Skoda Yeti vs Renault Duster vs Mahindra XUV500

Let's begin with the Duster. It certainly has street presence, with all that chrome upfront. It looks good, certainly more manly than the other two.  Those boxy lines do its SUV image well. The XUV's cheetah-inspired design looks pretty good too especially in flesh. Some bits may make you think the designers went overboard, but the end result still warrants a second look.

Speaking of second looks, there's also the Skoda Yeti. It's been around for a while, it isn't exactly fresh but it doesn't look dated either.  At first, we thought it was a bit quirky. But the Yeti has grown on us and we now quite like the way it looks.Although their purpose may be the same, all three take different routes to get there. On the mechanical front, the lines start to get blurry.

The XUV gets a 2.2-litre engine good for 140bhp and 330Nm. It's the same mHawk powerplant from the Scorpio, only with 20 more horses and a six-speed 'box. It's quite refined as far as vibrations go, but mechanical clatter does make its presence felt. But once at speed, the noise isn't intrusive. Performance-wise, the XUV defies its weight, but that's only once you figure out how to extract its juice.

Throttle response below 1800rpm isn't the best, but past that mark, the XUV has a spring in its step. Zero to 100kph is dispatched in 12.3 seconds. In the city, its turbolag shows, making you work the gearbox. But show it some open road, and the XUV makes light work of it. This car has the highest displacement and it shows when you're out on the highway – it feels effortless and the least strained at higher speeds.  Fuel efficiency? Expect it to return 9.5kpl in the city and 13.5kpl out on the highway.