While the world has been going Gaga over the soft roaders lately, the big, bulky and the beasty SUVs still hold their charm in a country like India. The Tata Safari and the Mahindra Scorpio are two such indigenous SUVs, which have been locking horns for more than 10 years now. While the Mahindra gave a complete makeover to the Scorpio last year, Tata recently updated the Safari Storme. And so we decided to put together these two SUVs, to know which is a better car.
When you talk of the exteriors, there's hardly any change you see in the facelifted Safari Storme. You need to be a hardcore Safari fan to notice range rover inspired honeycomb grille and the projector headlamps. Apart from the rear view mirror integrated indicators, the rest of the Storme looks exactly the same as the pre facelift model. But that doesn't take away any credit from the Tata as the Safari Storme has a better road presence than the Scorpio.
The Mahindra Scorpio is a different ball game altogether and the SUV is given a complete makeover as compared to previous generation car. The new Scorpio now looks bold, aggressive and stylish. The cat claws shaped grille, those big squarish headlights and the airscoop on the bonnet makes it a better looking car from the front. But the overall design of the Scorpio is still boxy and outdated.
The first thing you notice inside the cabin of the Tata Safari Storme is the nice and comfortable seats that the SUV offers. The high seating position along with the huge glass area gives a commanding look of the road. Another thing to mention here is the Bolt sourced steering wheel and the new centre console. Tata has changed the interior color theme from beige to black to make it look sportier.
We were also impressed with the practicality that Tata offers in the new Safari. There are large door bins that can store 1-litre bottles and a plenty of other storage trays also. The rear seat of the Safari offers adequate head room and knee room and sitting 3 is not an issue. Not to forget the big horizontal AC vent to keep the rear passengers cool.
Mahindra did a lot of hard work to make the Scorpio a funky and cool place to be in. The instrument cluster is of a new design and the quality level has improved a lot. Frankly speaking, Tata Safari is no where near to the Scoprio in terms of the equipment levels, like the navigation system and touchscreen infotainment system.
The front seats are wide and long. There's one issue, though - the seat extends all the way to the door, making it really tough to adjust the seats. As compared to the Safari, the Scorpio is not at all a practical place to be in. The door panels here are really narrow and there are not enough cubby holes to keep your knick knacks. The seats in the rear are comfortable and have enough cushioning. Sitting 3 adults in the back is an easy task.
Engine, Performance and Gearbox
Tata Safari Storme that is powered by the 2.2-litre Varicor engine, which strangely is very silent and you hardly notice any engine noise inside the cabin. The SUV produces 140 bhp and 320 Nm, which for a 2.5 tonne car feels less. Although there is no lag, power kicks in after 1800 rpm. That said, it is a better highway car and shows its real character at 100 kph. The car is immensely balanced, though you sometimes feel the need of sixth gear. The steering is pretty heavy and taking quick turns is a task in the Safari.
The Scorpio comes powered by the trademark mHawk 2.2-litre unit from the previous car. The engine produces 120 bhp and 280 Nm which is less as compared to the Safari, but translates into performance rather well as in the Scorpio as compared to the Safari. Mahindra has given an all new Chassis to the Scorpio, which makes Scorpio really agile and light, almost like driving an a compact SUV or a hatchback. Though the body roll is high as compared to the Safari, the agility and maneuverability is more in the Scorpio. Out of the two, the Mahindra Scorpio is more frugal with mileage upwards of 15kmpl.
Safety and Features
The Tata Safari Storme facelift has been given many additional features like a Harman Kardon derived music system, sonic rear sensors, Econ AC. But out of the two, the Safari is still far behind in terms of the equipment levels. In terms of safety, the Safari comes with dual airbags and ABS. The four-wheel drive system is not full time and can be engaged according to the need.
The Mahindra Scorpio, on the other hand, is the better equipped SUV than the Safari. It comes with a touchscreen infotainment system, a detailed driver information system and an automatic climate control. It also gets LED DRLs and cruise control system with steering mounted controls which the Safari misses. In terms of the safety, both these SUVs are similar, with dual airbags and an ABS.
While the Tata Safari is quintessentially the SUV that Indians love, and has a huge fan following in the market, it's the all-new Mahindra Scorpio that takes the lead and wins the battle. The Scorpio is fun to drive, a better city car and has a well equipped cabin, which makes it an overall better package. The Safari, on the other hand, has a better road presence and is a better highway car. It all comes down to your driving preferences. If you need an SUV for the daily purpose and occasional off-roading, Scorpio is the SUV for you. If you need an SUV for long highway trips, Safari is the car for you.