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Old 22nd May 2022, 10:30   #211
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
Welcome to the forum, mate. At times, I too wonder if others read this thread anymore (had read your one line posts before they were deleted).


Thanks for such a detailed explanation. Really very helpful.

When I said budget is not an issue, I was not clear. My bad.

I can stretch my budget till 25/26 lacs but not more. Thats why AX7 P AT was something that I was interested in. But no way I am going to wait till 2024 and suffer price revisions.

After driving a Hyundai for 7 years+ I want to own a car from another stable. Its not that I don't like Hyundai cars. I love my Xcent, the top end model that I own has features which might still not be available in most vehicles these days.

Features aside, Xcent gets a big thumbs down in its overall build quality. In 2014 when I had bought this car I didn't give much thought on passenger safety. Over these years with family getting bigger and probably getting a tad wiser (which has been a debatable topic with my wife ) safety is now the main criteria.

This is the only reason that I am interested in a Mahindra or Tata cars.

Now, I have given a lot of thought. The Tata Harrier XZA+ comes with some of the important features not found in the Mahindra XUV 700 AX5.

The Harrier will give me ventilated seats, parking camera, auto foldable OVRMs, auto dimming IVRM and most importantly drive modes, hill descent control among others.

None of the above are coming in built with AX5. I have to either get the dealer to add things like parking camera etc or get it done from outside.

So I guess I am now left with two tasks:

1. Cancel my booking and hope the dealer return the booking amount quickly.

2. Book the XZA+

Last edited by ampere : 22nd May 2022 at 10:50. Reason: trimmed quoted post
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Old 23rd May 2022, 18:51   #212
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by shancz View Post
- Everytime I read your review I learn something I had never thought of

- I find it frustrating when I find the basics wrong in a car and especially beyond the B segment. They're supposed to be upgrades.
I have stopped bothering and come to the conclusion that I have become obsolete with the current "trends"

- Those weird roof designs look cheap.
...They could have just given a flat roof liner(not the structure) like most other cars which would sit lower but not spoil the aesthetics.

- On your car hunt, your next TD should be the Scorpio 2022,...
Fingers crossed and wish you the best.


- From a driving perspective only, a very crude suggestion is if you usually drive your petrol under 3000 rpm then a diesel will actually feel better to drive and run at lower rpms with better FE.TDs.
- Thank you; that is nice to hear.

- While in one way, I am baffled with how some parts of cars are designed I don't blame manufacturers and car designers alone, as they respond to what the market pays for. Reading comments on the Scropio-N thread found people complaining about too much glass area - I guess I too am obsolete!

- The above said, I couldn't fathom why the roof was designed such in the Kushaq. A tall car having the roof being as close visually, that too in a monocoque was rather surprising.

Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700, Kicks, Scorpio N-scorpion-front_side-view-01.jpg

- Based on pictures, I do like how the Scorpio-N looks from the side a lot. Very much my kind. A lot of glass even for the second row. It has an airy feel. Was great to see that the roofline wasn't sloping. In fact, the side profile looks a lot better the XUV700 (which I don't particularly like aesthetically - too much mass of paint on the sides, like the XUV500).

I hope it works for me and is delivered super quickly (Mahindra might have kept features based on the chips they do have access to, to allow faster deliveries and rationalization of production capacity).

The reasons why it might not be great for me is due to the Body on Frame construction. The pluses of it (abuse friendly, use on terrible roads etc) is not of much use; and it would end up meaning a higher floor/seat height as compared to the road level making ingress worse if the GC is decent (as it is expected to be for such a configuration). It would also have a higher centre of gravity due to the construction, which would affect how it handles. I would also expect longer suspension travel. Overall, abuse friendly but might well be a more bouncy ride and handling and dynamics not as tight as the monocoque (pseudo) SUVs under consideration. I am waiting to be surprised by Mahindra though - they do have some ability for that.

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Originally Posted by shans281 View Post
Thirdly, I have always driven a Petrol car (Hyundai Xcent VTVT). How much of difference will i face while driving a diesel one. Mine would be mostly city driving and occasional long drives (once or twice a year).

I would have picked Harrier petrol if it was available.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shans281 View Post
Thanks for such a detailed explanation. Really very helpful.
...
1. Cancel my booking and hope the dealer return the booking amount quickly.

2. Book the XZA+
You're welcome mate. Glad to have been able to help.

Due to the lack of noticed activity on the thread, I've been slow in updating the thread of my findings from subsequent Test Drives (which were much longer than usual), but thought I should not delay stating the below, which might be useful in you taking an apt decision. Please keep in mind that a lot depends on the particular TD vehicle being tested. Below are my impressions:

NVH management + Fatigue control Scores:
(For roughly a 1 hour city drive; all for Diesel versions; take the numbers only as rough indicators; a higher score is better)
  • Tucson probably - 9/10?? based on second hand info and general understanding. Do NOT take my word on this at all.
  • Kia Seltos: 5.5/10 for Fatigue (bumpy ride)
    • NVH at lowish speeds: 8.5/10 for NVH
    • NVH at highish speeds: 7.5 for NVH
  • XUV700 (was variable, so overall score): 8/10
  • MG Hector: 7/10
    (yes, XUV700 above Hector was a surprise for me too)
  • Jeep Compass: 4.75/10
  • Tata Harrier: 4.25/10
I generally avoid such numbers, as there are many aspects involved which don't get reflected in numbers. Given numbers here mainly to help @shans281. Will try and cover more details when I write a bit more detail about the next round of TDs, if I remember well enough by then

To answer @shans281: From my TD samples, Tata Harrier is the furthest from a petrol and soft EPS as you can find in the list.

Last edited by Poitive : 23rd May 2022 at 18:51. Reason: Refinement
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Old 24th May 2022, 23:08   #213
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
- Reading comments on the Scropio-N thread found people complaining about too much glass area

- The above said, I couldn't fathom why the roof was designed such in the Kushaq.

- too much mass of paint on the sides, like the XUV500

- I am waiting to be surprised by Mahindra though - they do have some ability for that.
- I hope they don't start demanding a panoramic sunroof

- The only reason I can think of is reinforcing the body shell/roof but just a guess. And there has to be a better way to do it.

- Ditto and I think its quite a common dislike. Like the rear quarter metal on the Innova and the same area with those strips on the Ignis

- The words about a different body on frame platform has my attention. I am not expecting anything outstanding but I hope it brings it closer to a monocoque in function and also your requirements.
Quite a handsome looking car, hope it works out for you.


PS : Understand your reluctance to invest the effort in writing down your exhaustive TD experiences. Would love to read but honestly I am barely getting a chance to even reply of late.
So whenever you can but do share, like I had said earlier, top level stuff

Last edited by shancz : 24th May 2022 at 23:11. Reason: Added inno
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Old 1st June 2022, 12:37   #214
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

Hey guys,

One of my friends is looking to buy a big SUV (preferably 7 seater) in the 20 to 30 lacs price range. His priorities are safety, automatic, macho looks and comfort.

Here are the shortlisted options:
  • XUV7OO --> Rejected due to a year long waiting period
  • Hector Plus --> No automatic variant in diesel
  • Harrier/Safari --> Rejected due to questionable safety, quality issues, outdated interiors & pathetic ASS
  • Jeep Compass --> Rejected due to compact interior/exterior and rattling issue
  • Scorpio-N --> Would it be a comfortable SUV as other options??

Unfortunately he does not know how to proceed further. He likes Hector Plus but diesel+automatic is not available.

Could you please suggest any other option for him and is there any update about the Hector facelift?

Last edited by gopi_rm : 1st June 2022 at 12:38. Reason: Added Scorpio-N
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Old 1st June 2022, 19:21   #215
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
- I
Coming up:
  • MG Hector again
  • Tata Harrier again
~~~~~~~~~~
I am still waiting for MG Hector review. Since you have booked it, I expect even more detailed on. Can you also do a comparison between Hector and Harrier..
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Old 2nd June 2022, 20:16   #216
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by shancz View Post
- I hope they don't start demanding a panoramic sunroof

- The only reason I can think of is reinforcing the body shell/roof but just a guess. And there has to be a better way to do it.

- Ditto and I think its quite a common dislike. Like the rear quarter metal on the Innova and the same area with those strips on the Ignis

- The words about a different body on frame platform has my attention. I am not expecting anything outstanding but I hope it brings it closer to a monocoque in function and also your requirements.
Quite a handsome looking car, hope it works out for you.
- Your sunroof remark had me in splits, @shancz
- I too thought it might be so, but checked that Kushaq's sibling Taigun managed it without this 'disaster'!
- Fingers crossed, but limited realistic expectation on the Scorpio-N

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post
PS : Understand your reluctance to invest the effort in writing down your exhaustive TD experiences. Would love to read but honestly I am barely getting a chance to even reply of late.
So whenever you can but do share, like I had said earlier, top level stuff
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedMaw View Post
I am still waiting for MG Hector review. Since you have booked it, I expect even more detailed on. Can you also do a comparison between Hector and Harrier..
Thanks, shancz. I'd be writing even lesser if you weren't active on the thread.

When time, thoughts, and motivation to write come together, I check this thread - typically check the last few posts and especially the TDs on the first page. On finding no new "Thanks", I assume that people are either not reading or are not finding anything useful, so there is little motivation left to write (though admittedly, I can't be sure if there has been an increase each time). Also wonder if people do find it useful and don't even bother to express it in any way.

So, that is why it takes longer, RedMaw mate. Hope you too are being able to take your TDs (RedMaw has a thread here (Car with some special needs)). Also, Hector isn't the only one that has been booked by me/family; it is simply the one which I had in mind while starting the thread, and it has almost lost relevance.

There seems to be little point in narrating long TD experiences like the first page. I will try and put across some comparisons which I felt in the more recent Test Drives; TDs which were taken in a much less analytical manner and largely like the first type of test drive mentioned in the opening para here (Guide: How to take Effective Test-Drives of new cars).

I shall share those impressions soon. If you have any specific issue in mind, please let me know and I'll share my thoughts on that. Point about Hector and Harrier noted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gopi_rm View Post
One of my friends is looking to buy a big SUV (preferably 7 seater) in the 20 to 30 lacs price range. His priorities are safety, automatic, macho looks and comfort...
Mate, I too am waiting for my 'perfect SUV' with a very different set of needs. One rarely gets a perfect car, as it usually means a much higher budget, and typically wishes increase with the budget. Eventually it is boiling down to what compromises one is willing to make.

About the XUV700, I'd say put in a booking anyway. With the Scorpio-N launch, and also others in the segment, I would not be surprised if there are cancellations and that gets you one sooner than you'd imagine. I'm told AX5 is easier to get, as is the petrol (the FE would be a concern with it, however). What you are risking is the Rs.2100 cancellation fee plus some little interest. At times, one takes much longer to decide/get a vehicle, as in my case. So being queue can help. This one comes closest to the stated requirements.

Harrier/Safari: By safety, do you mean the crash ratings? My personal take on safety is a bit different. Expressed here. The ASS experience is said to vary a lot from dealer to dealer. If your friend is in a large city, there may be many options to choose from. This one has a well sorted suspension (check first page) and the only one (besides the much smaller Kicks) which has an HPS, which might matter to your friend if really into driving. Amongst those tested, this remains the pick for the highway.

Scropio-N : Shared what I expect of it in detail here (Next-gen Mahindra Scorpio | Now revealed as Scorpio-N).
Some more details were revealed further in the thread.
Being a Body on Frame, I don't expect it to have the ride+handling points like the others on the list, but expect it to score on being abuse friendly and easy cheap repairs. I personally find it handsome in pictures.

Your friend might want to consider the Tucson also. Can't call it macho looking, but it might suit other needs. The outgoing one (5 seater), if you can still manage it, should be within budget; the upcoming one (7 esater) would likely need a stretch. You'll find discussions on it's safety on this thread.

For city speeds, the Hector would be the most comfortable, especially in the front two seats (details in the TD on page 1). I can't call it macho at all.

With the Xiaomi issue, I am beginning to question how stable MG might be in the longer run, since I intend to keep my vehicle for almost a decade. It is a PLA backed company. (I don't mean to take the discussion on to this topic as it digresses, but just mean to add it as a point of consideration)

Last edited by Poitive : 2nd June 2022 at 20:36. Reason: Refinement, minor content addition, smiley.
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Old 2nd June 2022, 20:42   #217
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
-
So, that is why it takes longer, RedMaw mate. Hope you too are being able to take your TDs (RedMaw has a thread here (Car with some special needs)). Also, Hector isn't the only one that has been booked by me/family; it is simply the one which I had in mind while starting the thread, and it has almost lost relevance.
I am yet to take TD. It seems I am struck with a dealer who has only one Hector for TD, all over tamilnadu. The car was either in chennai or other towns and never in my town Vellore. I am having a disappointing dealer (FPL Vehicles) experience so far. And what do you mean Hector isn't only one? Do you have other booking in parallel. Which car is shortlisted now?
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Old 2nd June 2022, 23:39   #218
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
- I too thought it might be so, but checked that Kushaq's sibling Taigun managed it without this 'disaster'!
- Fingers crossed, but limited realistic expectation on the Scorpio-N
- Also wonder if people do find it useful and don't even bother to express it in any way.
- With the Xiaomi issue, I am beginning to question how stable MG might be in the longer run, since I intend to keep my vehicle for almost a decade.
- Then that's inexcusable, I am not sure what their designers were thinking although I have similar and stronger feelings for some other stuff too which they do in the name of "price point" but will skip that since its OT. Their USP remains their drive but I suspect that might be challenged soon.

- Ditto and we won't have to wait very long too.

- That would be all the non members and some members too, especially the older ones who aren't used to the thanks feature.
But longer and more detailed posts anyway attract lower attention due to our ever shortening focus, helped immensely by social media "bites".
I remember telling you the same and more in one of our earliest discussions and its going to get worse unfortunately

If its of any help consider it as a sort of diary entry. I usually remember the posts that needed some thought (like the first, this thread) and when I encounter something similar I re-read that to see where I stand now. Usually the line of thought is similar but the level of enthusiasm seems to be coming down or maturing depending on how you look at it and I am relatively new to the forum

- Personally I would never go near a MG for more than one reason but also don't believe in preaching others on the same.
But your concerns are genuine and with the current scheme of things a 10 year future is too risky to predict for MG

As for your SUV, I am drawing blanks and for now counting on the Scorpio N.
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Old 9th June 2022, 21:32   #219
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by RedMaw View Post
I am yet to take TD. It seems I am struck with a dealer who has only one Hector for TD, all over tamilnadu.... I am having a disappointing dealer (FPL Vehicles) experience so far. And what do you mean Hector isn't only one? Do you have other booking in parallel. Which car is shortlisted now?
The TD car is paid for by the dealer, as far as I know. With vehicle shortage, waiting lists building up, not enough deliveries to take care of the Covid slump, one can understand a dealer not wanting to spend much on getting more TD vehicles.

Mate, had mentioned before too that there are a few bookings in the F&F; details of which I would avoid. Since my ergonomic and anthropometric needs are a bit different from average, what I go for might not be a good benchmark anyway. For some personal reasons, would prefer to inform of which particular vehicle only once it is home (the unexpected and huge delay with the Hector has created this atmosphere)

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post
- I am not sure what their designers were thinking...

- Personally I would never go near a MG for more than one reason but also don't believe in preaching others on the same.

- As for your SUV, I am drawing blanks and for now counting on the Scorpio N.

- That would be all the non members and some members too, especially the older ones who aren't used to the thanks feature...

- If its of any help consider it as a sort of diary entry...
- I too can't get it. With AC vents, I could have probably understood. Additionally: One thing about "international cars" is that they cater to a different segment/grouping in the markets they are designed for, as compared to India. I remember the time when designers from Ford designing the made-for-India vehicle, the Ford Ikon, could not fathom how a car of that size could be for someone being chauffer driven . For them it was more like a 2 adults + 2 kids family vehicle size.

- I understand the PLA/China reasons and they did hold me back a lot too; a lot. If your reasons are beyond, @shancz, would like to know.

- The Scropio-N would also have the added issue of being Mahindra's beta-tester; or possibly even alpha-tester if 'lucky' enough to be amongst the first few to get it.

- Yes, I agree. In my case too, most of the thanks (given and received) have been in the past couple of hundred posts or so!

- I do relate to the diary idea in part. Was nostalgic to read the Choosing a Diesel Sedan, Driven, and VVS threads; and I also occasionally read the first page of this thread to recollect if I've forgotten what a car felt like.

.........

So, I did finally get down and scribbled a draft of some TDs. Will add one late night, and then incrementally as I refine a bit, to avoid a huge chunk together.
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Old 10th June 2022, 01:31   #220
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Re: Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Driven Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700 & Kick

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Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
- For them it was more like a 2 adults + 2 kids family vehicle size.
- The Scropio-N would also have the added issue of being Mahindra's beta-tester; or possibly even alpha-tester if 'lucky' enough to be amongst the first few to get it.
- I also occasionally read the first page of this thread to recollect if I've forgotten what a car felt like.
- True and understandable given their economic prosperity(per capita income, stronger currencies etc.) and social structure.
Even the larger cars don't cater well to the 5th passenger.

- absolutely like with many others but the only saving grace is that Mahindra seems to be handling the issues well based on the experiences shared on TBHP.

- Me too, its very precise, detailed and useful, thanks again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poitive View Post
If your reasons are beyond, @shancz, would like to know.
Other reasons :
- I have my doubts regarding the underpinnings of their cars, the stance of the Hector with those disproportionate wheels is an indication. This is expected since the USP of their cars isn't the handling but the features at that price point.
Astor although highly rated, the exterior didn't appeal to me when I saw it on road, its something that I find hard to quantify so will leave it at that.

- I have my doubts about how the cars will age.
The Hector and the Astor seem to have good quality but the image of the fading rear lights on a red Hector makes me sceptical. Not to forget the loads of electronics inside and the mechanicals are a grey zone with intermittent breakdowns being reported in critical areas like transmission and electronics.
But this might not be an accurate observation.

- Also they cannot fool me by those "Brit Dynamics" , "Morris Garages" stickers, its a Baojun 530. Although nothing illegal/wrong but I see this as an attempt to fool/woo people. All that stickering, to me, is trying to focus people's attention on those stickers rather than the car.
I prefer well engineered cars with sound basics who do their job well, without a fuss rather than the ones who keep marketing themselves.


Will wait for your TD experiences

Last edited by shancz : 10th June 2022 at 01:33. Reason: Ccl
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Old 10th June 2022, 17:05   #221
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Intro | Test Drives Round 2 | Choosing an SUV up to 22L

Introduction - Test Drives - Round 2

For those joining the thread later: the main and first round of Test Drives and summaries, along with the buying criteria is on page 1. Will be adding per car links to Round 1 with each car report. Not all are there in this round. The Nissan Kicks Petrol was driven later (reported on page 12 - link) and a short and limited drive of the XUV300 here. The Kia Seltos reported on the first page isn't a part of this round.

Folks, these set of Test Drives were a bit different. Having gone through the analysis-paralysis of the Nth degree (and it persists, further complicated by unavailability of vehicles), I thought that let me think less and just have everyday-like casual drives, with a slight bit of fun thrown in if I felt like it (which again, is like an everyday drive for me). True to my nature though, I ended up with some analyzing all the same.

Besides the drives themselves, I also took time to go to the showroom and spend some time in the cabin, to be able to sense and experience it and check the ingress-egress again.

Some parts would not be covered in the SUV-wise TDs and left for select rough comparisons I expect to post later. Please don’t expect much, as they’d be rather limited in scope.

(@Mods: Trying to keep the Test Drive reports per car for logical arrangement and easier quoting, hence this separate post)

Last edited by Poitive : 10th June 2022 at 17:34. Reason: Refinement
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Old 10th June 2022, 17:10   #222
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Driven - MG Hector + MG Hector Plus Test Drive | Round 2 | Choosing an SUV up to 22L

MG Hector + Hector Plus Test Drive

Please read this in tandem with the earlier TD shared on page 1. Link here.
While it was the Hector Plus which was available for TD, the idea was to see it from a Hector purchase.

Hector being test driven again, is how this round started.

The seats felt a bit narrower this time. No, I didn’t gain much weight; only a little. The contouring of the seats appears to be such that if one is a bit over the size they are designed for, they’d start to feel exponentially uncomfortable. I was just about over that cusp size. It is also possible that with use, the back cushion sunk in further making it a deeper seat-back (less likely to be significant). It wasn’t too bad, just not as comfortable as earlier. Further, after the sliding armrest of the Compass, and the excellent seat position with the sliding armrest of the XUV700 (described on the page 1 TD), this one felt only okay. Nothing to complain about, but clearly not as good as the other two.

Driving it was quite like before. Felt a bit stiffer than before (the tyre pressure was checked). It was easy to drive. Again, felt a bit MPV like in the sense that one could feel much of the car behind the driving seat and little in front. It being lesser width wise, makes that trailing-body effect even more. Again, nothing major. Easy to drive. Soaked in the bumps. The steering felt okay. Not XUV700-light, and had decent weight. There was a sense of disconnect from the road. Being used to an HPS for ages could mean different benchmarks and a part of the reason for this effect to be exaggerated, in my case. This aspect is further enhanced due to a soft suspension.

This being one with a soft suspension and a high SUV form, it is not quick to change direction. it makes it a pleasant driving experience for the most part, and it would suit many. Traffic noise too is well controlled. I like the overall aesthetic of the interior. The most tasteful of the lot. Except the large screen, it is gentle on one’s senses, and doesn’t try too hard, unlike the chrome and badging on the outside. I imagine it suiting the needs of many, and the Hector has built it’s position with people show appreciate such, and looking for a vehicle in this price and size segment.

What also stood out in the ‘semi-casual’ drive is how disconnected from the overall driving experience one is. Everything is okay and comfort driven, but it was also quite disconnected. It felt boring; too boring; especially after the zippy Optra Magnum’s surge. This seemed like an excellent A to B vehicle, ticking many of the boxes, and had few complaints from newer owners. What it sorely lacked for me was character and a sense of satisfaction one gets from driving a car.

Now, one might think that considering I am not getting anything suitable, maybe I’m being too picky about the above. Another important aspect came up:

The main appeal of the vehicle was it’s over gentle and comfortable presentation; which made the benchmarks a bit higher. This drive being over an hour long, and with less focus on the analytical part and depths of the driving characteristics, it is surprisingly the NVH which stood out. It didn’t feel as quiet and easy to be with by the end of the drive. I had driven this very car a few months ago when it was under 10k kms, and it had done about 10k since then. It felt a lot worse. The engine+body structure didn’t feel as quiet as I remembered (could also be a change in my benchmarks). It felt less refined, less plush a space to be in. While not rattling per se, or even overt noise, it was not the silent cabin I remembered, and it wasn’t the traffic noise at play; not tyres either, IIRC.

The concern was that if a vehicle under 20k can feel and sound like this, if I went in for one, I could be at that stage at say 40-50k kms or so, which was rather unappealing, considering this was the highlight of the vehicle. The deterioration in less than 10k kms was not insignificant.

Now, could it simply be a case of one bad TD vehicle? I thought it might, so had taken a second TD on a different one (note: the second one was using the spare wheel, which too might have been a bit of a factor – it was a 215/60R17, whereas the others were 215/55R18). Besides that, also made a visit to the showroom to simply sit in the cabin and take in it’s feel. The experience I narrated above was a combination of the two TDs and the cabin-visit to keep it simple to understand.

While it clearly had the plushest and roomiest (for 4) cabin and rear seat, it felt exceedingly boring to drive. The NVH and concerns about ageing along with the Xiaomi induced question over MG’s long term future made me wonder at the prudence of choosing this. It’s forte of comfort too was challenged.

It was time to check the others again. The next logically was the Harrier and/or the Safari, considering the size and engine is similar.

Last edited by Poitive : 10th June 2022 at 17:23. Reason: Refinement
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Old 10th June 2022, 17:13   #223
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Driven - Tata Harrier Test Drive | Round 2 | Choosing an SUV up to 22L

Tata Harrier Test Drive - and a bit of Tata Safari

Please read this in tandem with the earlier TD shared on page 1. Link here.

Was there a point at all in testing a car in which, due to the knee-console issue, basic seat comfort was not achieved? With lack of options, and remembering @udhav’s remarks about him being 6 feet and not having an issue, it did seem worthwhile.

So, this time the TD made sense only if I could find a reasonable sitting position, and that as a priority, I spent all the time I needed to first set the seat. Took about 15-20 minutes, trying all combinations of seat distance, height, steering reach, steering angle and seat recline. Did it yield any results? Yipee!!!!!! They did! The trick seemed to be to lower one’s seat much and pull out the telescopic steering out. I took back half the bad words I might have had for Tata’s design. It wasn’t an ideal driving position. One felt sitting lower than one would like in an SUV stance, but at least basic comfort was quite achieved. Not ideal, but not a deal-breaker anymore. This was very good news.

I was a happy man; more like an excited kid might be more appropriate! The excessive width I complained about earlier too didn’t seem to be a meaningful issue (I swear, the weight gain was tiny!) Driving along, I find the feel of the car odd. Long story short: it was the tyre pressure. One had over 40psi, another about 20psi! That set, we move along and I start to enjoy this one. I think it has something to do with it being an HPS which I relate to.

On a patch of rough potholed road, I drove at moderate speeds and it soaked up the surface rather well. Reminded me of the Nissan Kicks; a bit like a larger version of it (similar steering and suspension setup). What was also good was how one felt in control of the car and also connected to what the vehicle was ‘feeling’. Just the kind of experience an enthusiast might want from his car in a practical manner: the body being adequately removed from the bumps the tyres were feeling, yet know on the steering what the car’s situation is, allowing one to control it appropriately. It wasn’t like an independent suspension, but excellent for a torsion beam. The big tyres too helped. I was a bit more impressed than the previous round of TDs.

Overall, on regular roads, the ride was a tad stiff and not like the Hector or Optra Magnum, but on bad roads, it was excellent at the moderate speeds I tried it at. In parts, owing to it’s large tyre size and profile, it was better than the Optra.

The entertainment system had glitches. The car was under 10k kms. It had to be restarted. Didn’t work properly despite that, and I simply shut off that part. Not cool for a 20L plus car under 10k.

The stance of the vehicle was okayish. It’s height is lesser than the others, and my seat was adjusted to being low too. While in terms of height it didn’t give the feel one associated with an SUV, it felt rather muscular on the whole. Overall, a minor point.

I was very happy on the whole, partly with the car, and partly with the thought that this decision making process is finally going to get over; also that this is one which was relatively easily available. As before, was there a damper to the excitement, you might ask. Now, this might be called a bit like “first world problems”. The smaller stuff first: It felt somewhat crude in parts. The steering – the centre of it – felt terrible (the look of the steering was shockingly poor in the Optra Magnum too). The overall sense of space inside wasn’t great – not physical space, but the visual feeling of space; it wasn’t in line with the size of the vehicle at all. The other’s ‘felt’ more open.

The not so small stuff: I had spent about 15-20 mins setting the seat (engine on) and then another hour or so driving it. All on good roads with no traffic jams and an easy drive. On the way back, I realized that I had a headache. The NVH was getting on. It didn’t feel refined at all. There was a constant sense of being in a noisy space. Not the sharp kind of sounds you hear, but maybe like being in a noisy restaurant or a food court; a fine dining experience it was not – far from it.

Now, I’d normally say: Man, ease off; you aren’t getting anything for your needs and taste, so don’t be as finicky. Yet, the other practical side told me that I can’t expect to be happy with a vehicle if I arrive for important work meetings, which at times are 1 to 1.5 hours away, with a headache and feel that I’d chosen the right car; a car I was to live with for about a decade. Yes, it might have been a bit to do with how I was on a given day, but the overall NVH and how poor it felt was undeniable. Tata cars are known to get nosier and harsher with time and use.
(Funnily enough, in the first TD of the Harrier, included being stuck in traffic for long, yet it didn’t feel as bad. Being somewhat excited about a new vehicle and discovering it might have taken over, as it does for me.)

The Safari’s cabin was also checked as an alternative, as I was serious about booking either. As noted in the earlier TD, the ingress-egress on the second row felt worse. The H5 point (~seat height from road surface) felt rather high and getting out of the seat on to the road was not a simple affair. The Harrier was better, and in the older drives, it was felt better to drive as well (the Safari felt rear-heavy; especially on turns). The feature set and disc brakes were enticing, and the extra spend seemed worthwhile, but the high H5 did not. We don’t have any significant use of the 3rd row seats. Safari also allowed seat recline in the 6 seater Captain's seats – something I found sorely lacking in the Harrier. I don’t remember if the 7 seater bench second row too can be reclined in the Safari; can it?

Further, talk with F&F only further reiterated that getting a vehicle which makes one feel uneasy enough to get occasional headaches and reach meetings in a poor frame of mind isn’t a wise decision. Further deterioration was is also a scare. I still don’t totally rule it out due to it’s other merits; also because it is available relatively easily.

So, where did it leave me? Testing the Jeep Compass again; also in the hope of solving the knee-console issue again.

Last edited by Poitive : 10th June 2022 at 17:25. Reason: Refinement
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Old 10th June 2022, 17:24   #224
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Driven - Jeep Compass Test Drive | Round 2| Choosing an SUV up to 22L

Jeep Compass Test Drive

Please read this in tandem with the earlier TD shared on page 1. Link here.

Happy thoughts of coming back to the one I had loved on itís first TD for how well it drove, I pushed aside all the complaints on the Compass thread of rattles and the AC on a 25 lakh car not being effective enough, and started looking forward to it.

Seat adjustment: Tried to solve it like it was done for the Harrier. Took my time. While the 15 odd mins spent again did make things better, it was surely wasnít as comfortable as the Harrier. It is a narrower cabin to start with too. The seat knee-console issue was barely passable, but the seat behind me was left for a very short person. Ignoring that, we move ahead, still appreciating the comfort brought by the sliding armrest being well positioned.

Since the product was relatively known, and mind more practical to get excited easily, felt things a bit differently. The ride felt harsher. Checked and corrected the tyre pressure at a fuel station on a meter Iíve often used. The inbuilt TPMS showed a few psi higher. I preferred to go with the fuel pumpís meter and the SA too was a lot more confident of it than the inbuilt TPMS. Most other carís test driven had their tyre pressure checked with the same fuel station. The eagerness of the engine, though there, felt okay and not exciting. A matter of benchmarks and perspective, I thought to myself. (a bit more on benchmarks in a later post). Donít get me wrong, it was all (fairly) good, but not as exciting as the first 2 TDs months ago had felt.

It remained an enjoyable drive; yes it was. Exciting, perhaps lesser so. The steering though good for an EPS, I did miss the feel felt on the HPS Tata Harrier and the Nissan Kicks (once again, those looking at a Jeep Compass Petrol for itís driving characteristics, do TD the Kicks). For me, at least, the HPS appears to make driving more involving. What remained good however, was the response to steering inputs. It did feel quite agile, and that is likely due to the suspension setup than the steering as such. A firmer suspension meant quicker response as the vehicle doesnít tilt much and feels better controlled (softer suspensions will typically be slower to respond). Was that enough to accept the firm ride is a question I was left pondering for a while.

Tried it on the rough patch of road in the Harrier TD. Moderate speeds. One felt in good control and fairly connected to the happenings Ė more by the stiffish suspension than the steering (not ideal for an everyday car, IMO). One could feel the difference in the suspension; this being an independent one. The harshness of the ride was obvious; prominent, rather.

Spending over an hour in this one, and not being carried away with the drive as I was in the initial test drives, I thought to myself if I wanted to be with this one. That one hour plus brought the focus on the practical side; the side one has to live with beyond occasional excitement. The ride was harsh. It would be tiring on days when one drives a hundred kms in the city/city-suburb runs. It would be bothersome even on a day to day basis if one had a busy tiring day.

What also was very surprising and came out amply in this one hour plus drive was the NVH. It did feel tiresome; really tiresome. While there might be some question about the TP being incorrect (the discrepancy between the Compassí TMPS and the pump meter) and that causing the harsh ride, the issue of NVH remained. It felt nearly as bad as the Tata Harrier; so consequently almost as difficult to accept.

Then there are issues about the long term prospects of the company (discussed on page 1), limited service outlets (also means if one workshop is poorly managed and ready to fleece you, you might not have another one to go to), cost of repairs (there is a thread on a clutch replacement costing IIRC almost 80k). Add to that the very limited cabin space. Since the brand had a minimal part in my consideration of the Jeep Compass, it was exceedingly hard to see it as being better suited than the Tata Harrier. Go through the Compass thread thinking that the same complaints were coming for a Tata product and imagine what the perception of the product would be.

A vehicle I had loved now seemed to be the poorest choice of the lot. I became certain that unless it is due to some immediate need of a vehicle (and this one often is available quickly if one isnít fussy about the colour), I would prefer the Harrier over the Compass.

Jeep Meridian Ė Some thoughts

Not that I was serious about it, the few thoughts I had were taken care of by :
a) Realizing that the console and windscreen are near identical in size to the Compass.
b) The overall width increase over the compass is minimal.
c) Same engine with a larger body was unlikely to make it for a better driving machine.
d) The bar connecting the C-pillars is likely to reduce the headroom, which anyway was barely sufficient for me in the second row.

Choosing an SUV up to 22L | Seltos, Harrier / Safari, Hector Plus, Compass, XUV700, Kicks, Scorpio N-jeep-meridean-headroom.jpg

The above would really not work or justify the extra spend over the Compass or the stretched budget, even if the headroom on the second row worked.
When I look at the Meridian, it feels like a product which has been made forcefully, than something which was thoughtfully made from base. Though not for me, it might work for many, as peopleís needs, priorities, value perception, and use-cases are different.

Last edited by Poitive : 10th June 2022 at 17:30.
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Old 10th June 2022, 17:28   #225
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Mahindra XUV700 Test Drive | Round 2| Choosing an SUV up to 22L

Mahindra XUV700 Test Drive

Please read this in tandem with the earlier TD shared on page 1. Link here.

With the others not being satisfying enough in terms of practicality, especially the NVH, was natural to try this. Took a bit more to get a TD this time and that was bugging. However, a combination of diversions, traffic jams, missing a turn and other boring factors resulted in a way way way longer test drive. As I had told myself, I wasnít really analytical on this long TD too.

The drive was largely like before. One difference: this time, I kept it on Zoom (highest/Sports) mode almost all through. The steeringís lifelessness felt less bothersome after I had spent a long time in the car. As I had mentioned in the Guide to Test Drives thread using the car more often makes one adjust to the steering. While it didnít have any feedback, it was less bothersome; also perhaps as I had extremely low expectations now. Being in sports mode too would have had some effect, I presume. The usual comfort one feels with a soft EPS was there however. That said, it does feel a mismatch for a vehicle such as this, considering the immense power/torque and surging ability of this large, high Centre of Gravity machine. A steering with good feedback Ė a hydraulic Ė wouldíve been more befitting, IMO. However, I do understand Mahindra going for this, as this is what the paying public is happy with. Even enthusiasts appear to follow this trend now.

What I had loved about the XUV700 was how one was well positioned on the driving seat, and especially the armrests. There was a rather deep lumbar support adjustment too. My back loved it and it made the drive even more comfortable. The main complaint (besides the nitty gritties mentioned on page 1) was the seatís pan (the part of the seat we actually sit on) felt too firm and contoured. Being wide, the edges made it feel uncomfortable. Besides that it was wonderful. The sliding armrest put to use, I was comfortably moving around town, with my forearm well supported, and changing gears barely even moving my left arm, just moving my palm and wrist from a comfortable position. My compliments to Mahindra for this.

Further, also discovered the round dial to control the touchscreen system, too was easily reached from the rested arm (for both rotating and toggling). Oneís mileage might vary, as my palms too are quite large. I like having a biggish screen, but hate the idea of interfacing with it via touch, especially in a car. This Mercedes-style control made life simple Ė best of both worlds: have a large display, yet use physical controls. It was simple and intuitive to use. Much appreciated. Felt like a must-have feature, and was disappointed on being (incorrectly) told it is available only in AX7 Luxury pack, as that is the one which has an electronic parking brake; later learnt that despite the regular handbrake, AX7 (non-luxury) too gets it. AX5 which has shorter waiting times does not. A pity.

Remember, this one had issues on slow speed uneven roads as reported in the page 1 report? Well, on that particular road, on those speeds, it remained as unsettled and harsh. I suppose it is something to do with the FSD (Frequency Sensing Dampers) not working as expected due some fine-tuning part. It is as if the damper is behaving as per a different surface. I wonder if the testing was done with tyres we find on TD cars. There is something amiss. Till I had reliable feedback on tyres, I would be wary changing them on this one, as considering the suspension Ė it might make things better, but what if it makes them a lot worse?
Further, took this one too, on that rough patch mentioned in the other drives. It was about as composed as the Harrier. And not significantly more bouncy. This is a compliment. It also felt better in some sense which is difficult to put into words Ė I think I sense independent suspensions a bit differently. It resembled the Compass. If itís centre of gravity was like that of the Harrier, it would have felt much better, I think. This is a tall one, and it feels so.

Pleasantly, unlike last time, there were no odd sounds from the vehicle. Despite being in traffic jams, the traffic noise didnít bother like it did last time. I guess much of what we perceive on such matters is influenced by benchmarks. I had a low one for this from the XUV700; at least sub-consciously.

Rather, what stood out was how smooth and stress free the overall experience was. The gear shift was very easy to slot with minimal arm movement from an excellent position. The round dial was easily accessible. The screens were conveniently placed, near oneís normal field of vision while driving (yes, one can find issues, but overall felt good this time). Intuitive interface. What was lovely too, was the smoothness of the engine, and it seemed that either due to it being smooth to start with, or due to better mounting, or perhaps better acoustic treatment, it felt very nice to be with. If I was forced to bet, it would be on the mounting and perhaps the smooth engine, as with windows rolled down too, it felt smooth and silent for a diesel. That smoothness of the engine also translated into lesser sounds from the body as a whole. In general, besides the road induced vibrations, the engine vibrations too significantly add to the NVH; here that was minimized. Though the steering lacked feedback, it was very easy to be with EPS Ė well tuned for comfort in terms of lightness and gearing (how much the steering needs to be turned to turn the car).

At a little over the 1 hour mark, I checked if this felt as bothersome and fatiguing as the Harrier and Compass did, and happy to report that it was way way better. Better than the Hector too; surprisingly and surely. Am comparing this round of TDs; not older newer ones, so it being a newer vehicle is too might have played a role Ė the XUV had barely done 5k kms.

What was also nice was that the torque to weight ratio was close to what I was used to. The weight in the earlier calculation was based on Autocar etc, which apparently is incorrect. Based on what was reported on the RC on the XUV700 thread of a petrol variant, Iíd guess this to be about 1800kgs. Iíd go by the RC based estimate than other figures ranging from roughly 1600kgs+ to nearly 2000kgs. Numbers aside, it felt at least as torquey as the Optra Magnum; a bit more, Iíd say due to the engine being rather free revving. What a powerful engine with a reasonably spread out torque band also does is make driving easier (in the case of an AT the number, ratio of gears, and how quickly and certainly they shift too would play a role). The knowledge that one can surge ahead at a momentís notice in itself makes driving a bit more relaxing, and doing so occasionally as the traffic allows or demands makes it fun, while taking away some stress. This is what I have been used to in the Optra Magnum and the XUV700 has it. It also allows one to get clear of a cluster of close moving traffic, occasionally, to freer space, thereby again making driving more pleasurable. (Of course, this needs to be done responsibly.) Again, this is something I have immensely enjoyed in the past years in the vehicles which allowed it (on a motorbike, this goes to a different level all together; especially in the old days). In that sense, XUV700 felt like familiar territory, despite itís size; as it is more nimble than itís size suggests.

Besides the steering, in many ways it drives like a Senior-Compass.

While all sounds good with the XUV700, there are some issues with this too. (Of course, you might say: Poitive will surely find some issues!). Well, for starters, I canít enter the passenger seat easily enough as reported earlier. The seat to top of door opening is insufficient for me (large torso fellow here). I spent time on this. Made a trip to the showroom to check the cabin. It takes me 15-30 seconds just to meander and enter, and really doesnít feel natural. A lower seat height would go help. The driverís side, the seat being height-adjustable, it isnít an issue.

There are some other factors too, which Iíll try and touch upon in a few comparisons I expect to post further.
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