Mahindra XUV700- Design , Feature-Rich Tata Safari- Suspension Hyundai Alcazar- VFM , Interiors
Mahindra XUV700- Expensive, Waiting Period Tata Safari- Noise and Vibrations Hyundai Alcazar- Space and Engine
So you need an SUV with 6-7 seats to act as the family runabout, and because you care about the way it looks and has all the modern-day creature comforts, it needs to stylishly feature-packed. It also needs to shout about that fact, because what’s the point in doing something different if your neighbours don’t notice it. Oh, and it needs to be economical and cheaper to buy than the most-loved MPV options because to accept a compromise on last row practicality you’re going to have to really love the other stuff.
For the face-off, we have three particularly fine examples: the newest XUV700, the legendary Tata Safari and the Hyundai Alcazar. And before anyone gets too excited, the cars in pictures with their respective specifications do not compete directly (the XUV700 and the Safari being diesel with auto transmissions and the Alcazar being a petrol manual), but are here to represent the practicalities rather than pure performance. Thus the spec-off has been done with the Hyundai in diesel guise for more relevance.
First up, the XUV700. It’s the newest in this trio, bigger and better in every way than the previous XUV500 that existed. It does not skimp on making its presence felt with those extra-large headlamp units, and some quirky details such as the new logo and flushed door handles. It feels the most youthful of the lot, fully in charge of the daily 9-5 executed in style, yet finding time out for the late-night club-hopping with friends. Imagine casual formals. More like Polo Shirts with Chinos.
It’s a full seven-seater, with a bench seat configuration in the middle row, and there is plenty of space. With 5 seats operational, you do get 450+ litres of boot space, but official figures are still awaited from Mahindra. The rearmost seats are a little upright, but you can get small-sized adults in there if you slide the middle seats forward, and the fold ’n’ tumble action for the middle row is easier than on the bench-seat version of the Safari.
The Alcazar is an easy, friendly and more family-like character. It sits much lower and feels the least imposing compared to the other two, but has the longest wheelbase of the lot. It’s technically a 5+2 in 7 seater guise, but that extended wheelbase translates to better boot space with all rows up – a meaningful 180 litres of it. It’s got the most bling to spice up any corporate environment with gunmetal accents everywhere. It’s smart, easy-going nature is what will attract you, more like proper formals or a 3 piece well-fitted suit that’s desirable and a reliable choice.
Parked amongst this trio, the Safari feels the most adventure-seeking and intimidating given its muscular stance. It’s aged beautifully with that split headlamp set-up shared with the 5-seat Harrier, but it has aged. The Safari’s stepped roof, roof rails and upright tail do really help it stand out given its actually no larger than the XUV700. With its go-anywhere, do-whatever attitude, it sure is made for things you’d hardly do on weekdays. Imagine wearing cargo pants with a leather jacket and taking a detour over terrain you normally wouldn’t set your eyes upon.