We’ve noticed everyday at work that after motorcycles if there’s anything that fascinates our readers, they are SUVs. However, except the expensive ones, there haven’t been too many really affordable butch machines that have graced our roads. Then there are those which continue to tug at our hearts even now, managing to charm us with their bulk, although they’ve been around for decades. So then, we decided to list the five legends of the Indian SUV world which are still running strong and have enamored us for years. So much so, their looks alone have turned them into objects of desire and most of them are soldiering on, almost unchanged.
A timeless design that was first introduced 17 years ago and still continues to be desirable. The Tata Safari sits high in the books of SUV admirers even after increased competition from a few other players. Although the heart has been transformed a few times now since inception, looks wise, this smart looking Tata has remained unchanged over the years. While the new Storme variant has witnessed changes that are skin deep as well as cosmetic, it continues to remain loyal to the original design format. An effortless mile muncher on the highway, the Tata Safari can equally take on the rough with ease. Not to forget the brilliant TV commercials which managed to push the Safari deeper into our thought filled jungles.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
Based on the Suzuki Jimmy, the Gypsy has been around since 1985. Although 30 years have gone by, this mountain goat is extensively used by the police, the armed forces and people who like to arm themselves with a lightweight machine that can make it’s own road. The Gypsy has an unusual field of gravity around itself that makes almost everyone admire the machine even when it isn’t a practical car to own and drive. That doesn’t deter ardent followers though, who still buy, modify and defy the call of modern machinery to get themselves behind the wheel of this round eyed machine. It also is popular among the rally crowd and can be seen gracing events nationwide.
The Scorpio single handedly not only rescued Mahindra & Mahindra from what could’ve been a company that followed the footsteps of Premier, it also went on to become a global product and helped establish the homegrown automaker as a respected brand. Taking five years from concept to reality, the Scorpio was developed with inputs from different suppliers. However, since its launch in 2002, the Scorpio has successfully managed to spread its fangs and pleasantly sting the SUV obsessed car buying public in India. Like the Safari, the design is still more or less the same, except the addition of a few modern elements that should help this Mahindra carry on strong and add a few more years to its sting.
The largest selling UV in India for a long time now, the Bolero has been successful in carrying forward the grooves from the Armada, playing it to perfection and making the B-town population in India dance to its tunes. It satiated the need of carrying 7 people in relative comfort while at the same time happens to be rugged and is cheaper to buy and own in comparison to other 7-seater MPV’s in India. Although it sells more at places where tarmac is rare, the Bolero isn’t rudimentary at all. You may choose to buy a basic variant, but Mahindra also offers creature comforts like power everything, air-conditioning, a modern engine and even a micro hybrid system.
Mahindra CJ / MM 540 – 550
A nemesis to the Maruti Gypsy, the Mahindra MM 540 / 550 is also lovingly called the ‘Jeep’ in India. Like the Gypsy, the MM’s and CJ’s have their own set of die hard followers around the country. Many off-road events are held throughout the year, where only members who own one of these are allowed to revel in the slush and dirt fest. Sluggish on tarmac, these bare bone machines are almost indestructible and pretty reliable off the road. They used to be a mainstay of government fleets, while extended chassis are still used as people carriers in the hinterland.
A few other mentions would be the Pajero, the Sumo, the Ford Endeavor and a favorite with the political fat cats, the Toyota Fortuner. But except the Mitsubishi and the boxy Tata, the rest are rather young candidates. One might even come across the Tempo Trax on a lucky day. Feel we missed out on something that deserved legendary status? Feel free to paint the comments section in a shade you like. We just heard someone murmur something about an SUV that is heavily inspired by the fastest animal on land.