Top SUVs we drove recently and their Pros & Cons – Times of India

Top SUVs we drove recently and their Pros & Cons - Times of India

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We are more than halfway through 2023 and this year has not disappointed thus far when it comes to exciting happenings in the automotive sphere. The month of July, especially, had a lot in store for us. It was filled with many launches and drive events, giving us a chance to experience new products. The car space had many new additions at various price points and the SUV body style was dominating once again. Let us take a look at some of the amazing cars we drove in July 2023.

July recap: From Kia Seltos to Hyundai Exter | TOI Auto

Audi Q8 e-tron

Audi Q8 e-tron

Audi Q8 e-tron

Audi’s first attempt at mass-producing an EV was the e-tron, a luxury SUV, running on battery power alone. Fast forward to the year 2023 and we find ourselves in front of the updated version which not only looks different and has more features but also has a new name. Now, the vehicle is called the Q8 e-tron to show that it sits in the same echelon as the internal combustion engine-powered Q8 SUV. The most eye-catching update to the EV is the presence of a light bar between the headlights. It shines down light on the new, flat Audi logo and immediately separates the new model from the old one. Available as both an SUV and a Sportback, the Q8 e-tron we drove came with a large 114 kWh battery pack. This ginormous battery allows the SUV to have a claimed range of 600 km (WLTP). This figure is significantly higher than that of the outgoing model. On top of this, the Q8 e-tron’s twin motor setup can produce a peak power and torque output of 402 hp and 664 Nm, respectively. The cabin is a luxurious space to be in, whether you are sitting at the front or at the back. There are three different displays on the front dashboard, one for the instrument cluster, one for the infotainment and one for the climate control.

Hyundai Exter

Hyundai Exter

Hyundai Exter

If you want a compact but feature-loaded option, the Hyundai Exter could be of interest to you. It is the latest and smallest SUV from the South Korean carmaker and has a starting price of Rs 6 lakh ex-showroom. Despite being just 3815 mm long, the boxy and upright stance of the Exter gives it an SUV-like appeal. Since this is a Hyundai car, it comes packed to the gills with features. Inside the cabin is a connected island that houses the 8.0-inch touchscreen and the digital MID. It also gets wireless charging, a voice-enabled sunroof and footwell lighting. Powering the Exter is a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, petrol engine that produces 81.8 hp of power and 113.8 Nm of torque. It even has a respectable claimed fuel efficiency figure of 19.4 kmpl but If you are looking for something mileagical, then there is a factory-fitted CNG option as well which has a claimed efficiency figure of 27 km/kg. While it is no surprise that the Exter is offered with a 5-speed manual and an AMT, Hyundai did surprise us by adding paddle shifters to the automatic version. This aspect surely adds a bit more dynamism to the driving experience of this micro SUV.

Honda Elevate

Honda Elevate

Honda Elevate

Elevate is Honda’s contender in the popular mid-size SUV segment and to say that the company has been late to the party, would be an understatement. On top of this, the Elevate does not really stand out when you look at the features and specifications on paper. However, the Japanese carmaker has stated that it wants to target a specific audience with its product. The target customers include people in their 30s or young families looking for a smartelligent option – something that covers all the basics and is also a quality offering. You only get one engine and two gearbox options with the Elevate but the engine in question is the brilliant, roartastic 1.5-litre iVTEC, petrol which has been seen in the Honda City as well. This engine might only produce 119.3 hp and 145 Nm, but it does rev all the way to the red line like a performance vehicle. You get a comfortable ride experience and Honda Sensing ADAS features are on board as well. Sure, there are no fancy features like a panoramic sunroof, 360 degree camera and powered seats but if you are someone that is not too mad about these features, the Elevate could be a great pick, should the company price it right.

2023 Kia Seltos

2023 Kia Seltos

2023 Kia Seltos

Probably one of the most awaited vehicles on this list, the Seltos had long been due for a facelift. Launched originally in 2019, Seltos was Kia’s introduction to the Indian market. While the SUV has been very popular and successful, it did not get any major updates in the last few years. However, all of that changes now. With the Seltos facelift, the designers at Kia have managed to make the SUV look even more aggressive with the redesigned grille, headlamp and bumper design. The dashboard inside the cabin has also been given a cleaner look, making it look like a premium and well-put-together product. Just like before, there are a host of engine and gearbox options to choose from, including the torquetastic 1.5-litre diesel motor as Kia continues to be one of the few manufacturers to still offer diesel engines. However, what we drove was the super fun and powerful 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine that came paired with a 7-speed DCT. While the engine had no trouble munching miles on the highway, it was the softer suspension setup that impressed us more. It soaks in the bumps better than the previous model while not sacrificing too much on handling capabilities. Level 2 ADAS has been added to the mix as well and it works like a charm. Altogether, Kia has managed to produce another value-for-money product that would be hard to look past.

Maruti Suzuki Invicto

Maruti Suzuki Invicto

Maruti Suzuki Invicto

Born out of the Maruti Suzuki and Toyota partnership, the Invicto is the last vehicle on our list. The Invicto is the latest offering from Maruti Suzuki and is a rebadged version of the Toyota Innova Hycross hybrid MPV. It is now the most expensive vehicle in the Maruti Suzuki stable and is being sold through the Nexa dealerships. With three rows and 7 or 8-seater configurations on offer, this is one carvacious offering. It only comes with the 2.0-litre petrol engine with a hybrid setup that is good for 183.7 hp and 206 Nm. Being a hybrid, the main highlight is the claimed mileage of 23.24 kmpl. It drives well and provides a comfortable ride to the occupants for sure. However, compared to the Innova Hycross, it does have some things that it misses out on. It settles for 17-inch alloy wheels instead of 18, there are no Ottoman seats for the second row passengers and no ADAS as well. But if you are someone who does not need those specific features, the Invicto can prove to be a cheaper alternative to the Innova Hycross and one that you can probably get your hands on much quicker as well since the Toyota offering usually has a long waiting period.



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