IFinal week, I drove the recent Maruti Suzuki XL6 and the upcoming Jeep Meridian. They’re automobiles from completely different segments of the market and have little in widespread mechanically, however each spotlight an attention-grabbing development within the Indian automotive market – the proliferation of ‘three-row’ automobiles, or ‘seven-seaters’. , as they name it. , Within the final twelve months, we’ve got additionally seen the brand new Kia Automobiles made by the Korean carmaker to compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga and XL6 and Hyundai Alcazar, pitting itself in opposition to MG Hector+, Tata Safari and Mahindra XUV700. all of that are comparatively current additions to the market.
Much more stunning is that excluding Suzuki fashions offered in different nations, nations resembling Indonesia – the truth is, the title ‘Ertiga’ is Bahasa for ‘three row’ – all these automobiles are distinctive to the Indian market. Huh. , In fact, it’s not as if carmakers haven’t developed automobiles particularly for the Indian market previously. Following the rise of Tata Motors with the Indigo CS (compact sedan), a number of others tried their hand at making automobiles lower than 4 meters in size to benefit from a singular tax loophole within the Indian market, which supplies concessions to smaller automobiles. . The instance of success on this section is the Maruti Suzuki DZire, whose success being one of many best-selling automobiles in India between 2016 and 2020 is obvious to anybody who visits the Indian roads right this moment.
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Increase in ‘three-row’ automobiles
However what out of the blue attracted automotive makers to the section the place the Toyota Innova and later the Ertiga and XUV500 existed for years. “Households wish to journey collectively,” says CV Raman, government director, engineering, Maruti Suzuki. journey with There isn’t any level in taking multiple car to the identical vacation spot.”
This logic could also be true for the Carens, Ertiga and XL6 however there’s little thriller about most of those automobiles. Fact be instructed, the third row is not snug in any respect when you’re something above 5 foot 6 inches. For instance, the brand new Jeep Meridian has a wheelbase (that’s, the gap between the axles) of round 2.9 metres. This can be a large automotive. However when the center row seats are put down, and when you’re not a talented yoga practitioner, you may really feel cramped—your thighs urgent into your abdomen. I am 5ft 11in and weigh 83kg, not precisely an enormous particular person however not small both, and to be sincere, I could not even think about spending a lot time within the third row. And that is on a ‘large, three-row’ automotive. Similar story with Hyundai Alcazar and Kia Carens.
So what’s the third row for?
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motive for its existence
Properly, one reply is college carpools, particularly for junior and center college children. Most of those new ‘three-row’ automobiles provide third-row air-conditioning and a number of USB-charging factors for smartphones and different devices. That mentioned, alongside all three traces, it isn’t what you’d name plenty of ‘baggage area’ in any of those automobiles. Even with the Toyota Fortuner and the Innova – the ‘large daddies’ of the ‘three-row’ section, all alongside, one ought to anticipate school-bag ‘inflation’ to be a factor of the previous. If you wish to go on a protracted trip with a number of relations in a single car, you need to anticipate the car to have practical, load-bearing roof rails, which is one other attraction many of those automobiles provide to Indian customers. Does not – Sunroof.
The pinnacle of the Jeep model in India, Nipun J. Mahajan answered the query of why Jeep made Meridian for India: “The very fact is, we predict our prospects are adventure-loving and like to journey they usually need extra baggage area. Some even wish to journey with their canine for instance. You will need extra baggage area if you wish to carry picnic baskets, golf golf equipment and even three or 4 massive suitcases. And that is one thing that every one these automobiles provide however with a 3rd row down.
You’ll be able to carry plenty of stuff, even the saying goes ‘kitchen sink’. Because of the low-range 4×4 system, a car like Meridian can go wherever as I skilled just lately in Chandigarh. It might comfortably take individuals as much as 30-degrees on slopes to search out that fishing gap with their tenting gear that nobody else can. That is positively a distinct segment section. However one that might doubtlessly entice many individuals as India has a reasonably large variety of consumers even in a distinct segment section.
That is an attention-grabbing level as a result of in India we do not have automobiles for ‘college drop carpools’ or typical American or European estates. The Kia Carnival and Toyota Vellfire are the one ‘true’ multi-person automobiles (MPVs) in India. These ‘three-row’ automobiles are basically property variations of sports activities utility automobiles. Whereas right this moment they could be offered as ‘three-row’ automobiles, it is just a matter of time earlier than producers drop that pretense and promote them as two-row automobiles with extra baggage area.
@kushanmitra is an automotive journalist based mostly in New Delhi. Ideas are private.
(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)