The excitement with regard to SUVs in India has currently shifted from the compact segment to mid-size three-row SUVs, and its only growing with time. Over the past few months, this segment saw two hot new entrants in the form of the Hyundai Alcazar and Tata Safari. In fact, three-row derivatives of 5-seater mid-size SUVs are becoming increasingly popular. So, here’s a list of some of the most anticipated new three-row SUVs/MPVs coming up in India in 2021 and beyond.
2021 Mahindra XUV700
The Mahindra XUV700 is arguably one of the most exciting launches of the entire year. Essentially a replacement for the current XUV500, the XUV700 will take things a notch higher with huge focus on technology and gadgets. Mahindra has already been teasing several segment-first features of the XUV700 that includes panoramic sunroof, flush-fitting door handles, auto booster headlamps, personalized safety alerts and much more.
The Mahindra XUV700 will also be larger than the current XUV500 and will be considerably more premium and luxurious. Just like the XUV500, the XUV700 has been conceived as a genuine three-row SUV. Under the hood, the XUV700 will get the option of a 200hp 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and a 185hp 2.2-litre diesel engine, making it the most powerful in its class. Transmission choices will include both manual and automatic gearboxes along with the options of AWD system.
2022 Mahindra Scorpio
Next on the list is yet another Mahindra and its none other than the venerable Scorpio. The upcoming new-gen Scorpio marks a big generational change over the current Scorpio as is the XUV700 over the XUV500. It will be both wider and longer than the current model, and while it will boast a completely fresh design, it will retain the upright and boxy silhouette of the older models. Its interior will also get a major overhaul and is expected to be more premium than the current version.
The next-gen Mahindra Scorpio will be underpinned by an updated ladder-frame chassis that currently also does duty on the Mahindra Thar. Under the hood, the next-gen Scorpio will be powered by the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines, although their power outputs are not yet known. Expect Mahindra to introduce the Scorpio in the Indian market sometime early next year.
2022 Jeep Meridian
While the above two SUVs are genuine three-row SUVs, here again is an example of a three-row derivate of an existing 5-seater mid-size SUV. The Meridian is the three-row SUV based on the Compass platform, which is sold as the Jeep Commander overseas. While the Meridian is likely to share some of its body panels up front with the Compass, beyond the B-pillar is where the major changes will lie. It will feature longer rear doors and a more upright rear design.
On the inside, the Meridian will have a similar interior layout and features as the recently launched Compass facelift, although Jeep will step things up with higher-quality materials in a bid to increase its luxury quotient. The Meridian is expected to come in both 6- and 7-seater configurations. Under the hood, the new Jeep Meridian will come with a more-powerful version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine used in the Compass, although final output figures are yet to be revealed. The Jeep Meridian will go on sale in India towards the middle of 2022.
Kia KY MPV
Earlier in April this year, Kia announced that they would enter an all-new segment in India sometime early next year, and particularly stressed on the seven-seater segment. We can confirm that this new model from Kia will be an all-new MPV which goes by the internal codename, KY, and will be more affordable than the Kia Carnival. In fact, it will be positioned in a very sweet spot in between the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota Innova Crysta in the market.
Incidentally, the upcoming Kia MPV will be based on the same platform as the Seltos and is expected to measure around 4.5 metres in length. This is a notably different approach than Hyundai’s Creta-Alcazar treatment. The new Kia MPV will have a typical people-mover silhouette and will come with a three-row layout that will include seating for six or seven. Earlier spy shots have revealed that some of the body panels up front could be shared with the Seltos, although it will have its own distinct styling. There are not much details on the powertrain front either, although that too could be shared with the Seltos.
Maruti Suzuki XL6 facelift
It was just in August 2019 that Maruti Suzuki launched the XL6 MPV in India. Based on the second-gen Ertiga, the XL6 was deemed as a more premium offering with captain seats for the middle row and differentiated styling. However, in the light of growing presence of mid-size three-row SUVs, the XL6 is clearly in a position to lose its distinguishing factor. Thus, Maruti Suzuki is working on a major mid-life update for the XL6, along with the Ertiga, that is expected to be introduced in the coming months.
Updates on the exterior could be minor styling tweaks and a new alloy wheel design while on the inside, features like wireless charging and a few other add-ons can be expected. We, however, do not expect any mechanical changes to either MPVs. Both derive power from a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which is good enough to produce 105hp and 138Nm of peak torque.
Mahindra Bolero Neo Plus
Last on this list is yet another Mahindra. The homegrown carmaker recently expanded the Bolero range with the launch of the Bolero Neo. The Bolero Neo is essentially a facelifted TUV300 which has been repositioned to capitalize on the Bolero brand, which is the highest selling SUV in India of all time. While the Bolero Neo is already a seven-seater SUV with jump seats in the third row, it is still a compact model and restricted in terms of space. If you remember, the erstwhile TUV300 had a sibling called the TUV300 Plus which measured over 400mm longer and had four extra side-facing seats.
The TUV300 Plus – which will likely be repositioned as the Bolero Neo Plus – has also been spied testing in its facelifted BS6 avatar. With updates similar to the Bolero Neo, the Bolero Neo Plus will come with sharper styling and some inevitable references to the original Bolero. Similar updates are also expected on the inside. The Bolero Neo Plus could be powered by the larger 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine and is expected to launch in the coming months.