Crossovers are all the rage in Bangladesh. More and more modern families are ditching the hatchback in favour of a compact SUV, as they provide a better balance between space and practicality needed for family use.
With growing demand, came supply. The local market is flooded with various models of compact crossovers, with each automaker offering at least one such vehicle. Team Wheels dorve quite a few of them in the past few months, and here are ones that stood out.
The wicked: Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Dealer: Uttara Motors Ltd
Price: Tk 25,50,000
If you are a young family looking for a quirky, affordable, and youthful car, Suzuki's Vitara Brezza is designed with you in mind.
Outwardly, the Brezza looks like an enlarged Swift with an SUV themed body kit. In addition to the rugged look, the exterior comes kitted with LED lighting, smart headlamps, rain sensing wipers and a respectable 198 mm ground clearance.
Inside, the cabin is finished in durable textured plastic and features dual airbags, automated climate controls, multiple 12-volt sockets and a 7-inch infotainment system that supports both Apple CarPay and Android Auto.
In terms of driving, the 1.5 litre "smart hybrid" engine is a little reluctant on the initial push, but things get rapid over 3,000 RPM. Steering is light and the brakes takes a bit getting used to. Being a family-focused car, Brezza's suspension emphasised ride comfort for city traffic, though things can be a bit wallowy on corners at high speed.
The diesel: Mahindra XUV 300 W6
Dealer: Rancon Auto Ltd
Price: Tk 25,50,000
looking for a cheap to run, comfortable crossover with just enough torque to scratch the performance itch? Well there's the Mahindra XUV 300 W6.
The SsangYong Tivoli based XUV 300 is one of the first Mahindra in Bangladesh that does not look like a dressed-up work truck. With its 180mm ground clearance, thin front grille and blacked-out plastic claddings, the car looks something akin to a rugged lifted hatchback, in all the good ways.
Inside, Mahindra stuck to their "durability first" philosophy, using hardwearing plastic in most places and finishing the seat with diuturnal cloth upholstery. The feature list includes 10 cup holders, steering mounted audio controls and a 4 speaker audio system. The 17.78cm infotainment system has Bluetooth, USB and aux capability, and an excellent standalone navigation system that rivals Google Maps in terms of accuracy.
The 300 Nm of torque generated by the 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine makes this sub-1.5-ton car bolt like a bat out of hell, not something traditionally associated with a diesel engine. The car has a smart steering system that comes in three modes. In Normal and Comfort, the steering behaves like any other car in its segment, with half an inch of dead zone on either side. Switch it to Sport, and steering becomes much more direct, with the car responding to every little input. Combined that with the car's brisk acceleration, and relatively stiff suspension gives you the feeling of driving a —somewhat elevated— sports car.
The electric: MG ZS EV
Dealer: Rancon British Motors Ltd
Price: Tk 38,40,000
MG ZS EV is a decent choice for those who are looking for an environment-friendly transport that is not flashy or bank-breaking.
The exterior is almost identical to its combustion engine brethren, except for a few stubble changes. The most obvious one - besides the badging - are the 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels exclusive to the EV. Also hidden under the front grille is the car's CCS and Type 2 charging ports, capable of charging the 44.5kWh battery pack to 80 percent in 45 minutes.
The cabin of the ZS EV is well equipped and plush, featuring a panoramic sunroof, synthetic leather upholstery, powered front seats, USB ports and so on. The eight-inch infotainment screen supports Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, and hooked to a two tweeters and four speaker audio system.
The behind-the-wheel experience of the ZS is really exciting, if a bit scary. Press down the pedal, and the car will silently bolt for triple digit in 8.2 seconds. The torque from the electric motor is instant and breathtaking, but the lack of driver's assist means there is nothing stopping the car from torque steering to the left.
Being an EV, the car does come with a three level regenerative braking, with the strongest mode slowing down the car three times faster. Despite the massive 353 Nm torque, the car retains the crossover suspension, meaning it is quite floaty when taking a corner.
The performer: BMW X1 sDrive18i
Dealer: Executive Motors Ltd
Price: Starts from Tk 82,00,000
Not many crossovers in this segment will give you the sheer driving pleasure as the X1 does. While other crossovers try to scratch the performance itch with brisk acceleration, the BMW puts focus into where it counts, handling.
Starting from the outside, the design of the X1 is unmistakably premium and attention-grabbing. From a distance, the car looks much bigger than it actually is, which only adds to its road presence. The enlarged kidney grilles that were so controversial on the sedans blend in perfectly with the bigger proportions of the X1.
The interior of the X1 is top-end and very drive focused. The centre stack is slightly tilted toward the powered drivers seat with memory controls, and contains a 10.25-inch touch screen, dual zone climate controls, a cd player with six-speaker audio system. The car can also be configured with a plethora of options, such as a panoramic sunroof, automatic tailgate, multiple appearance package and many more.
Despite its crossover size, the X1 does not drive like one. BMW dispensed with the typical sponge suspension typical of this segment, opting for an adaptive layout optimised for enthusiastic driving. Resulting experience is very direct, letting you feel most of the road from the driver's seat. There are no body rolls to speak of, and the 1.5 Litre TwinPower turbocharged three-cylinder hit triple digit in around 10 seconds.
If you are a petrolhead with the necessary bank balance, this is for you.