Sunday, August 17, 2008

Crossover SUVs are here to stay

The recent economy slump and the record oil prices have affected all the major industries in general and the transportation industry in particular. The rate at which the petrol and diesel prices have increased for the consumers lately has made sure that fewer cars are on the road.

These are ominous signs for the car industry. They need to do some serious thinking. Gone are the days of those heavy duty car engines roaring away. And it's not just the price of the gas but also the damage they do to the environment. Just imagine a car powered by a 5.8 litre engine plying on the road with only the driver. Isn't it an environmental crime!

Well, the good news is that most car manufacturers have introduced more eco friendly models. I've seen the new model of the bestselling Toyota Landcruiser in Dubai. It's smaller and lighter compared to previous models. The market is flodded with a new segment of crossovers. Almost all the top-selling brands have something to offer in this segment. Surely, that's where the future lies. It gives you the comfort of a car and the capabilities of a 4-wheel drive.

One such vehicle is the Hyundai Veracruz. For some strange reasons, Hyundai was always stuck at the lower rung in the Middle-East car market. Things changed to a certain extent with the launch of Hyundai Tuscan. At around 50k UAE Dirhams it's a great bargain for those going for a 4-wheel drive. In fact my interest in a 4-wheel drive started with this vehicle. I test drove it as well as Hyundai Santa Fe. The power and comfort is obvious in Santa Fe. It's a great vehicle and at a great price.

Hyundai Veracruz is Hyundai's maiden foray in the luxury 4-wheel drive market. And the company hasn't disappointed! Take a test drive and chances are you'll mostly agree with me.

For me the big vehicles with engine sizes in excess of 5 Litre would be a rarity very soon. And that's why brighter times are ahead for companies like Hyundai.

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