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Old 7th March 2023, 03:18   #1
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Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Hello Fellow BHPians,
I wish to present a conundrum that Iím facing and seek your feedback on getting it resolved. Some might think after reading the entire post, that I may already have an answer and Iím just looking for validation more than feedback. But trust me that isnít the case. And even if I have the answer subconsciously I donít see it myself. I would hate to waste the time of others for mere validation.

With the above disclaimer concluded, I would give a small brief of what I have been driving for the last approx 10 years. I have driven a -
  1. XUV500 (2014 model Manual W6 variant) from 2014 - 2018.
  2. I have been driving a Tata Hexa (2018 captain seat model Automatic XTA variant) since 2018.

With the Hexa completing its 5 years in a couple of months, I feel like getting a new one. Part of the decision to look for a replacement is also influenced by the end of warranty coming up for the car and the fact that while Tata can be trusted for major part replacement for the now discontinued Hexa, less significant parts like e.g. - steering wheel switches, power window switches, AC vent switches, etc. are mostly out of stock and can take forever to get sourced resulting in jugaads / aftermarket fitments being attempted by car owners or shelling out large bucks to replace the larger assembly (even if it was totally unwarranted). Courtesy some of the love given by me to my beast, it is still as good cosmetically as it was when bought in 2018, but I do worry when the above problems appear I will end up getting frustrated and it will take my ownership experience a few notches down, which is still riding high. The price to value King that the Hexa was, Iím quite aware that it wonít be repeated. Anything which is an upgrade over Hexa in all ways possible was previously a Ford Endeavor with 3.2L heart or the MG Gloster (Toyota Fortuner deliberately excluded as that has a terrible ride, which is exactly opposite of the magic carpet like ride of the Hexa). Gloster as of today has even breached the 50L mark and I donít see it even remotely as a value for money purchase even if it is the best upgrade over the Hexa.

We are a family of 5 mostly travelling together that includes my parents, my wife and my 6 years old son and occasionally my 35 kgs dog. If there is a side step my parents do not mind climbing into high GC vehicles. Being a past Mahindra and currently a Tata owner I have my expectations in place of what to expect from both in terms of after sales service. I need a vehicle which despite being tough to withstand bad roads, big craters and speed breakers on a daily basis isnít agricultural for its occupants. This is where Hexa shines and why the family still has 2nd thoughts on parting with it, because while being tough it has enough to pamper its occupants. In 5 years of ownership I have never had to ask the service centre to rectify any rattles, because no rattles appeared till date (Nothing disappoints me more than rattles on my car, which is also the reason XUV500 left after merely 4 years). The passengers in Hexa have a lot of storage space and creature comforts like 4 AC vents in the 02nd row (2 on the pillars and 2 behind the centre console), retractable sun blinds, lumbar adjustment for both captain seats, etc.
The following SUVs / MUVs despite being high on creature comfort where eventually ignored -
  • Hyundai Tuscon - Low real world GC, not suitable for daily abuse of bad patches of road but otherwise a very good package.
  • Mahindra XUV700 - Limited wheel articulation, soft rear suspension often bottoms out on tall speed breakers (in my test drives) and scrapes the underbelly. Doesnít give the feeling of being bad roads abuse friendly. It came really close to consideration but was eventually excluded.
  • Jeep Compass - Just not value for money at the price. The Automatic transmission is SLOOW without any sports mode. As my son grows older, fitting 3 at the back seat is going to get tougher.
  • Jeep Meridian - Makes even less sense than Compass due to further increase in price with not so equivalent increase in interior real estate. Plus that SLOOW transmission.
  • Tata Harrier - With just a few extra thousand over the Harrierís price, I would rather take the Safari with the flexibility of extra 2 seats and otherwise a large boot space with the 3rd row seats folded.
  • MG Hector - Looks donít appeal to me. Too skinny tyres (in terms of width for the size of the car) and no diesel automatic and the petrol automatic being a meh!
  • Innova Hycross - Again not value for money like the Compass. Also has skinny tyres like Hector and also smaller wheels that look disproportionate. Loss of RWD is another bummer. Doesnít feel like a 30L plus ex-showroom vehicle from the inside.

This left me with 2 choices -
  1. Tata Safari 2023 facelift XZA+(O)
  2. Mahindra Scorpio-N Z8 Luxury Pack 4x4 (I had paid the booking amount last year thinking only 10% will be forfeited later. Now it may be made available by this month or next)

My only 3 major peeves with Hexa -
  1. Lack of Infotainment with Android Auto / Apple CarPlay - (sorted on both Safari + Scorpio-N)
  2. Braking being applied very slowly especially on high speeds with full load despite having all 4 disc brakes. There is no drama in stopping and ABS kicks in at the right time, but it stops like a locomotive without a real sense of urgency. Hence it limits the speeds on highway I can drive it at despite the engine and transmission being fully capable of delivering more than I actually extract out of them.
  3. Sometimes the heavy hydraulic steering at parking speeds on certain days seems like a chore. I have got used to it so on most days it doesnít hurt, but on some days I do wish it was lighter while taking it out of my parking lot.

Test Drive Observations

Ride Quality and Drive Feel
In my test drive of both Scorpio-N and Safari (pre-2023 facelifted version), I felt the ride quality of both being almost similar. Scorpio-N was a new vehicle with barely 1.5k kms on the odometer but the Safari was a fairly abused 22k kms driven. So the slight difference in insulation of the suspension absorbing the bumps I have tried to ignore unless you guys tell me indeed the Scorpio-N is better. I donít anticipate myself doing hardcore offroading. So for me the GC of Safari in the real world may prove to be adequate enough. Safari takes less time to settle in a low speed ride but Scorpio-N is not far either and honestly on bad patches Scorpio-N feels almost indestructible. Safari is robust but being a monocoque probably not a tough as nail as Scorpio-N.

The light steering of the Scorpio-N is quite a delight. Safariís steering is lighter than my Hexa but still a notch too heavy at parking speeds and sometimes there is quite a lot of feedback from it that can make you nervous at high speeds.

Automatic Transmission
Both the vehicles do not have an eager automatic like the Punch Powerglide automatic transmission on the Hexa that drops gears just with a slight twist of the accelerator. I didnít see either of them climbing all the way to 3k rpm by dropping gears (more than 1 when necessary), that I see a lot on my Hexa. However, with the Scorpio-Nís more potent diesel engine, the progress is more brisk compared to Safari (on City mode) even without any drive modes on the 4x4 variant (no zip-zap-zoom on 4x4). On Safari, it is even more dull until you engage the sports mode. But being a FWD, there is a hint of understeer as well, as you press the pedal after engaging the sports mode while cutting through high speed traffic. But the steering feedback works in favour in this situation and lets the driver know when to go easy on the gas. Both of them from transmission standpoint are a downgrade to the Hexaís transmission but in overall acceleration I think Scorpio fares better in the default mode than the Safari but not by a lot. With Safari in Sports mode, the gap disappears or sometimes goes in favour of the Safari but it guzzles a lot of fuel that way.

The braking is where I felt Scorpio-N was quite a bit ahead of the Safari despite the higher kerb weight. The brakes are too grabby and even at 100+ km/hr I could feel the car slowing down rapidly. On the Safari there was this locomotive-like stopping feeling as I have on the Hexa, and the perception was it wasnít losing speed as rapidly as I would have wanted it to be. Now the person from Tata said the car has worn out brake pads and needs replacement, but Iím not sure if he made it up or there was indeed a reduction in the Safariís actual braking performance in the Test Drive vehicle. Also I know that the more pronounced the nose-dive in a vehicle, the more the sensation of it slowing down rapidly appears, unless tested scientifically. So I donít know if the nose dive is more on Scorpio-N to make it appear more rapidly stopping than Safari.

Cabin Space and packaging
Safari offers much better cabin space and interior packaging than the Scorpio-N. This is the place where the family is not getting immediately convinced by Scorpio-N despite acknowledging its strengths as tough as a nail BOF SUV with refined engine and decent performance. The shallow bottle holder in 2nd row with barely space for any other knick-knacks, etc on the Scorpio-N is not pleasing to the rest of the family.

Features and Creature Comforts
Another place where Safari scores is create comforts - ventilated seats, driver seat with memory function, electric seat adjustment for both front seats, better positioning of 2nd row AC vents - on the pillars vs behind the centre console where the vents mostly cool the knees of the 3rd passenger in the middle tha everyone equally. I, along with my family, also found the 9 speaker JBL system of Safari to be significantly superior to the 12 speaker Sony system on Scorpio-N (though not sure if Iím an audiophile, I take the music output quality quite seriously). I tweaked settings on Scorpio-N (bass - max, vocals at -3 or so and treble at 7 or so) but nothing sounded as great and with a massive bass thump like on the Safari. The 360 camera on the new Safari Ď2023 along with much better resolution is another point to lose for Scorpio-N, though being a current Hexa driver I shouldnít complain much of Scorpio-Nís camera resolutions. The Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold on the Safari is another area where it trumps Scorpio-N and in Bangalore traffic itís such a boon.

Opinions Requested (especially from existing owners of the 2 cars I have shortlisted)
I hope I have been able to mention the items that matter to me. Scorpio-N despite being a BOF RWD like Hexa is giving a more different drive feel vs the Hexa, so itís probably intriguing me more than the Safari as a driver. But with the novelty factor of change gone after a few weeks of ownership, I donít want to take a biassed decision and later repent of it, rather than decide based on the merits of both the machines.
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Old 7th March 2023, 09:47   #2
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

My advice is to hold on to the Hexa if there are no problems with it. Infact you and your family are satisfied with Hexa. Since Hexa is out of production and 5 years old, majority of the resale value is gone. Now the loss of resale value will be more gradual.

Like any other device, the cars also follow the bath tub curve failure model. Most of the failures will occur either when the device is very new or very old. Your Hexa is sitting right
in the middle and I do not expect any major failures till 8-10 years into the life of the car.

You are also looking at long wait times on Scorpio-N and cars have gotten expensive. Bottom line, why fix something which isn't broken?
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Old 7th March 2023, 10:03   #3
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

As a fellow Hexa owner and being member of several Hexa owner's groups I think the thing that keeps most of us awake at night is what will we replace the Hexa with.... it is that good. I came out of a coffee break on a long drive to find a family in a Jaguar F Pace admiring my Hexa. They had recently sold their Hexa for the Jaguar and they told me they regretted the decision! Yes, .... it is that good.

I am an audiophile and therefore for me what comes closest of the list you put together is a Scorpio with an after-market audio replacement. The Scorpio wins hands down over all the other choices despite being a flawed angel on many fronts. Two words - ROAD PRESENCE. After the last decades of driving hoodlum cars I am addicted to the unruly, crowded streets parting like the oceans parting before Moses when they see my vehicle in their rear view mirrors.
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Old 7th March 2023, 10:27   #4
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Get the Scorpio-N with eyes closed. Hexa was a different breed of Tata which will not ever be repeated again.
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Old 7th March 2023, 11:12   #5
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Nothing below ₹50Lacs will feel like an upgrade to the HEXA. Its very tough car to upgrade from. My associate bought a Kodiaq as only that felt like a good upgrade.

XUV7OO - Limited wheel articulation...Doesnít give the feeling of being bad roads abuse friendly
Understandable, but the ScorpioN will have very few tyre options if you're planning for off-roading.

XUV7OO may not *feel* rugged, but the monocoque build (with a ring structure) has solid torsional rigidity.

soft rear suspension often bottoms out on tall speed breakers (in my test drives) and scrapes the underbelly...
Soft suspension, yes. But the car bottoming out is unheard of. It could be something with the test drive car. Take another TD when you visit the showroom.

Finding a worthy upgrade in the used car / pre-owned market will take time, so keep the Hexa. Get that AT fluid changed. Find a good FNG that'll pay better attention to the upkeep than TATA ASC.
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Old 7th March 2023, 11:13   #6
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Originally Posted by TORQUE_AANJANEY View Post
With the Hexa completing its 5 years in a couple of months, I feel like getting a new one. Part of the decision to look for a replacement is also influenced by the end of warranty coming up for the car
Frank opinion, keep your Hexa AT. You MUST read my two articles on the topic:

- Keep, sell or swap my 5-year old car

- Want to sell your car due to repairs? Think again

For more opinions on the Scorpio-N versus the Safari, we have a detailed discussion & poll (Mahindra Scorpio-N vs Tata Safari vs Hyundai Alcazar vs Mahindra XUV700 vs Others).
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Old 7th March 2023, 11:30   #7
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

I am probably going to confuse you bit more.

Based on you requirements, the need seems to be more for a city friendly car and certainly more space the better. In that case Scorpion N certainly is not the choice, irrespective of how much improved it is over the previous model but it is still BoF and bit compromised on a 2nd row comfort over a monocoque.

Comparatively Safari is a better choice give the monocoque structure and space etc. However I am surprised about your observations related to XUV700, maybe worth a relook before you take a plunge for Safari. New safari is certainly much more feature rich, but only risk you run is after sales service which Mahindra is much better at.
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Old 7th March 2023, 11:51   #8
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

As a fellow Hexa owner, I relate with everything you say. As good as Hexa is, the car tends to become a money pit after 5-6 years. All sorts of kinds have that much life only, and they start failing one after the other. Parts are not easy to source and downtime gets lengthy. My advice is that unless you have access to an FNG you trust, it is better to sell it off when you can still get good value for it.

There is no like for like replacement of Hexa. Safari feels like a downgrade. Scorpio N is closer in feel and drive, though ultimately not as sorted. Its space management is lazy, but then it is still better than the Safari that has zero boot space with the third row up. Do consider the base model of the Jeep Meridian as well, which is close in price and feels and drives a lot better.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 7th March 2023 at 12:03.
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Old 7th March 2023, 12:48   #9
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Originally Posted by TORQUE_AANJANEY View Post
Scorpio-N despite being a BOF RWD like Hexa is giving a more different drive feel vs the Hexa, so itís probably intriguing me more than the Safari as a driver. But with the novelty factor of change gone after a few weeks of ownership, I donít want to take a biased decision and later repent of it, rather than decide based on the merits of both the machines.
Please let me know if you are interested in exchanging your HEXA for my XUV 500 , that way I will get what I aspired to own once, and maybe you will get what you want by merely swapping vehicles. As many have suggested HEXA is irreplaceable, and the new Scorpio-N is severely short of space in comparison. Everything is manageable at this level but the lack of space cannot be overlooked. I would suggest retaining HEXA and buying any other compact SUV as another option.
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Old 7th March 2023, 19:51   #10
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

The HEXA is a difficult car to replace. It has great space with an amazing Auto box. Coming to the 2 choices Safari vs Scorpio N. Scorpio N has good road presence, and with its BOF chassis it dismisses bad roads with ease. But as with all new Mahindra products be ready for a few unexpected service centre visits. Tata vehicles are wonderful to look at and safari is no different. However, cars in India are big ticket purchases. With the Tata vehicles the after sales experience is often a hit or a miss
I was in a similar boat couple of months back. Did a TD of the XUV700, ScorpioN and the Safari. The XUV 700 is fully loaded with all bells and whistles and has a spacious interior layout unlike the ScorpioN which felt kind of dated on the inside. You do get a feel that the plastic parts (sunglasses holders, door pads etc) are not well finished in the mahindra and the electronic gizmo’s may fail in the long run. But looking at the the intended use and the pro active after sales support I would prefer XUV 700. Tata Safari is a decent vehicle but the poor after sales experience, sluggish auto box and the poor resale value does dampen the enthusiasm somewhat.

P.S I ended up buying an Innova Hycross ZX(O). I wanted a niggle free 6 seater with good highway manners. The 18 inch alloys with the thin tyre profile is the only fly in the ointment. Would have also looked at the VX variant if there was an option of 6 airbags at the time of purchase.
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Old 7th March 2023, 21:41   #11
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

As a fellow 2018 HEXA XTA owner my recommendation is - 'KEEP the HEXA'.

I for one have decided to keep mine.
And trust me it's a well considered decision after due thought and deliberation; NOT one driven by sentiment or emotion alone.

The car is built to last!

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Old 7th March 2023, 22:02   #12
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

I owned a Tata Hexa XT 4X4 till September 2022, when it got flooded and I was forced to get rid of it. Having been through the shopping experience myself, NOTHING compares to the Hexa. There are cars with a better powertrain and blingy features, but nothing beats the quality and comfort of the Hexa.

I test drove the Safari, XUV700, Meridian, Scorpio N and the Gloster. I felt the Safari was a noticeable step down from the Hexa in terms of overall experience. The ride comfort wasn't up to Tata's usually high standards. The Gloster and the Meridian had the best ride, but I didn't feel like plonking down the big bucks for them (not to mention the higher likelihood of ownership hassles for these niche cars). The XUV700 was a good compromise (again... it didn't hold a candle to Hexa's ride quality), but the waiting period for the top end model wasn't to my liking.

I picked the Scorpio N 4X4 AT. Having driven it for a month, I can say that if you pick the Scorpio N, you will notice the clearly poorer low/medium speed ride. It is not as spacious as the Hexa. However, it has a superior powertrain and the seats are comfortable. The interiors are better than the Hexa too. Highway manners on flat pavement are marginally better than the Hexa. However, on broken roads, the Hexa is awesome while the Scorpio N may get a little tiresome.

Between the Safari and the Scorpio N, I would pick the Scorpio N.
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Old 7th March 2023, 23:53   #13
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

If you have managed so far with a Hexa , you probably do not need a ScorpioN - it would do a poor job of being a people mover, primarily because it's at best a 5+2 and very intentionally done that way. I think you should consider more practical people movers considering your parents - Innova and it's hybrid versions are a good place to start

I know these two vehicles in contention very well as we have them in the family - Safari is a stop gap product made with bits and pieces that they could get , ScorpioN and XUV7OO are a way Mahindra is showing off what Indian automobile industry can achieve - they are much superior vehicles in every manner, I doubt if Tata can catch up with their ICE vehicles at all, Tata is betting on EVs instead.
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Old 8th March 2023, 00:28   #14
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Thinking of selling the Hexa just because it is going to 5 years ?

My Storme will soon complete 10. I dont see a suitable replacement in the market. And definitely not going to spend another 20 big ones at this time for the available options.
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Old 8th March 2023, 02:13   #15
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Re: Confused between Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio-N

Thanks everyone for your posts and opinions. Please keep them coming. I'll be reverting to the posts individually tomorrow, after Holi.

I'm aware that there was already a larger discussion amongst other 6/7 seaters on a separate thread, which I did read through, but I wanted a more detailed pros and cons with my use case with further limited options. I'll try to share my view of the math for looking to replace Hexa (I haven't finalized this decision though, but I think it might throw some light on certain unexplained aspects)

Happy Holi to all the fellow BHPians.
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