The title of this issue – The SUV Era – couldn’t be more apt. In an attempt to self validate this title, we did a little research – the conclusion of which was the following: there’s either been prominent mention, or an image, of an SUV of some kind on the cover of every single issue of this magazine over the past two years. And, at the rate that the SUV market is growing, I’m willing to bet that this record will continue unbroken for several years to come.
Sure, this unprecedented growth of SUVs is a global phenomenon, but you simply can’t deny the utility and usability of a compact SUV in our conditions. The extra ride height and commanding driving position isn’t a luxury – on our roads, or lack thereof, it’s a necessity! It’s a good thing, then, that the options that a customer can potentially choose from are growing all the time.
Two of the latest – and most impressive – additions to what is now a fairly broad categorization of the SUV segment are the Tata Nexon and Jeep Compass. The Nexon is unequivocally the best Tata Motors vehicle to date! You can see the Jaguar Land Rover influence in the small things, such as the sweep of the wipers and the damped, tactile feel of the indicator and wiper stalks. While the Nexon is far from perfect, it’s certainly very impressive – and that’s to say nothing of the styling, which is unique and unmistakable.
Jeep, meanwhile, has really set the cat amongst the pigeons by pricing the Compass extremely competitively. After the pricing debacle that was the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, no one expected the Compass to be priced quite as attractively as it has been – despite the assurances from Jeep top management.
So, considering the novelty and originality of the Nexon, and the proper ‘Jeep’ cred of the Compass, both are treading firmly on the turf that has thus far been annexed by the establishment. And while neither Tata nor Jeep can instil quite the same levels of confidence as Maruti and Hyundai – Tata, because of its quality control concerns, and Jeep because of its limited dealer network – both SUVs will serve as a wake up call for all. No one can rest on their laurels.
The very tangible benefit, of course, of these skirmishes are better products at more affordable prices. Win-win, then, by the looks of it!