soft off roaders, I am looking for a confirmation if they are truly capable of delivering anything over and above their 4X2 trims with respect to off roading?
I remember some Overdrive episode where they took up a lot of ultra high end SUVs (Mercs etc all over 70Lakhs) to some snowed out road leading to Hari Singh's house. Some where there was a small comment that all the vehicles, that got stuck at some point or other, had to be rescued by a THAR! And one could see a thar lurking in the background at the begining of the episode.

Recently I got stuck in our Ford Fusion, on the soft shoulder, while doing a u-turn on a rainy country road. Front wheels were spinning madly and only the help of a lot of guys from a passing jeep could extract the vehicle. So in the end there is no replacement for manpower. 4wd would have enabled me to easily extract the vehicle from the problem.

Snow & slush are the worst for traction and it boils down to driver skills & tyres. I would suggest you go in for a used Grand Vitara. 4WD, low range gear box and good ground clearance will fulfill most of your needs. And it can be used as a comfortable 4-5 seat family tourer.

I am looking out for one, but not getting any examples of AT gearbox models.

Last edited by Samurai : 1st October 2014 at 08:36. Reason: avoid quoting the entire post
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Old 30th September 2014, 21:53   #3
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

I would rate driver skills on any 4X2, 4X4, AWD etc. than any of the vehicles that are available. like most of us here would suggest, have two sets of wheels. There is a wealth of information right here on this website. Dig deeper. Happy Birding!
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Old 30th September 2014, 22:10   #4
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by manupriyam View Post
So my question is that though there are undertones everywhere that these are soft off roaders, I am looking for a confirmation if they are truly capable of delivering anything over and above their 4X2 trims with respect to off roading?
There is a lot of difference between 4x2 and 4x4 versions. The mere presence of 4 low gives more ability to your SUV. With proper MT tyres and good GC you can achieve more.
I own a Scorpio LX 4wd and have taken it places where a Scorpio 4x2 would just spin wheels.
Once in a while I go out and explore the countryside alone in my Scorpio 4wd. It has never let me down, be it slushes or steep inclines or gutted roads.
In two years of ownership, I have participated in Saklsehpur MGE twice where only 4wd are allowed. First year the track was dry and conquered every obstacle. The second year it was raining cats and dogs and got stuck royally and had to be winched out(with proper MT tyres, this could have been cleared).

I would suggest you first drive Scorpio/Storme in 4 low mode, then you will realise the potential of 4x4. A simple test could be try climbing a steep footpath from standstill position in 4x2 and 4x4.

Last edited by Samurai : 1st October 2014 at 08:37. Reason: avoid quoting the entire post
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Old 30th September 2014, 23:14   #5
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

Not sure about the XUV, but the Safari Storme is actually capable of quite a bit. No matter what you buy though, it is really important that you learn how to drive on such terrains

If you want proper off-road capability with car like dynamics and good manners, nothing compares to the Grand Vitara. Several ownership threads here so there is ample testament around the place to its ruggedness and capabilities. Parts are not as difficult to come by as you might think and the car is extremely reliable. You can still find a 2.4 liter GV in good condition with zero niggles or vibrations for about 7 lakhs. Honestly, it is your best bet and you get a LOT of car for the money so do check it out even if you are apprehensive of the whole second-hand thing.

Cheers and keep us posted!
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Old 1st October 2014, 06:42   #6
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

There is an avid wildlife enthusiast here in Bangalore.
His dictum until recently (when I last heard) is that nothing really compares to a Gypsy for this sort of requirement.
He had his Gypsy specially fitted with a camera roof etc.
The fact that the Gypsy is near silent on account of its quiet little petrol engine and lightweight nature, makes it invaluable for such forays. The typical Diesel Clatter of any of the other SUV's is likely to frighten off whatever bird life you've gone to spot in the first place!
Why do you think the Army even now, after nearly 30 years from when it was introduced, still continues to use the Gypsy? Stealth, Silence and immense off roading capability is their brief, at a very basic level.
This is only my 2 paisa based on observation.
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Old 1st October 2014, 09:08   #7
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

A few more options to confuse you even further:

http://www.mahindrascorpio.com/mahin...spx?id=getaway

http://www.tataxenonxt.com/

http://www.xenon.tatamotors.com/crew...fications.aspx

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 1st October 2014, 20:58   #8
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
There is an avid wildlife enthusiast here in Bangalore.
His dictum until recently (when I last heard) is that nothing really compares to a Gypsy for this sort of requirement.
He had his Gypsy specially fitted with a camera roof etc.
The fact that the Gypsy is near silent on account of its quiet little petrol engine and lightweight nature, makes it invaluable for such forays. The typical Diesel Clatter of any of the other SUV's is likely to frighten off whatever bird life you've gone to spot in the first place!
Why do you think the Army even now, after nearly 30 years from when it was introduced, still continues to use the Gypsy? Stealth, Silence and immense off roading capability is their brief, at a very basic level.
This is only my 2 paisa based on observation.

Which is very true. If one needs to use more capable set of wheels, we do understand there is no road. For the sake of wildlife, use of legs would be more productive and less damaging to our fragile ecology.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 08:05   #9
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

Buy a Isuzu DMax and invest in a winch along with it. Total value should be around 10L. A bit more investment into ARB lockers and you have much more capable vehicle plus a bed to put up a tent and spend nights wherever to catch the early bird.

Of course if you are not averse to second hands GV is a cool option. But nothing to beat having a winch handy if you really want to go deep off road. Saying this considering you found Thar's and Gypsy's struggling in terrains that were far tamer than what you want to get in to.

Last edited by sudev : 2nd October 2014 at 08:08.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 08:23   #10
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

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Buy a Isuzu DMax and invest in a winch along with it. Total value should be around 10L.
You can only buy that in yellow board, and need a commercial DL to drive it. No 4WD either.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 09:00   #11
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

This is a very valid question.
But throw out all AWDs (XUV 500) from the list.
  • Gypsy or thar are immensely capable vehicles off the road, but offer no basic comfort like A/C
  • Safari has a low ratio box, but it's pretty heavy, so you have to be careful in certain situations. A good car nevertheless
  • The ideal vehicles for you is a Pajero or a Fortuner. Both have excellent 4WD systems and are well capable off road
  • I won't say anything about the suzuki GV as I haven't spoken to an owner of GV
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Old 2nd October 2014, 10:02   #12
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

XUV-5OO AWD though more capable than 2wd's is not a true blue SUV, its just a Crossover, tries to blend best of both worlds(SUVs and Sedans).

What its lacks compared to the Trucks(Safari, Scorpio, Fortuner)-
  • Robust Mechnicals, lacks mainly Ladder Frame Chassis and Rear Solid Axle which has lot more articulation.
  • True Blue 4X4 with Low Range, though in AWD Locked mode it almost works like 4H. Without Low Range, with a novice driver XUV's clutch wont last more than 15 minutes on a difficult terrain.

Where it rules-
  • Monocoque construction and Decently set up suspension, gives it an edge whenever it can get to speed, once past 40kph none of the trucks are a match in Composure or Handling. On Dirt roads Scorpios and Safaris cannot keep pace with XUV without getting uncomfortable and Uncontrollable.

This applies to most CUVs(Crossovers) vs SUVs. If capability is all you seek, Duster AWD might be one of the surprise packages with- brilliant suspension setup, feather light compares to other SUVs and CUVs and decent enough ground clearance.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 11:14   #13
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@Samurai Are you sure about yellow number plate? I drove one around Lavasa with TN registration with normal plates.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 11:18   #14
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

It is mentioned in the official review of DMax.

Quote:
Can be registered as a commercial vehicle only. Also, you need a CV driving licence
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Old 2nd October 2014, 11:24   #15
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Default re: Indian SUVs capable of Offroading?

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Originally Posted by D4D View Post
[*]Safari has a low ratio box, but it's pretty heavy, so you have to be careful in certain situations. A good car nevertheless
[*]The ideal vehicles for you is a Pajero or a Fortuner. Both have excellent 4WD systems and are well capable off road[/list]
Kerb weights of the vehicles quoted above:

1. Safari Storme 4x4 - 2095 kg
2. Pajero Sport Diesel - 2065 kg
3. Toyota Fortuner 4x4 MT - 1995kg


There's about a 100-odd kg between the three, yet the crowd continues to call the Safari 'pretty heavy' and 'overweight'.

This is the power of repetitive suggestion propagated by a group. Ride extensively in each of these vehicles before a choice is made - especially the pogo-stick Fortuner with its economy interiors.

Last edited by Steeroid : 2nd October 2014 at 11:27.
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