There are so many SUVs in our country that one would probably whiz past you every few seconds while walking down the street. While almost every major automaker provides hatchbacks and sedans as well, it is their respective SUV range that really draws in the big bucks. So, it is not entirely shocking to see sales of these vehicles reaching some really lofty levels. Despite this, some companies have been finding semiconductor shortages and rising input costs to be a constant harbinger of trouble. Having said that, there are still brands that have had a pretty sweet March 2021 when it comes to the sales of their SUVs. Here are the top 5 from last month…
1. Hyundai Creta
Of course! What would be a ‘top 5 best-selling SUVs’ list if it didn’t have the Hyundai Creta in it? The Creta has been on sale in India since 2015 and received a major update in 2020. With 12,640 units sold in March 2021, the Creta is by far the most successful of all SUVs in the market right now. For context, the best-selling car in the country last month was the Maruti Suzuki Swift, totaling 21,714 units. The Hyundai Creta retails for between Rs 10.00 Lakh and Rs 17.54 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), with five different trim levels available.
Inside, the Hyundai Creta gets plenty of features to keep buyers quite happy on their road trips. The extensive equipment list includes a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, automatic climate control, wireless charging, LED ambient lighting, plus a 10.25-inch touch-infotainment system with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. The SUV also packs safety features like Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Assist Control, ISOFIX anchor points, parking sensors with a rearview camera, and up to 6 airbags.
The Hyundai Creta can be powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel, a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated petrol four-popper, or a 1.4-liter turbo-petrol. Among these, the oil burner makes 113hp and 250Nm, the naturally-aspirated petrol unit produces 113hp and 144Nm, while the turbo-petrol is good for 138hp and 242Nm. Depending on the engine, the Creta can be equipped with a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed automatic, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or a CVT. While its exterior styling may divide opinions, the Hyundai Creta’s popularity cannot be questioned.
2. Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Selling an impressive 11,274 units, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza was the second-best-selling SUV in March 2021. The Vitara Brezza, while quite an older design compared to the new Creta, is definitely more affordable. It has a price tag ranging between Rs 7.39 Lakh to Rs 11.20 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Available in four trim levels, the Vitara Brezza boasts a distinctive but well-liked boxy exterior styling. Going along with those two factors is the extensive Maruti Suzuki network that makes buying and owning a Vitara Brezza is quite a breezy affair.
While the exterior of the Vitara Brezza fares well, the same cannot be said about its interior design. Given the competition in the segment, the Brezza’s interior looks bland and pretty uninspiring. The quality of plastics isn’t as good as in the Creta, though the latter is far more expensive and larger. However, there is a decent amount of equipment to be found in the range-topping variant of the Vitara Brezza. The list includes items such as a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, auto-folding door mirrors, push-button start, cruise control, automatic climate control, and automatic windscreen wipers. Meanwhile, some of the Brezza’s safety features include dual front airbags, Hill Hold Assist, ABS with EBD, and a 4-star Global NCAP safety rating.
Under the hood of the Vitara Brezza is a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated petrol engine that produces 103hp and 138Nm of torque. The BS6-compliant unit comes mated to a either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic. While some rivals offer more powertrain options than the Vitara Brezza, few can match this Maruti’s overall appeal.
3. Hyundai Venue
With two of the five best-selling SUVs in March 2021 being Hyundais, the Korean auto major clearly enjoys a healthy market share. The Venue, the smallest SUV from Hyundai in India, sold 10,722 units last month. Since it is a subcompact crossover, the Venue fits somewhat in the same category as the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. As such, it is priced from Rs 6.87 Lakh to Rs 11.67 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Furthermore, while the design of the Venue is quirky and a bit “out there”, it doesn’t look that bad on a car this size. And just like its Creta sibling, the Hyundai Venue is offered in about five different variants.
The interior of the Hyundai Venue gets quite a lot more features than the Vitara Brezza. For example, there is a cooled glovebox, an electric sunroof, paddle shifters, and a wireless charging pad. However, there are also regular things such as keyless entry with push-button start, automatic climate control, cruise control, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but a larger 8-inch infotainment touchscreen instead of the Maruti’s 7-inch unit. On the safety front, the Venue scores Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill Assist Control, and up to 6 airbags on top variants.
Just like with the Creta, the Hyundai Venue is also available with up to three engine options. There is a 1.5-liter turbo-diesel with 113hp, a 1.2-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol with 82hp, and a 1.0-liter turbo-petrol with 118hp. In terms of gearboxes, customers can choose between a 5-speed or 6-speed manual, a 6-speed AMT, a 6-speed automatic, or a 7-speed dual-clutch. It is this range of different powertrain choices that makes the Hyundai Venue so appealing to many buyers.
4. Kia Seltos
Moving a total of 10,557 units, the Seltos was Kia’s best-selling model in India in March 2021. With prices varying between Rs 9.89 Lakh and Rs 17.65 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is in the same segment as the Hyundai Creta. Compared to the awkward Creta, Kia has designed the Seltos to look modern and sporty without making it seem controversial. Moreover, the Seltos has a more upright stance that is more akin to an SUV than a soft, curvy crossover.
Meanwhile, the interior of the Kia Seltos has almost all the bells & whistles that one would want from an SUV in this segment. Taking center stage is a 10.25-inch touch-infotainment system with thick bezels plus voice recognition and Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. Moreover, the Seltos also gets you a Bose premium audio system, a head-up display, an air purifier, wireless charging, power-adjustable & ventilated front seats, automatic climate control, and an electric sunroof. Safety features of the Seltos include 6 airbags, a Blind View Monitor, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, a Tire Pressure Monitor, and four disc brakes with ABS and EBD.
Mechanically, the Kia Seltos is identical to the Hyundai Creta. This means that you get the same engine and gearbox options as the Hyundai. There is a 113hp a 1.5-liter naturally-aspirated petrol, a 113hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel, and a 138hp 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo-petrol. Transmissions on the Seltos are the same as well – a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed automatic, a CVT, and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
5. Mahindra Bolero
Selling 8,905 units, the Mahindra Bolero was the fifth best-selling SUV in the country last month. This one isn’t much of a shocker to anyone that knows about the Bolero. It has consistently remained one of the most successful utilitarian vehicles in India for the past several years! Even during the Covid-19-induced turbulence in 2020, Mahindra still managed to move several units of the Bolero without much trouble. Of course, unlike some other SUVs from the automaker’s stable, the Bolero is not necessarily the first pick of any private buyers.
Starting from Rs 7.95 Lakh and Rs 8.94 Lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the Bolero is the only body-on-frame SUV on this list. There are three variants on sale, though all come with a pretty rudimentary interior and features list. While the Bolero does get power windows and keyless entry, you will have to make do with a pretty basic audio system (though it does have Bluetooth, USB & AUX connectivity) and manual air-conditioning. Unlike some of Mahindra’s most up-to-date models, the Bolero’s safety equipment leaves much to be desired. Its most noteworthy features here include central locking, ABS, and a driver’s-side airbag.
The Bolero is powered by a BS6-compliant 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that generates 75hp and 210Nm of torque. Moreover, the rear-wheel-driven Mahindra Bolero is only available with 5-speed manual gearbox. Despite all of its apparent shortcomings (when compared to the rest of the cars on this list), the Bolero is unlikely to break down if it encounters rough terrain.