2021 Tata Safari Vs Mahindra XUV500: Which Is The Best Indian SUV?

This isn't as easy as it looks.

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Tata Safari Vs Mahindra XUV500 Best SUV in India
Images: Fossbytes/Somnath Chatterjee

If you want a tough three-row homegrown SUV with some off-road ability, you only have two options. That is good news as earlier there was the only one available. We are talking about the Mahindra XUV500 and the 2021 Tata Safari of course.

Both SUVs here are iconic Indian SUVs and their model names are almost as popular as the carmaker’s names themselves. You don’t really need an introduction to these SUVs but we are here to talk about these SUVs together.

The 2021 Safari is the newest three-row SUV and brings back an ionic name plus it’s based on the Harrier-the best Tata product we think.

While the XUV500 has taken Mahindra to a new level with its premium design and features along with the tough DNA that the automaker is famous for. So two, three-row family SUVs, which also look cool, but which one should you buy? We tried to answer that below.

Which One Looks Better?

That is a near-impossible answer since both look tough and cool at the same time. Both SUVs also have their own set of fans. We think it really depends on which design or brand you identify yourself with.

2021 Tata Safari (2)
2021 Tata Safari

The 2021 Tata Safari is the newer car here, but while the front carries the Harrier shape, the longer side and different rear give it a premium stance.

Mahindra XUV500 best indian suv
Mahindra XUV500

The XUV500 looks less long but packs in the same kind of muscle and a bulky stance at the front. The XUV has been available for many years but it does not look dated and it was also facelifted a few years back.

In terms of the dimensions, the Safari is longer and wider while both have the same height.

Does The New Safari Have a More Premium Interior Than XUV500?

new Safari Vs XUV500 interior
Left: Tata Safari, Right: Mahindra XUV500

Both SUVs have the technology, features, and luxury that you would expect after paying this much money.

The Safari, being a newcomer, gets a more premium interior over the Harrier with a neat wooden finish along with white coloured upholstery which looks classy.

The XUV is a bit more traditional in the way that it uses a beige finish while it does get quilting on the seats. Both also have leather inserts, soft-touch materials, and a pleasing interior quality, overall speaking.

2021 Tata Safari Vs Mahindra XUV500 interior
Tata Safari On Left and Mahindra XUV500 on right

These are supposed to be big SUVs and would be used for chauffeur-driven purposes, hence, in that aspect, the Safari has super comfy captain seats with individual seating along with a traditional bench seat.

The XUV500 also has a wide and comfy second row so it’s an even contest when comparing the 7-seater variants while the Safari has the extra captain seats.

What About Features?

Both have the necessary equipment for any luxury SUV in the modern age. Sunroof, electric controls for various functions, touch screen, premium upholstery, big 18-inch wheels and more.

The XUV has a nice Arkamys audio system while the Tata also has a premium JBL. Tata Safari being the latest entry gets a bit more in the tech department with connected car technology, electric parking brakes, and terrain modes. The difference is obvious in the fact that the XUV500 is a few years old here.

What About The Driving And Ride Quality?

Big SUVs need big engines and the XUV500 has the bigger engine by displacement while the Safari has more power.

The XUV500 has a 2.2-liter diesel while the Safari has a 2.0-liter one with 170 bhp vs 155 of the XUV500. Both SUVs only come with diesel engines but have a 6-speed manual and 6-speed torque converter (AMT) option.

If you like big, sold feeling doors and a high driving position then both the Safari and XUV500 will impress you. They feel big and have presence along with a high rise driving position which many prefer.

The XUV500 has the older diesel but it has power with a punchier performance. That said, there is some lag and the gearbox takes some time for the shifts.

The new Safari has a more linear power delivery plus it is more refined. It cruises very well with a wide torque band while the gearbox is more responsive.

New Safari and XUV500 transmission system
Left: 2021 Tata Safari, RIght: Mahindra XUV500

We suggest going for the automatic in both since it is much easier and relaxed. You will not get much efficiency but careful driving will get two-digit figures on the highway.

What is a plus point is the brilliant suspension and ride of the Safari. It just goes over speed breakers and bad roads with aplomb and filters very less inside the cabin.

The XUV500 feels more bouncy but is not that far behind in terms of the toughness of the suspension.

Despite no 4WD, both SUVs will do the basic off-roading with ease and more than smaller crossovers. In the city, both SUVs have heavy steering and these are big SUVs so you need to get used to the size.

Which One To buy? 2021 Tata Safari Or Mahindra XUV500

The XUV500 starts from Rs 15.13 lakh while going all the way to Rs 20.03 lakh.

The new Safari is priced at Rs 15 lakh and goes till Rs 21.8 lakh.

Both SUVs are a cheaper alternative to the Toyota Fortuner, though they do not have 4WD. That said the XUV500, despite being around for a long time still looks modern enough and has good features, plus it’s quick.

However, Safari is a newer SUV and feels modern with more tech and features plus a better ride.

The XUV500 still has the brand name and will still appeal to for its looks while Safari is a well-rounded family luxury SUV for Rs 20 odd lakhs. Tata may have put in a legendary brand name but it has worked.

Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee

For me automobiles are more than just an obsession, and driving new cars plus writing about them is what keeps me going. I also look beyond the plain numbers to see what a car is truly capable of and what changes it brings on the technology front.

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