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Rs 20-30 lakh budget: Most suitable SUV for a large family

I had almost gone ahead with the Mahindra XUV700 booking but avoided rushing into a decision.

BHPian dh.harshal recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I had been driving Vento1.2 TSI DSG Highline for 5 years which we sold recently. We have a Toyota Etios Liva GD manual at home, which is usually driven by my dad.

I've been searching for my perfect drive for the last 3-4 months.

Below are some of the expectations:

  • Automatic (should be at least decent if not fun, not dull/sluggish transmission)
  • C-SUV (no Sedan as roads near my hometown are horrible, it's a hilly area)
  • Comfortably sit 4 Adults + 1 infant in Baby Car seat (70% of time single occupant, 30% of time all 5 occupants)
  • No compromise of Safety (minimum 6 airbags, good structural build & regular Active & passive safety features like ESP/ABD)
  • Offer good suspension & ground clearance (needs to be driven on some bad patches - 80% in B2B Mumbai traffic, 20% highway rides)
  • Should include essential & practical features (TPMS, 360 Camera, descent infotainment, Android Auto/Apple Carplay)
  • Don't care much about other Gizmos (like a bigger sunroof or Voice commands, but then it should justify the price with other driving characteristics)

Usual running:

Monthly about 1500Km (1000km in City + 500km on highway/long trips)

Options considered:

  • Kia Seltos - It actually meets most of the requirements bang on, But the safety rating scares me given a baby will travel along for almost 30% of the time.
  • Hyundai Creta - Safety doubts again and look ugly to my family. Outrightly rejected.
  • Kushaq/Taigun - Fun to drive & perfect upgrade from my Vento 1.2 TSi DSG to 1.5 TSI DSG combo. However, the quality/ fit & finish is no match to old Vento, forget the competition. Also, cannot seat 2 adults along with one baby car seat.
  • MG Astor - Another car that meets most of the criteria. My wife & I both loved the design and interiors. It's descent to drive with TC gearbox & turbo engine. But the rear-seat is again not wide enough, for 2 adults & baby seats.
  • XUV700 - Meets almost all the expectations. But I did not feel an instant connection with the car for me to spend 28 Lakhs (AX7 L AWD AT). I had that instant umbilical connection with Vento (rather TSI + DSG combo). Also, little hesitant due to M&M's history of initial batches facing issues.
  • Harrier/Safari - Scores in drive/handling, but loses in material quality/fit & finish. Then there are those countless issues being reports of owner's groups.
  • Jeep Compass - Absolutely loved the drivings manners, but both the gearboxes are slow to react. Also, owners are reporting many small fitment & infotainment issues.
  • MG Hector - Again another good all-rounder like Seltos, but CVT is gearbox is linear, not much fun. Also, the mileage reported is as low as 6-7 km/l for petrol auto.

Timelines:

Currently working from home, returning to work mostly around February. Also, due to the newborn, no car trips until March.

My question to the experts:

  1. Which car would you choose in my position?
  2. Shall I wait until January to make a decision?

By then:

  • Hector might introduce Diesel Automatic?
  • Jeep might have yer end discounts?
  • Initial niggles of XUV700 might get solved, but we will have a price increase & a long waiting period?
  • Harrier & Safari might get decent upgrades?
  • Any other cars insights?

I was almost booking XUV700 AX7 L AWD, but then my rational brain took over. I feel, M&M has played it brilliantly to drive the frenzy around the car & I feel, I'm rushing my decision. Again, I'm okay to book the XUV700 on 7th October, if the experts here feel that's the right choice.

Please help solve my dilemma.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Two adults & a baby seat at the rear means you need space. Cars like the Seltos, Compass etc. won't cut it.

Buy a better car, keep it for longer and it'll work out cheaper. If I were in your position, I'd wait to take a long TD of the XUV700 (but give Mahindra time to sort out niggles), the next-gen Tucson and also the Tata Safari (every year you wait for a Tata, the better the product gets).

If you are open to pre-owned, you could get an "almost new" Kodiaq (spectacular crossover), Endeavour 3.2L (punches way above its weight) & Alturas G4 (quite competent). Follow our used car checklist (including service history, checking past insurance claims etc.), get an extended warranty & your risk is almost zero.

Put your data into an excel sheet for analysis, but the actual decision should happen only after long test drives.

Here's what BHPian abhishek46 had to say on the matter:

Buying a car with an excel sheet comparison is a really tough ask.

Drive all these options again and again, if possible under the same driving route and decide.

It's also better if you wait it out for a few months.

By the time, Kushaq/Taigun's teething issues would have been resolved. The XUV700 would have settled & any potential teething issues would have been taken care of.

Here's what BHPian Axe77 had to say on the matter:

Whether you can wait is really a personal call based on your needs. I think size is relevant and cars like Kushaq / Astor etc are just a tad too small for your family, especially for touring.

My top picks for you from that list (from readily available options) are:

  1. XUV 7OO diesel A/T AX7- (I don’t think waiting till Jan can make that much of a difference in sorting initial niggles - if you’re going to go the waiting route then you should be prepared to defer this to the end of 2022 / early 2023 for it to matter)
  2. Toyota Innova Crysta Diesel A/T. No better product for peace of mind ownership for a large-ish family (roomy for 2 kids while travelling to hometown, safe car, etc).

Expanding further from the above:

  1. Compass diesel A/T (you need to assess whether it is spacious enough - otherwise a brilliantly engineered premium-feeling car)
  2. Next-gen Hyundai Tucson. (Not sure when in 2022 it’ll come through - only if you can wait for it)

Outside contenders:

  1. Used Fortuner; used Kodiaq diesel if you have the appetite for VAG. I feel you will struggle to sell a second owned Alturas / MUX / Endeavour whenever you want to sell it. Not worth it when you can get a Fortuner or similar more acceptable alternative in the used market.
  2. Hector petrol A/T.
  3. Used current-gen Tucson too perhaps if it gets you a very capable car, saves you a ton of money not to mention saves you the annoying beep at 120 km/h.

If choosing between Tata and M&M in this segment I would somehow trust M&M more based on many Tata issues I’ve read. It’s really slim differences perhaps since M&M isn’t gold either but my perception is M&M will be more responsive to customer grievances.

Good luck!

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