It's the month of December, time to look back and appreciate the things that made the year 2017 an exciting one. For Indian motor enthusiasts, the year brought a lot of cheer as carmakers pitted their wits in new segments. Among them, the most popular and most sought-after segment in India was the compact SUV.
The year 2017 saw the arrival of new compact SUVs including Tata Motors's maiden foray in the segment, Nexon, as well as iconic American SUV maker Jeep's most affordable Compass SUV.
Here we list the best compact SUVs of 2017 in India from different carmakers.
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift
German car-maker Mercedes-Benz launched the facelift version of its smallest SUV, GLA, in India in July. The updated version of GLA is priced at Rs 30.65 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Mercedes-Benz India reduced the prices of GLA in its updated version, thanks to GST. The company passed on the benefits to customers and the new GLA was cheaper by approximately Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.
Unveiled internationally in January 2017 at the Detroit Motor Show, the new GLA comes with a tweaked bumper and a new grille with chain-link chrome elements. The headlights are now LED units instead of the earlier bi-xenon lamps. The slightly reworked LED tail lamps and 18-inch wheels are the other notable changes on the exterior.
The SUV is powered by the same set of engines. The 2.2-litre diesel motor produces a maximum output of 135bhp and a torque of 300Nm in FWD version while the same mill develops 168bhp and 350Nm of torque in a 4x4 version. The 2.0-litre petrol mill belts out 182bhp and 300Nm of torque. Both the mills come mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
The Compass SUV from iconic brand Jeep was one of the highly anticipated launches of the year. Jeep launched Compass in the country on July 31 with a price tag starting at Rs 14.95 lakh for the base model and Rs 20.65 lakh for the top-end variant.
With such a price tag, Jeep surprised us all. A few weeks after the launch, Compass took the reins heralding a change in fortunes for the company in India. The success of Compass helped FCA to achieve 1.16 percent market share in the first half of the fiscal (April-September 2017) in the UV segment.
However, with the GST cess added, the Compass range prices went up and it now starts at Rs 15.16 lakh for the petrol Sport variant. Thereafter, it goes all the way up to Rs 21.37 lakh (up from Rs 20.65 lakh) for the top-of-the-line diesel Limited 4x4 (O) variant. The prices will go up again in January 2018 by 2 to 4 percent, except for the entry-level variant.
Jeep Compass is offered mainly in three variants — Sport, Longitude, Limited — and exclusive sub-variants for diesel models — Longitude (O) and Limited (O). Under the hood, the new Compass packs a 2.0-litre MultiJet diesel engine and a 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo petrol engine options. The diesel mill develops 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
On the other hand, the petrol mill belts out 160 hp. A six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic are also offered with the petrol mill.
Then came Nexon, marking Tata Motors' entry into the growing compact SUV segment. Nexon — the first-ever compact SUV of Tata -- was launched in India on September 21. Priced starting at Rs 5.85 lakh, Tata Nexon is the fourth model of the company embodying the Impact design language. The prices of Nexon will go up in January 2018.
Available in four variants – XE, XM, XT and XZ+ — Tata Nexon comes in five colour options: Vermont Red, Moroccan Blue, Seattle Silver, Glasgow Grey and Calgary White.
Under the bonnet of Nexon is a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the Revotron series or a 1.5-litre diesel mill from the Revotorq series. Both the engines come mated to six-speed manual transmission.
The 1,198cc three-cylinder petrol mill develops 108.5bhp at 5,000rpm and 170Nm of torque at 2,000-4,000rpm. The 1,496cc four-cylinder diesel mill churns out 108.5bhp at 3,750rpm and 260Nm or torque at 1,500-2,750rpm.
New Ford EcoSport
Ford had launched the updated version of its EcoSport in India on November 9. EcoSport, a pioneer in India's compact SUV segment, remained dominant following its early entrance for quite a long time. The EcoSport managed to find takers even with the arrival of new entrants in the market. The company then updated the compact SUV this year.
The new EcoSport is currently priced in the range of Rs 7.31 lakh to Rs 10.67 lakh. The prices will go up by Rs 30,000 in January 2018.
The new EcoSport's front fascia is a blend of bigger SUVs of Ford such as Kuga and Edge. It sports a one-piece hexagonal grille replacing the split grille. The new grille houses two horizontal chrome slats, while the headlamps, fog lamps and the front bumper have been tweaked. The side profile remains untouched barring new alloy wheels.
The highlight under the hood is the all-new Dragon series petrol engine. The current 1.5-litre Ti-VCT has been replaced with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit. The new mill develops 123hp at 6,500rpm and 150Nm at 4,500rpm and can be mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic.
The diesel mill, on the other hand, is the same four-cylinder turbodiesel which develops 99bhp and 205Nm. The transmission is a five-speed manual as standard.
Lexus India is all set to add a fourth model to its portfolio. The company unveiled NX300h hybrid SUV on November 17 which will go on sale in January 2018. Lexus India will also announce the price of its new entry-level SUV in January.
Lexus NX300h will be available in India in two variants – F Sport and Luxury models. It comes with the signature spindle grille of the Lexus. It also boasts of panoramic roof, LED triple-projector-beam headlamps and uniquely styled front and rear section to make a statement on the road. Inspired by the facets of a cut gemstone, new LED tail lamps are just one of the many details that set NX apart.
The new SUV flaunts all-wheel drive and a new adaptive suspension. The NX300h is powered by a 2.5 litre, 4-cylinder in-line engine, which produces 194hp of max power, delivering an ARAI certified mileage of 18.32kmpl.