Mahindra Scorpio-N vs Tata Safari vs MG Hector Plus

The XUV700 is still way ahead for an urban dweller and it really comes down to the typical monocoque vs body-on-frame pros & cons.

Mahindra Scorpio-N

Link to Review

Tata Safari

What you'll like:

  • The iconic brand “Safari” is back! We agree with using the legendary nameplate for this car
  • Stunning looks & strong road presence. Solid build too
  • Classy, spacious cabin with comfortable seats & a chilling air-con
  • Extra 3rd row of seats brings lots more practicality & utility
  • Superb captain chairs available as an option for the middle row (top variant only)
  • Extras over the Harrier include rear disc brakes, TPMS, e-parking brake, auto-hold, boss mode…
  • Fantastic 9-speaker audio system. The sound quality & bass are enjoyabl
  • 168 BHP 2.0L diesel offers good driveability and a punchy mid-range
  • Smooth & competent 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Sufficient ground clearance + terrain response system for rough and wet roads
  • Topnotch safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, rest break reminder, hill hold, brake disc wiping & more
  • Features such as the panoramic sunroof, Eco & Sport modes, auto headlamps & wipers, cruise control…

What you won't:

  • Heavy steering gets cumbersome at parking/u-turn/crawling speeds (<5 km/h)
  • 3rd-row access is too difficult in the captain seat variant
  • Negligible boot space with all the seats up - a paltry 73 litres
  • Safari AT’s focus is on smoothness & comfort; the gearbox is not the most responsive
  • Concerns over niggles & long-term reliability. Our test car had a problem too!
  • Service visit every 6 months / 7,500 km (12 months is the norm today)
  • Diesel engine does get loud above 3,500 rpm & its engine note is quite sad too
  • No petrol option (almost all competitors offer it). No AWD for enthusiasts either
  • Although improved, the Safari's steering @ 120 km/h is still a level too sensitive
  • Tata's after-sales service quality is a hit or miss. Remains a gamble
  • By 2021 standards, we’d expect wireless charging + front / 360 camera + ventilated seats
  • We don’t agree with the excessive chrome (outside), impractical white interiors & 18” rims (bit firmer ride)

Link to Review

MG Hector Plus

What you'll like:

  • Big size & lots of bling for the money! We find the Hector to be well-priced
  • A spacious cabin that can easily seat 5 adults. The massive 587-litre boot too
  • Fiat-sourced 2.0L diesel is simply fantastic
  • Compliant ride quality. Suspension is tuned for comfort
  • Lots of kit (panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, electric seats & tailgate etc.)
  • ‘Connected’ Tablet ICE with an embedded SIM & lovely sound quality
  • 5-year / unlimited km warranty with roadside assistance
  • Top safety equipment includes 6 airbags, ESP, HSA, all-wheel disc brakes, TPMS & more

What you won't:

  • Awkward styling on the side & rear profiles. Looks weird from some angles
  • Sloppy high-speed handling, noticeable body roll & easy understeer
  • The petrol engine is “adequate” at best. Its guzzling Automatic variant is unimpressive
  • No Diesel AT (Alcazar, XUV500, Safari offer this combination, which we love)
  • Some annoyances like the ~6-meter turning radius, strange rpm meter…
  • Small after-sales network. Service quality & long-term reliability are big unknowns
  • Don’t get blinded by the British branding. This is a Chinese car

Link to Review

Hyundai Alcazar

What you’ll like:

  • A 3-row family car that's well-built inside out
  • User-friendly interiors look really good (brown shade is awesome) and have quality parts
  • 2.0L NA petrol & 6-speed AT deliver a very smooth and refined driving experience
  • Economical 1.5L diesel is available in MT & AT variants. Offers good driveability
  • Comfortable ride quality with neutral road manners
  • Unladen ground clearance of 200 mm is perfect for Indian roads
  • The Alcazar's safety package includes 6 airbags, ESP, all-wheel disc brakes, auto-hold, TPMS etc.
  • Impressive kit (fully digital instruments, 360-degree camera, 2nd-row wireless charger, panoramic sunroof, paddle shifters, Bose sound system, cooled seats & loads more)
  • Hyundai's competent after-sales service & wide dealer network

What you won’t:

  • Oddball love-it-or-hate-it face. We find Alcazar's front design to be weird & overdone
  • 2nd-row legroom is mediocre (captain seat variant). Compromises have been made to accommodate the 3rd-row & boot
  • 3rd-row seat is best suited to kids only. Not really a place for adults
  • Rs. ~3 lakh OTR premium over the Creta on the higher variants is too much!
  • Nothing for enthusiasts here. The 2.0 AT is tuned very conservatively
  • Diesel’s 113 BHP & 250 Nm – although adequate – are the lowest in the segment
  • The Creta 1.4L DCT is a lot, lot more fun to drive
  • Competitors like the Tata Safari, MG Hector Plus & XUV500 offer way more spacious cabins
  • Some misses (no petrol AT 7-seater variant, auto wipers, illuminated window buttons, full-size spare tyre on top trims etc.)

Link to Review

Kia Carens

What you'll like:

  • Fresh styling that will appeal to a larger audience (unlike the polarising Alcazar)
  • A practical & sensible 3-row family car that's well-built. The 3rd-row seat is actually useable
  • User-friendly interiors look really good (blue shade is awesome) and have quality parts
  • 1.4L turbo petrol with 7-speed DCT offers more than adequate performance. Extremely refined too
  • Economical 1.5L diesel is available in MT & AT variants. Offers good driveability
  • Impressive ride quality with neutral car-like road manners
  • The Carens' safety package includes 6 airbags, ESP, all-wheel disc brakes, TPMS etc as standard.

What you won't:

  • 3-star GNCAP safety rating is disappointing (related discussion)
  • 2nd-row legroom is just ordinary, despite the seat travel of the 1st-row being restricted
  • Diesel’s 113 BHP & 250 Nm – although adequate – are the lowest in the segment
  • Reliability of the 7-speed DCT in a heavier car is a concern
  • Some niceties missing vs the Alcazar - no 360-degree camera, no full virtual dials, no panoramic sunroof
  • Competitors like the Tata Safari, MG Hector & XUV700 offer way more spacious cabins

Link to Review

Toyota Innova Crysta

What you'll like:

  • Indestructible build & durability. The Innova is known for its bullet-proof reliability
  • Spacious, flexible & practical cabin. An extremely comfortable long-distance commuter
  • Upmarket interiors. The ZX AT variant is very plush
  • Powerful diesel engines with user-selectable driving modes
  • Balanced suspension & road manners. High-speed stability is rock solid
  • Top-notch safety kit. 7 airbags, ABS, ESP, TC, Isofix & 3-point seatbelts for all
  • Feature packed! Leather seats, LED headlamps, mood lighting, cruise control & lots more
  • Toyota's excellent after-sales service and fuss-free ownership experiences

What you won't:

  • Hefty price tag! 3 - 4 lakhs higher than the competition
  • Top ZX variant is unavailable with a middle-row bench seat (8-seater)
  • Lower variant's interior looks too basic
  • 2.4's NVH package still has holes to fill (engine clatter, dancing gear lever)
  • Heavy steering at parking / low speeds. Can get cumbersome in the city
  • Poor sound quality from the ICE. Cheap speakers beg for an upgrade

Link to Review

Mahindra XUV700

What you'll like:

  • Handsome styling matched to solid build quality. Has street presence, feels robust
  • Very spacious interiors with comfy seats and sorted ergonomics. 6-footer passengers welcome!
  • 182 BHP turbo-diesel & 197 BHP turbo-petrol make for a potent line-up
  • Smooth 6-speed torque converter Automatics available with both engines
  • Sorted suspension with good road manners & high-speed stability
  • AWD is available for the adventurous, unlike most FWD crossovers in the segment
  • Loaded with features like radar-based driver assistance system, pop-out door handles, panoramic sunroof, driver memory seat, 360-degree camera, 10.25" infotainment & instrument cluster etc.
  • 12-speaker Sony audio system is fantastic! You'll enjoy its sound quality
  • Safety features include 7 airbags, ESP, all-wheel disc brakes, hill hold, hill descent control, driver drowsiness detection, TPMS, ISOFIX...

What you won't:

  • Negligible boot space with the 3rd-row seat up. Either 5 onboard, or 7 with a roof-top carrier
  • Cramped 3rd-row seat is best suited to children only. A sliding middle row is sorely missed
  • Petrol AT is thirsty due to its hefty weight, 197 BHP & torque-converter AT
  • Some cabin plastics & a few rough areas don't feel premium in an otherwise loaded SUV
  • Missing features such as an auto-dimming IRVM, ventilated seats, paddle shifters, full-size spare wheel, ambient lighting, rear sunblinds...
  • Concerns over niggles & bugs in a freshly baked, complex Mahindra. We saw 2!
  • Mahindra's after-sales service is a hit or miss. Remains a gamble
  • AWD is available just with the Diesel AT, and not the MT or petrol motor

Link to Review

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Took the Scorpio-N out on a ~400-km road trip recently and loved it. Mahindra has maintained the Scorpio's DNA, yet improved in several key areas (ride, interiors, AT gearbox). That being said, the XUV700 is still way ahead for an urban dweller and it really comes down to the typical monocoque vs body-on-frame pros & cons. I'm going with the XUV700 because it is the better SUV for me.

Here's what BHPian Roadster101 had to say on the matter:

Tough choice between the XUV7OO and the Innova Crysta, but I would choose the latter.

Innova has always been very close to my heart. Owned one for over 10 years and literally spent my entire childhood on road trips in that car. Two and a half lakh kilometres driven and still not even a single issue faced. I agree that it still is towards the pricey end of the segment and does miss out on a few features but what it has going for itself are the robust built quality and Toyota's legendary reliability. It might not have 200 horses in its engine, but SUVs in this segment are really made to sprint down a drag strip either. The XUV7OO on the other hand is also a really good car, it's loaded to the gills with features and has got a cracker of an engine (mStallion). It does sell in good numbers but I would avoid one until it has spent a considerable amount of time in the market.

For now, my vote goes to the Innova Crysta. It's a legendary vehicle and certainly unmatched to date.

Here's what BHPian itsmeparvathy9 had to say on the matter:

The Mahindra XUV700 feels the most complete of the lot, with 5-seater and 7-seater options, very capable engines, AWD option with the diesel, comfortable ride, 5-star NCAP rating and its loaded with tech and ADAS which is well tuned for Indian conditions as well.

Here's what BHPian AYP had to say on the matter:

The XUV 7OO is the car here which appeals both to the head and the heart.

When we compare the Safari and the XUV 7OO, I only see the lesser waiting period and slightly more premium material used on the inside as the pro for the Safari. The XUV leads in every other way.

I avoid buying Chinese products as long as a better alternative exists in a similar price range, so out goes Hector. The Alcazar has a small 1.5 diesel and the Carens is clearly a segment below the other options.

The Innova would is a sensible option but lacks the wow factor of the new XUV and the Scorpio. The engine also does not have the grunt of the 2.2 MHawk. The Innova would be my 3rd choice.

Between the Scorpio and the XUV 7OO, the Scorpio definitely looks better. It also has the advantage of having LED projectors in the low beam as against reflectors in the XUV. Even when it comes to the interiors, I like the interiors of the Scorpio more than the XUV. The black and brown combo looks quite nice as against the excessive beige in the XUV. In fact, if it comes down to choosing between the XUV AX5 vs the Scorpio Z8, I might just go for the Z8 considering the many features missed in the AX5.

If we compare only the higher variants though, as a package, the XUV does come across as a more sensible choice for me as it is a monocoque (better handling), and its engine has a higher state of tune(diesel) and comes with more creature comforts.

Voted for the XUV 7OO though if budget permits, I'd go for the Compass Limited over the XUV.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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