The SUV market is booming in the past decade. Buying SUV is now a consumer trend not merely in our country but also across the globe. If you are in the market for a good SUV for long-term use but hesitate on making the decision, here’s everything you should know about SUV cars in India including the SUV meaning, SUV car segments, SUV prices and beyond!.

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Whatis SUV

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SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle – a car classification that defines the big powerful vehicles with four-wheel drive that can be taken off-road. While the terms SUV means larger vehicles or Jeep-like cars, nowadays it can refer to smaller cars or crossovers that don’t even have four-wheel drive along with minimal capability of going off-road.

What is Suv

It is worth noting that the usage of the terms SUV may vary upon the countries. In some foreign markets, an SUV must be developed on a light truck chassis. However, many others define any vehicles with off-road design and features, high ground clearance to be an SUV. For the initiated, the Jeep Cherokee (XJ) was introduced in 1984 as the first true SUV in the world. It got a ladder-frame integrated body, thus making it a unibody SUV.

As for India, the SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) is a passenger vehicle that is designed to go over rough surfaces. Be it on the roads or off it, SUVs can gulp everything that one may throw at it.

A normal SUV can accommodate 5-7 people depending on the length of the vehicles. The SUV cars in India can be classified into five segments, namely sub-compact SUV, compact SUV, mid-size SUV, large-size SUV and full-size SUV.


Types of SUV Cars In India

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Sub-compact SUVs

Several years down the line, the Ford EcoSport was introduced in our country and was well-received by the Indian buyers. At that time, the Ford EcoSport was one of its kind that paved the way for the sub-4-metre compact SUV segment – one of the most competitive segments in the domestic auto industry. All SUVs with the length of under 4 metres are slotted into this segment. Some popular subcompact SUVs in India are Maruti Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300, Ford EcoSport, Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite Compact SUV, etc.

Ford EcoSport

Ford EcoSport was one of its kind that paved the way for the sub-4-metre compact SUV segment

Ford EcoSport was one of its kind that paved the way for the sub-4-metre compact SUV segment

Compact SUVs

On top of the small SUVs are the compact SUVs segment which is also storming the Indian market with some major players like Kia Seltos, Hyundai Creta, MG Hector, etc. Compact SUVs often provide the best of both worlds – the feel of a large SUV in compact design. The compact SUV is a class of small SUVs that is larger than mini-SUVs yet smaller than mid-size ones. The overall length of those cars are often more than 4 metre mark.

Kia Seltos

Compact SUVs often provide the best of both worlds – the feel of a large SUV in compact design.

Compact SUVs often provide the best of both worlds – the feel of a large SUV in compact design.

Mid-size SUVs

The segment of mid-size SUVs bridges the gap between compact and full-size SUVs in the range. As it is larger than a compact SUV, the mid-size SUV offers more seating space with more capabilities on the trips. The average mid-size SUV in India can haul 5-8 occupants.

Some of the mid-size SUVs can be available with a 4x4 drivetrain or not. SUVs that fall under this family include the Mahindra XUV500, Tata Harrier or MG Hector Plus, etc.

Mahindra XUV500

Some of the mid-size SUVs can be available with a 4x4 drivetrain or not.

Some of the mid-size SUVs can be available with a 4x4 drivetrain or not.

Large-size SUVs

If you are more interested in large and bulky SUVs, then the large-size SUV segment emerges. Of the compact SUVs has compactness as its Achilles heel, the large-size SUVs handle it with ease.

Large SUVs need brawny engines to drive their heavy weight. Automatic transmission will be preferred to avoid the hassle of shifting the gears. Large-size SUVs are often 7-seater SUVs in India and command premium prices. Some well-known large-size SUVs in India can be Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner and Honda CR-V, etc.

Toyota Fortuner

If you are more interested in large and bulky SUVs, then the large-size SUV segment emerges

If you are more interested in large and bulky SUVs, then the large-size SUV segment emerges

Full-size SUVs

The full-size SUVs have the largest size of the SUVs and they are commonly produced with extra room, extra power and extra luxury in mind. Full-size SUVs are normally sold with decent price tags. A few popular fully-grown SUVs in India are Toyota Land Cruiser or BMW X7, Mercedes-Benz GLS among others.


They are commonly produced with extra room, extra power and extra luxury in mind

They are commonly produced with extra room, extra power and extra luxury in mind

SUV vs Sedanand Hatchback

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Advantages of owning an SUV instead of hatchback/sedan

In recent times, SUVs have been selling like hot cakes in India. SUV cars become so popular that they even outperformed the sedan and hatchback counterparts, which previously stayed as the market’s forte. So what makes the SUVs more appealing?.

Gone are the days when people thought of SUVs as luxury drives for which they could never afford. Many new-age car buyers opt for SUVs over sedans and hatchbacks for many good reasons such as high level of utility, strong performance and good looks.

Gone are the days when people thought of SUVs as luxury drives for which they could never afford.
Gone are the days when people thought of SUVs as luxury drives for which they could never afford.
01 Confidence
Firstly, it’s said that driving in an SUV gives customers more confidence than driving a sedan or a hatchback. While most of the SUV cars in India are higher and heavier than a regular hatch/ sedan that in turns make the passengers feel much safer. Also, SUVs are usually equipped with a suite of safety kits. Other than that, with the high GC, SUVs give drivers a better view of the roads ahead, thus enhancing the confident feel.
02 Spaciousness
It is a no-brainer that the bigger the car is, the more interior space you may get. With larger sizes, the SUVs offer more cargo room than compact sedan and hatchbacks. In India, some sub-compact SUVs might compromise on the interior room to enjoy tax incentives for sub-4m vehicles. However, commonly produced SUVs still score better in terms of boot capacity to load more cargo for the weekend getaway than small urban cars like hatchbacks and sedans.
03 Capability
It’s no doubt that SUVs are more capable than sedan and hatchback currently in the market. When you look at the 5-seater cars like Tata Harrier, Hyundai Creta or the three-row models like Tata Safari, Toyota Fortuner SUV,they can drive you to your favourite summer trips much more easily than a Honda Civic. The higher ride height also helps SUV tackle any kind of driving conditions filled with speed-breakers like potholes, steep slope, etc. better than the sedans themselves.
04 Value for money proposition
On top of safety, spaciousness and capability, it comes down to the better value for money proposition that you might get from an SUV rather than sedan and hatchback. In general, SUVs might be pricier than the hatchback/ sedan stablemates, but it justifies by many good traits that will typically win out in the long run. More than that, carmakers in India are trying to optimize their SUV products with tasty prices in recent days, giving customers various affordable SUVs in India to choose from. That is attributed to the ever-increasing popularity of SUVs and crossovers in our country.

Disadvantages of owning an SUV

Along with the benefits, you will surely have to compromise a couple of things to own an SUV. What are they?

01 Price
Certainly, you should have to pay more for a bigger car. Buying an SUV will require you to have a big budget to avoid burning a hole in your pocket.
02 Running Costs
The fuel costs must be taken into consideration when you decide to own an SUV. Being big and heavy means that they require more fuel energy to run on the roads. It’s great that manufacturers are trying to curb this problem by using aerodynamic designs and lightweight structure for their vehicles, sedans are still hard to be defeated in terms of fuel efficiency.
03 Heavy and bulk
Navigating through the crowded streets in Mumbai may be cumbersome for an SUV. Finding a good parking area for your large SUVs can be an issue as well. Unless you have a big family with more than 5 people, all that bulk will be wasted. This time around, compact SUVs that are not much bigger than hatchbacks seem to be a steal.
04 Cost of Parts
Alongside the higher price stickers, the heavy weight of SUVs may put more strain on the vehicles’ spare parts, not to mention the extreme usage on many rough terrains. Therefore, SUVs may encounter faster wear and tear than regular sedan or hatchback models which peacefully run on the city. From this, SUVs can entail higher maintenance costs to replace the components. For your information, you can look at these top SUVs with low maintenance costs in India compiled by IndianAuto.

Price of SUVCars in India 2021

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With the great number of SUVs going on sale in India, the prices of SUV cars may vary across the segment. You can easily find good SUV cars under 10 lakh while some others can cost you an arm and a leg at the same time. On average, with a roughly Rs 12 – 15 lakh budget, you can be an SUV owner surely.

At the moment, the Renault Kiger which comes from the subcompact SUV segment is the cheapest SUV car in India with the price starting from Rs 5.45 lakh*. Whereas the most expensive SUV car title belongs to the Rolls Royce Cullinan - one of the best luxury SUVs in India that is on sale at the price of Rs 6.95 crore*.

Price of SUV Cars in India 2021

The range of Hyundai SUVs include four models including the Hyundai Venue, Hyundai Creta, Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Kona Electric with the prices ranging from Rs 6.86 – 23.94 lakh*.

The prices of Tata SUV start from Rs 7.09 – 21.45 lakh. The most affordable SUV from Tata is the Tata Nexon (Rs 7.09 – 12.79 lakh*) while the new Tata Safari (Rs 14.69 – 21.45 lakh*) is the most expensive offering.

Kia has just two players in the SUV segment – the Kia Sonet and Kia Seltos with the prices of Rs 6.79 – 13.19 lakh* and Rs 9.89 – 17.45 lakh*, respectively.

Mahindra currently has six models going on sale in the SUV department. The cheapest Mahindra SUV is the XUV300 that can be bought with the price tags of Rs 7.95 – 12.70 lakh*, making it one of the best SUVs under 10 lakhs. Mahindra Alturas G4 is the highest-priced Mahindra SUV car with the prices of Rs 28.73 – 31.73 lakh*.

*Note: All prices are ex-showroom


Top Best-Selling SUV Cars in India 2020

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Although 2020 was a challenging year for the Indian auto market, the SUV segment saw the rising heat in the latter half of the year. The list of top best selling SUVs in India 2020 has been released with the new Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos takes the top honours.

While the Hyundai Creta registers as the highest-selling SUV car in India with 96,989 units sold in CY2020, the Kia Seltos found 96,932 takers in the same period. The Maruti Vitara Brezza was the third best-selling SUV in India with 83,666 sales units, followed by the Hyundai Venue, Mahindra Bolero, Tata Nexon and Kia Sonet, respectively.

  • Rank1
  • ModelHyundai Creta
  • CY202096,989
  • CY201999,736
  • Growth (%)-2.8
  • Rank2
  • ModelKia Seltos
  • CY202096,932
  • CY201945,494
  • Growth (%)113.1
  • Rank3
  • ModelMaruti Vitara Brezza
  • CY202083,666
  • CY20191,27,094
  • Growth (%)-34.2
  • Rank4
  • ModelHyundai Venue
  • CY202082,428
  • CY201970,443
  • Growth (%)17.0
  • Rank5
  • ModelMahindra Bolero
  • CY202055,433
  • CY201969,656
  • Growth (%)-20.4
  • Rank6
  • ModelTata Nexon
  • CY202048,842
  • CY201949,312
  • Growth (%)-10
  • Rank7
  • ModelKia Sonet
  • CY202038,363
  • CY20190
  • Growth (%)-/-
  • Rank8
  • ModelMahindra XUV300
  • CY202032,197
  • CY201940,197
  • Growth (%)-19.9
  • Rank9
  • ModelMahindra Scorpio
  • CY202031,240
  • CY201946,725
  • Growth (%)-33.1
  • Rank10
  • ModelFord EcoSport
  • CY202027,181
  • CY201939,989
  • Growth (%)-32.0
Source: Autopunditz

Best-Selling SUV brands in India 2020

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Although the competition in the SUV segment is high, it couldn’t stop the auto brands from plunging into this bandwagon. Here’s a look at the best-selling SUV brands in India 2020 and except for Kia Motors, the other names are so familiar.


It’s the country’s second-largest carmaker Hyundai that sold the highest number of SUVs in 2020. Hyundai SUVs have dominated the segment’s sales chart with over 1.8 lakh units sold last year. Interestingly, the 2020 Hyundai Creta contributed over 50% to the brand’s total sales, followed by the Hyundai Venue sub-compact SUV sibling.

Hyundai Creta

Hyundai Creta

Contributed over 50% to the brand's total sales

Hyundai Venue

Was the second largest-selling Hyundai car in Indian in 2020.

Compact SUVs often provide the best of both worlds – the feel of a large SUV in compact design

Kia Motors

Be it a newcomer, Kia made us awestruck by how the company established a good reputation in the SUV space. With only two Kia SUVs going on sale, it’s brilliant that the brand was the second largest-selling SUV brand in our country last year.


Mahindra & Mahindra is well-known for its range of competent off-road focused utility vehicles. With the total sales figure of 1,30,000 units, Mahindra comes third in the list of best-selling SUV makers in India in 2020 and will introduce new upcoming Mahindra SUVs to compete with other brands in the SUV market.

Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki mainly focuses on the small cars segment so no wonder, it didn’t take the top spot on the ranking of highest-selling SUV brands. However, with 99,000 units registered in the year of 2020, Maruti Suzuki humbly comes at fourth in the list. The newly-updated Maruti Vitara Brezza was also the top-selling subcompact SUV in India in 2020.

Maruti Suzuki

Tata Motors

Tata witnessed a significant growth in terms of sales last year. The popular Tata SUVs like Tata Nexon, Tata Harrier help the brand gain good traction in the Indian market. In 2020, Tata registered 63,000 units of SUV cars in India, which makes it one of the best-selling SUV brands in India 2020. The brand will launch more upcoming Tata SUVs in the market in the next 24 months.


01 How popular is SUV car in India?

SUV cars in India are increasingly more popular than that in the past. With buying SUVs being a global trend, we’ve seen SUVs a common sight on the Indian roads these days.

Among all body types, SUV is the most practical car when it comes to a people carrier compared with a similarly-sized sedan. SUV has more cabin space, is easily customisable, easier egress and ingress and better capability on the different driving situations.

02 What is the difference between a 4x4 and an SUV?

SUVs are not always 4x4. Some SUVs use two-wheel drive that means the engine power is only delivered to the front or the rear two wheels of the model. Some SUVs might get an all-wheel-drive system. 4x4 are all cars that transmit power to four wheels.

In general, an SUV refers to a car-like vehicle or hatchback with a raised suspension. A true 4X4 will likely have full 4 wheel drive and a two ratio gearbox probably. SUV will often also have large, chunky tyres and driver aids for off-road prowess.

03 What is the difference between a crossover and an SUV?

SUVs are usually built to do off-road. These vehicles are often equipped with top-notch tech and generally are RWD. They are normally developed on a ladder on frame chassis. Simply put, this chassis has 2 long metal beams that are attached with cross members for a tough and rigid body construction.

Crossovers are more like a vehicle that stands between an SUV and a beefed-up hatch. Crossovers often lack the finesse that a proper SUV offers. Most crossovers come with a unibody construction or have a monocoque chassis.

In recent days, the so-called SUVs are actually a marketing stunt and many models like Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, MG Hector, Tata Harrier, etc. are getting unibody construction.

Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra Marazzo, Ford Endeavour are based on the ladder-on-frame construction.

Read more: SUV vs Crossover vs Minivan

04 What is the SUV of the year 2020?

Hyundai Venue was awarded the Indian Car of The Year Prize (ICOTY) for 2020. Our IndianAuto & IndianAutosBlog Annual Car Awards honours the Mahindra Thar as the SUV of the year 2020.

05 What are the lowest-priced SUV cars in India?

Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite, Hyundai Venue, Maruti Vitara Brezza are currently the lowest-priced SUV cars in India.

Read more: 5 Cheapest Automatic SUVs of India

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