If you have about INR 10 Lakh in hand and want an SUV, there are exactly two options for you. One is the Mahindra Scorpio and the other of course is the old warhorse, the Tata Safari. As 2010 races to an end with 2011 soon approaching, most folks would want to put their monies in a 2011 model and along with it comes the oft repeated question, what new features/upgrades will the new 2011 models of these SUVs offer?
Some Background Information:
As of now, answering this question is more than a little difficult as both Mahindra and Tata Motors have held on to any stuff about upgrades to these popular entry level SUVs very close to their chests. In other words, the Scorpio is heading to the United States and for that it is expected to shave off close to a whopping 150 kilos in weight by the use of lot of plastic all around and other light weight materials. The other changes would be newer headlamps with daytime running lamps and other small bells and whistles.
What remains to be seen is whether the American variant of the 2011 M&M Scorpio would be offered to Indian customers and as far as the initial talk on the street goes, No, unfortunately, it would not be offered to Indian customers, at least for an initial period of six months. So, the Indian version of 2011 Mahindra Scorpio would more or less continue to plug unchanged as Mahindra upgraded the 2010 Scorpio with as many as six new features less than a year ago which makes an upgrade in under a year a slim possibility.
Coming to the 2011 Tata Safari, this SUV has been serving Tata Motors faithfully for more than a decade now and is due for a total platform revamp in 2012. Till then, the Merlin will serve as the Safari’s latest facelift. Along with a host of newer features, a few of which might be borrowed from sibling, the Tata Aria, the 2011 Safari is all set to get a major stylistic upgrade. We had brought you a bunch of spy pictures of the new Tata Safari, code named the Merlin sometime ago and according to word from reliable insiders at Tata Motors, the Merlin would feature yummy projector headlamps and Land Roveresque styling, which was pretty evident in the spy pictures.
So, along with these features, we hope an automatic gearbox would be thrown into the equation as the Scorpio has it and the 2011 Tata Safari Merlin not coming with a slush box could definitely hurt sales. But an automatic version, at the moment doesn’t look too bright. So, the 2011 Safari/Merlin coming with all of the aforementioned features except the Automatic gearbox is a very distinct possibility but the launch date of the 2011 Safari/Merlin is sometime in Quarter 2 of 2011. So, folks who want a Safari within the next couple of months may be well advised to buy the existing version as the launch date of the newer model still is quite far away.
Coming back to the query of which SUV to buy in early 2011, we list out a few features of both the Scorpio and the Safari to make things easier for you. With the budget of INR 10 Lakhs, you can get the SLE BSIV variant of the Scorpio or the EX 4×2 BS IV of the Tata Safari DICOR. Compared head to head, the Mahindra Scorpio is the less powerful of the two SUVs but this is offset by the lower kerb weight of the Scorpio, which when compared to the Safari is almost 200 kilos lesser. This with the eagerness of the 2.2 MHawk CRDe diesel engine of the Scorpio makes the Scorpio a hoot to drive when compared to the more relaxed power delivery of the 2.2 DICOR Diesel engine of the Safari.
But the Scorpio loses the plot when it comes to high speed handling, where it rolls like a dizzy elephant gorged on a field of sugarcane. This is where the Safari, with it’s rock steady road holding at high speeds outclasses the Scorpio comprehensively. Taking these factors in account, the Safari is a terrific highway cruiser while the Scorpio is a better city slicking SUV. So, predominant highway milers may choose the Safari while the City Slickcers may stick to the Scorpio, although both cars will exchange roles and perform creditably.
On the features front, the Scorpio comes with the Anti Lock Braking System, which is an absolute must have safety feature while the Safari’s EX 4X2 variant makes do without ABS. So one brownie point for the Safari here. Along with the ABS, the Scorpio has some tech wizardry in the form of the Micro Hybrid system which makes ambling along in traffic more fuel efficient. The Safari wins some by having leather seats and a CD player, both of which is skimped on the Scorpio. So, it is pretty much evenly matched on the features front with the Scorpio inching ahead due to the high importance of the ABS feature.
Both the SUVs, with the absence of 4X4 options are more suited the hustle and bustle of the City and well laid highway tarmac than the slush and dirt of off road trails. Coming to another important factor, the snob value and the road presence which is an important factor for many in deciding which SUV to go for, the Safari wins hands down for it’s massive girth, which is significantly more than the Scorpio, which in itself is no walkover. Finally the deciding factor is the after sales service, which as per the real world customers of the Scorpio and the Safari, the Scorpio is cheaper to maintain in the long term and has a better after sales service. This is one factor that Tata Motors have yet to catch up Mahindra on and for this very reason, the Scorpio emerges as the SUV which will fetch you better after sales service. All in all, go for the Mahindra Scorpio if you want a great city SUV while you would be more at home on a high speed highway in the Tata Safari. Yes, it is really that close with both SUVs being equally competent when compared to each other.
Mahindra Scorpio Vs Tata Safari 2011 Comparison
- Eager 2.2 CRDe Engine
- Good After Sales Service
- Decent Set of Features
- Poor Handling
- Lesser Street Presence compared to the Safari
- Refined 2.2 DICOR Engine
- Good high speed handling and great straight line stability
- Terrific Street Presence
- Scratchy after sales service
- Glaring omission of ABS