2019 OD SUV Slugfest: Fuel Efficiency
Fuel efficiency is a parameter that matters to a major chunk of car (and SUV) buyers in India, irrespective of the money they are spending on a set of wheels. In fact, the clichéd 'Kitna deti hai?' question precedes several others, even if buying an SUV. At OVERDRIVE cars undergo rigorous testing irrespective of their price or segment, including real world fuel efficiency tests. The tests sprung up quite a few surprises, with some of the premium or luxury SUVs proving to be more efficient than smaller and less powerful ones! For the purpose of this test, we had to restrict ourselves to the vehicles that were made available to us. These efficiency figures unlike in the other parameters aren't reflective of the model in its entirety. This is also because several of the other variants haven't been made available to us for this test or over the course of this year since they have been launched.
Coming to the top of the scorecard, the Mahindra Alturas G4 bagged the highest points of all the SUVs. Surprised? Well, so were we! A SsangYong under its skin, the Alturas is the biggest SUV from Mahindra yet. It boasts impressive performance courtesy a 2.2-litre diesel engine that offers 180PS and is mated to a Mercedes-Benz sourced automatic gearbox. The powertrain allowed the Alturas to return 12.3kmpl in city and 16.2kmpl on the highway, translating to an impressive 13.27kmpl overall. This is a pleasant surprise considering the Alturas, at 2.1 tonnes is one of the heaviest SUVs here.
The new generation Honda CR-V also impresses. Of course, Honda is known for its frugal powertrains, especially petrol ones and the CR-V's four pot motor is no exception. Despite 154PS on tap, the CR-V petrol returned 13.6kmpl in the city and 16.4kmpl on the highway which is very impressive for a premium SUV. In fact, that's better than some of the hatchbacks that cost half as much, let alone smaller SUVs!
The new generation BMW X5 packs a punch, powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel that puts out a stonking 265PS and 620Nm. That said we were expecting paltry numbers on the fuel efficiency front but the big Beemer surprised by returning a very impressive 13.6kmpl on the highway. At the same time, the X5 managed 8.4kmpl in our city test, which is pretty decent considering the car weighs over 2 tonnes.
The current generation Ford Endeavour has always impressed us on the powertrain front as its 3.2-litre 5-cylinder oil burner is a very refined one. Of course, its outputs of 200PS and 470Nm take a toll on fuel efficiency. The Endeavour returned 7.5kmpl overall in our tests as it was just shy of the 10kmpl mark in our highway test at 9.7kmpl, while the city test had it return 6.8kmpl. Clearly, hauling the 2.3 tonne SUV does call for some effort.
On the other hand the Jeep Compass diesel has always been a mixed bag in terms of fuel efficiency but we were in for a pleasant surprise when we tested the SUV in its latest Trailhawk avatar, where the 2.0-litre diesel engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. It returned an impressive 14.6kmpl on the highway, though expectedly the figure dropped to 8.35kmpl in city. That's an overall efficiency of 9.9kmpl, which is still pretty good for a 170PS SUV.
The big and burly Jeep Wrangler Sahara is powered by a four cylinder, 2.0-litre force-fed petrol motor which puts out 268PS at the crank, which is some output and the Wrangler sure has the ability to make your hair stand at end with its acceleration. Despite its seriously quick acceleration, the go-anywhere Jeep returned a rather decent 9.1kmpl on the highway and 6.3kmpl in the city, translating to 7kmpl overall. We'll live with it.
Moving on, the Kia Seltos is the newest SUV in the country and also probably the most highly-anticipated launch of the year. We got to test the Seltos diesel, powered by a 115PS, 1.5-litre diesel engine. It returned 14kmpl in city and 17.6kmpl on the highway, which is 14.9kmpl overall. Impressive!
The MG Hector which is powered by the same Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre Multijet diesel engine as the Jeep Compass and Tata Harrier also impresses. It gets the full fat, 170PS version of the motor, which is the same state of tune as the Compass, but is more fuel efficient than the Compass and Harrier both, returning 14.2kmpl in city and 17.6kmpl on the highway, which amounts to 15.1kmpl overall.
Another highly impressive SUV on the fuel efficiency front is the Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid. It is the only plug-in hybrid SUV on sale in the country and a full-sized luxury one at that. Thanks to the combined weight of its petrol engine, electric batteries and motors, the XC90 T8 Hybrid weighs in pretty heavily at 2.4 tonnes. Driving that weight is a daunting task, this is where the hybrid powertrain comes in helping it return 9.5kmpl in the city and 11.8kmpl on the highway in our tests, which results in a 10.1kmpl overall figure.
On the flip side, the Hyundai Venue was a disappointment in terms of fuel efficiency. We had the Venue with the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to a dual clutch automatic transmission with us which makes the Hyundai the SUV with the smallest engine in this test. Despite that the Venue only managed 15.9kmpl in our highway test and an even lower 10.9kmpl in the city. That's just 12.15kmpl overall, which is not impressive for a sub 4-metre SUV where buyers are largely looking for efficiency as a prime directive.
Moving on, the Mahindra XUV300 has turned to be a good package overall in the sub 4-metre SUV space, especially since its 110PS, 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine (mated to a six speed manual gearbox) offers good performance. We also expected the smaller XUV to be efficient, especially with the six-speed gearbox, but it only managed 11kmpl in the city and 12.45kmpl on the highway. That's 11.4kmpl overall, which is even lower than the Venue.
Another SUV that did not impress on the fuel efficiency front is the Nissan Kicks. The petrol Kicks is powered by 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, which affects efficiency and the Kicks only managed 9.8kmpl in the city and 13.4kmpl on the highway. That's 10.7kmpl overall, dismal considering we expected the Kicks to be much better. The Renault Duster's diesel engine proved to be more efficient, thanks to its six-speed gearbox. It returned 16.8kmpl on the highway and 13.1kmpl in the city.
Tata's Harrier gets the Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre diesel in a lower state of tune, where the motor offers 140PS only as compared to the Compass and Hector's 170PS. Despite that, the Harrier only managed 12.3kmpl in city and 17.8kmpl on the highway in our efficiency tests, leading to a 13.7kmpl overall efficiency.
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