Comfortable & automatic SUV options for long trips for a VW Polo owner
Based on my requirements, I have shortlisted the Jeep Compass, Tata Harrier and Hyundai Tucson.
BHPian akshye recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
Dear kith and kin,
I currently own VW Polo 1.0 TSI MT. It’s the only car in my garage. While it serves the purpose, it’s not a car for family road trips – mainly due to lack of rear legroom. Although there are only two and a half occupants in the car, most of the time for road trips, we have issues with long journeys.
My wife doesn’t sit in the rear seat due to lack of legroom, and my son gets bored after a while, being alone on the back bench. So he wants to sit in the front passenger seat on his mother’s lap, resulting in a crowded front passenger seat and an empty rear bench.
The moral of the story is, we need a larger car for our road trips.
Since Polo serves its primary purpose, I have no intention of replacing it. So we are considering buying a second car. When I started looking for a larger second car, I was first looking at sedans. But after a few road trips in Polo, I realised that road trips are often to unknown terrains. Hatchbacks and sedans can’t be taken to remote destinations, hotels, etc. without worrying about a scratched belly and bumpers.
Hence I was then inclined towards SUVs. Thankfully, our market has a lot to offer in that segment. To be honest, I’m unable to make up my mind about what to go for. Also, since my requirements are long journey oriented, just a test drive is not going to serve the purpose. Hence, looking for opinions based on the user experience of the owners of the cars in the list. Additional suggestions are welcome too.
So here goes my list, please share your experience and opinion to help me make an educated decision.
- A comfortable car for long journeys. Need not be a driver’s car, since Polo satisfies that need
- Safe – Every safety feature counts – ABS, ESP, structural integrity, features for ease of parking, and off-course NCAP rating
- Good ground clearance and capable of running on unpaved roads
- Creature comforts – including cooled seats, a sunroof (for those one-and-a-half passengers), etc.
- Large boot space to carry more luggage than the two and half need
- Auto gearbox – no MT/AMT/IMT etc.
- No 6/7-seater – my spouse thinks those are tourist cars. Plus I don’t want 3rd row to consume space when I don’t have a need for it
- No MUV/MPV – neither of us like them
Not so sure
- Diesel – I don’t trust incumbent rulers in the centre (Ministry Ban on Diesels by 2027 (Petroleum ministry panel: Ban diesel 4-wheelers in big cities by 2027)), but diesel cars make economic sense
This is the first car I considered, since I always loved Jeep. It’s a good vehicle and has a premium feel to it.
But I think, it looks outdated in this third decade of the century. I already have one outdated car in my parking; what would neighbours say?
Plus I have doubts about the longevity of the Fiat company in our motherland.
This is the only car from this list that I’ve experienced in the showroom. I just loved the car overall. I happen to have an emotional connection with Tata company as well, which may be the biasing factor for me loving this car. Interestingly, my spouse liked the car too, whereas she always spoke against big-bulky SUVs before this.
While all this is what the heart thinks, the mind doesn’t agree entirely. I’ve seen ergonomic design issues with Tata cars, their QC too is inconsistent. So, although I like Tata cars, I still need more convincing to spend over 2 Million Rupees on their product.
Well, I know this is way more expensive than the earlier 2 on the list. But I genuinely liked the car. Plus it’s not locally made with cost cut around corners, compromising ‘structural integrity’. It actually a modern car with every creature-comfort at this price point – just what I need in a car for our road trips. It’s sized right – not too big, not too small.
With a very good Euro-NCAP rating, this is just the right car. The only thing is the price – a million and a half more, than Harrier.
This is all I have on my list for now. I have decided to buy a new car in 2024.
Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:
If you can stretch your budget for the Tucson, go for that only. It’s the best SUV of the lot, a truly world-class product and quite an all-rounder.
Second choice = XUV700
Car you haven’t considered = Innova Hycross. Drives beautifully, 15 kmpl thanks to the Hybrid, sorted ride & handling, spacious, has kit and is easy to live with (light steering, smooth AT). Doesn’t have that MPV image like the Innova Crysta.
Here’s what BHPian JoshMachine had to say about the matter:
I would suggest that you draw up a budget range (min to max) to filter some of the buying decisions. Else, this 5-seater SUV segment can be notorious.
All the 3 cars you have shortlisted – Harrier + Compass + Tucson have their own case to make and are positively different in their own way.
The Harrier AT is definitely a solid mile muncher and may appear a bit rugged while at the other end, the Tucson is a very wonderful piece of modern engineering. The Compass would sit somewhere in between. You might want to throw in a Hector (CVT) also just to complete the comparison.
Not sure if you are open to the pre-owned route, but a good (low mileage) Q3 or a Kodiaq (pre-BS6 diesel) can also be a good surprise for those long road trips. Never mind the 7-seater config of the Kodiaq, you can always use the extra space to add 2 more suitcases.
As for what neighbors will say, does it matter so much that your buying decision will get influenced?
Here’s what BHPian dicor had to say about the matter:
Looking at your choices, I can assume a few things:
- You have a budget of 20-30 lakhs.
- You are not hell-bent on real estate inside. You just want better ground clearance.
- You want Automatic.
- You want better Fuel economy, the sole reason for choosing diesel.
- You need creature comforts.
- You do not want sub 4 mtrs
If there is no frequent highway running, I suggest you stay away from Diesel due to DPF issues.
Your options are:
- Creta (Even the petrol variant is fuel economical)
- Scorpio-N (Petrol variant is fuel guzzler and Diesel demands frequent highway runs)
- XUV7OO (Petrol variant is fuel guzzler and Diesel demands frequent highway runs)
- Safari / Harrier
- Innova Hycross (Hybrid), No DPF issues.
If you come up with a budget and daily driving usage and pattern, members can put further points.
Here’s what BHPian Axe77 had to say about the matter:
- I think in today’s day and age, you should try to avoid diesel if you can. Since FE and safety are both important to you, I’d actually recommend the Innova Hycross strong hybrid as the top choice. It’s reliable, safe, fuel-efficient, it’ll last a decade and more and it really does look posh enough for a family. I’d ignore the third row and think of it as a spacious 2-row car with a big boot.
- My second recommendation from that list would be the Tucson petrol – it indeed is a really perfectly sized car which looks modern in every respect. The only downer is that if you’re more inclined towards a petrol, I suspect it’ll be a bit of a guzzler. How much this matters if this is for occasional long trips you can weigh it up.
- On an unrelated note, if you don’t mind my saying it, please never have your child in the front seat – EVER – in an adult’s lap – whether you’re going around the corner for a 2 min run or on a long drive. This is extraordinarily unsafe, more so with airbag-equipped cars but even otherwise.
Get the child a car seat or a booster depending on age and put it at the back. If the child is adamant not to sit alone at the back, one adult should compromise with their comfort and sit at the back with the child. I’ve on numerous occasions driven alone at the front when my son was very small and he was throwing a tantrum for his mum to be at the back with him. But we simply did not allow not being seated in a car seat – it was non-negotiable from very early on and became a muscle memory for him.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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