Tata Safari Vs Mahindra Scorpio-N: Two Automotive Icons Face Off

They’ve been around for a long time and have recently got massive updates. Which of the Tata Safari or the Mahindra Scorpio-N should you choose? Let’s look at pros and cons.

By Shams Raza Naqvi


9 mins read


Published on February 24, 2024

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  • Tata Safari has recently been updated with fresh design and new features
  • A new generation of the Mahindra Scorpio was launched in 2022
  • Scorpio-N also comes with Petrol and 4-wheel drive variants

Two absolute icons of the Indian Automotive Industry, who have had successful stints for more than 2 decades now. The Mahindra Scorpio now called the Scorpio-N and the Tata Safari, which has recently got a significant update have been there and done that. While the latter is front-wheel drive running on a monocoque architecture, the former is a rear-wheel drive body-on-frame machine. Which one of these 3-row SUVs should you go for? We try to look for the answer.


In their new generations both the SUVs have changed and how. They have become more premium, feature-rich, and even more desirable. And even though there’s a lot that sets them apart, many things also unite these two giants which have made India proud for decades.



Scorpio-N gets a wheelbase of 2,750 mm while on the Safari it is 2,741 mm.


Let’s begin with dimensions because in a segment like this, size does matter. The Safari is slightly longer and wider when compared to the Scorpio-N but importantly the Scorpio-N is taller and has a longer wheelbase so evens out nicely between the two. 

Across the range, it is the Safari that gets 17-inch to 19-inch wheel sizes, while the Scorpio-N gets 17-inch wheels on all trims barring the top Z8L which gets 18-inch wheels. The clear difference though is in design because the Safari is a car that looks like it belongs to 2024. The connecting headlamps and tail lamps look quite nice and the use of body colour inserts on the grille ensures a premium look. 


Also Read: Tata Nexon Facelift Scores 5 Stars In Global NCAP Crash Tests, Surpasses Previous Scores


Side opening door or electric tailgate, which one do you like?


Sequential turn indicators along with welcome and goodbye animation add their charm to the Safari in the top Accomplished trim. When it comes to the profile the Scorpio-N looks the sportier of the two but from the rear, it is Safari once again that looks and feels sophisticated, but the Scorpio-N has its fans too with its silver-finished skid plates. The SUV was launched in 2022, and you can see the difference time has made to the design of these two vehicles. The Safari is more appealing when it comes to the looks, especially on the face.


Tech & Interior

The Safari facelift has upped the game when it comes to tech & features.


With the facelift that came late last year, the Tata Safari has become more premium and feature-rich. It gets a big 12-inch touchscreen system, full digital cluster, a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with an illuminated Tata logo, and the nice hidden until-lit touch panel which gets lots of controls. 


A panoramic sunroof is available only on the Safari.


On the top Accomplished+ trim you exclusively get iRA 2.0 connected car tech, Alexa voice commands, and JBL Audio modes while on the lower Accomplished, there’s the premium looking Oyster white theme, voice-assisted dual-zone climate control and panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming iRVM and electric front seats. Other notable features are an electric parking brake, air purifier, and a 45 W C-type charger while the captain seats version gets the useful boss mode as well as head restraints on the second row.


Also Read: Mahindra Scorpio N Z8 Select Launched; Priced From Rs 16.99 Lakh To Rs 18.99 Lakh

A dark brown theme in the Scorpio-N gives a premium feel.


On the Scorpio-N the rich coffee black upholstered seats add a touch of luxury and here also you have dual-zone climate control. Wireless charging along with wireless CarPlay and wired Android Auto compatibility is on offer here too while the Adrenox system with its more than 70 connected car features feels one up on the Tata. So does the 12-speaker Sony Audio system but it is the Safari that races ahead with just the sheer number of features it offers. For access to the third row, one-touch tumble-down seats work better on the Scorpio, but the captain seat version is available only without 4x4.


Ergonomically, the last row on the Safari feels slightly better. 


On both these SUVs the third row is not the most ideal place for adults to spend a long time, but what you get on the Safari is that you can slide forward the second-row seats to create more space, which is not possible on the Scorpio-N. Ergonomically also the last row on the Safari feels slightly better with AC controls, cup holders, and a 50:50 split. With the facelift it also gets an electric tailgate with hands-free functioning and with the third row folded you get a boot space of 420 litres. The Scorpio-N with its side opening door offers a higher 450 litres in the same scenario.



Engine remains the same on the Safari facelift when compared to earlier. 


The tried and tested 2.0-litre motor on the Safari makes 168 hp and 250 Nm and does its duty on multiple cars across various brands. Your options are a 6-speed manual or torque convertor and we drove the latter. However, there’s still no 4x4 or Petrol option here both of which are available on the Scorpio-N. The setup works well and there’s hardly any lag because peak torque is available early at around 1,750 rpm. Plus, to make your drive a little more enjoyable and in your control, you also get paddle shifts on the Safari which are missing on the Scorpio-N. 


Also Read: Production Ready Tata Curvv Debuts At Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024

The dynamics of Tata Safari are praiseworthy despite big dimensions.


The highlight of the Safari is its Land Rover-derived OMEGARC architecture and the fact that the SUV is built on a monocoque construction resulting in a machine that handles well despite its big dimensions. It gives you good stability on fast roads, straight roads or while turning at high speeds. You get a confident drive, and the occupants remain stable and firm in one place. The ride quality also plays its part here and spending your time in the Safari is a comfortable experience. The steering wheel is nice and light and is easy to maneuver this big car even through narrower spaces. 


Safari comes with different terrain and drive modes.


Fuel efficiency is always a critical thing on cars no matter what segment they are in and that is why the Safari like a lot of other vehicles from the brand gets various drive modes. So, you can choose between City, Sport, and Eco depending on the kind of drivability and the kind of fuel efficiency you want.


Also Read: Mahindra Trademarks Scorpio X Name: Could It Be Used For The Upcoming Scorpio N-Based Pick-Up?

The Scorpio-N remains as imposing as ever on the roads.


On the Scorpio-N you sit a little higher on the driver’s seat which works better and also ensures a clearer view of the road. The pillars as they’re thinner here when compared to the Safari, so the view is nicer from the driver’s seat. Although an auto-dimming internal rear-view mirror is missing here what worked for me as a driver were the big side-view mirrors which offer great views. 


A rear-wheel drive provides good balance to the Scorpio-N.


At 172 bhp, the power on the Scorpio-N Diesel is only slightly higher when compared to the Safari but importantly there’s a big difference when it comes to the peak torque (370 Nm), especially on the Automatic (400 Nm) it’s even higher contributes to a much more enjoyable drive which is more free-flowing and the car is quicker as well. Here too the choice is between a 6-speed Manual and Automatic and the peak torque kicks in earlier which contributes to a more enthusiastic experience. 


Scorpio-N gets various terrain modes apart from 4x4 variants. 


When compared to the previous generation, the new Scorpio-N is vastly improved when it comes to dynamics, there is a clear improvement in handling or even ride quality. A rear-wheel drive ensures a more balanced approach on the SUV though it's still a challenge to match the dynamics of a monocoque construction. Of course, if you want a proper 4x4 option it is only the Scorpio-N that will give you that, so take it out on the bad roads, or no roads, it will promise you surety.  There are terrain modes as well – namely Normal, Snow, Mud & Ruts and Sand but only on the 4x4 variants. 4X4 though misses out on Zip, Zap, Zoom drive modes.


There is still some scope for improvement in NVH levels in the Safari. 


The Safari may not come with a proper 4x4 system, but you still have various off-road modes. Using a conveniently located dial right next to the gear lever, you can switch between normal, wet road or rough road modes to get more traction out of your vehicle if you’re stuck in tricky situations. However, what you may still not like about this car when compared to the Scorpio-N are its NVH levels. You get a slightly silent cabin inside the latter, on the Safari the sound of the engine creeps in a bit more, more so while accelerating hard. 




Safari is the highest rated made-in-India car in Global NCAP crash tests.


One critical feature you only get on the Safari is the presence of Level 2 ADAS functions. They add value to the car, make it safer and it doesn’t matter if you’re driving out on the highway or in the city multiple features make your drive easier and safer. While the Safari comes with a 360-view camera the Scorpio-N only gets front and rear parking cameras. The latter takes pride in ventilated disc brakes while TPMS, ESC, Hill hold and hill descent control are present in both SUVs. The Safari though gets advanced ESP with a driver doze-off alert.

The Scorpio-N has also proven itself as a safe set of wheels.


Be it Global NCAP or even Bharat NCAP now, the Safari is right up there when it comes to safety ratings. So, 5-stars and even with 5-stars it is the highest-rated car that is made in India, so you’re guaranteed a safe set of wheels. Not that the Scorpio is much far behind so you’re getting two safe cars today in this battle. But what you get on Safari is one extra airbag which is a knee airbag for the driver, that is a nice addition to this car. Also, 6 airbags are standard on the SUV unlike the Scorpio-N.




The Diesel range of the Scorpio-N starts at Rs.13.99 lakh and goes up to Rs. 24.54 lakh, ex-showroom for the top Z8L 4WD. The top 6-seater is priced at Rs. 22.47 lakh. The Safari on the other hand is priced between Rs. 16.19 and Rs. 27.34 lakh ex-showroom for the top Accomplished+ Automatic Dark.

MANUALRs. 16.19 - Rs. 25.94 lakhRs. 13.99 to 21.11 lakh
AUTOMATICRs. 20.69- Rs. 27.34 lakhRs. 17.30 to 22.47 lakh
4X4NARs. 22.98 to Rs 24.54 lakh




So, to answer the big question finally, should you be spending those extra close to Rs. 3 lakh and buy the Safari? Well, absolutely because it’s not every day that you end up buying a car worth Rs. 30 lakhs on the road. With all its features and ergonomics, the Safari comes across as a much better package that caters to the needs of the entire family, and it does make sense to spend those extra bucks on buying a car like this. However, if you’re somebody who purely loves to drive and spend long hours in the driver's seat or go out off-roading, there then the Scorpio-N comes across as a slightly better bet.

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