It’s that time of the year again when we take a step back and recap all that’s happened through the 12 months. The year 2022, in that sense, was special. The pandemic’s effects were fading globally and life began to look normal again. It was also a year when carmakers went into overdrive and capitalised on the SUV craze with a slew of launches.
From subcompact SUVs to full blown-sized off-roaders and from the good old diesel to the electric, hybrid and CNG options, the SUV segment saw it all. Which brings us to the SUVs that left a mark with their arrival. These were either hot sellers, trendsetters or simply crowd pleasers, giving people what they wanted. With just days left for the new year, we round off the top-seven SUV launches in 2022 that had us excited.
1. Mahindra Scorpio-N
Easily, the most popular launch of the year – SUV or otherwise, the Mahindra Scorpio-N arrived with much fanfare as a successor to the Scorpio Classic. It’s all-new from the ground-up but retains the old-school ladder-on-frame construction, a turbo diesel engine and 4×4 off-road capability. The new generation is promising in every way and still manages to keep the purists happy with its rugged nature. This time, there’s the new 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine too, which we hear is getting Mahindra a lot of orders. Add to that, the Scorpio-N managed an impressive five-star safety rating in the Global NCAP crash test and there’s plenty to like on this made-in-India SUV.
(Also watch: Scorpio-N drive review)
2. Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder
The Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder was a long-awaited product and the first co-developed offering in India that came out of the Suzuki-Toyota alliance. The UC Hyryder gave us the first taste of what the Strong Hybrid powertrain is all about and it has managed to garner good numbers for the brand since its arrival. Moreover, the SUV impresses with its list of features and also the option of a three-point seatbelt for the rear middle passenger. However, what’s turned out to be even more impressive has been Toyota’s decision to introduce a CNG version on the Hyryder, giving a variety of options to customers. Not long for its cousin to get one too.
(Also watch: Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder drive review)
3. Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
It was only a matter of time before Maruti Suzuki barged into the compact SUV space to claim sales. The S-Cross didn’t cut it enough amidst more modern rivals, so the Grand Vitara was the perfect weapon to diffuse the situation. Developed on the same platform as the Toyota UC Hyryder, the Grand Vitara not only revived the iconic nameplate in India but also brought the Strong Hybrid and Mild Hybrid powertrain, both of which promise frugality. Maruti also managed to offer AWD on the GV, setting it apart from the Hyryder, and it’s safe to say the model has caught on already. At least the six month waiting period would suggest so.
(Also watch: Grand Vitara drive review)
4. Jeep Meridian
Probably one of the more underrated SUV launches of 2022. The Jeep Meridian is the seven-seater sibling of the Compass and is actually quite capable like that. The third row is decent enough to seat kids and teenagers, while the cabin is well-built with a healthy dose of features thrown in right from a panoramic sunroof, UConnect infotainment system, ventilated front seats and more. It’s also true to the Jeep DNA and can off-road as effortlessly as it can munch miles on the highway. It also helps that the Meridian is the more value-friendly proposition over the Compass and should certainly get more attention than it does right now.
(Also watch: Jeep Meridian first drive review)
5. Hyundai Tucson
The new generation Hyundai Tucson arrived in India only this year, nearly two years since it was revealed globally. While that was a long wait, it turned out to be worthwhile given how much of a brilliant SUV it has turned out to be. The design language is all-new and fresh and the cabin packs a host of creature comforts. There’s ADAS as well to keep you safe along with a host of other active and passive safety features. The Tucson also impresses with its driving dynamics that have vastly improved over the predecessor and continues to offer petrol and diesel engine options, albeit with only an automatic transmission this time.
(Also watch: Hyundai Tucson in action)
6. Maruti Suzuki Brezza
The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza was a blockbuster when it arrived in 2016 and kept the sales strong right till its end earlier this year. Maruti ensured to not mess with a successful formula too much and brought upgrades in the form of a sharper design, more features and a friendly automatic transmission to the subcompact SUV. Oh, and it also dropped the Vitara name in the process. The Maruti Suzuki Brezza is now more potent than ever and remains a reliable choice for many buyers in the segment.
(Also watch: Maruti Suzuki Brezza drive review)
7. Toyota Hilux
The Toyota Hilux is more UV than SUV. This is a true-blue utility vehicle and the pick-up shares its underpinnings with the Fortuner and the previous-generation Innova Crysta. However, this lifestyle pick-up only arrived this year after a long wait. The Hilux comes with a 2.8-litre diesel paired with only an automatic transmission and also gets 4WD with a Limited Slip Differential. The pick-up was brought in limited numbers and sold out immediately after the launch. The only downside has been its pricing that feels exorbitant starting at ₹33.99 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
While these were our top SUV launches in 2022, we’d also like to make some special mentions. The Hyundai Venue N-Line arrived with the facelift and brought some fun quotient to what is a fun SUV to drive. The Mahindra XUV300 Turbosport too did something similar with the new 1.2-litre turbo petrol motor. Lastly, the very capable Skoda Kodiaq returned to India in the facelifted avatar, dropping its diesel heart for a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine.
First Published Date: 20 Dec 2022, 18:07 PM IST