The launch of the Tata Safari has made the story in the 7-seater SUV segment of India a bit more interesting. With existing cars like MG Hector Plus and Mahindra XUV500 in the mid-premium range and SUVs like MG Gloster and Toyota Fortuner in the full-size range, the competition is set to get stiffer. Here is a refresher on all the top 5 key offerings in the 7-seater SUV segment that you can opt for buying -
The 2021 Tata Safari is an extended version of the Harrier which was earlier known as the Gravitas. At the front, the Safari carries the same Harrier looks with the only exception being a slightly redesigned bumper at the rear. However, there is a considerable change in the roofline and space inside the SUV — the height has been raised and the rear has a more upright position, creating more space. The rear also includes a new-look for the tail-lamps. In terms of length, the Safari is longer and taller than the Harrier by 63 mm and 80 mm, respectively. To keep the look distinct and different from the Harrier, the Safari will have the option of new colors.
While the new Safari's dashboard design is similar to the Harrier, it gets Oyster White upholstery that adds airiness to the cabin. It has an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, 8.8-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system, keyless entry, panoramic sunroof and push-button start. It also has an electronic handbrake. While the Safari shares the same wheelbase as the Harrier at 2,741mm, initially it is being offered only as two-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive and electric versions will likely be offered in the future. When it comes to the engine, the Safari will be powered by the same 2.0-litre Kryotec diesel engine like Harrier. This engine can produce 170 bhp of power and 350 Nm of torque.
MG Gloster is the third offering from the SAIC owned car maker who specializes in SUV making. For their third offering, they launched a full grown 7-seater SUV with advanced driving assistance technology usually seen on luxury cars. The car was at display during last year’s Auto Expo and design elements include an octagonal grille with chrome slats, LED headlamps with DRLs, fog lamps with round chrome bezel and sculpted bumper and hood. Also on offer are a set of dual-tone alloy wheels, bold shoulder creases, chrome around the window line, chrome door handles, LED tail-lights and roof rails.
In terms of interiors, the Gloster comes with all the top-notch features from the Hector including the brand’s connectivity features, like the i-Smart unit that has more than 100 voice-controlled features. There is a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an i-Smart suite with an integrated e-SIM that is independent of the user’s phone. Powering the car is a 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 218 PS at 4000 rpm and 480 Nm at 1,500-2,400 rpm. The motor pairs with an eight-speed torque-converter gearbox. Off-roading capabilities come in the form of on-demand four-wheel-drive system, a rear differential locker and a BorgWarner transfer case.
The Toyota Fortuner is the undoubted king of its segment and recently got a facelift with an updated face with redesigned LED headlamps which also include the LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), updated grille and a new, more aggressive front bumper design. On the sides, the Fortuner gets new 18-inch alloy wheels and at the back, Toyota has given the updated Fortuner a set of new, slimmer LED tail lamps. On the insides, the car now gets a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system which now supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The other changes include the introduction of an 8-way power-adjustable and ventilated seats for front passengers, an 11-speaker JBL audio system, 360-degree camera for parking, parking sensors, and ambient lighting.
At its heart, the updated Toyota Fortuner continues to be powered by the same 2.7-litre petrol engine which makes 166 hp and 245 Nm of torque and is available with the option of a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The other engine option is the same 2.8-litre diesel engine as before which continues to make 177 hp and 420 Nm of torque along with the choice of a 6-speed manual. However, this engine can now also be had along with a new 6-speed torque converter gearbox that helps it makes 204hp and a massive 500 Nm of torque.
MG Hector Plus
The MG Hector Plus does not carry a lot of changes than its 5-seater sibling on the outside. However, in its recent iteration, 7-seater cabin option was added alongside a 6-seater cabin. The car comes with the same split headlight setup that sits on either side of the cascading grille. MG has slightly tweaked the bumper on both sides. The car sits on the same wheels as the Hector. And at the rear, the car gets slightly tweak taillights as well.
The Hector Plus come with one additional feature than the standard Hector, which is the automatic tailgate. Some of the other key features of the Hector Plus include a Panoramic Sunroof, a Chit-Chat i-SMART Next Gen interface, captain seats with recline and slide function, LED lighting, 10.4-inch touchscreen infotainment and tyre pressure monitoring system. Like its 5-seater sibling, the Hector Plus comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine rated 143 PS, a 1.5-litre hybrid engine that will output 143 PS and a 2.0-litre diesel engine that will deliver 170 PS. While the hybrid and diesel variants will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the petrol-only version will be offered with a DCT only.
Last on our list is the Mahindra XUV500. While the 7-seater SUV starts to feel dated in the world of Safaris and Hectors, it still holds a charm among good looking proper 7-seater SUVs. It is available in seven variants: W5, W7, W7 AT, W9, W9 AT, W11(O), and W11(O) AT. It is currently offered with a BS6-compliant 2.2-litre diesel engine that continues to put out 155PS and 360Nm. The SUV gets the option of a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed torque converter gearbox.
Mahindra XUV500 is offered with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 6-way adjustable driver seat, a sunroof, and cruise control. In terms of safety, the car gets dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, and rear parking sensors. That said, Mahindra will be launching the next-gen XUV500 in India this year and it will be huge departure from the current-gen model with lots of new tech and features.