SUVs are a big hit in the country. Today we look at 5 of the dearly departed SUVs – Tata Sierra, Škoda Yeti, Mitsubishi Pajero, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 and Chevrolet Captiva. These SUVs were discontinued in India, but how we wished they weren’t!
Sierra manufactured by Tata Motors (it was called TELCO then) was India’s first SUV. This trailblazing diesel car hit the roads in 1991 and was in production for around a decade. Even back in the 90s, Tata Sierra had comforts like central air and power steering. This was one of the reasons why the car had an edge over its competition.
But to buy a brand new Sierra you had to spend at least 5 lakhs. Built on the X2 platform, it had a 2-litre engine and a comfy cabin. This classic car also gave the user the choice between rear-wheel and four-wheel drive. Tata built Sierra as a proper SUV fit to combat any terrain.
The design of the car unfortunately did have a fatal flaw – it only had two passenger doors. This meant we had to compromise a bit on pragmaticism. But on the bright side, with large portions of the car made entirely out of glass, Sierra was the car with a view.
During the mid-90s the SUV witnessed tremendous sales. But with the turn of the century lesser and lesser number of people started choosing this SUV. The company wrapped up the production of this car.
Tata Sierra cannot claim to be one of the biggest successes of Tata Motors. But the car had carved out a special place for itself in history. Sierra might not be very practical, but looking back, it was a cool car.
This is another SUV that we wish would make a comeback. This compact SUV was much like its namesake the Abominable Snowman. With the bold boxy design, the Škoda Yeti was worthy of its name in every possible way.
The Czech manufacturer, Škoda Motors unveiled Yeti in 2009, at the Geneva Motor Show. It was available in India from 2014 onwards. Yeti had a starting price of around 22 lakhs and came with a manual gear shift. Besides a 2-litre turbo diesel engine, it was available in both 4X2 and 4X4 variants. This fuel-efficient and reliable car provided a comfortable driving experience to the user.
Like most cars that went out of production, the Yeti could not establish a foothold in the country either. It was a little too expensive and with the sales figures dropping, Škoda discontinued this car. Just like the bigfoot, this car cannot be found now. It 2017 it disappeared from the catalogues without a trace.
This is one beautiful car we are going to miss. Mitsubishi Pajero was not available in the country from 2012 onwards. On the first day of the financial year of 2020-21, the company discontinued Pajero Sport as well.
In India, it was with Lancer and Pajero that Mitsubishi became a household name. Pajero was a tough, sturdy offroader and it unquestionably looked the part. This Japanese car had a somewhat good run in India till 2012. Even though it wasn’t your average-person’s-car, it had garnered itself quite a fanbase.
Pajero Sport launched in 2012, came at a starting price of 23.53 lakhs then. Moreover, it had a 2477cc Diesel engine and possessed enough features. But without a huge market and with the rolling out of the BS6 norms, eventually, the company stopped making Pajero Sport.
Even though Mitsubishi Pajero was discontinued in India long before, in 2021, it will soon be wiped away from the face of the earth as well. With the pandemic, Mitsubishi had realized its lowest sales in 2 decades. They exported Pajero from Japan after they produced it in a plant in Sakahogi. But, Mitsubishi Motors will be closing down factories to cut losses. Therefore the company has no option but to put an end to the production of cars like Pajero.
- Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7
This mid-sized SUV came to India in a completely built form. This means that they did not put the car together in India. But rather Suzuki imported Grand Vitara XL-7 as a fully assembled car and it was, therefore, sold as a premium SUV. Even though Vitara XL-7 had features like a sunroof, the most interesting bit about this Maruti Suzuki car was the V6 engine it sported!
The Vitara XL-7 came with 4 Wheel Drive. The 6 cylinders of the V6 displaced an enormous 2736 cubic centimetres of petrol. Even though the Grand Vitara XL-7 was a good SUV, the car was, however, a bit expensive for a Maruti.
Priced at 20 lakhs it did not get a lot of takers. Since Maruti Suzuki had a reputation as an affordable car maker, the Grand Vitara XL-7 could not win over a lot of people. 2007 was the last year the company made this car in India. Nevertheless, the Vitara name still remains with sub-compact SUVs like Vitara Brezza.
But we tell you, Vitara Brezza could never replace the good old Grand Vitara.
Read the full story here: Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7: When Maruti tried a V6 engine!
Renault Duster AWD
The compact SUV, Duster was Renault’s first instance of success in India. Renault Duster was first showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo. Launching Duster was one of Renault’s biggest breakthroughs in the country.
Renault Duster AWD had a 4 wheel drivetrain. Additionally, the SUV’s highest trim came at a price of 11 lakhs and had a 1461cc 4-cylinder engine. Besides, the engine could produce a max power of 108bhp@4000rpm with a peak torque of 245Nm@1750rpm.
Throughout its time, Renault kept Duster relevant by bringing in new updates and facelifts. This tough SUV was very affordable and also had plenty of good safety features. Now Renault Duster seizes to exist as a Diesel car. Renault put an end to the production of the Diesel variant in 2020 along with the Duster AWD.
The 2020 Duster on the other hand has a 1330 cc turbo petrol engine. Additionally, it comes with a 6-speed transmission and complies with the new BS6 norms. Also, this makes the current Duster in the market to be *the* most powerful SUV in its segment.
But the All-Wheel Drive Dusters with the K9K diesel engines have now become a thing of the past.
These are some of the SUVs we wish we could resurrect. With a few upgrades, many of them can still find a place in people’s hearts, even today.