Team-BHP > What Car? > SUVs, MUVs & 4x4s

View Poll Results: Your choice?
Isuzu MU-X 3.0L 4x4 A/T 11 3.49%
Mahindra Alturas G4 2.2L 4x4 A/T 20 6.35%
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4L AWD A/T Petrol 4 1.27%
Honda CR-V 1.6L iDTec AWD A/T 10 3.17%
Ford Endeavour 3.2L 4x4 A/T Titanium 175 55.56%
Toyota Fortuner 2.8L Sigma 4 A/T 58 18.41%
Skoda Kodiaq Style 2.0L TDi 4x4 DSG 37 11.75%
Voters: 315. You may not vote on this poll

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 30th January 2019, 19:50   #1
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout

They cost as much as a small apartment in Chennai. They are perhaps bigger than a small apartment in Mumbai. And in the streets of Delhi, they outnumber all apartments put together. In a sea of cute-utes, hatches-on-stilts, chopped 3.99'ers and charlatan crossovers, these are sheer real estate on wheels- the full size, seven seater premium SUVs.

These vehicles are also sold internationally and recognised in multiple markets . so, besides wider appeal and a global chest thump among the multinational peer group of the owner , aftermarket accessories and Engine tuneups, with abundant information on international forum are available from widespread sources.

Populating the 'J Segment' in EU, 'Large 4x4' segment in the UK and reverently placed in the 'D2 SUV' segment here in India, they enjoy apex predator status in the on-road food chain. Only in the US, will they be demoted to 'Mid-Size SUV', dwarfed by 'Full-size' freight trains running on right side of roads.

The top variant of each model was chosen in a bid to field the best gunslingers for this shootout. We shall not be judgemental on their choice of drink, so if a top variant prefers to swig petrol and rev-high, so be it. We will also not be looking underneath, if they sit on a ladder, or are forged as a unibody. Old school body-on-frames as well as modern monocoques are welcome to the ring.

Its more than mere coincidence that all of the top variants are automatic transmissions. Besides cost dictations, customers in this segment would demand the convenience of the slush box bundled with creature comforts exclusive to top variants.

Thankfully, all our chosen contenders also posess the capability to drive all wheels (to varying degrees), to be worthy of their SUV label, with 4x4/AWD kitted on all of them.

Thus qualify - 7 SUVs -
- 7 seaters

Three of them are monocoques, three others are ladder frames based on pickups. The seventh is a ladder frame SUV on which a pickup has been based.

The Contenders

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-collage-hexagon2.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaperisuzu.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaper-alturas.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaper-outlander-frontleftside47.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaper-honda.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaper-ford-frontleftside47.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaper-fortuenr-frontleftside47.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-wallpaper-frontleftside47.jpg

  1. Isuzu MU-X 3.0 l 4x4 A/T
  2. Mahindra Alturas G4 4x4 A/T
  3. Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 AWD A/T Petrol
  4. Honda CR-V 1.6 iDTec AWD A/T
  5. Ford Endeavour 3.2 l 4x4 A/T Titanium
  6. Toyota Fortuner 2.8 Sigma 4 A/T
  7. Skoda Kodiaq Style 2.0 TDi 4x4 DSG

Some Points:

*Skoda Kodiaq Style is chosen over the higher L&K, as the difference in price becomes unduly high for merely cosmetic upgrades. With the same mechanicals and all other qualifications met, the Style has been thrown into the ring.

*As much as I love the car, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport has been un-apolegitically discharged from the contest. It's the only SUV which doesn't have the AWD+AT combination, has only 2 airbags, and not to mention is up way past its bed time. The new generation Pajero Sport available elsewhere, if launched in India, would have definitely found a place in the race, though Mitsubishi wouldn't mind/care either way. They should be happy that despite the audacious attitude, this shootout has been impartial, and let the Outlander spar with the more serious competition.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-img_7243.jpg

*Chevrolet Trailblazer would have stuck out like a sore thumb in our shootout, qualifying with 7 seats sitting on a monstrous Duramax twisting some insane 500Nm but no 4WD. Thankfully, GM shut shop before putting us in that conundrum. Not to worry, a DNA sharing MU-X is here for revenge.(well, almost)

*Interesting to note that except the sole option of Mahindra XUV5OO, the only way one can buy a 7 seater with the AWD+A/T combination is to climb up the price ladder all the way to this D2 Premium SUV segment. Truth be told, if the Safari had a VX 4x4 A/T, I may not even be looking into this segment, or writing this post.

Which brings us to money matters.


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190201-12.33.31-am.png

Using the aforesaid XUV5OO as the sole bottom bracket, we cross the wide and empty 12 lakh gap to enter this segment. Above this segment, there is again a gaping canyon of 17 lakhs beyond which sits the cheapest luxury 7 seater SUV, the Land Rover Discovery Sport SE Petrol, which will be our top bracket. The base Discovery Sport Pure would have marginally closed this gap, but its available only as a 5 seater. All prices are as quoted by dealers in Delhi in end Jan 19 (cardekho). The total on-road cost has been shown instead of ex-showroom to give a more realistic feel of the bang of the buck. These cars are insanely taxed and above that, total out a solid 6-7 lakh extra over the Ex-showroom price. So in reality, these are not 25-30 lakh cars but actually 40 lakh cars. (Bangalore BHP-ians may please add their multiplication factor for the KA drive away price)

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190131-2.31.07-pm.png

Between the brackets on either side of the gaps, is thus carved out our block- with highly cramped contenders sharing a narrow 5 lakh price bandwidth. The shoppers in this segment are plonking 40 lakhs on a car, a saving of few lakhs, might not be on their deal breaker criteria. The typical shopper in this segment is the discerning buyer who is brand conscious, image conscious and value conscious and not price conscious. He would perhaps, be scanning the segment from top down, seeing what the costliest/most popular option has in store and compare it with the lower competition, rather than enter the segment with the cheapest option and then evaluate if a stretch to higher options/variants is warranted.

This is precisely the reason, that carmakers fielding a vehicle in this segment need to offer their product by making an extremely compelling case for itself, if they wish to bite into the share of the established leader. Anti-incumbency is an unknown word in this segment, and a few lakhs lower pricing, 'Less for Less' strategy will not sway any votes here.

And speaking of the incumbent...a shootout in this segment would be futile without more than a nod to the Toyota Fortuner. 'Defending champion'? No sir, this is the reigning monarch of premium SUVs. True to my 'Shogun' introduction, the fortuner seems to rule in the emperor's name and anyone who has challenged it, has often forfeited their fortunes. The fortuner is the default choice in the segment and is widely considered a no-brainer, no-nonsense, 'can't go wrong with it'- choice. The claim is cemented by its consistent performance since launch and to this day, it outsells all other competition put together.

Name:  Screen Shot 20190202 at 6.30.20 PM.png
Views: 12079
Size:  54.7 KB
source: ACI, SIAM.

Not only here in India, even globally, wherever the Fortuner is available, it does plough in massive sales. Interesting tidbit: It was the best selling car in Philippines (2017) overtaking the smaller, cheaper best selling compact sedan Vios - a jawdropping 39680 volume to the 36783 sedan number.
(Source: Topgear Philippines)

Once you are shopping here, the first and only question you need to answer seems to be 'Why not Fortuner?' And you better have a very good reason if your answer's in the negative. Positive buying and fuss-free ownership experiences from peers and solid resale to boot have made the Hilux based SUV, steadily reinforce its position of societal acceptance as the most acceptable way to write a cheque for 40 big ones without being frowned upon. The fact of the matter is that fortuner is like the burning sun of the segment and the 5 lakh price band we are looking at, is well within its blast radius. For the average buyer, the virtues and vices of any other option are often blinded by the glare of this mighty T. So much so that it is rather hard to find much information about the other, lesser celebrated competition. Understandably, their paltry sales numbers implies relatively lesser relevance and in some cases, lackadaisical manufacturer attitude towards our market, among other factors might have actually impeded any serious interest or information gathering about these cars. And that is the principal motivation for penning down this thread. An attempt to gather all information about the competing 7's in one place, to enable prospective owners to consider all the options logically based on their own set of requirements.(...and probably go on and book the Fortuner anyway;P )

' The name Fortuner originates from the word “fortunate”. It was chosen to symbolize a new type of SUV aimed mainly at the higher-income and trendsetting customer segment. The name fits perfectly, as the vehicle brings fortune to customers who long to own a prestigious SUV. The name also evokes an image that is strong yet active, allowing it cross borders easily to be accepted by people around the world.':Toyota Zambia
The three top sellers of our list of seven, have each got their dedicated Official Reviews in the forum and offer exhaustive information about each car.

Toyota Fortuner
Ford Endeavour
Skoda Kodiaq

All car posters/wallpaper images from official website/brochure of manufacturer.
CAD models used for creating composite images. Source: humster3d
All other photographs are my own clicks of test drive vehicles/friends/colleagues' cars .
Click on any picture/table to get a high resolution image.

The official brochures of the 7 are attached here for quick reference.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf muX-brochure.pdf (6.71 MB, 175 views)
File Type: pdf cr-v-brochure (1).pdf (3.14 MB, 131 views)
File Type: pdf AlturasG4-brochure.pdf (3.79 MB, 122 views)
File Type: pdf Endeavour_brochure.pdf (1.02 MB, 207 views)
File Type: pdf fortuner_brochure.pdf (3.86 MB, 255 views)
File Type: pdf Kodiaq_brochure.pdf (6.33 MB, 214 views)
File Type: pdf OUTLANDER-BROCHURE.pdf (466.7 KB, 157 views)

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 13th February 2019 at 23:47.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (47) Thanks
Old 4th February 2019, 11:22   #2
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout

*Disclosure : All information has been compiled from official sources like manufacturer's website, brochures, press releases. In case of official sources not reporting some data, next source resorted to was global versions of the same vehicles and global websites. Only if all else fails, information provided by auto-journalism sources such as magazine articles and reviews have been used. Where absolutely no data was available, n/r - not reported- has been declared. While best efforts have been made to ensure authenticity of information, please feel encouraged to point out any errors/typos/more authentic source for the data. Current owners are welcome to update any errors/omissions.


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-unknown.jpg

Isuzu MU-X

Believe it or not, the MU-X stands for Mysterious Utility-eXtreme. Despite the intriguing name, kudos to Isuzu for being the most straight forward and up-front in the lot. The official website and brochure provides most of the information and data that a discerning buyer may be looking for. Of all the 7, I would rate the MU-X as the most honest car. It doesn't make tall claims, or pretend to be a greater car than it is. It's a steadfast, humble workhorse. On the design front, the Isuzu designers have taken inspiration from Japanese culture and integrated the elegant curve of a Katana (a traditional Japanese sword) into the doors of each and every MU-X. The front fascia is inspired by a soaring eagle and the over-all form blends the three key pillars of ISUZU design language- Simple, Solid and Emotional. The company itself, the oldest japanese automaker, founded in 1916, is named after the Isuzu river in Japan and adapts its name from the first government standard vehicle they built in 1933. The company is the largest producer of medium and heavy duty trucks in the world today but has built some sweet RWD compacts back in the day.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-1963isuzu_bellett_au.jpg
Isuzu Bellet []

Mahindra Alturas G4

The name Rexton is derived from latin words rex and tone translating to 'ruler's tone' or king's speech. The fourth generation Rexton has been re-badged as a Mahindra to play on the brand strength of M&M in India over the SsangYong, thanks to the bitter memories left by the previous generation Rexton in our market. For all its brand recall, or lack thereof, SsangYong is not to be mistaken for a cheap, difficult to pronounce, chinese sweatshop that makes knock offs that fall apart at the sight of a trail. SSangyong is in fact, the oldest Korean marque and pre-dates (1954) the better known Korean sisters Hyundai and Kia. Financial troubles and sheer ill fate, with the company changing multiple hands meant SSangyong had to settle for third spot behind Hyundai and Kia in the Korean auto world. SSangyong which means 'double dragons' in Korean has been a specialist in 4x4 and offroad vehicles. Initially the ssangyong vehicles didn't even have a logo, simply a serial number and a white five pointed star. Later the double dragons were adopted which still adorn the grilles of their vehicles. One of the most well known of which is the Korando ('Korea Can Do') which holds the guinness record for the longest surviving brand name in Korea. The strategic alliance with Mercedes Benz meant it uses some derived components including the auto-box plonked in the Alturas today. SsaangYong also built an SUV for MB using their technology which was sold as the Mercedes Musso. The latest version of the Musso is based on the Rexton G4.After reading about the history, I think, M&M's interest and choice in acquiring SsangYong is natural considering that Ssangyong was also licensed back in the day to make Jeeps for the army, and both companies share historical expertise in making rugged 4x4s. The word Alturas means 'height' or 'pinnacle' and "being their most luxurious offering, exquisitely designed and crafted, M&M believe that the Alturas G4 name perfectly describes this product."The Alturas has only a Mahindra grille swap on the fourth generation Rexton,which SsangYong claims got the design inspiration from the Greek temple Parthenon (how, I can't see). The distinctive front-end is led by a grille that takes its inspiration from the spread wings of a bird in flight. The rexton is built to the company's design language of 'Dignified Motion' and I personally feel it echoes this idea truthfully in the exterior and interior.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190204-12.46.26-pm.png
SSangYong developed & built Mercedes Musso [Source:]

Mitsubishi Outlander

The company's cold shoulder to the Indian market, might have made us forget about the three diamonds and who they are. Let us remind ourselves with some facts.

#With an unparalleled seven consecutive and a total of twelve wins, Mitsubishi is the most effective car manufacturer for the Dakar Rally.

#Mitsubishi created the Lancer 1600 GSR specifically for the East African Safari Rally and even won the marathon in 1974; remarkably this was their first attempt.

#Fun fact: The most famous car chase of all times is perhaps Steve McQueen's Bullit on a Ford Mustang. But have you noticed Jackie Chan's Who Am I? and the Mitsubishi evo in it? In fact, all Jackie movie's will feature Mitsu's exclusively because of a long standing deal he has had with the carmaker.

Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the old Mitsubishi organisation, decided on the three-diamond mark as the emblem for his company. The mark is said to be an arrangement of two family crests; the three-oak-leaf crest of the Yamauchi family, Lords of Tosa, where Yataro was born, and the three-tiered water chestnut crest of the Iwasaki family.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190204-2.26.00-pm.png
Source: Mitsubishi website

Only if the company had invested more interest and effort in the Indian auto scene, the segment would have been much more interesting. With the delay in bringing the Pajero here, we have to make do with the outlander. As lazy a launch it might have been, it's the sole petrol option in our lineup and hence requires a bout. The Outlander is the only contender thats brought in as a CBU among the seven.

The original Airtrek name of the Outlander (2001) was chosen to "describe the vehicle's ability to transport its passengers on adventure-packed journeys in a 'free-as-a-bird' manner", and was "coined from Air and Trek to express the idea of footloose, adventure-filled motoring pleasure." The Outlander nameplate which replaced it evoked a "feeling of journeying to distant, unexplored lands in search of adventure." and the latest iteration is based on the 'Dynamic Shield' design language.

Honda CR-V

The Honda Logo is perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable in the world. The “H” is broader at the top and narrower at the bottom, as if its arms are raised toward the sky—a fitting stance considering the company’s belief in reaching for one’s dreams (the official motto being “The Power of Dreams”).

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190204-3.26.30-pm.png
Source: 20th Century Fox

Honda CR-V stands for "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle while "Compact Recreational Vehicle" has also been used alternatively. The CR-V has been the quintessential 5 seater premium petrol SUV in India and has had some decent traction in the past. In its latest iteration, the CRV has got the third row and enters our ring as a seven seater. Though instantly recognisable as a CR-V, the company's design language does make things exciting. Literally called 'Exciting H Design!!!' (yes with three exclamation marks) "it manifests itself into exterior cues including its new solid wing face, a well-toned and beautifully proportioned athletic form and "dramatic surfacing".Inside it will give rise to easy-to-see and use interface technologies, "sporty and emotional" cockpits and expressive "craftsmanship". If you are still not over the three exclamation marks, they represent three key design factors: innovative spirit; the pursuit of a beautiful body structure and layout; and finely honed surfacing and texture. It categorises the three into 'High Tech', 'High Tension' and 'High Touch' respectively.

Ford Endeavour

The Everest from America’s Ford was never meant for America. It was affectionately crafted for you and me, the Asia Pacific. This mid size SUV is primarily for the chinese chaps, and those blokes Down Under, and us
(All this ,while our US counterparts gladly guzzle away on the full size 7 seater Explorer)

The Everest was the fruit of toil of the good Aussie folk at Broadmeadows, in the northern outskirts of Melbourne. Its design is important sentimentally to the Aussies, as it came at a time when car manufacturing was shutting down in the continent, for good. With production moving to cheaper markets like China and Thailand (where the everest is manufactured now), Ford Australia has more number of designers and engineers than factory workers. The Endy and the other designs from this tiny building behind the now shut down Falcon factory, puts Aussie design talent on the world map. Pat on the back mates.!

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190204-3.37.21-pm.png

Based on the Ranger pickup, the Aussies had to fight to keep the grill looking the way it is, and not exactly align with the OneFord family grille (three slat grill) The designers had to convince folk that it has three slots and 2 bars and go into production before the three holes or the three bars debate could be settled. The 2019 facelift will see the grille change to the OneFord family face.

*The Everest is butch and serves classic americana on a diner plate. The front 3D moulded front under shield is a lovely highlight below that bold inverted trapezoidal grille. It does more than hold up and bracket the base of the front fascia, it deflects air beneath the vehicle for better aerodynamics. This, and the small ‘kickers’ in the rear that reduce drag are small nuggets of good engineering to make this ‘box’ punch through the air better. Attention has been paid to minimise the drag effect of the large wing mirrors which stand proud like flappy ears on the otherwise clean side. Every little detail like where the body panel would turn has been meticulously sculpted to give this boxy ‘bluff body’ some aerodynamics.

*The Endy’s design lines scream ‘H-O-R-I-Z-O-N-T-A-L’ Every thing is wide and broad and gives the planted imposing stance that it boasts of. Inside and out, these horizontal lines are everywhere.(This was intentional, apparently ,by design, to exude the feeling of spaciousness in the cabin)

*While, its peers migrate towards more curvaceous forms with sleek fluidic lines sweeping across the body, the endy is too proud to go with the 'flow'. It stands there, squarish, stubborn and solid, making a bold statement.

Allow me to place on record, that I'm glad that Ford launched the Everest in India. It's truly a worthy challenger to the Fortuner and if not for the Ford, we could have closed this shootout right here. With their investment in the CVAEP in Chennai, the company has reassured that it's serious about our market and that is a heartening move.

Toyota Fortuner

Japanese katakana letters ‘to’, ‘yo’, and ‘ta’ spell ‘Toyota’. The name change from Toyoda was primarily based on “jikaku” (numerology that associates good/bad fortune with the number of brush strokes in a name): instead of 10 brush strokes in the family name, ‘Toyota’ in katakana only used eight, which was the number of wealth and good fortune. Hence, the name was officially changed.

Name:  onlineimageresize_com_65246_483706561725562_875141270_n.jpg
Views: 10982
Size:  28.5 KB

Though toyota has been renowned for reliable vehicles the world over, their design language was always what one would consider 'safe'. Toyota admitted that there were two key points as to why Toyota had been making boring cars in the past. First was that the marque wanted to please everybody, which resulted for the cars to end in the middle, design-wise – nothing really extraordinary.
The other reason pointed out was the large consensus-driven organization that Toyota has. With a lot of thoughts and opinions coming from different people, they had to compromise, which again led them to be in the middle. Fortunately, with a new directive straight from Toyota Motors Corporation president Akio Toyoda himself, the designers now have a greater position in the vehicle design process. “Before, we made cars so as not to be disliked by anyone. In the future, out of 100 customers, we want to excite*10*of them instead of not offending all 100".[source: car]

The new 'keen look' design language is apparent in the latest generation fortuner, making it, in my opinion, the most agile looking SUV amongst the lot, despite its size. The fortuner has been the most selling premium SUV in our market and is undoubtedly the car to beat. It defines the segment and it is the segment being the most identifiable premium SUV in the country. Based on the indestructible Hilux pickup, the updated Fortuner has legendary underpinnings and wears a proud toyota badge which have made it the go-to choice for a wide spectrum of clientele. Simply put, if we needed a poster boy for this entire segment, it would be a Pearl White Fortuner.

Skoda Kodiaq

In Austria-Hungary during December 1895, keen cyclists Vaclav Laurin (a mechanic) and Vaclav Klement (a bookseller) started designing and manufacturing bicycles. At that time, most Czechs were fervently patriotic, so they called their first company Slavia. Their bicycles sold well, so Laurin and Klement decided to take the next step and add motors. That's the birth of the beautiful Skoda cars we drool at today. The Skoda logo has evolved over years to become the winged arrow. According to the ŠKODA website, around the years 1918-19 in the management office in Plzeň there was a picture portraying a Native American, and that was likely the inspiration for the feathered logo.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190205-6.09.00-pm.png

Except the Endeavour, all of our contenders have strong Asian roots, hailing from Japan/Korea. The sole European entrant is the sharp looking Kodiaq. Based on the VisionS Concept, with flat, raked headlights positioned on both sides of the wide grille, the crystalline structure pays homage to Czech crystal glass art and embraces the company's Innovative Crystalline Design. Subtlety is a fine art, and the dandy Kodiaq does it with panache. Sharp cut crease lines and clean swept side profile, makes the Skoda the sharpest looking SUV in the lot. Tight build quality and finesse exudes from the first 7 seater Skoda and there is an aristocratic air of suave around it. Quite the departure from the loud, screams of attention from the other SUVs, the Kodiaq is a tightly packaged product that quietly goes about its business, making up for road presence with its sharp styling. Having some of the lowest GC numbers in the segment and with a more road based demeanour, some might call it less of a full blown SUV and rather a Superb on stilts...and we would say: Well, that's not a bad thing at all.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190130-12.05.16-am.png

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 6th February 2019 at 14:01.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (29) Thanks
Old 6th February 2019, 10:42   #3
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


Positioned as premium SUVs, the most important consideration should be that they don't skimp on safety. All of our 7 have perfect 5 star scores from various NCAP agencies.The facelift MU-X safety update places all the 7 cars with a minimum of 6 airbags and various safety features such as ABS, EBD etc. as standard, they don't disappoint on this front. The NCAP test reports of each car is attached below. All our SUVs have scored high on the points table as well.

The Kodiaq and the Alturas have the most number of airbags (9). ISOFIX child seat mounts are also standard across the segment with child seat mounts on second row outer passenger seats, except Endeavour, which surprisingly skips on ISOFIX. The ISUZU MU-X gets 3 mounts (all seats on second row) reportedly like the CR-V.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190130-12.13.53-am.png

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190205-6.41.18-pm.png

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190205-6.34.58-pm.png

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190205-6.37.39-pm.png

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190205-6.39.54-pm.png

Name:  airbagseverst.jpg
Views: 10550
Size:  128.1 KB

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-airbagsfortuner.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190206-10.41.38-am.png
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ancap_fordeverst_endeavour.pdf (579.8 KB, 150 views)
File Type: pdf KNCAP_Alturas.pdf (538.8 KB, 116 views)
File Type: pdf ENCAP_Kodiaq.pdf (712.3 KB, 133 views)
File Type: pdf ncap_honda crv.pdf (784.8 KB, 126 views)
File Type: pdf ancap_fortuner.pdf (1.86 MB, 150 views)
File Type: pdf ANCAP_Isuzu_MUX.pdf (277.9 KB, 141 views)
File Type: pdf ANCAP_MITSUBISHI Outlander 2018 Safety Report.pdf (311.2 KB, 79 views)

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 6th February 2019 at 14:00.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (18) Thanks
Old 6th February 2019, 16:13   #4
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


One of the primary evaluating criteria for customers looking around in the segment is road presence. More than mere means of commute, these SUVs are statements of arrival and banners of power projection. It's not enough to just be a premium SUV, it better look the part. Size and street cred are a big part of the appeal. While looks are subjective and some prefer the butchismo that the Endeavour offers, few others would prefer the understated elegance that the Kodiaq exudes. The CR-V is the most car-like, though its bigger than the previous generation.No one has ever seen the new Outlander in person to comment.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190130-12.07.02-am.png

The Endeavour is the longest of the class. And its easy to see how, as it makes no efforts to hide it. The latest entrant to the ring, the Alturas is massive in every other dimension. The alturas won't win any pageants, but what it lacks in sharp cuts or character, it makes up with sheer size. Kodiaq is the one to go for, if you want to blend in and just fly under the radar. The MU-X is a true work horse and looks handsome in its own humble, simpleton kind of way.

The SUVs are referenced against my Storme for size and street cred comparisons.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-storme-alturas.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-stormeealturas.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-kodiaqstorme.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-storme-kodiaq-storme.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-stormeekodiaq.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-stormekodiaq.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-img_9608.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-img_9609.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-isuzustorme.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-stormeisuzu.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-stormeortunerstorme.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-img_6801.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-endeavourstorme.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-stormezendeavourz.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-img_6797.jpg

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 8th February 2019 at 07:28.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 7th February 2019, 13:10   #5
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190212-9.44.38-pm.png

While the external dimensions of these vehicles are well known and widely published, the internal dimensions are what matters more and this information is quite hard to come by. While road presence and street cred are achieved by sheer size and aggressive design, liberating internal space is a tougher job, involving intelligent packaging and smart design principles. This fact is reflected in our lineup, where the biggest vehicles are not necessarily the most spacious. While the numbers reported here are what was available/reported and are open to contest, they do echo some truths about internal space. My personal experience with these cars also is in line with these numbers mostly. A note to be made here is the general amount of information available about the Rexton (Alturas) is the least of the lot, because it sells in lesser countries and probably in lesser numbers internationally. The internal dimensions as reported by Autocar is attached.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-rexton-dimensions.jpg
Source and Copyright: Autocar India

For the smallest external size, I found the Skoda to offer most space on the inside. The Endeavour, though longest, does offer a tighter seating overall, especially in the second row. We did pack the Endeavour with 6 adults and 2 kids on a day trip and the last row was punishment. The third row seating sings a similar song for most of these cars. None of them should be expected to offer even MPV like comfortable third rows and so I wouldn’t penalise any one car for a sad third row. I would simply choose the lesser of evils and go ahead.

The Isuzu, claims some big numbers here, and I did find the cabin relatively more spacious than say, the Endeavour. Personally, from the driver’s seat ergonomics (where most of us would spend most time), for my frame and driving position, I found the MU-X surprisingly most comfortable. This may widely vary from person to person as to how an individual might like his seat, height and reach and how much bonnet he would be able to see, but I found the easiest sweet spot in the Mu-X. The buttons were also easy to reach and ergonomically placed. I found the most natural fit in the MU-X. The second best fit for the driver I found, was the Alturas, thanks to the quick settings in the seat adjust and a canyon for a driver’s foot well. The widest body and longest wheelbase also means the rebadged rexton should offer better space, which it does in the second row. The seats themselves in the second row, could have been better for I felt the bolstering and thigh support to be wanting. The third row is a eerie dark place in the Alturas which I would condemn my distant relatives to. The next best driver seat for me, the Endeavour and the fortuner follow suit in that order. The honda and the skoda both seated me lower than what I’m used to in the Storme, and that for me takes away the command driving position I have grown to love. Again, for someone moving up from a sedan, the latter may be a more desirable transition with the advantage of lower COG and superior monocoque dynamics to boot.

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 13th February 2019 at 07:32.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (11) Thanks
Old 7th February 2019, 13:13   #6
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190204-11.37.35-am.png

Perhaps the most elusive of all data to obtain was the Engine characteristics. Most manufacturers don't publish it in their publicity material/brochure. While most average customers would not be too concerned about how and where the power and torque is churned out and so it might not be relevant to put it in the sales brochure, it would be great if the carmakers at least put it up on their official websites, so that the more technically inclined enthusiasts like us could have access to it. ISUZU is the only company in the lot, which proudly publishes its engine curves in the official brochure itself. Pat on the back for that. Both the Australian and the Indian brochures have the power-torque curves in them (Which also means we can see how we get the lower tuned engine-gearbox combo evidently, but at least they are honest about it). For the rest of the cars in the line up, some serious digging around popped up official/semi official curves, which have been combined to finally get the power-torque curves for all the cars in one graph. Again, the Rexton had absolutely no source for power and torque curves. The torque curve has been accepted for inclusion from the Korean website. But power delivery is nowhere found, except a tuner's dyno (reporting values at the wheels)

(Note: The small wiggles in the individual curves may please be ignored (as perils of digitising), and the overall trends of the graphs be read for comparisons between the SUVs )

I have highlighted the peak power and torque bands for each SUV. These do give a good understanding why these SUVs drive the way they do. The Endeavour has that monstrous 3.2 which can arm wrestle a freight train and beat the others into submission. Isuzu advertises its flat torque curve which is instantly recognisable.

The real world performance might not be accurately reflected by these curves, but there's no denying that how the power and torque availability is spread over the rev range is definitely good information to have for comparison and understanding.

Power/ton and torque/ton are usually quoted to see how weight skews the digits. But a more practical value for evaluation would be perhaps loading the cars with full load of 7 folks and cargo say to about 500kg. Those numbers show some more realistic appreciation of the useful power and torque on tap. The Alturas puts some impressive score if it were a pure numbers game. But in real world driving, I still love that sweet 3.2 for the grunt it pulls with across the rev range. The Fortuner is the torque tycoon once you are fully loaded.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-powerd2.png

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-torqued2.png

The lone petrol revver, skews the graph scale, so here's one with only diesels.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-dieseltorqued2.png

With the rumoured Ford's 2.0 litre bi-turbo coming here sooner or later, a comparison is unavoidable. The Ford Ranger (Raptor) website was the closest source.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190129-6.34.49-pm.png

The Rexton's only available graph, showing power, torque at wheels [Source:Ssangyong Motorsports Powerup Tuning]

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-rexton-g4-engine-specis.jpg

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 16th February 2019 at 22:49.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 8th February 2019, 07:58   #7
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190130-12.12.16-am.png

These are not zippy hot hatches neither are they -three box street racers. These are luxury yachts and the owners would love to have the best creature comforts that the segment offers. If you disagree with that statement and are a purist who would squirm at too much tech and theatrics, then you would be happy with the isuzu truck. It offers just the basic kit to push along and anything that’s non essential has been skipped, which involves some very obvious omissions like parking sensors as well, which I think should be segment standard. The fortuner ups the game from the isuzu, albeit only by a little extra. Both these japs, want you to trust their mechanical prowess and rugged ladders more than tech wizardry, and leave the choice to you. The diametrically other end of the spectrum is the clever Skoda with its laundry list of features and clever cubby holes which would make you keep discovering new niceties years into your ownership. The Honda comes with its own tech support and does offer some unique hits like the gear lever gone missing and lane watch cameras which might take a little getting used to, but is futuristic compared to the competition. The Endeavour, in my books, offers a lot for its price, and comes with a long list of electronic aids and that Sync 3 which owners are figuring out new ways to extract more utility from. I have written a full post in the Endeavour page about the features I oh-so-love love in it and so won’t repeat it here. The semi automatic parallel park might not be a real world utility everyday you park, but the fact that its been plonked in this package is appreciable. The panoramic sun roof in the Endeavour and the Kodiaq opens the fifth dimension and once you have spent some time with them driving around in the right setting, you would suddenly find this feature fly up your list of desirable criteria. The two aforesaid Japs again are the only ones who don’t offer a hole in the sky. The Alturas comes with its own bag of party tricks, and has some smile fetching features. The courtesy slide back of the drivers seat, ventilated seats, a winter start mode (which starts the car in the second gear) and a truly automatic tail gate where you do nothing. Just stand there and it will open. Mitsubishi in its own weird way, offers heated seats here in India also. Complete CBU. Zero effort to tune to local market needs. Zero sales in return, with thanks, from the market.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-interiorsisuzu.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-interiorspajero.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-img_9768.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-interiorscrv.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-interiorsendeavour.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-interiorsfortuner.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-interiorkodiaq.jpg

Attention is drawn to the boot space available and the numbers reported as well with a pinch of salt. Quoting myself from the boot space thread:-
Originally Posted by vigneshkumar31 View Post
Maybe slightly OT, but thought I'd chip on the luggage calculations, as I had researched this while looking through the Endeavour's boot space numbers.

A volumetric integration of the actual boot dimensions would be of less practical value unless we want to use it as a fuel tank/water reservoir because 'real shaped' luggage and door handles/hinges and curvature etc severely deplete the number.

The VDA (German) system uses standard 1000cc wood blocks, of 20cmx10cmx5cm and checks how many of these 'liter' blocks is the manufacturer able to stack practically within the boot like Jenga and this is declared as X litres of boot space. European, Japanese, Korean marques like Honda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Audi, BMW all use this unit. This is more realistic and conservative.

Because the Yanks have to do everything differently, the SAE (US) uses a different system using 'standard' replica of usual luggage items, or use smaller blocks and stack it cleverly to arrive at the total luggage volume as X liters. This SAE figure generally conveys a large liter figure than VDA. Jeep, Dodge etc. use this method.

I would consider these numbers as ball park only and actually try to fit the largest item I intend to carry and check for myself if its a real deal breaker.

For e.g., a hatch/sedan I would use daily, I would try to check if the child stroller can fit comfortably, or if its the SUV, I would see if I can snuck in a mountain bike, with the seats down. If its the V cross, I would check if it can lash down my Himalayan
How I wish we could measure and rank practical boot space like this:-

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190212-2.29.35-pm.png


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-seatsisuzu.jpg


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-seatsallturas.jpg


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-seatscrv.jpg


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-seatsfortuner.jpg


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-seatskodiaq.jpg

The internal fit and finish thankfully is of acceptable minimum standards in all the cars and some more than the others. The internal setting reflects the exterior design language in all of them to some extent. The all black, abuse friendly, simplistic Isuzu is the least exciting of the lot. It has a plain jane industrial look and feel about the entire cabin, and could gash and bleed in mud wars and it wouldn’t show. This is the only dashboard that makes even the ousted Pajero sport look good. It’s once again the closest to its pickup truck sibling, which in the interiors department, might not go well with most buyers. The Skoda offers airy, spacious and light coloured upholstery that makes the small SUV liberate a fresh zest of space. The panoramic sunroof again helps in adding to the appeal of infinite expanse. Superb layout, though simple and typical european, gives a technocratic feel to the whole dashboard with the fit and feel of materials top notch. The fortuner and endeavour are in the middle here with the Endeavour, just based on the dashboard, internal fit, finish and feel a clear trump over the Fortuner. The Alturas resonates its royal vibe outside and within with quilted stitching Nappa leather upholstery and door trims and knurled buttons that appear more opulent than premium, the typical Maharaja Express. Simply put, the Alturas is the Sanjay Leela Bansali to the Kodiaq’s Shankar.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-panaromicskoda.jpg

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 14th February 2019 at 22:00.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 11th February 2019, 12:07   #8
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190213-6.17.14-pm.png

There has been enough debate within the forum and without it, regarding the relevance of offroad prowess or more specifically 4x4 provision in these premium SUVs. Naysayers argue - How many of the owners actually go off road? Why can’t hardcore off-roaders pick a Gurkha or a Thar instead of wrecking a 40 lakh asset? Well, I beg to differ. In my fantastic utopian garage I would have a hot hatch for zipping around town, a performance sedan with a vRS badge, a basic, tough as nails off-roader with park benches for seats, and a comfortable large family tourer that seats 5 adults even after a child seat is installed. But I can’t get afford the cash, space or time for all of them. The premium SUV has to be the one car do all for me. I agree I’m not in the habit of driving around looking to arm wrestle gnarly rocks for fun on what is simply a moving 2BHK, but if during travels, I get mischievous or adventurous or both, or if I am faced with situations that 4x4 capability would inspire confidence, then there’s no point regretting going for 4x2 and saving few lakhs, a lesson learnt the hard way with 7 years on a 2WD safari. If its an SUV, it has to be 4x4. Having said that, a jack of all trades large family SUV might not necessarily need dedicated hardcore offroad kit to handle the above said minor misadventures and hence AWD would be an acceptable compromise if one looks to balance on-road behaviour where the car would spend most of its life with limited off the road capability. Settling for a 4x2 Fortuner? If you can get over body type, take a long hard look at the equally capable, better loaded Innova instead, sitting on the same platform, costing much lesser.

Premium/ luxury vehicles and go anywhere capabilities are not any more mutually exclusive. The best proof of this argument comes from a few segments above, where the pure luxe brands belting out the Urus' Levante's of the world. The best cheeky explanation for embracing the market's shift to SUVs ,was given by Rolls Royce in their Cullinan description as 'last mile connectivity' Not to be mistaken for an e-rikshaw we might take from the metro station, this SUV capability, is apparently for its highly affluent clientele to be able to traverse the last mile of tough trails, to eventually reach that exotic ski resort/ or a shooting spot in the middle of the desert, after plying on smooth tarmac all day for most of its life. While I am not planning to sign any movies or shoot in exotic locations, there's no doubt that simple family adventures can be all the more exciting with a little added confidence in turning all 4 wheels.

In our shootout, three ladder frames stand out as clearly capable, go anywhere off-roaders. The ISUZU again offers the most information about its offroad prowess, and is not afraid to advertise it right in the brochure. Approach, departure angles and ground clearance are the highest for the MU-X. A tough steel bash plate protects everything under the belly, inviting you to do something silly.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190126-7.46.07-am.png

The idiot proof Terrain Management System in the Ford and the ‘King of Offroad’ Sigma 4 in the Fortuner should be more than enough for most owners to attack everyday adventures even in complete stock form. I would have loved to add the Rexton to this list, but for some reason, there is no information about the offroad credentials of the vehicle anywhere in the alturas website or the brochure. Interestingly, not even the GC is mentioned. Though it has been rumoured as 254, 244 (the autocar sourced value reported in our table), 224 and many other numbers in between, the only credible official number I could find was 203 mm (for Rexton with the 5 link suspension like the Indian Alturas uses at the rear). The UK Rexton that uses independent rear suspension reports 224mm. The official brochure for the UK Rexton is attached below.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-ssangyong-tow.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-2014isuzumuxtowing.jpg

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-2017toyotafortunercrusadedrivingintherain.jpg

Name:  fordeveresttitaniumtowtest.jpg
Views: 9213
Size:  252.3 KB

[All images sourced from manufacturer websites and]

All international Rexton markets do hail its towing credentials. Though towing itself, might not be that relevant a task in Indian context, a good tow vehicle does indicate a nice torquey motor and with a suitable gearbox, the capability to provide the pull well over a range of speeds. It might even justify/correlate a heavier kerb weight and longer wheelbase to offer better stability while pulling heavy trailers. The ute based SUVs don't slack in this department and are the leaders in this task. Special mention to the Ford, for a stupendous 800 mm water wading depth, unmatched.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Rexton_Brochure.pdf (3.04 MB, 113 views)

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 14th February 2019 at 00:01.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 11th February 2019, 12:16   #9
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


Peace of mind is hard to quantify, or so we thought, until the Fortuner advertised some jaw dropping 2.8 lakh km warranty. I wish the Ford had showed similar trust in their Endeavour which offers the least coverage warranty in the lot. The maintenance costs, on the other hand are reported to be least in the segment for the Ford.The Isuzu and Skoda, on either end of the spectrum, have both posted some confidence inspiring warranty periods too.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190130-12.33.02-am.png


The hits and misses are by no means exhaustive, only what I could get delighted or irked by. The table says it all. However, owners and prospects can add their own based on what matters to them.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190208-8.00.20-am.png

Last edited by Aditya : 19th February 2019 at 11:18. Reason: Deleting copyrighted material
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 11th February 2019, 12:21   #10
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


The Outlander ?

This would be the first car to go out of contention for me. Glorified freight forwarding is all that Mitsu does here. There seems to be no interest in the Indian market, though globally they seem to be playing this segment aggressively. The delay in Pajero Sport new generation and still continuing with the CBU route, wane off any confidence in the company. Even though its the only petrol 7 seater in the fray, I would still give it a skip unapologetically. The PHEV version might have added a eco friendly and government friendly option, but Mitsu decides to drop the ball on that one too.

The CR-V ?

I will be quick to discount the CR-V from the game next. The excuse of an engine with a powertrain that one has to convince oneself as 'adequate' will simply not cut it for me. Might boast high economy scores, but mileage wouldn't be a reason of deal break when I shop in this segment. The only saving grace is that beautiful gearbox. But it can only hold so much awe when its controlling just a 1.6 motor. The package though exciting and well put together, may appeal to erstwhile Honda loyalists, for me personally, is hugely overpriced.

The MU-X ?

If I were looking for a work horse, and nothing else. And if I value mechanical soundness over anything else, and if Im willing to pay extra for abuse friendliness, I would pick the MU-X. The 4JJ1 engine under the hood, is a stuff of legend. Isuzu does skimp on a lot of kit, some head-bangingly silly omissions, but hopes to ride its robust underpinnings into customer's heart. I find some regional acceptance towards this idea. With some parts of the country, selling more copies than the rest. Still the numbers don't match anywhere near the segment topper. If you do get one home, the modest sales numbers guarantee one thing-exclusivity- against the sea of the better selling models, if thats your kind of thing. At its asking price, its no way cheap, and is close enough to the better kitted competition to earn a overpriced badge. The powertrain is not in its highest state of tune available globally with an older gearbox, a cog less, and a detuned engine. Just a powertrain update and ICE parity with international models, might actually make its attempted 'Gentleman Farmer's Trusted Workhorse' narrative more believable. But in its current state, it's a half hearted effort and an unwarranted, unintelligent, differential treatment to the exploding Indian SUV market. A wonderful opportunity lost, of capitalising on the hardy Japanese reliability DNA and rival the more successful compatriot. ISUZU was one company that could have repeated a Toyota SUV story over time with consistent efforts, but chose not to. The MUX is still, truly a battle worthy beast and I would have overlooked all its dips and picked it up over everything else, if it was at least, plotted at a compelling price point. In its current avatar, it looks just greedy standing in this lineup, and that doesn't suit the steed's character.

Isuzu makes two things better than anyone else in the world- 1.Trucks and 2.Diesel Engines. Put them both together (and nothing else) you get the MU-X. I would pick this if I want to add an SUV to the family heirloom and hand it down for generations to come.

The Alturas G4 ?

A huge, expansive vehicle which may not steal hearts with its looks, but definitely not something that only its mother could love (excuse the most boring alloys in the world). Well appointed, opulent interiors with good quality materials that put it amongst the best in segment. An acceptable powertrain that uses a Benz sourced box and a ssangyong 2.2 motor. Among the smaller displacement engines in the lineup, still putting out respectable numbers. Impressively quiet cabin for something that wears a M&M badge. A long list of goodies to keep the owners happy, with even a few exclusive bragging rights in the segment. Though not splendid ride quality, I felt it rides as well, or a tad better, than the most selling competitor. Let me stick my neck out and say that the Alturas is the most under-rated car in this line-up. The rebadged Rexton doesn't 'excel' in any one department, but you bet it does a consistent 'good' in all departments and that's a appreciable entry attempt from Mahindra into this segment. On paper at least, it ticks most boxes and appears to be bundled as a convincing package. But only one person I know has actually gone ahead and bought one. (The fact that he owns the company and shares his last name with the car's doesn't make him count, I guess.)

What went wrong? Well even in the International markets where the G4 is on sale, it's forced to over-work and overkill just to stay in the race- loaded to the gills with features (heated steering wheel, radar tech etc.) But there, it offers all that and more at an irresistibly inviting price against the more established competition. This is the penalty the car pays, for the double dragon on its hood. It knows this well and plays to its strengths as a value offering, sufficiently cheaper than the competition. Rebadging here, has made it forget that in India and that humility has been lost in badge translation. It is slotted at par on price with the much more established rivals, but its ambition is premature. Mahindra wants to wear the big boy pants and jump into the ring with the Fortuner, but the market doesn't think its ready yet and the sales numbers reflect that. This is not to say that the G4 is not worth the ask in a sum of parts sense. It does offer quite a lot for its price. But, Instead of a CKD route, if it had been heavily localised and built here and priced aggressively, well below the Isuzu, smack in the middle of the 12 lakh darien gap that the company wants us to jump over its next lowest priced offering (XUV5OO AT AWD), the G4 would have carved out a nice segment for its own. It would have definitely made a convincing argument for those, like myself, being forced, unwillingly to climb up all the way to the 35+ D2 for a decent upgrade. It would have been the first mover into this new segment and lay in wait for the Tata H7X. That would have been fair game. But where it stands today, it's simply overshadowed by the radiance of...

The Fortuner ?

We have often heard and made statements like Toyota sells at a premium just because of its badge. While this is true., it is still a gross oversimplification. That badge was not made overnight and the fact that the market is still willing to pay the premium demanded, testifies the focused efforts and trust the company has built over the years. There’s a good reason that UN relief workers and kalashnikov wielding terrorists alike, choose to wear a Toyota on their grill. Doesn't matter if you are going to heaven or hell, just make sure you are driving a fortuner, if you are unsure of the route. (And toyota will probably change your timing belt enroute FOC)

If I hadn’t read through this entire post. if I did no test drives whatsoever and if I didn’t want to bother myself with petty details like a feature here and a miss there. If I absolutely dedicated no time or toil towards the arduous process of selecting a car from this premium segment... I would blindly buy the Fortuner.
And I still won’t be regretting the decision after 5 years and some insane 3 lakh kms on the odo. The One You Only Trust Always will look after the car and the owner through thick and thin. And the best part, I’ll always find a buyer for a well kept fortuner at the other end of the tunnel.

But I did read the entire post, and took multiple test drives of the cars and have followed this segment closely for the past 2 years, through the lens of my individual requirements, so...

The Endeavour ?

The new Everest had its work cut out when it was launched. It had to offer a solid alternative (both literally and figuratively) to the segment’s mogul. It had to out do the competition in every department and play heavily on its strengths. Targeted specifically for the market on this side of the Pacific, the suv had to appeal to Asian sensibilities while still retaining its flamboyant Americana DNA. The design is unmistakably a blaring ford pickup but still manages to look beyond just plain utilitarian. A strong suite of mechanicals with an overbearing 3.2 that scares the daylights out of lesser cars. This 3.2 is the crown jewel of the endeavour in my opinion. Any shortcomings I can nitpick, is drowned by the beating thrum of the in-line 5, while I hear none of that racket inside the cabin, thanks to the active noise cancellation. You can simply overpower most obstacles on your way or in life with this 200 bhp behemoth. If you still manage to get yourself in knots, that TMS system is 4x4 for dummies, letting you simply dial your way out of trouble.

The big Ford is not devoid of demerits. For starters, the company would do good, to share my confidence invested on the product, and provide a better warranty coverage. The very elaborate electronic wizardry that enthrals the owner, also poses a cause of concern over long ownership. The drive to keep the maintenance/spares costs minimum in the segment is encouraging. I support and preach car seat culture profusely and this is the only car in the lineup that doesn't get ISOFIX? While not a deal breaker for me, it's a relief to see that push button on the face lift, lest folks keep saying things like 'Heck, even my 40k scooty has electric start' For all its size, the cabin is tight abreast compared to the Fortuner, and the middle row flip and tumble is sorely missed. It restricts access to the third row and makes that exercise clumsy. I can live with it because third row comfort is not on my deal breaker list, however would like to see how it affects luggage carrying capacity with all rows down, I refuse to still fathom the SAE 2000 litre capacity.

Sitting inside, on the drivers seat, you are finally treated to something that actually feels like a 40 lakh car. Slide open the panoramic sunroof and it is very hard not to want spend some more time driving around in this cabin. Call it blasphemy against puritan hydraulics, but after years of working out my forearm, meandering through urban jungles, the light steering of the Endeavour at parking speeds, comes as a welcome respite. The long feature list and some theatrical additions are intended to woo you into consideration and taking a test-drive and once you have spent some time with the Ford, you will agree that its an irresistible package. Some of the features loaded here are hard to find even if you climb the price ladder one or even two segments north. By the very definition of premium SUV, none of these cars would carry a VFM tag very well, but for what we pay, the endeavour is the one that doesn't let you feel shortchanged.

The facelift is just around the corner and the 2.0 litre biturbo which makes even more power and torque mated to many more cogs, hopefully finds its way down here, coming after the BS VI rings in.

Speaking of BSVI, the diesel apartheid that has crept in and the vilification of diesel in societal psyche, we are probably in the last era of these magnificent torque monsters. With the future still murky after the clock strikes VI, there are only two options left now: Bite the bullet now, haggle the last of the BS4 3.2s and brace for the aftermath. Or, wait to try the 2.0 and pay more for the compliant 3.2 in 2020 as insurance against the anyway unavoidable resale plummet.

Either way, I believe the car I pick next would be the last car I'm driving into the impending EV sunset few years from now, and the Ford Endeavour is my pick of the lot.

Wait, what about the...

The Kodiaq ?

The classy offering from Mladá Boleslav leaves no stone unturned in fit, finish or finesse. The car looks smart and sharply dressed and has all traits of typical European automobile. The aspirational air of desirability looms over its tightly built form. Inside and out, this is unmistakably Skoda and is built to ruffle the big snobby, deutsch feathers of three exotic birds. But that’s a great story only if you choose to look at it as an affordable alternative to the big 3, if you were coming from top down and are willing to give up the badge equity of the Germans, the Skoda packs a lot in its relatively larger form, complete with an extra row of seats. However, in the light of the competing SUV’s here, the Kodiaq does seem overpriced. The Skoda in India, is not synonymous with great after sales service and support either, so the winged arrow badge does bear some penalty. Personally I would be willing to give the benefit of doubt to the ‘Skodiaq’ because I’m mighty impressed with the car and kit, and could actually be good friends with the DSG, only if the engine wasn’t such a big let down. It makes silly less power and doesn’t feel like a mechanical upgrade for me. I also have to accept that choosing this, immediately discounts any whims of serious mudplugging in my mind but rewards instead with excellent on road behaviour. Not to mention that at the sight of the first flood/water logging, I’ll have to run for high ground.

The L&K variant retaining the same stingy output is a lost opportunity by the bohemian dandies. Everything else being great about the car, there is only one small addition that I would need to even seriously reconsider this 2.0 l TDI DSG over the picked 3.2 Endeavour.

A tiny badge that says vRS.

///But that's just me. However you cut the pack, the premium SUV is a high stakes gamble. Which card would you choose to deal?

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-collage-hexagon-cards.jpg

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 14th February 2019 at 22:04.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (64) Thanks
Old 17th February 2019, 17:21   #11
Team-BHP Support
GTO's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 62,784
Thanked: 223,703 Times
Default re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the SUVs Section. Thanks for sharing!
GTO is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 20th February 2019, 11:13   #12
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default Re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout


Updating the warranty table in the light of Skoda's new Shield Plus Programme.
MUX offers best bundled standard warranty. Best extended warranty cover is provided by Honda, Toyota and Skoda who offer periods beyond 5 years for extended peace of mind.

The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout-screen-shot-20190220-9.53.13-am.png
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (9) Thanks
Old 21st February 2019, 13:36   #13
BeantownThinker's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 280
Thanked: 460 Times
Default Re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout

A very well thought out and well researched satte-pe-satta (translation : seven-on-seven) write-up.

The 2 biggest issues I have with these so-called "7-seaters" are that

1. they fail to seat 7 adults comfortably
2. if all the "7-seats" are occupied then there is no space to store the luggage for these people inside the vehicle.

What is your take on these 2 aspects with the above 7 vehicles? Is there any true "7-seater" available in India today?
BeantownThinker is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 21st February 2019, 23:40   #14
vigneshkumar31's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Port Blair
Posts: 538
Thanked: 2,997 Times
Default The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout

Thanks Beantownthinker!

I agree with what you say that these are not comfortable 7 adults seaters. None of them.

The Safari has spoilt me for space. As I mentioned in the post somewhere 3rd row seating won't be a deal breaker for me although it's a requirement. Simply, my personal requirement is an SUV that can seat 5 adults comfortably with an additional permanent child seat taking one prime second row slot.

So these third rows comes in handy for retiring the smallest of the occupants into, probably with the 7th seat folded/empty or luggage bearing.

If I needed to move 7 grown people as a primary requirement none of these would cut it. I would be looking at MPVs then.

We have travelled in the past with all up 7 in an Innova and Xylo and a Lodgy with varying degrees of comfort. I remember an Evalia vaguely as being rather comfortable.

As mentioned in the post , i wish we also had all cars measured like this :

Does give an idea of how much luggage can be taken with all 7 seats up.

Last edited by vigneshkumar31 : 21st February 2019 at 23:43.
vigneshkumar31 is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 22nd February 2019, 02:17   #15
Team-BHP Support
BlackPearl's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Calcutta/London
Posts: 3,436
Thanked: 15,019 Times
Default Re: The definitive full-size 7-seater Premium SUV shootout

A detailed well researched thread and a very helpful one as well. After the Safari Storme, it is very difficult to justify the prices of these premium SUVs as I feel the only thing better in these vehicles over the Storme is the interior quality. The ride quality of the Storme is at par or better than most of these luxury SUVs.
I was looking for a better 4WD and recently test drove the MUX, Volvo XC60 and LR Evoque. After driving the Evoque the gear shift of the MUX felt terrible. Though I should not be comparing them, but I would prefer a manual gearbox over a slow shifting autobox.
BlackPearl is offline   (4) Thanks

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2021,
Proudly powered by E2E Networks