Tata Safari versus Mahindra Scorpio

  • Sep 02, 2011

Home grown SUVs are becoming a rage in India with a lot more people opting for these powerful cars as opposed to buying a premium sedan. It also has to do with the price of diesel which allows an enthusiast to run these cars without any worry of breaking their bank. Today on hand we have two such great SUVs from Indian manufacturers Tata with their popular Tata Safari and Mahindra with their extremely loved Mahindra Scorpio. These cars offer great bang for buck and are well under the 13-14 lakh price range and come with a excellent features and good build quality to sustain all the adventures that lay ahead of the car.

Looks and design:


Tata Safari has been around for a very long time now and the design and looks of the car has remained largely unchanged over the years. It has chrome tipped front grill and clear lens headlamp unit. Safari has triangular shaped fog lamps which give it a unique style statement and the front skid plate gives the perception of the SUV’s off-road capabilities. The side view demonstrates the excellent 205 mm of ground clearance. The alloy design remains unchanged over the years and flared wheel arches add to the aggressive profile of the car. Overall the car looks muscular and has a huge road presence.


Mahindra Scorpio has a huge fan following owing to its ruggedness and butch looks. The car looks very imposing and intimidating. It has chrome tipped Mahindra logo at the front on the grill and huge bumper sporting the fog lamps add to the muscular profile of the car. The side profile shows off the flared wheel arches and there is a chrome step up to climb into the car and chrome tipped roof rails adorn this menacing SUV. It is a sporty vehicle with sportier looks and is a hit amongst younger generation and the family crowd alike.

Looks overall – Tata Safari 7/10
Looks overall – Mahindra Scorpio

Interiors – design, space and features:


Tata has over the years accepted feedback and has implemented it by upgrading the quality of the interiors in the Safari. It has now acceptable quality of interior plastics, fit and finish has been improved off late. It has a functional instrument cluster with two oval dials and the central console features a single CD player with USB, AUX-in, MP3 compatibilities. It has DVD screen for the middle row passengers and is located behind the front seat headrest. It also has a huge amount of boot space if you fold the seats up to the middle row and you get 1380 liters of boot space. Other features include ample storage area, arm rests for passengers and AC vents in pillars which further aid in cooling of the car on a hot summer day.


Mahindra has well improved the Scorpio over the years and now the interiors have an up-market feel to it. The Scorpio SUV has cruise control, steering mounted audio controls, 4 speaker stereo music system with USB, MP3, Aux-in and Bluetooth compatibilities. The car has acceptable interior build quality and fit and finish is on par with the rivals from its segment. It has electrically adjustable rear view mirrors, smart rain and light sensors, twin glove boxes and four cup holders in the center console with various switches and a huge scoop in the dashboard. It has comfortable seating which provide excellent support to the back and has dual-tone interior and upholstery. It also has a huge 1243 liters of storage space which is sufficient to carry luggage for family on a road trip.

Interiors overall – Tata Safari 7/10
Interiors overall – Mahindra Scorpio

Engine – performance, power, torque, fuel economy, smoothness:


Tata have done well to remove the 3 liter engine configurations and also the 2 liter petrol unit is now gone and they have been replaced with the 2.2 liter VTT DICOR engine. It produces 140 BHP of peak power at 4000 RPM and a huge 320 NM of torque from as low as 1700 RPM. This motor has a sense of eagerness to lunge forward when required. It can cruise all day long at triple digit speeds and yet return good fuel economy. The engine has minimal turbo lag and the noise level from the engine are at a minimum. ARAI has certified the fuel economy for the 4x2 variant of the Safari as a healthy 14.34 kmpl and the 4x4 Safari variant has been certified at 13.93 kmpl.


Mahindra removed the old 2.6 liter CRDi engine and introduced the new mHawk engine which develops the same amount of power as the older, larger capacity unit. The new Scorpio mHawk engine develops 127 BHP and 290 NM of torque which is available as low down as 1800 RPM. It comes with a 5 speed manual transmission and there is also an optional 6speed automatic available. The new mHawk engine has a sporty character and is bound to take you places. It can stay comfortably on the brighter side of 100 kmph all day long. The engine vibrations are noise levels are well controlled and minimal at their loudest and won’t bother the passengers during long drives. It delivers an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 13 kmpl.

Engine overall – Tata Safari 8/10
Engine overall – Mahindra Scorpio 8/10

Suspension – Ride, comfort and handling:


Tata is known for its plush ride quality absorbing all the undulations and potholes on the road with ease. It does have a fair amount of body roll owing to the high center of gravity. It has ample stability for highway runs and will comfortably sit upwards of 100 kph which throwing its passengers around inside the car when going over bad patches of road. It is most comfortable in the city where will encounter potholed roads and you can overcome these without breaking your back. It has good brakes owing to ABS and EBD which improves the safety factor present in the car along with ABS for the driver and the passenger.


Mahindra has had an excellent suspension tuner at hand: Lotus. They have time and again tuned the suspension of this SUV and have made the latest iterant a confident handler and a pleasurable drive for the regular buyer and the enthusiast alike. It doesn’t have the heavy body rolls seen in the older generation Scorpios and rest assured this car will be improved in the years to come. It has a comfortable drive and good ride quality making it a pleasure to drive around the city and potholed roads. It has excellent highway manners and will keep the passengers safe at high speeds.

Suspension overall – Tata Safari – 7.5/10
Suspension overall – Mahindra Scorpio – 7.5/10

Value for money – sticker price, standard features:

Tata has been successfully selling cars for a very long time. Their product quality has significantly improved over the last decade and their Safari SUV is very popular amongst its owners and the buyers in its segment. Safari has a price starting from (all ex-showroom Delhi) 8.08 lakhs for the base variant Safari LX going up to 12.55 lakhs for the top variant VX Safari. Safari is an affordable SUV and proven performer over a decade and half. It has a huge fan following in the SUV segment.

Mahindra has always built value for money products and the Scorpio is no different. Scorpio is available from the price (all ex-showroom Delhi) range of 7.35 lakhs for the Scorpio LX, the next in line Scorpio SLE is priced at 8.35 lakhs, the top variant Scorpio VLX is priced at 9.45 lakhs and the automatic transmission variant is priced at 10.13 lakhs. The unbeatable pricing combined with the excellent features available in the car makes it a sheer value for money product. The fuel economy and the latest high tech features in the car makes it an irresistible package altogether.

Value for money overall – Tata Safari – 8/10
Value for money overall – Mahindra Scorpio – 8/10


Tata has strived towards improving their quality and its efforts are shown in the latest iterant of the Safari. Tata is keen on upgrading it premium SUV offering and soon it is expected to launch the newer and updated version of the same. Safari is a true glider on our Indian roads and has a reliable and consistent performer with its high-tech engine and latest features with the lower price tag has won the hearts of many Indians looking to buy a home grown sports utility vehicle in India.

Scorpio brings the much needed oomph to the Indian SUV segment and gives its competitors a run of their money. It also has a huge fan following in the country and bringing new customers to the Mahindra dealers every day. The feature list combined with the new and latest high-tech mHawk engine has made it stand a notch above the competition. Mahindra has also excellent build quality and has been backed by very satisfactory after sales service. Owners love this Scorpio and Mahindra hosts off-road rallying and similar events for its customer and been constantly engaging and interacting with its customers through its lifestyle products.

Tata Mahindra
Car version DICOR 2.2 GX 4x2 SLE BS-IV
Ex-showroom price 1052673 921300
Length 4650 4430
Width 1918 1817
Height 1925 1975
Wheelbase 2650 2680
Boot space NA 460
Kerb Weight 2040 NA
Turning radius 6.0 m 5.6
Tank capacity 65 NA
Clearance 205 mm 180
Displacement 2179 cc 2179
Max. Power 140PS @4000rpm
122PS @4000rpm

Max. Torque 320Nm @1700rpm 290Nm @1800rpm
Fuel economy 13.93 12.05
Cylinders 4 4
Type Manual Manual
Speeds 5 5
Tyre 235/70 R16, 105 S P 235x70 R16 (Tubeless)
Front Independent Double Wishbone with Torsion bar 2WD Independent, Coil Spring, Anti Roll Bar 4WD Independent, Torsion bar
Rear 5 link Suspension with coil springs Multilink, Coil Spring


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