If it is the year of the small car at the Delhi Auto Expo for the common man, for the truly discerning and moneyed auto enthusiast, it is the year of the "crossover" car, particularly the crossover sports utility vehicle (SUV).
A crossover SUV is a car that is lighter, more fuel efficient and generally more car-like in nature than a full-fledged SUV.
Full-fledged SUVs are typically modeled on trucks and are less refined than cars.
In the very first day of the 9th Delhi Auto Expo, three crossover cars were announced for their India launches. General Motors launched the Captiva, Mitsubishi unveiled the Outlander and Maruti provided a teaser on its SX4 crossover.
While the Captiva would be priced at Rs 17.4 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, the Outlander and the SX4 crossover are yet to be priced. The Outlander is available in the US at a starting price of $21,400 (Rs 8,45,300). In the same market, the SX4 is available for $14,770 (Rs 5,83,415).
Speaking at the unveiling of the Outlander, Ravi Santhanam, MD, Hindustan Motors India, said, "The SUV has highly car-like features, where you can change from a two-wheel to a four-wheel drive with a dial. It has the comforts of a high-end car and the power and drive of an SUV."
Other carmakers too feel that the time for the crossover has arrived in India. "There is major excitement about crossover vehicles in India," said IV Rao, executive director, Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), who was responsible in part for designing Suzuki's A-Star concept vehicle. The A-Star is being touted by Suzuki as having Indian design elements.