Tata Safari Takes On Toyota Innova Hycross: The 3-Row FightToyota Innova Hycross Vs Tata Safari: Fight For 3-Row Supremacy

If you’re looking for a comfortable 3-row mover for the entire family, the Toyota Innova HyCross and Tata Safari are some worthy options. We got them head-to-head to see who races ahead.

By Shams Raza Naqvi


11 mins read


Published on June 25, 2023

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  • We sample the top variants of both cars with second row captain seats.
  • There's a price difference of Rs. 5 lakh between these top trims.
  • While the Hycross runs on a Petrol engine, the Safari gets a Diesel mill.


The Toyota Innova Hycross and Tata Safari are two cars that are vying for your attention with three rows of seats, loads of features and solid road presence. Yes, they are different too; while the Hycross runs on a Petrol engine and a strong hybrid powertrain, the Safari still continues to be a Diesel only offering. There’s also a considerable price difference between the two, well at least between the top variants but the purpose for which they’ve been built is largely the same.



Dimensions and Design

Both the Safari and Hycross run on 18-inch wheels.


While the Hycross is longer and also gets a longer wheelbase, the Safari is wider of the two. Both are pretty much similar when it comes to height.  

DimensionsTata SafariToyota Innova Hycross
Length (mm)46614775
Width (mm)18941845
Height (mm)17861790
Wheelbase (mm)27412850


You get 18-inch alloys on both these cars but the charcoal grey ones on the Tata look more attractive and gel well with the shape of the SUV more. The Hycross is a big departure from what the Innova was in its previous generation and now looks better designed. It feels less of an MPV and more of a crossover and similarity to the Hilux specially on the face is quite evident. Square wheel arches and a rear spoiler make the car look more butch than it ever was.


Also Read: Most Affordable Hybrid Cars In India

Safari ensures a pure SUV stance more than the Hycross.


The Safari in this Dark look is menacing and the red accents on places like the grille and wheels add their bit. Both cars get LED treatment all over but if its a pure SUV stance you’re looking for you’ll be able to flaunt the Tata more.



Toyota Innova Hycross2.0-Litre Strong Hybrid2.0-Litre Naturally Aspirated
Displacement1,998 cc1,998 cc
Max Output184 bhp172 bhp
Peak Torque206 Nm205 Nm

The Innova Hycross comes in 2 versions - Petrol and Strong Hybrid and both get just an automatic gearbox so there’s no manual here in case you’re looking for it. On the strong hybrid there’s enough power and torque on offer and I didn’t feel any sluggishness in the response of this drivetrain. The claimed fuel efficiency here is 23.24 kmpl which is fantastic looking at the segment the car comes in. So if this is an important area for you look not beyond this MPV.

Innova Hycross also gets a pure Petrol option. 


Also Read: Toyota Reveals Pricing For The Top VX And ZX Grades Of The Innova Crysta


Tata Safari2.0 L Kyrotech Diesel
Displacement1,998 cc
Max Output168 bhp
Peak Torque350 Nm
Transmission6 MT/AT

This 2.0 liter Diesel engine on the Safari has proven itself on many cars over the years and this includes cars beyond Tata Motors as well. It’s a good powerful engine where the power delivery is quite linear so you don’t really have too much to complain about in the way this engine performs. The power may not be as much as the Hycross but being a Diesel there’s ample torque on offer which guarantees good pulling power.

6-speed torque convertor gearbox suits the Safari more than the manual.

It works even better with the 6-speed torque convertor, so if you’re looking to buy the Safari you should consider buying the automatic than the manual, it just makes the experience so much better with this engine and gearbox combination. The SUV in its Automatic guise promises 16.14 kmpl which also is quite healthy looking at this 2.0 liter Diesel mill borrowed from the Harrier.


Performance and Handling

The Innova Hycross doesn't get a Diesel option unlike previous generation.


The first thing you notice when you start driving the Innova Hycross is just how clear the view of the road is in front of you. The A-Pillars are really thin and they just do not obstruct your view giving a very clear sight of the road ahead. And not just the road ahead, even the road behind the picture is quite clear owing to the big rear view mirror and the large windshield.


Also Read: Cars and SUVs Under 25 Lakh Offering ADAS

The NVH levels in Hycross are in control which adds to the experience. 


Another thing worth mentioning on the Hycross are its refinement levels. The engine is pretty silent and so is the cabin. The NVH levels are so much in control and that really adds to the whole experience. Of course its a strong hybrid which means many times the car runs purely on batteries which again guarantees a silent and an eco-friendly drive. But if you’re in the mood to burn some extra fuel and have a little more fun on the Hycross you can do that too. Just switch to the power mode which is one of the three drive modes on the car and yes you can also push your gear lever to the right and use the sport mode.  

Safari is currently the flagship of Tata Motors in the market.


There are two things you’ll have to get used to on the Safari specially after driving something like the Innova Hycross. First is of course that this is a diesel engine so the NVH levels are not so much in control and you get much more noise inside the cabin. Next is the steering wheel specially if you’re going to use this car a lot in the chaos of the city, you’ll have to flex some muscles because this is not as light as the one on the Hycross

The sublime ride quality of Hycross continues to impress. 


During the car&bike awards jury round earlier this year, one quality of the Hycross that really impressed all the jury members was its really comfortable ride quality. The Innova has been known to give you a really comfortable ride even in its earlier generation and that has continued on the Hycross. In fact it has only gotten better so it doesn’t matter where you’re sitting in the car you’re guaranteed a supremely comfortable drive on this one.


Also Read: Tata Safari Facelift Spotted Testing; Previews Updated Design

Despite its tall stance, Safari has some good dynamics. 


When it comes to Performance and handling, the Safari too has some impressive traits and despite its stance the car delivers some good dynamics. It is tall and quite big, but two things really surprised me here. First is the handling of this big vehicle. The body roll isn’t so much as you’d expect and you can throw the car around corners at decent speeds with good confidence and that is a big plus. The famed Land Rover DNA is clearly at play here and kudos to Tata for making the vehicle so capable when it comes to handling.

Tata Safari is more apt in dealing with bad roads. 


Between these two cars it is the Safari that comes across as more apt in taking on varied road conditions. So when the road turns from good to bad, the Safari adjusts itself very nicely and keeps giving you a rather comfortable experience. Its got different drive modes one of which is the rough road mode which comes into play when you’re dealing with more difficult road situations.



The top trim of Tata Safari is loaded with features.


The Red Dark edition is the most modern iteration of the Safari through all these years and even decades and this one really stands out. It feels like it belongs to today and the colour theme works well with the red carnelian seats and largely black dash. There’s a lot of use of piano black on the buttons but if you like the colour black and if you choose to buy the dark edition you will like that on the car. Feature wise also this top variant scores well so you get ventilated front seats and both these seats can be adjusted electrically which is a good thing. You also get memory settings here and that’s the case on the Hycross as well but here you get an additional setting so that’s an advantage.

The Safari in its Red Dark Edition feels quite premium. 


The highlight on this new Tata Safari is the bigger 10.25 inch touchscreen that is compatible with Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and it is really nice to use and feel. It is very responsive and clear even in bright light. The camera quality is up to the mark and it gives you options of 3D as well as 2D views which works in your favour. The full digital cluster can be customised in many ways and it also gives a lot of valuable information. So overall the experience of sitting in the front row of the Tata Safari specially in this Red Dark Edition is quite nice.

In Hycross, gear lever mounted on the dash leaves extra space between the seats.


On the Innova Hycross too you get a full digital cluster that is loaded with information. The touch screen system though isn’t very seamless and there’s a definite scope for improvement in rear view camera feed. The dark brown theme makes the cabin look premium and the gear lever mounted on the dash leaves extra space between the seats. Overall the first row feels quite ergonomic but it is only the driver seat that can be adjusted electrically.

On the Hycross there is  ample amount of space on offer. 


On second row and both the trims we got came with captain seats. A big highlight on the Safari is that even on the second row you get ventilated seats something not seen on the Hycross. There’s also the boss mode which makes life easier for the rear  occupant though the placement of AC vents on the B-pillar isn’t ideal. On the Hycross the first thing that strikes you here is the amount of space that is on offer. You can slide forward the seats or take them back which gives a lot of flexibility on how much space you want in all the three rows of the car. Pressing a few buttons converts the seat into a lounge which offers a more relaxing position which is fantastic.

Safari gets Ventilated seats even on the second row. 


There’s a foldable cup holder cum tray between the seats, curtains on the window and AC vents on the roof which I think is more effective. You also get a separate climate control switch on the second row apart from C-type charging ports. On the third row there’s just a 12 volt socket though access to the third row is a little easier when compared to Safari. It is good on space and you can spend good time here without too much difficulty. 

Third row is more spacious on the Hycross. 


Ergonomically, the Safari feels better in last row with individual fan controls along with Type A and Type C charging ports. With all 3 rows up it is the Hycross that offers more luggage space than the Safari

Safari third row is better when it comes to features.


With this update the Safari also gets some ADAS features which make your life easier and safer both in the City as well as on the highway. These include Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Apart from this you also get 6 airbags, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold function and ISOFIX child seat mounts. The list of safety features including ADAS functions is pretty much the same even on the Innova Hycross.


Prices and Variants

The Safari range ends where the Hycross strong hybrid range begins.


The Hycross Petrol range starts at Rs. 18.55 lakh the Strong Hybrid version starts at Rs. 25.03 lakh and goes all the way up to Rs. 29.99 lakh for the top ZX(O) trim. The Safari Range starts at Rs. 15.65 lakh for the base manual and tops at Rs. 25.01 lakh ex-showroom for this automatic Red Dark XZA+ Safari.

The Hycross continues to set benchmarks in the segment.


If these cars were similarly priced, the Innova Hycross would’ve been a clear winner but the price difference of Rs. 5 lakh between these 2 top trims has made the battle closer than we thought. Both cars have their advantages — for Hycross it is space, practicality and ride comfort while the Safari is more tech laden, feature rich and feels more modern. If you’re ok with the long waiting period it is the Toyota that is still that workhorse which is more suited to the needs of an entire family and while the Safari may not be ideal for everyone it does make a statement and stands out in a crowd.



Last Updated on June 24, 2023

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