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
We sampled the XUV’s most powerful powertrain version – the 2.2-litre diesel with 185hp and 450Nm of torque. Frankly, these are segment busting stats! The Tata Safari’s 2.0-litre diesel engine with its 6-speed auto transmission churning out 170hp and 350Nm pales in comparison despite being slightly lower on paper. And the differences are more apparent once on the move. Where the Safari bumbles and grumbles to begin with before gradually building speed and transmitting that power on the tarmac, the XUV feels sprightly and peppy, in a way you just wouldn’t expect an SUV in this category to be.
The XUV felt significantly quicker in kick-down acceleration and hits 100kmph in the 10-sec band plus gets 3 drive modes (Zip, Zap, Zoom) to explore all of the engine’s capabilities.
The 6-speed auto on both front-wheel drive cars works with great smoothness. Both the diesel units do sound gravelly but refinement is far superior on the XUV.
But if it’s the ultimate refinement you desire, we had the petrol-powered 2.0 litre, Alcazar, to give us perspective. It felt light, refined and most relaxed to drive, easy turn-ins at city speeds with the most well-controlled body movement. Though power figures when compared are significantly lower, the Alcazar is also 400 kg lighter than the Safari in this test. The diesel options for the Alcazar though are a whole league down on displacement and power in this group.
Let’s be honest here, people buy large family haulers because of the extra luggage space, extra seats and all the practicality that comes built-in. But of late, they have started to expect the finer things in these pseudo front-wheel driven SUV’s – finesse, refinement, digital cockpits and ambient lighting while foregoing the best third-row seats or the largest boot.
And for that very argument, you will be hard-pressed to find faults on an otherwise brilliant wholesome package called the XUV700. It’s the most plush inside, loaded with tech and features, has the best power plant, and feels sophisticated while being easy to live with. The Alcazar comes close to this feeling with the added dose of Hyundai’s service and reliability trump card, but space-wise and engine specs-wise, it does feel the David amongst the goliaths here.
And it is really within this company that the legendary Safari seems to be playing catch up to the other two. It does exude toughness with a better sense of space in the third row, but with my argument above it is a choice that is hardly easy to make in this company.