Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are cars which are used primarily for off-roading and come with Four Wheel Drive (FWD) capabilities. On the other hand, Multi Utility Vehicles (MUVs) are passenger carriers which can be used for urban driving, long drives and little bit of off-roading as well. Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) are more or less similar to MUVs but they mainly serve as large family cars and come with seating capacity for five adults. In India, petrol and diesel powered SUVs, MUVs and MPVs are available.

A typical SUV in India is characterised by a robust body, tremendous space and decent off-roading capabilities. Broadly speaking, such robust vehicles are not safe for inexperienced drivers. SUVs are not as quick as sedans or hatchbacks, so these vehicles will not offer you the acceleration of a small car but their off-roading and safety capabilities make up for that easily.

What are the different segments among SUVs?

SUVs in India are broadly classified into four categories, viz. compact, full-sized, premium, and luxury SUVs. A SUV that is built to seat only 5 occupants, does not offer much cargo space and boasts of decent fuel efficiency is placed in the compact SUV segment. The length of a compact SUV, which is priced around Rs. 5-7 lacs, is less than 4 metre, thus making it similar to an oversized hatchback with slight off-roading capabilities.

Full-sized SUVs measure over 4 metre in length, with sufficient space to seat 7-8 passengers. These are replete with a host of features and are available in 4X2 and 4X4 configurations that help them traverse the worst of terrains with utmost ease. The vehicles available in this segment are largely characterised by a host of safety features, tremendous space and comfort levels of a mid-sized sedan. However, you will have to compromise on mileage while purchasing a full-sized SUV, which is priced Rs. 8-13 lacs, as these are well known for guzzling fuel.

Next in line is a premium SUV, which is equal to a standard full-sized SUV in size but has a host of premium features that make it at par with a premium sedan in terms of comfort. These are the preferred choice of those who wish to buy a plush vehicle that is quite robust and can handle rough driving conditions. Such vehicles are usually priced approximately Rs. 14-21 lacs and boast of a mix of unmatched off-roading capabilities and excellent passenger comfort and convenience features.

This segment is topped off by luxury SUVs that are priced higher than Rs. 22 lacs in India. The entry level models in this segment have turned around the fortunes of car makers in the country as these allow buyers to associate themselves with a renowned brand name and tackle rough terrains in the lap of luxury.

Which demographics do SUVs, MPVs and MUVs appeal to?

A SUV is favoured by individuals who are interested in undertaking long journeys regularly and need a robust vehicle that can handle adverse conditions with utmost ease. However, people who live in cities but embark on weekend trips to nearby hill stations etc. also prefer these vehicles. On the other hand, an MPV is the vehicle of choice for large families that want a spacious car which can provide comfort features of a sedan and safety of a SUV. MUVs, on the other hand, can easily seat 7-8 occupants, which make them the best choice for a cab with decent convenience features.

What are the standard safety features of SUVs that differentiate them from other vehicles?

SUVs offers higher ground clearance and are heavier than all other cars which is an advantage in case of a crash. Almost every SUV these days comes with Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) as a standard feature. This feature takes care of conditions that might lead to roll-over that, considering the bulk and size of a SUV, can result in a fatal accident. This feature can restrain acceleration and automatically apply anti-lock brakes in case the driver loses control. Usually, these cars come with side curtain airbags which deploy downwards from the ceiling to absorb the side impact and, in case of roll-over, keep the occupants inside the vehicle. These cars also have roll-over prevention feature as a protocol to sense the looming roll-over and activates the precautionary ESP.

SUV Cars