Many automakers are re-launching their five-seater SUVs with captain seats and an extra row for a six-seater model. Yes, these vehicles do enhance the overall proposition and better the package in terms of practicality and comfort. But are they still capable enough or fall short on performance? We shall get to that while analysing the latest offerings - the Tata Safari and the MG Hector Plus.
We had earlier shown you the performance comparison of the Tata Harrier and the MG Hector. Now, both the carmakers are offering these five-seater SUVs with three-row seating in the form of the Safari and the Hector Plus. Yes, two different approaches, but similar set-ups with an unchanged powertrain. Let's see how they performed in our CarWale's V-Box tests.
Do note we are pitting the diesel manual versions of these SUVs against each other. Yes, the same 169bhp 2.0-litre Multijet diesel engine built by Fiat that comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Straight to the acceleration tests then. The 0-60kmph sprint was completed by the Hector Plus in 5.97 seconds and by the Safari in 5.27 seconds. Quite close, but the difference got apparent with the 0-100kmph sprint as Tata's new offering managed it in 11.65 seconds. The MG, on the other hand, was a little slower by sprinting to 100 from a standstill in 13.17 seconds. Interestingly, the figures for the respective five-seater siblings were also in the ballpark of these timings.
20-80kmph in third gear
40-100kmph in fourth gear
Now, the roll-on acceleration tests here depict the SUVs’ performance in the city (20-80kmph) and the highway (40-100kmph). With 8.74 seconds to complete the 20-80kmph run in third gear and 11.43 seconds for the 40-100kmph run in fourth gear, the Safari managed to put up better times than the Harrier that we'd tested earlier. But it did fall a little short in managing to be on par with the Hector Plus as the MG achieved the same 20-80kmph run in 8.51 seconds and the 40-100kmph sprint in 10.85 seconds. This shows it to be faster than the Tata and, for that matter, even the pre-facelift Hector.
The figures speak for themselves and ascertain that despite the increase in seating capacity, the three-row SUVs do have enough grunt and pack in enough power to march on like their five-seater siblings. Earlier, it was only the Mahindra XUV500 that brought in this proposition and we shall soon have its next-gen version as the immediate competition to these two. In the meantime, for an in-depth analysis between the Tata Safari and the MG Hector Plus, you can check out the Buying Guide article that we recently did, highlighting more parameters to consider.