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Old 24th November 2010, 09:32   #61
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We had until a year ago, one Hatch and one SUV.
However, we are just 2 of us my wife and me most of the time and one of us doesnt drive at all.
Hence we were debating what to do;
why should we create a higher carbon footprint when we can just as easily use the same car to commute up and down to work and back?
why should we keep a second vehicle which will lie around most of the time slowly and steadily rotting and depreciating etc?
which car will be more practical for our needs and hence, which one to keep?
which car will be less expensive to run and maintain on a day to day basis and which vehicle will we derive greater value as well as pleasure from?

So we finally decided to dump the hatch and hang on to the SUV.
Luckily the Scorp is equally tractable in the city as well on the highways etc.
We now use this as our only vehicle for all in city commutes as well our outstation drives to various places around South India which typically happen once in a couple of months.
This vehicle has plenty of stuff more or less permanently left in the rear luggage area so all the things I want/ need/ feel comfortable with remain at hand pretty much all the time.
It is far better in terms of space and comfort for 4 of us travelling together anywhere (my parents or friends and ourselves).
It is also amazingly handy when any of the dogs needs to go to the vet or any other such eventuality like for example lugging gas cylinder replacements or golf or just about any old thing.

Hence, my vote goes to the immense practicality, space, comfort and value derived from an SUV.

Originally Posted by sachinayak View Post
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, 10:08   #62
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Thats what I had earlier mentioned in my previous post, that of most potential SUV buyers, Fusion or equivalent X-Overs would fit them to a T.

But that does not mean, SUV requirements for city are chucked off!
As Shankar mentioned, SUV is very very handy in special cases. Add to it its great handling in the city as well (I think its Scorpio in this case).
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Old 24th November 2010, 10:10   #63
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Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
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.
Safety ratings cannot be compared across weight classes - especially the full frontal crash rating - the rating is given for the particular weight class. if two vehicles with the same full frontal crash rating are in a crash, the heavier one will do better.
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Old 24th November 2010, 10:35   #64
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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
Safety ratings cannot be compared across weight classes - especially the full frontal crash rating - the rating is given for the particular weight class. if two vehicles with the same full frontal crash rating are in a crash, the heavier one will do better.
I agree to an extent but it is not an absolute relation that more weight is more safe! A Scorpio has hardly any crash worthiness compared to an Accord for example. Here I am not talking about the vehicle damage, but safety for occupants.
And I was just giving an example of a Accord vs CRV crash experiment that I read a long way back where the CRV was marginally better (they have similar weight) - the relevance here being they are in similar price range - one a sedan and another a softroader SUV.
BTW, as GTO stressed, a sedan with better handling and stability will also be able to avoid many accidents where a SUV would be less capable...
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Old 24th November 2010, 10:36   #65
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I feel that over 90% of the people who buy SUV dont really want to offroad. It is mainly road presence and ability to handle bad patches of road. Main reasons why crossovers make more sense in India, but cant explain why it is never really taking off.
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Old 24th November 2010, 10:57   #66
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I simply don't have the luxury of buying sedans anymore thanks to the horrible roads around my area. Also, I regularly drive between Bangalore and the coast, the very act is considered an art these days. We even have a thread dedicated to the practitioners of this art. All because of the completely destroyed ghat roads between these two areas. I really envy all the feature goodies available to sedan buyers, but I'll have to stick with SUV for the sake of my sanity.
I can't agree with you more. I drive to my hometown Mangalore once in a while (and sometimes to Manipal from Mangalore) and after a recent trip, I had to get the gearbox casing, catalytic converter and oil sump replaced after my Palio suffered a massive underbody damage. I so much wish I had an SUV. And about the roads in Udupi/Mangalore, less the said, the better (especially after monsoons)!

However, no SUV can give me 20 kmpl and effortless driving in the ghats. A mini SUV (the Rio or the planned mini Xylo) may be fuel efficient, but handling??!!
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Old 24th November 2010, 11:16   #67
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@GTO >
Sedans are wonderful to drive indeed and to be driven in, provided you have good roads. Its then that we actually fully enjoy all the creature comforts plonked in.

The story in India is however very different. What we travel on can hardly be called roads by any international standards.
Roads in India are also a seasonal affair.

Look at Bombay for example. The 1st 6 months of the year are spent building/repairing roads that broke six months ago and will break again 6 months later. The ride in the monsoon and post it, is nothing short of terrible. This happens every year and probably will continue to.
The same is the case all over the country. I drove to Goa recently. Half of the roads on NH7 are broken. It was a real pity to see holiday revellers have a painful end to a wonderful holiday in Goa driving back home.

You speak about enjoying a sedan by throwing it through twisties on a ghat section or long winding roads. How many people do that everyday? And how many people drive through pothole ridden, speedbreaker(read as car & backbreaker) strewn roads everyday?

For someone living purely inside the city and doing short intercity trips, a sedan is certainly nice to have, if you can live with all that ive mentioned about city roads above. I know of many who live and travel in the city but have chosen to switch from a sedan to an suv, just because of back & neck problems caused by driving on bad city roads.

An suv has a walk in, rather than sit down in a pit, vehicle entry, better ergonomics. The longer suspension travel saves your bones & joints from lot more than what a sedan can. The suv's today offer a far better level of comfort and are almost on par with most sedans even when it comes to creature comforts.

Body roll in an suv is not a concern if you are driving inside the city at B2B speeds through potholes ridden roads. On the highway, driven safely, within the safe limitations of the vehicle, you are less likely to roll over, and if it does happen, you are more likely to come out unscathed than a sedan in a crash on a highway. From the safety perspective, if driven safely, an suv is as safe as a sedan can be, and in many cases better a sedan in survivability after a crash.

Yes, like you rightly point out, parking inside a city can be a big pain and the dimensions can be a handfull for many. The Indian suv's arent gas guzzlers by any standards and are on par with most sedans and in some cases even better them.

Both sedans and suv's have their pros & cons, but given India's pathetic road development & actual road conditions, I would prefer to be in an suv any day than the bone jarring ride in a sedan, in the city or out of it. Its the best of both worlds in our current scenario, cant say the same for a sedan.

The fact is that a decent suv range in India starts at around 10 lakhs, which is higher than say a Swift Dezire, which makes it expensive for mass appeal. Im sure if the auto industry could offer something with the dimensions of a Suzuki GV, or say a crossover wagon R(wider with higher GC with better suspension travel) with all the similarities of a sedan, at a lower price than a current suv, with good quality, the suv breed will only increase.



Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 24th November 2010 at 11:27.
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Old 24th November 2010, 12:30   #68
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Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
If you love to take long drives an SUV or high ground clearance cross over is your best bet until India's roads improve.
Complete agree. My primary reason to own a SUV (and I use it ONLY for long drives) is to be completely worry-free of the road conditions I might encounter when I undertake a cross-country drive. Given the unpredictable road conditions we have in India, I would be perpetually apprehensive of the type/condition of roads I might encounter were I in a sedan.
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Old 24th November 2010, 12:51   #69
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People may not be buying crossovers and station wagons on account of;
1. psychological - why a crossover/ station wagon?
2. prefer the "three box" sedan with boot to show one has "arrived"
3. cost of cross-overs and station wagons are not much less than the costs of a basic standard regular SUV - note the Fusion TDCi Plus with ABS cost about the same on road in 2008 as did a Scorpio but did not have the same space inside and/ or overall size.
4.Space in an SUV is generally more than in a crossover.
5. GC may be the same - and toughness is inherently needed given the horrible roads we have to contend with. Bangalore is a complete mess in terms of road surfaces so I would always prefer a tough SUV type thing to handle this city's roads.

I would personally love to have a Cross-over OR SUV which meets the following specifications.

1. Lots of luggage space (foldable luggage bay) and good passenger leg room at rear.
2. High GC to handle India's ghastly roads - in city or outside.
3. Good quality of finish and so on
4. Practicality in terms of parking and handling in city etc
5. Tractability / driveability
6. Reasonably Powerful and yet fuel efficient Diesel engine
7. Essential safety features like ABS, Airbags etc
8. Relatively less expensive to maintain and run
9. Ease of serviceability
10.Tough, reliable vehicle so that one can pretty much take it most places without feeling guilty and or worried.
11. 4x4 would be a great bonus
12. Not too expensive to acquire and own.
13. Common/ ubiquitous enough to remain anonymous and not attract undue/ unwanted attention to myself or my family or anyone using it.

As of now, if one is buying brand new, it is only a vehicle like a Scorpio that meets these requirements as far as I personally am concerned and as we can clearly see from the above outlined requirements.

If one is considering used vehicles then one can perhaps look at Endys, X Trails, Tucsons, Pajeros, Captivas, Fortuners etc etc etc.

Lets remember that price also plays a large role in these things - its what one is comfortable in spending that influences decisions of this kind.
What can I get which meets all my requirements best? Cost vs Benefit is a constant query especially when there is a possible, more spacious and bigger alternative at roughly the same price because we Indians love to travel with our entire families and loads of luggage - thats also the reason why the Innovas and Xylos of the world are flying off the shelves!!

Last but not least - I am not out to beat any land speed records in my SUV. I have NO interest in racing against time while driving it.
One needs to be mature enough as a road user/ driver, to accept and appreciate the inherent positives as well as limitations of the type of vehicle one is driving and hence, drive it with adequate respect being given to the particular usage it is best suited for.

Originally Posted by kvish View Post
Main reasons why crossovers make more sense in India, but cant explain why it is never really taking off.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 24th November 2010 at 12:58.
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Old 24th November 2010, 14:33   #70
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
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.
True. No question that the Scorpio would have far better off-roading skills. But I was just pointing out that a sedan with superior GC such as SX4 would be good enough for the bad roads that we encounter everyday.

But I agree that you really need a SUV for the kind of roads that you are encountering in the ghats here. The Sarkaleshpur ghat road gets my vote for being the worst road in India.
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Old 24th November 2010, 16:14   #71
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In india i would prefer a SUV. Forget offroad and village stuff. Take Bangalore for eg: Most of the roads are dug up or having deep craters, and having SUV really helps. I really don't enjoy SUV when it does not have a good engine and gearbox with a 4x4 option, but i own it for:

- Ground clearance and ability to "scare autos, cabbies and the cops to some extent" (A tinted glass SUV with fancy number generally let off and i got salutes from cops twice when i was travelling through TN and i was wearing sun glasses)
P.S - its an unfortunate truth, please dont get me wrong, i am not a baddie as you may think
- Can blindly take it anywhere in india except when 4x4 is required.
- Comfortable for long journey
- Old and sick people find it difficult to enter initially, but once they are used to, SUV's are really comfortable for them (personal experience)
- High stance and driver view helps drive in city, especially when you have small gaps between vehicles or dividers (compared to the view of a civic or linea) And may be i am used to, i find parking safari easier in gaps compared to a linea, punto or a fiesta (possibly a perception factor of mine)
- Can carry luggage and big boxes without leaving the trunk lid open.

For the above advantages, i live with bad quality, not much safety options, body roll with a sub 10L SUV (ex showroom) compared to the sedans.

And in India size matters, for few weeks a friend of mine left his optra top end version with me which is costlier than a base model safari. But bikes, autos never used to bother and used to dash in straight and i had to be doubly careful.

However i notice people do respect and realize the value of 3pointed stars, beemers, accords.
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Old 24th November 2010, 16:22   #72
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Originally Posted by asr245 View Post
I bought ANHC 7 months ago in black. I polish it (a special polish for black - don't remember the brand) and keep it covered (open parking). Then an idiot on a bike bumps into it (while we were standing still) and scratches the passenger side front and rear doors. 2 days later another idiot gives a foot long scratch on driver's side rear bumper. Both times there excuse is "traffic mein to aisa hota hee hai"!! I was fuming for 2 days after this.

Only reason I will buy an SUV (with bull bars) is to keep such idiots at bay. In fact, I was thinking about getting bull bars for my ANHC and use it for out of town drives. The above happened on an out of town drive.
You may want to buy an SUV for the aforesaid reason but honestly, do you think you can put bull bars on your doors or for that matter even the bumpers would be adequately protected?

I can cite numerous occassions where a small child on the road on his way to school draws a nice long line with a key chain or such on your vehicle side right in front of your eyes and there's nary a thing you can do.

Pardon me for straying but I dont think thats reason enough to buy an SUV, rather its more like turning out to be a bully and getting even!
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Old 24th November 2010, 17:09   #73
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A very relevant topic but unfortunately there is no definitive answer to it.

An ideal solution is a Sedan/Hatchback (for daily use) and an SUV (for longer trips) but for the financially challenged the answer varies.

I have driven my M800 from my hometown Ottapalam (KL) to Agra via Rajasthan & back covering almost 7,000 Kms but never felt the need of an SUV, but the annual drive to Kollur (KA) makes me think that an SUV is definitely required to tackle the Indian roads.

Products like Premier Rio maybe the answer if mainstream manufacturers are ready to offer them at VFM packages.
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Old 24th November 2010, 17:27   #74
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Originally Posted by arethusa View Post
Pardon me for straying but I dont think thats reason enough to buy an SUV, rather its more like turning out to be a bully and getting even!
Why would it be bullying? Getting some protection for your car (I know it sounds funny ) doesn't quality as bullying. Till the time one's SUV doesn't kiss the other vehicles with their bull bars or tries to break in a lane just because there's enough iron/steel around the SUV you can't call it bullying.

As for choosing an SUV over a Sedan and given the inter-state road trips I've done, I'd compromise on certain features and instead go for an SUV mainly because I do 500-1000 kms of highway driving every month...need I say more?
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Old 24th November 2010, 17:58   #75
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Originally Posted by burnt. View Post
True. No question that the Scorpio would have far better off-roading skills. But I was just pointing out that a sedan with superior GC such as SX4 would be good enough for the bad roads that we encounter everyday.
An SX4 is a fantastic vehicle for Indian roads. I have done 20K in the last year - in all sorts of roads - and can vouch for it.

Ultimately (as I keep pointing out), it boils down to your needs and usage pattern. Example: do you want the extra bit of handling finesse/better engine that an ANHC offers, or do you want 190mm GC and bigger tyres of an SX4? Do you want the comfort/luxury of an Outlander/Yeti, or the space, reliability and ruggedness of a Fortuner? There are always tradeoffs.
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