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Old 17th April 2024, 13:43   #1
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Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

Ok so this is the background. Ive been perfectly peaceful with my 2018 Diesel Brezza as most of my drives were on my own or max with a friend to indulge my passion for fishing. Suddenly the wife and kids decided they wanted to get in on the long drive bandwagon (much to my surpirse!!) and this has recently completely exposed the chinks in the Brezza and therefore led me to look out for a new car.

An SUV it needs to be because even the daily commutes for a family of 4 are now becoming a chore in terms of space (schoolbags, tuition bags, laptop bags, gym bags). The addition of a 4WD would make sense as I go fishing on stretches where frequently there are no roads and I have on occasion found myself sliding towards an alarmed farmer and his bullock cart in the mud after sudden rains.

Now Im pretty clear that after Delhi (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...ng-agency.html (My diesel car crossed the 10-year mark | MCD seizes & tows away the car to a scrapping agency)) the whole diesel ban issue will come to the forefront in the next couple of years across the rest of the country. What I cant understand is why the market is not swapping to Petrol in terms of 4WD SUV's. The number of petrol Compact SUVs which have 4WD is abysmal and their lack of space is stifling (Gypsy, Vitara and its Toyota offspring) and the bigger vehicles also seem to shy away from it (Scorpio N only in Diesel, XUV also only in Diesel) The only petrol version seems to be the Tiguan which is anyway out of my budget as its above 35L on road.

Does anyone have any update on whether the Duster will be out in 4WD? Since its been clear that the new Duster will not have a diesel version.. Albeit its a year away from launch. Also any other suggestions which can fit into my specs?
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Old 17th April 2024, 13:56   #2
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

AWD, or any kind of four wheel drive has been a taboo in general. Choice of fuel is inconsequential. Only a select minuscule few choose this option, when an option is there. Right from to OG Safari and Scorpio to current Hyryder/Grand Vitara to the Fortuner and Gloster. 4x4 market is very niche, it sells only when it is standard equipment like in Kodiaq or the high end cars. Casual buyers are not willing to pay extra for a non-visible feature that they will rarely use. Sales of the RWD Thar are testimony to this.

That being said, petrol 4x4 will see rising demand, as diesel goes out of favour. It is a miss on Mahindra’s part to not offer petrol AWD/4x4 on the XUV700 and Scorpio N. Would have garnered more demand from the crucial Delhi NCR market.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 17th April 2024 at 13:58.
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Old 17th April 2024, 13:58   #3
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

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Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
The addition of a 4WD would make sense as I go fishing on stretches where frequently there are no roads and I have on occasion found myself sliding towards an alarmed farmer and his bullock cart in the mud after sudden rains. Also any other suggestions which can fit into my specs?
Unfortunately in India we can't have space, a proper 4x4, petrol and reasonable price and serviceability all at once. If you compromise a bit on space, then Jimny or the petrol Thar are the candidates for you.
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Old 17th April 2024, 14:02   #4
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

Similar issues. 2019 Ford Figo owner here . The breaking point was when I had to turn around from South Pullu and skip Pangong Tso last May because there was too much snow at Khardung La for the humble Figo to cross over to the other side.

That event ignited my search for the next car in my garage and turns out that literally the only budget petrol options with 4WD is the Jimny (too small) and the Grand Vitara Allgrip (no AT). Both of them are untested for safety. The Kushaq/Taigun have the safety creds but no 4WD option. Hyundai / Kia / Citroen don't neither safety nor 4x4.

The only option is to opt for ScorpioN / XUV700 if you want safety + 4WD + budget <30L but those do not have petrol options that help duck the NGT diktat.

My assessment is that this conundrum can only be solved when the new breed of EVs come in the 4.3-4.6m SUV segment. Something like a Harrier EV can easily come in EV+4WD format within a price that is lower than a Tiguan. Something smaller can come under the 25lakh budget as well.
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Old 17th April 2024, 14:44   #5
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

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Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
What I cant understand is why the market is not swapping to Petrol in terms of 4WD SUV's. The number of petrol Compact SUVs which have 4WD is abysmal and their lack of space is stifling (Gypsy, Vitara and its Toyota offspring) and the bigger vehicles also seem to shy away from it (Scorpio N only in Diesel, XUV also only in Diesel) The only petrol version seems to be the Tiguan which is anyway out of my budget as its above 35L on road.
One reason could be mileage. 4WD tranny increases transmission losses. Petrol mileage drastically decreases as vehicle weight increases and a 4WD would make it unviable. That is the reason you will never see a petrol HCV even in countries where petrol is actually cheaper than diesel.
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Old 17th April 2024, 15:14   #6
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

The larger \ heavier vehicles generally are preferred in their diesel form, owners tend to use them as utility vehicles - even if they are in the premium category with plenty of walk-in AC room type idling, lots of highway running and overall increased use.

The 4x4 users too would prefer diesel overwhelmingly, regions that need 4x4 use will also be heavily depend on diesel, destinations are likely far apart, diesel is a lot more suitable for low speed rough road duties anyways - sure there are diesel like DI turbo petrols but they come at the cost of higher running costs.

So 4x4 + larger vehicle + higher usage = Diesel. As things stand now this is the case, perhaps a diesel AT Jimny would have increased its sales, who knows.
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Old 17th April 2024, 16:09   #7
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

Because features like soft touch interiors, panoramic roof and 36 color ambient lighting are far more important than a stupid AWD system that can get you farther on a slippery road or save your life sometimes under wet conditions or cornering on hilly roads.

Customers will open up their wallets if they can see/touch/feel the features. Meanwhile, AWD system is an "invisible" feature whose utility cannot be easily explained without going into boring physics behind car traction.

Last edited by SmartCat : 17th April 2024 at 16:16.
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Old 17th April 2024, 16:42   #8
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

Firstly from my perspective the compact SUV no longer suits my space requirements...and if I step up in size it's all diesel.....I'm just throwing it out there that everyone is still in this frenzy of buying diesel (I actually wish the monthly sales numbers for models reflected diesel vs petrol sales)

The second a govt rule is put out there like what's happening in Delhi and what happens to the value of that new car? Which is why I'm not willing to take that step as there's no clarity....the duster would actually suit my needs perfectly if there was a 4x4 petrol version coming out as it has the space I want in the boot..just that waiting a year is a pain now that the bug has bit.....
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Old 17th April 2024, 17:55   #9
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

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Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
Ok so this is the background

In short - Why Petrol AWD is taboo ? Answers is - Manufacturers are sluggish implementing / investing in Strong Hybrid.

Strong Hybrid == Improved FE for petrol options == Liberty to offer AWD / 4x4 with petrol

1) Large SUVs are heavy and are fuel guzzlers, if you couple this with Petrol ( INR 100+, 30% lesser fuel economy compared to diesel) it becomes taboo. Therefore there are hardly any sales of Fortuner petrol, Innova Crysta petrol, Scorpio_N petrol. Adding 4X4 / AWD on a petrol makes it even worse.

Thar Petrol 4x4 offers FE of 6KMPL
XUV 700 Petrol FWD - 8KMPL
Hector Petrol FWD - 7-8 KMPL

2) A rear wheel drive car is decently capable to take you anywhere, only place where you actually need 4X4 is off-road tracks designed for adventure. Below are the options you can explore
- Innova Crysta (Petrol / Diesel) (RWD Crysta is more capable than FWD XUV / Safari)
- Scorpio N RWD (Petrol / Diesel)

3) On Duster - I donot think they will offer a diesel powertrain in the new Duster [it was discontinued in the previous version], Previously Duster AWD was offered with Diesel option only. Petrol AWD is not in their lineup.
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Old 17th April 2024, 18:51   #10
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

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One reason could be mileage. 4WD tranny increases transmission losses. Petrol mileage drastically decreases as vehicle weight increases and a 4WD would make it unviable. That is the reason you will never see a petrol HCV even in countries where petrol is actually cheaper than diesel.
This is correct. Remember the good old Honda CRV? It came as petrol AWD and was known to be a guzzler!
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Old 17th April 2024, 19:32   #11
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

You have few petrol AWD/4WDs like Grand Vitata, Jimny and Thar.
But yes the options are limited. Ideally Grand Vitara should have been made available as an AWD AT with strong hybrid.
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Old 17th April 2024, 22:17   #12
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

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Originally Posted by Asoon View Post
In short - Why Petrol AWD is taboo ? Answers is - Manufacturers are sluggish implementing / investing in Strong Hybrid.

Strong Hybrid == Improved FE for petrol options == Liberty to offer AWD / 4x4 with petrol

1) Large SUVs are heavy and are fuel guzzlers, if you couple this with Petrol ( INR 100+, 30% lesser fuel economy compared to diesel) it becomes taboo. Therefore there are hardly any sales of Fortuner petrol, Innova Crysta petrol, Scorpio_N petrol. Adding 4X4 / AWD on a petrol makes it even worse.

Thar Petrol 4x4 offers FE of 6KMPL
XUV 700 Petrol FWD - 8KMPL
Hector Petrol FWD - 7-8 KMPL

2) A rear wheel drive car is decently capable to take you anywhere, only place where you actually need 4X4 is off-road tracks designed for adventure. Below are the options you can explore
- Innova Crysta (Petrol / Diesel) (RWD Crysta is more capable than FWD XUV / Safari)
- Scorpio N RWD (Petrol / Diesel)

3) On Duster - I donot think they will offer a diesel powertrain in the new Duster [it was discontinued in the previous version], Previously Duster AWD was offered with Diesel option only. Petrol AWD is not in their lineup.
Point taken on the mileage but the thing is long term if the govt is going to shift stance towards petrol engines (they will have to begin with passenger cars as banning diesel on commercial trucks would shoot food prices and consequently inflation through the roof!) I think we're going to have to bite the bullet, because the other option will be to do 10 years and scrap the car as indicated by the link in the first post about NCR region rules. That's not an appetising option with the current prices being above 25L for any decent full size SUV. Considering the current climate change (lE Bangalores current lack of water and rain) it's only a matter of time before they wake up and smell the coffee.

By the way Dacia has launched their 4x4 version of the Duster in Europe so hoping that someone from Renault India looks at this thread and takes the hint!!! This would match specs perfectly and I would be first in line...
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Old 18th April 2024, 12:06   #13
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

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Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
What I cant understand is why the market is not swapping to Petrol in terms of 4WD SUV's.
The primary reason dictating this is that our county prefers mileage over anything and everything else, even safety.
Majority of people who have bought german cars (5 and E) always preferred the pedestrian 20d/220d/250d. It is not unlikely that they cannot stretch a little and get the 6 cylinder.
It is because most of them are penny-pinchers and the car is just a status symbol. Why should they pick a much nicer engine that returns 13 kmpl when a 4 pot can give them 15?

Quote:
Originally Posted by antz.bin View Post
Something like a Harrier EV can easily come in EV+4WD format
OT: I am very sorry but let me say this before two tata fans attack me with bricks and bats. Tata would rather stop manufacturing and set their factories on fire than have anything to do with consumer 4WD SUVs. If in any case I am proven wrong, then rest assured, it will not come with an AT

Last edited by vredesbyrd : 18th April 2024 at 12:09.
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Old 18th April 2024, 12:17   #14
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

Petrol AWD's are just not appreciated in a country obsessed with gizmos and gadgetry in automobiles. People are willing to pay for some gadgets but would come with sagely advice on why an AWD or a four wheel drive is not needed. Part of the blame lies with the manufacturers as well for not promoting this unique capability. Just see what did Maruti do when they launched the Grand Vitara All Grip? They customized some sludge tracks, threw in some boulders , stewed some inclines and threw it all in to cook up an Off-road track. Then the AWD Vitara's were showcasing their Off-Road abilities and even our outstanding Auto-journos were taking them through those tracks and passing their opinion on the capability of the system.

First things first ,an AWD system is not designed to be an Off-roading monster, the Suzuki all-grip pro in the Jimny is that system with a proper low range. The All grip select in the GV while being a very capable system does not have a low range option and is primarily made up to clear most obstacles albeit the genuine off-roading one's. So where does the AWD shine? Audi has the Quattro on all their cars for some time now. It makes the vehicle a terrific handler , even their taller SUV's; while the Quattro is a sophisticated system, the humbler All Grip and other AWD's like in the Dacia Duster are also proven reliable systems.

An SUV with decent ground clearance and an AWD would clear most obstacles apart from the really challenging one's where a low range transfer case may be required. However an SUV with AWD has phenomenal grip levels, has better handling , stability and overall driving dynamics. This is the area where manufacturers need to educate the customers on its benefits . The Level of awareness is so low that many people have commented that the sports mode in the Vitara All Grip is for more power, for God's sake no; it is there for select apportionment of torque and power to all the four wheels. This is one reason why the SUV just hugs the bends and corners and feels confidence inspiring on many twisters which otherwise would be daunting for an SUV with 210 mm of ground clearance. Also the lock , snow modes are wonderful in their respective environments and the Auto mode itself keeps the balance and dynamics in check and brings in suitable balance when required. This combination makes the vehicle a joy to drive despite the lack of outright performance. I have smoked many sedans, while other SUV's are just no match on a twisting flyover or mountain bend due to the superb overall driving dynamics and stability the vehicle offers in such scenarios.

I think it is more a fault with the manufacturers for not bringing petrol AWD's. If Turbo Petrol's can sell, then the AWD petrol does have a market. If wishes were horses then a turbo K15C with AWD AT on a GV would have been the go through vehicle for enthusiasts.
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Old 18th April 2024, 12:20   #15
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Re: Why are Petrol AWD's taboo?

Wait for the 4-door Thar. You might get just what you are looking for. I have a strong feeling Mahindra will offer the 4x4 with the Petrol Thar (unlike the Scorpio-N).

Why the lack of options? Simple = extremely low demand for AWD / 4x4. Manufacturers are in the business of giving customers what they want and AWD / 4x4 variants have minuscule orders.
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