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Off road on track

April 5, 2013 12:00 am

The rise of luxury SUVs is on track for even greater demand this year with new launches.

The state of great elegance and comfort that defines premium experiences has, for a long time, been combined with the roughness, durability and purpose of 4×4 vehicles, to offer customers a luxury ride like no other. As with many things in the region, high-end products and services have fuelled the desires of excess; and cities such as Dubai arguably offer the best luxury experiences around the world. But why has this quest lead to an overwhelming trend of luxury SUVs? Aficionado talks to experts in the industry to understand.

The marketing category itself was created in 1966 with Kaiser Jeep’s luxurious Super Wagoneer – it was the first SUV to offer a V8 engine, automatic transmission, and an elegant car trim that was equipped in a serious off-road manner. It came with bucket seating, air conditioning, sunroof, and even a vinyl roof. Land Rover followed suit in 1970, by introducing the Range Rover – a much-loved model in the Middle East.

Although recent hikes in fuel prices have made consumers in other parts of the world more reluctant to drive cars in the category, the GCC has reignited this love affair, and models such as the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover are today, regional icons. Saying this, even purpose built SUVs such as the Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol, in recent years have added luxury interior and high-tech options to keep up with the demand for better, flashier and more lavish cars.

By aficionado