Tata Safari vs MG Hector Plus: Which Variant Of These SUVs Offers Better Value?

Published On Feb 28, 2021 11:26 AM By Sonny for Tata New Safari

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Both are three-row versions of existing, popular mid-size SUVs. Here’s a detailed analysis on how their variants stack up against each other in a brochure comparison

With the SUV segments getting more and more crowded, it has become critical for carmakers to cover as many needs and wants as they can with their product lineups. For some, the answer is to add an extra row of seats to make their SUVs even more appealing as a practical family car. Tata joined the fray with the new Safari (based on the Harrier) which takes on the MG Hector Plus (based on the Hector). If you’re in the market for a new, three-row, mid-size SUV with a diesel engine, chances are that these two SUVs are at the top of your list. So, here’s our analysis of which model offers better value on paper at similar prices:

Let’s start with the measurements of the Safari and Hector Plus:

Dimensions

 

Tata Safari

MG Hector Plus

Length

4661mm

4720mm

Width

1894mm

1835mm

Height

1786mm

1760mm

Wheelbase

2741mm

2750mm

The MG Hector is longer with a longer wheelbase while the Tata Safari is taller and wider. However, each carmaker has taken a different approach to their cabin design in terms of interior space. In terms of road presence, both SUVs can hold their own against each other.

Engine

Since the Tata Safari is a diesel-only offering, we’ll be comparing it with only the diesel option of the MG Hector Plus:

 

Tata Safari

MG Hector Plus

Engine

2.0-litre diesel

2.0-litre diesel

Power

170PS

170PS

Torque

350Nm

350Nm

Transmission

6-speed MT/ 6-speed AT

6-speed MT

Both the Safari and Hector Plus get the same diesel engine spec. The only difference is that Tata also offers the option of a torque converter automatic while the MG’s diesel engine is available with only a manual transmission.

Price Comparison

Here we will compare only the similarly priced diesel-variants of both the cars with a maximum difference of Rs 50,000.

Tata Safari

MG Hector Plus

XE - Rs 14.69 lakh

Style - Rs 14.66 lakh (7-seater)

XM/XMA - Rs 16 lakh/ Rs 17.25 lakh

Super - Rs 15.76 lakh(7-seater)/ Rs 16 lakh (6-seater)

XT - Rs 17.45 lakh

Smart - Rs 17.62 lakh(7-seater)/ Rs 17.72 lakh (6-seater)

XT+ - Rs 18.25 lakh

Select - Rs 18.43 lakh (7-seater)

XZ/ XZA - Rs 19.15 lakh/ Rs 20.40 lakh

Sharp - Rs 19.23 lakh (6-seater)

XZ+/ XZA+ - Rs 19.99 lakh/ Rs 21.25 lakh

 

Note: The Tata Safari is offered with a 7-seater layout as standard. Only the XZ+ and XZA+ get the option of a 6-seat configuration with captain seats.

Tata Safari XE vs MG Hector Plus Style

Tata Safari XE

Rs 14.69 lakh

MG Hector Plus Style

Rs 14.66 lakh (7-seater)

Difference

Rs 3,000 (Safari more expensive)

Features

Safety 

Tata Safari XE

MG Hector Plus Style

Airbags

2

2

ABS with EBD

Yes

Yes

Rear parking sensors

Yes

Yes

ISOFIX child seat anchors

No

Yes

Traction control

Yes

Yes

Hill hold

Yes

Yes

Roll over mitigation/ESP

Yes

Yes

Front fog lamps

No

Bulb

Exterior

   

Headlamps

Halogen Projector

LED

DRLs

Yes

LED

Wheels

16-inch styled steelies

17-inch steel + wheel cap

Rear washer and wiper

No

No

Defogger

Yes

Yes

Interior

   

Height-adjustable driver’s seat  

No

Yes

AC

Manual

Manual

Rear AC vents (2nd and 3rd row)

Yes

Yes

2nd row recline

Yes

Yes

60:40 split fold (2nd row)

Yes

Yes

3rd row split fold

Yes

Yes

Front armrest

Yes

Yes

Infotainment

No

No

Audio system

No

Yes

Speakers

No

4

Power windows

Yes

Yes

Adjustable steering

Tilt and telescopic

Tilt only

12V Socket & USB charging

Front and rear

Front and rear

ORVMs

Manual

Power adjustable

Keyless entry

No

Yes

Verdict: The base-spec Safari is marginally more expensive than the base-spec Hector Plus. Both are offered in a 7-seater configuration only. The Hector Plus Style offers better “style” and utility with LED headlamps and DRLs, larger 17-inch wheels, electrically adjustable outside rearview mirrors, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and ISOFIX anchorage. We wish it offered steering adjustment for both rake and reach, something the Safari XE has. While both variants miss out on an infotainment system, the Tata skips out on any form of entertainment while the MG at least has an audio system and four speakers.

However, if you’d rather have more legroom in the middle-row while being chauffer-driven, then the Safari has something for you. Tata calls it ‘Boss Mode’, which allows the front passenger seat to be pushed and tilted forward (when empty) using a manual control which can be accessed from the middle row. This feature is offered as standard for the Tata Safari.

Overall, the Hector Plus offers functional as well as premium add-ons over the Safari, despite being chealer.

Tata Safari XM vs MG Hector Plus Super

Tata Safari XM

Rs 16 lakh

MG Hector Plus Super

Rs 15.76 lakh (7-seater)/ Rs 16 lakh (6-seater)

Difference

Rs 24,000 (Safari more expensive)

Features

Safety 

Tata Safari XM

MG Hector Plus Super

Airbags

2

4

ABS with EBD

Yes

Yes

Parking sensors

Rear

Front and rear

Rear parking camera

No

Yes

ISOFIX child seat anchors

No

Yes

Traction control

Yes

Yes

Hill hold

Yes

Yes

Roll over mitigation/ESP

Yes

Yes

Front fog lamps

Yes

Yes

Exterior

   

Headlamps

Halogen Projector

LED

LED DRLs

Not LED

Yes

Wheels

16-inch styled steelies

17-inch alloys

Rear washer and wiper

Yes

No

Defogger

Yes

Yes

Interior

   

Height-adjustable driver’s seat  

Yes

Yes

AC

Manual

Manual

Rear AC vents (2nd and 3rd row)

Yes

Yes

2nd row recline

Yes

Yes

60:40 split fold (2nd row)

Yes

Yes

3rd row split fold

Yes

Yes

Front armrest

Yes

Yes

Infotainment

7.0-inch touchscreen

10.4-inch touchscreen

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

No

Yes

Speakers

6

6

Power windows

Yes

Yes

Adjustable steering

Tilt and telescopic

Tilt only

12V Socket & USB charging

Front and rear

Front and rear

ORVMs

Power adjustable

Power adjustable

Cruise control

No

Yes

Keyless entry

Yes

Yes

Drive modes

Yes (Eco, City and Sport)

No

Verdict: The 7-seater Hector Plus Super is more affordable than the Safari XM while the 6-seater variant with captain seats is the same price. While the Tata SUV is decently equipped at this price and covers most basic comforts, the MG offering proves to be more affordable and feature-rich of the two.

The Hector Plus Super packs more safety features than the Safari XM such as two additional airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchorage, rear parking camera and front parking sensors in addition to the rear ones. It also gets a larger touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone compatibility, LED lighting, alloy wheels and cruise control. It does miss out on a rear washer and wiper, drive modes and the previously explained ‘Boss Mode’ (wherein the front passenger seat can be pushed ahead to increase legroom for the 2nd row seat behind it), offered in the Tata SUV. There are some other feature additions in the Safari XM over the previous trim in the form of keyless entry, height-adjustable driver seat, power adjustable outside mirrors, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment with 6 speakers, but without Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This variant of the Safari is also the entry-point for an automatic variant but you’ll have to shell out a premium of Rs 1.25 lakh for that.

Tata Safari XT vs MG Hector Plus Smart

Tata Safari XT

Rs 17.45 lakh

MG Hector Plus Smart

Rs 17.62 lakh(7-seater)/ Rs 17.72 lakh (6-seater)

Difference

Rs 17,000 (Hector Plus more expensive)

Features

Safety 

Tata Safari XT

MG Hector Plus Smart

Airbags

2

4

ABS with EBD

Yes

Yes

Parking sensors

Rear

Front and rear

Reverse parking camera

Yes

Yes

ISOFIX child seat anchors

No

Yes

Traction control

Yes

Yes

Hill hold

Yes

Yes

Roll over mitigation/ESP

Yes

Yes

Front fog lamps

Yes

LED

Exterior

   

Headlamps

Automatic halogen projector

LED

LED DRLs

Yes

Yes

Wheels

18-inch alloys

18-inch alloys

Rear washer and wiper

Yes

Yes

Defogger

Yes

Yes

Interior

   

Leatherette upholstery

No

Yes

Height-adjustable driver’s seat  

Yes (with lumbar support)

6-way power adjustable

AC

Auto

Manual

Rear AC vents (2nd and 3rd row)

Yes

Yes

2nd row recline

Yes

Yes

60:40 split fold (2nd row)

Yes

Yes

3rd row split fold

Yes

Yes

Front armrest

Yes

Yes

Rear armrest

Yes

Yes

Infotainment

7.0-inch touchscreen

10.4-inch touchscreen

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Yes

Yes

Connected car tech

Yes (iRA)

Yes (iSMART)

Speakers

8

9 (premium sound by Infinity)

Wireless charging

No

Yes

Adjustable steering

Tilt and telescopic

Tilt and telescopic

12V Socket & USB charging

Front and rear

Front and rear

ORVMs

Power folding and adjustable

Power folding and adjustable

Cruise control

Yes

Yes

Keyless entry

Yes

Yes

Push button engine start

Yes

Yes

Drive modes

Yes

No

Tyre pressure monitoring system

Yes

Yes (on app)

Verdict: The MG Hector Plus Smart is the more expensive option here, in both 6-seater and 7-seater layouts. Both SUVs are similarly well-equipped at this price point with features like LED DRLs, powered ORVMs, 18-inch alloys, rear washer and wiper, connected car tech, rear parking camera, push-button engine-start and cruise control. Each gets their own suite of connected car technology features with Tata’s system being called iRA while the MG system is named as the iSmart.

The Safari offers drive modes, auto AC, auto headlamps, ‘Boss Mode’ and driver’s seat lumbar support over the Hector Plus. MG, on the other hand, tries to woo the driver with a 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat and tilt + leatherette upholstery. It finally gets telescopic steering adjustment - something the Safari offers right from the base variant. There’s also wireless charging to let you juice up your phone without any wire dangling. The Hector Plus Smart packs more safety equipment in the form of four airbags, front parking sensors and LED fog lamps. Those extra features justify the premium and the Hector Plus Smart would be our pick over the Safari XT.

But if you prefer the styling of the Safari over the Hector Plus, you would not miss out on much by opting for the Tata SUV. 

You also have the option of the Safari XMA, which offers the convenience of an automatic transmission, something MG does not offer with the Hector Plus, for Rs 17.25 lakh at this price point. It is a step down in terms of the features list but it covers most basic comforts.

Tata Safari XT+ vs MG Hector Plus Select

Tata Safari XT+

Rs 18.25 lakh

MG Hector Plus Select

Rs 18.43 lakh (7-seater)

Difference

Rs 18,000 (Hector Plus more expensive)

Features

Safety 

Tata Safari XT+

MG Hector Plus Select

Airbags

2

4

ABS with EBD

Yes

Yes

Parking sensors

Rear

Front and rear

ISOFIX child seat anchors

No

Yes

Traction control

Yes

Yes

Hill hold

Yes

Yes

Roll over mitigation/ESP

Yes

Yes

Front fog lamps

Yes

LED

Exterior

   

Headlamps

Automatic halogen projector

LED

LED DRLs

Yes

Yes

Panoramic Sunroof

Yes

Yes

Wheels

18-inch alloys

18-inch alloys

Rear washer and wiper

Yes

Yes

Defogger

Yes

Yes

Interior

   

Leatherette upholstery

No

Yes

Height-adjustable driver’s seat  

Yes (with lumbar support)

6-way power adjustable

AC

Auto

Manual

Rear AC vents (2nd and 3rd row)

Yes

Yes

2nd row recline

Yes

Yes

60:40 split fold (2nd row)

Yes

Yes

3rd row split fold

Yes

Yes

Front armrest

Yes

Yes

Rear armrest

Yes

Yes

Infotainment

7.0-inch touchscreen

10.4-inch touchscreen

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Yes

Yes

Connected car tech

Yes (iRA)

Yes (iSMART)

Speakers

8

9 (premium sound by Infinity)

Wireless charging

No

Yes

Adjustable steering

Tilt and telescopic

Tilt and telescopic

12V Socket & USB charging

Front and rear

Front and rear

ORVMs

Power folding and adjustable

Power folding and adjustable

Cruise control

Yes

Yes

Keyless entry

Yes

Yes

Push button engine start

Yes

Yes

Drive modes

Yes

No

Tyre pressure monitoring system

Yes

Yes (on app)

Verdict: The Hector Plus Select is only offered in a 7-seater configuration like the Safari XT+. For both MG and Tata, this variant is for the fans of the panoramic sunroof. It’s the only additional feature over the Hector Plus Smart and Safari XT trims. The Hector Plus is more expensive, but it justifies the premium with features like two extra airbags, power-adjustable driver’s seat, wireless charging, ISOFIX anchorage and front parking sensors.

Tata Safari Sunroof
MG Hector Plus Sunroof

We’d pick the Hector Plus Select here for the added comforts but if you prefer the styling of the Safari, then that’s okay too as it still offers plenty for the price.

Tata Safari XZ vs MG Hector Plus Sharp

Tata Safari XZ

Rs 19.15 lakh

MG Hector Plus Sharp

Rs 19.23 lakh (6-seater)

Difference

Rs 8,000 (Hector Plus more expensive)

Features

Safety 

Tata Safari XZ

MG Hector Plus Sharp

Airbags

6

6

ABS with EBD

Yes

Yes

Parking sensors

Rear

Front and rear

ISOFIX child seat anchors

Yes

Yes

Traction control

Yes

Yes

Hill hold

Yes

Yes

Roll over mitigation/ESP

Yes

Yes

Front fog lamps

Yes

LED

Electronic parking brake

Yes

No

Heated ORVMs

No

Yes

Exterior

   

Headlamps

HID Projector (automatic)

LED (automatic)

LED DRLs

Yes

Yes

Panoramic Sunroof

No

Yes

Wheels

18-inch alloys

18-inch alloys

Rear washer and wiper

Yes

Yes

Defogger

Yes

Yes

Powered tailgate

No

Yes (with kick-to-open feature)

Rain sensing wipers

No

Yes

Interior

   

Leatherette upholstery

Yes (white)

Yes (brown)

Height-adjustable driver’s seat  

6-way power adjustable

6-way power adjustable (4-way power adjustable passenger seat)

Front ventilated seats 

No

Yes

AC

Auto

Auto

Rear AC vents (2nd and 3rd row)

Yes

Yes

2nd row recline

Yes

Yes

60:40 split fold (2nd row)

Yes

Yes

3rd row split fold

Yes

Yes

Front armrest

Yes

Yes

Rear armrest

Yes

Yes

Infotainment

8.8-inch touchscreen

10.4-inch touchscreen

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Yes

Yes

Connected car tech

Yes (iRA)

Yes (iSMART)

Instrument cluster

7.0-inch colour display

7.0-inch colour display

Speakers

9 (premium sound by JBL)

9 (premium sound by Infinity)

Wireless charging

No

Yes

Adjustable steering

Tilt and telescopic

Tilt and telescopic

12V Socket & USB charging

Front and rear

Front and rear

ORVMs

Power folding and adjustable

Power folding and adjustable

Cruise control

Yes

Yes

Keyless entry

Yes

Yes

Push button engine start

Yes

Yes

Drive modes

Yes

No

Terrain response modes

Yes

No

Tyre pressure monitoring system

Yes

Yes

360-degree around view monitor

No

Yes

Verdict: This is where the MG pricing is a step ahead of Tata’s. The Hector Plus Sharp is the top trim and only offered in the 6-seater layout with captain seats in the middle row. However, the Tata XZ is one below the top trim and only offered in the 7-seater configuration. It misses out on a panoramic sunroof and 6-seater layout with captain seats which are restricted to the XZ+.

In terms of safety, both variants are well-equipped and get six airbags each. ISOFIX child seat anchors finally find their way into the Safari along with an electronic parking brake with auto hold. Both have cool looking MIDs in the instrument cluster, leatherette upholstery, a premium sound system (with one additional speaker in the Tata) and power-adjustable driver’s seats. The Safari’s central display grows to 8.8-inches but it is still smaller than the vertically-aligned unit you’ll find in the Hector Plus. Here, the Tata SUV also offers a few extras over the MG rival, such as drive modes and terrain response modes (which may make it better suited on rough roads), ‘Boss Mode’ and HID headlamps. The XZ also gets the option of an automatic transmission for a premium of Rs 1.25 lakh.

However, as the top variant, the Hector Plus Sharp offers a lot more cool features for the price. That includes a 360-degree camera, rain-sensing wipers, powered tailgate, wireless charging, heated ORVMs, ventilated front seats and a 4-way power-adjustable seat for the front passenger as well. For this reason, the MG is our pick over the Tata at these prices.

*All prices are ex-showroom Delhi.

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3 comments
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prabhakar shetty
Jul 21, 2021 2:59:50 PM

MG Hector is based on Chinese car 'Baojun 530', with extra electronic features and would not trust them to be premium

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    subhash chandra bose
    May 15, 2021 10:27:52 AM

    Safari is Indian company, it’s reliable and strongly build. Hector plus has many “cool” features, but many customers reported that frequent issues with electronics. Do not buy China Maal.. and suffer.

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      subhash chandra bose
      May 15, 2021 10:27:51 AM

      Safari is Indian company, it’s reliable and strongly build. Hector plus has many “cool” features, but many customers reported that frequent issues with electronics. Do not buy China Maal.. and suffer.

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