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SUV Shootout

All these SUVs offer strong performance but are quite different in driving characteristics.

When someone hears the term ‘SUV’ in India, their ears pop out and they are keen to participate in the discussion as this body type is gaining tremendous popularity in India, especially after the introduction of the Ford EcoSport, a compact yet affordable SUV. But today we are here to discuss about a segment which is a notch higher (more than 4-metres in length) than the EcoSport’s territory and sits lower than the big brute premium SUV segment which consists of the Ssangyong Rexton, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and so on. We are talking about a segment which is reachable to a wide audience and capable enough to conquer the crude Indian roads. It’s a mega SUV shootout between the Renault Duster (110 PS), Mahindra XUV500, Tata Safari Storme and Mahindra Scorpio. Let us help you chose the right SUV for you without any further delay.

SUV Shootout Side Lineup

Styling – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – this idiom stands correct when it comes to the styling of these SUVs. Each one of them boasts a unique stance of its own. The Renault Duster with its tight dimensions is the smallest SUV of the lot but clever styling elements like the double barrel headlamps blended with a large chrome grille and the brawny wheel arches amplify its presence on the road amidst the other SUVs. Tata Motors has played it safe with the exteriors of the Safari Storme, which hasn’t changed much when compared to the predecessor but the Land Rover inspired front fascia and subtle styling elements makes it look tall and handsome. Tailgate mounted spare wheel is sorely missed on the Storme.

SUV Shootout XUV500 Scorpio Safari Duster

The Mahindra Scorpio has an appreciated body style but it looks dated when compared to other SUVs. The Scorpio still brags about its bold characteristics through the chunky design elements, broad stance and dual tone colour scheme (tailgate mounted spare wheel is an aftermarket installment). Then there’s the Cheetah inspired Mahindra XUV500, which exhibits contemporary yet debatable design language, some might like it and some may not. The XUV500 has an aggressive and muscular tone on the exteriors with a well treated roofline and side profile but some details like the front grille and bumpers feel loud and itchy to the eyes.

SUV Shootout Renault Duster InteriorsSUV Shootout Tata Safari Storme Interiors

Interiors – All of these SUVs have an average fit and finish level when it comes to the interiors, though the Renault Duster feels much better screwed together between them all. The Duster uses beige and black colour combination in its cabin, which works well but the interior design looks plain and simple. The Duster is the only one, which doesn’t have a third row seating. Cabin space is comparatively average but it accommodates five adults with good comfort. The Duster has good amount of boot space too, as the spare wheel is mounted underneath. The Tata Safari Storme feels airiest and the most spacious SUV out here. The extensive usage of beige colour, low window line along with a high stance gives you a great sense of space. The uncluttered beige dashboard with neat wood inserts makes it look posh but the stereo system looks like an aftermarket instalment and thus out of place. Tata Motors has improved the quality of interiors drastically but it still has some hard plastic bits. The front and middle row has generous space with good comfort but the third row is best suited for small kids or luggage.

SUV Shootout Mahindra Scorpio InteriorsSUV Shootout Mahindra XUV500 Interiors

Climb into the Mahindra Scorpio and you are greeted with a commanding view and comfortable seating. The rounded interior styling feels dated and the wood accented centre console on the dashboard appears a bit untidy. Build quality is just average. The power window switches are located oddly between the front seats. The front row has adequate space but the second row feels less spacious for an SUV of this size. The last row of seats is not practical enough for long routes and can be folded away for tremendous amount of boot space. Step inside the XUV500 and you will get a sense of modern styling. The dashboard layout is much better than its rivals, which appears to be rich. The quality is far better than its siblings such as Scorpio and Xylo but there are some tacky bits on the console, which feels flimsy to use. The chunky steering is good to hold and the cabin full of convenient features makes you feel like a boss. The space is at par with the Safari Storme with generous amount of legroom on both front and middle row seats along with good comfort levels. The last row of seats on the XUV500 is the most practical out here but can only be used for short distances.  With the third row folded away, there is a good amount of boot space too.

SUV Shootout Engines

Performance – The Renault Duster we had on our drive is powered by the 1.5-litre k9k diesel engine producing 110 PS of power and 248 Nm of torque. Unlike the 85 PS version, the 110 PS Duster has a considerable amount of turbo lag until 2000 RPM, which is quite annoying in city traffic. Once it passes the 2000 RPM mark, the silky smooth engine pulls nicely till the redline with a strong mid range punch. The engine feels creamy, when on the boil and has enough power to glide on the highways with utter refinement. For quick overtakes, downshifts are needed but thanks to the neat and precise gearbox with short throws, it’s an easy task to do. The 110 PS Duster is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, which is a boon on the highways. Average fuel efficiency comes out to be 14 km/l, which is good enough.

SUV Shootout Renault Duster Engine

The Tata Safari Storme features the same 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine as its predecessor with variable geometry turbocharger, rebadged as VariCOR. It produces 140 BHP of power and 320 Nm of torque. The low end torque delivery is impressive with well controlled turbo lag. You can feel the engine pulling right away from 1400 RPM, which is very drivable both in city as well as on the highways. Refinement has improved considerably but the NVH levels are still not upto the mark. Post 3000 RPM, the engine does get a bit noisy with the turbo whistle penetrating into the cabin. The 5-speed manual gearbox has improved and feels less notchy than before. The gear ratios are cleverly stacked up that leads to good in-gear acceleration and tremendous cruising ability. The 5th gear is tall, which holds up the RPM needle at a relaxed 2100 RPM at 100 km/hr. The Safari Storme returns a decent fuel economy of 10 km/l in the real world.

SUV Shootout Tata Safari Engine

The Mahindra Scorpio is powered by the 2.2-litre mHAWK diesel engine, which produces 120 BHP of power with 290 Nm of torque. The pulling power of this engine will set you back with a surprise. With minimal turbo lag, the engine pulls cleanly from as low as 1200 RPM until 3500 RPM, post which the motor feels a bit strained and noisy. This engine has got a strong low and mid range with crisp acceleration. Mated to this engine is a 5-speed manual gearbox, which feels clumsy to use. It takes time to get a hang of the notchy tall gearbox. Gear ratios are well spaced out and in gear acceleration is decent too. The Scorpio returns an adequate 10 km/l average fuel economy.

SUV Shootout Mahindra Scorpio Engine

The Mahindra XUV500 carries over the same 2.2-litre mHAWK oil burner from the Scorpio with a higher state of tune, producing 140 BHP of power and 330 Nm of torque. Just like the Scorpio, the XUV500 pulls easily from 1200 RPM with negligible turbo lag. However, the XUV500 has linear acceleration and revs freely up to the redline without losing any breath. The engine becomes audible when you get closer to the redline. The oil burner feels lively throughout the rev band and is better refined than the Scorpio. The XUV500 gets mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, which is a bit sluggish but takes little time to get used to. The ratios are well put together for both city and highway runs. The sixth gear eases out the engine revs when cruising on highways and enhances fuel economy too. The RPM needle ticks around the 1900 mark in sixth gear at 100 km/hr. The XUV500 returns a solid 12 km/l fuel consumption.

SUV Shootout Mahindra XUV500 Engine

Driving Dynamics – The Duster is sculpted on a monocoque chassis and has the best balance of ride and handling out here. The ride quality is class leading and the way it flattens the bumps and potholes is just phenomenal. You don’t need to slow down on bad roads, as the suspension works really well both at city and highway speeds. It is a bit on the stiffer side but that helps to prevent a bouncy ride. The Duster is a confident handler too, it chucks into corners easily without any body roll and maintains its line after getting out of a corner. The steering feedback is good and precise, which makes you feel that you are driving a sedan. However the steering does transmit vibrations while turning at speeds on bad roads. Stopping power is worth appreciation as the Duster stops from high speeds to a standstill without any drama with almost null nose dive. Brake pedal feel could be better at high speeds. The Duster is also a capable off-roader with impressive approach and departure angles but the front-wheel drive layout makes it a strict soft-roader.

SUV Shootout Front Lineup

The Tata Safari Storme now gets the Aria’s hydro-formed X2 platform, which is stiffer and weighs less. Despite of shedding some weight, it is still quite heavy at 2095 kgs. The suspension setup on the Storme is new and a bit stiffer but the ride quality is as fantastic as before. The comfort level with this suspension setup is such that you can munch miles all day long without feeling tired. The Safari just glides over undulations and bad tarmac easily at any speed. Though the body roll is much better controlled than before, it still feels top heavy when cornering and you need to slow down a bit for comfortable manoeuvring. Handling has improved and it can turn its face well in time. The hydraulic steering feels slightly heavy at parking speeds and is a bit numb at the centre. High speed stability is good and quick lane changing is comfortable too. It brakes effectively with crisp pedal feedback but there is a considerable nose dive. The Safari Storme is the best off-roader amidst the competition. It has got an advanced ‘shift on fly’ mechanism, which engages 4-wheel drive on the move through a control dial placed near the gearlever. It is also equipped with limited slip differential. Slopes, inclines, mud, slush and articulation humps is no big deal for the Storme with the 200 mm ground clearance adding to the practicality.

SUV Shootout Lineup

The Mahindra Scorpio sits on a ladder frame chassis and weighs the maximum out here at over 2500 kgs, so you can imagine the dynamics of this SUV. It has a soft suspension setup, which is decent at low speeds but gets annoyingly bouncy at high speeds. The Scorpio has an unsettling nature over undulations and is quite a pain on long routes. Chuck it into a corner and you feel the heaviness of the body with noticeable body roll. The body tends to swing when pushed hard on winding roads. Handling is decent and the steering feedback is average. High speed braking is effective with decent pedal bite but the nose dive is unnerving. The 4×4 system on the Scorpio is also a shift on fly mechanism but its not as capable as the Storme because of the lower 180 mm of ground clearance and side steps intruding between, which restricts serious off-roading.

SUV Shootout Rear

The XUV500 is underpinned by Mahindra’s first monocoque layout with vastly improved dynamics, which has surprised the brand veterans who drive the Scorpio, Bolero or Xylo. The suspension is well tuned and handling is much better than its rivals sitting on ladder frame chassis. At low speeds, the XUV500 feels a bit stiffer than the competition but as the speeds build up, the suspension takes on the undulations proudly without any bounciness. With this suspension setup, long distance touring on the XUV500 is as comfortable as the Safari. Handling for an SUV this size is impressive, as the body roll is well controlled and cornering is sure-footed. The XUV500 maintains its composure to a good extent when you throw it around corners. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) adds to the confidence inspiring cornering of the XUV500. The steering feedback is adequate and predictable. It’s easy and light at parking speeds but doesn’t weigh up as you would expect at high speeds. The XUV500 is equipped with disc brakes all round and it sheds speed quickly with minimal nose dive but the pedal bite is average, as the pedal has a noticeable amount of play.

SUV Shootout Keys

Verdict – The mega SUV battle is a close one, as each one of these SUVs has its own merits and it is difficult to choose a clear winner unless we pin point some facts. Starting with the Mahindra Scorpio, it has a competent diesel engine and is one of the easiest SUVs for your pockets, as the price range is at par with the Renault Duster but the styling is quite outmoded when it comes to exteriors and interiors and the dynamics are unpleasant. It therefore finishes last. Coming to the Tata Safari Storme, it has good road presence with a commanding driving position, which puts a smile on your face while gliding on any kind of terrain. The cabin is well spaced out and feels airy. Ride quality is excellent but handling still lacks some confidence. Long-term reliability is unpredictable, same goes to the Mahindra brothers. The range topping model retails at Rs. 14.11 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), which is quite expensive as you get limited list of features when compared to the over equipped XUV500.

SUV Shootout Motion

The podium finishers of this battle appear to be the Mahindra XUV500 and Renault Duster. If you need good amount of space with comfort, modern styling, powerful engine and feature loaded cabin, the XUV500 makes a lot of sense. However you have to compromise on the interior quality and remember long-term reliability is questionable. If the Safari Storme came loaded with features, it would have given the XUV500 a tough fight for the second spot. If you want to enjoy driving and are usually found behind the wheel, the Renault Duster is the right choice for you with an excellent ride and handling balance. Clever dimensions make it a practical SUV for day to day urban running as well as highways. The only drawbacks are the interior styling, limited list of features and the turbo lag on the 110 PS version. Amongst its competitors, the Renault Duster has a lot going for it, making it the clear winner of this mega SUV shootout.

The Renault Duster offers the best balance of ride and handling, along with reliability you would expect from a vehicle of this price. Not only is it the most frugal SUV here, but also the fastest. All this makes the Duster come out on top in this shootout.

Further Reading –

Renault Duster Review
Mahindra XUV500 Review
Tata Safari Storme Review
Mahindra Scorpio Review
Renault Duster vs Hyundai Creta vs Mahindra XUV500
Renault Duster vs Hyundai Creta vs Mahindra XUV500 – Video

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • sidd

    i don’t think duster should be compared to the bigger SUVs as it being a 5 seater

    • crazywheels

      totally agree with you. Duster seems to be out of league. It should be compared to Ecosport.

    • digvijay

      The Recent SUV’s Duster , Ecosport ( so called Compact SUV’s ) are not misguiding people by putting them in the SUV market. The typical indian mindset considers SUV as a 7+ seater , total off-roader with 4WD and good amount of ground clearance. Though outdated styling and performance of these former SUV’s cannot compete with current modern SUVs , they can facelift these former SUV’s for better performance and styling. It is quite obvious that when duster can perform better than XUV500 in handling, compatibility and styling it can be called an SUV. With these kind of a performance the name itself is getting redefined , its no more a 4WD or a 7 seater and one cannot deny that. You want these Indian Car manufactures to start doing something new then they need to face the heat of these international modern SUVs. And Mr Faisal stop being a retard. You don’t get an SUV to off road.

  • sarat

    Both safari and xuv 500 are good offroaders which is totaly ignored in this review… I think this review shows the wrong path for whom looking for a real suv….

    • Sarat, how many people off-road? We can put an off-roading review too and we all know Safari is by far the strongest in this regard.

    • sarat

      the positive points of safari and xuv 500 is its offroading capabilities… You didnt review that part.. Its one of the basic chara of a suv..
      Otherwise this review is good..

  • samir

    where is force motor force 1

    • Abhi

      Wtf…?? U people reviewed duster as an suv and left force one… Duster is a 5 seater and a compact suv.. It is not eligible in this comparison.. Duster is simply over priced and its a suv on a car platform. IT’S NOT A SUV BUDDY. Review again with force one. U people completely misguiding buyersf.. F off..

    • Mohit Soni

      Fisrt of all mind your language , Force one is a competitor but its about what sells the most and what is public demand. Force one hardly sells any numbers to justify to come into this comparo and who says the Duster is not a SUV? ? is it a hatchback ? LOL!
      Dont create false statements on your own and start a invalid argument here

    • Abhi

      @mohit Did you lost your eyes..?? I didn’t mentioned duster as a hatchback i said it is a compact suv it does not belongs to this category. And i said force one belongs to the same category. And duster is over priced. First get your eyes checked and later you can guide the buyers… And f off once again

    • sachin

      I agree with you mohit.. guess he is a force one owner. haha.. my vote goes for DUSTER!!!

    • Abhi

      Ok you are one of the fool who owns a overpriced SUV… congrats.. And i booked a ecosport not a featureless duster or a force one ok.. Rather i call your favorite SUV as a DUSTBIN. :P

    • gitika

      I support Abhi…

    • Abhi, please tell me if Force One is available in all cities. If yes then it’s a valid point to include it but very limited availability of the vehicles makes it senseless to put it here.

    • Abhi

      Ok faisal bro. Then why are you classifying these vehicles as compact suv, suv, premium suv and luxury suv… Compare all together and say Duster is the best… :P


      DUSTER???? Its an Dustbin with 4 tyres that move on Road. No offence but Honestly i liked the Review, he has mensioned long term reliability..Hats off Faisal..And dont give a damn to some Buggers around, who always had som problem with the reviews :D

    • The irony is, there was only one person who was posting with multiple names!

  • Chaos

    I See Duster(Mini-Suv) , where is the Ecosport then ? A monocoque SUV being faster and frugal ? that too a 4 seater ! Duh !!! … It is lighter , even lighter than ECOSPORT .

    • Do you know that the XUV is also a monocoque. The EcoSport is a strict 4-seater with limited boot space.

  • Baljinder

    Nice review……..ya I also feel the same tat Duster is 5 seater Nd should not be thr in review…. I think this review is done on the basis of price, comfort, nd with more loaded features in a car, where Duster fits good.
    And please do a review on big SUVs like Pajero,Prado, Fortuner, Safari, Scorpio nd othrs.

  • A Sethi

    Since its a SUV comparison, I’d like to read more about the off-roading capabilities of the cars.

  • Faraz

    It is not about big suv or compact suv. It is about the consideration set the buyer has when he plans to buy a car. This shootout in my opinion will certainly help any buyer considering an SUV in this Rs.12-15 Lakhs price bracket.The duster definitely will come to a buyers mind when he is looking for an SUV as for an urban buyer the tight dimensions of the duster will carry more weightage than the off roading capabilities of the car.I am glad that motorbeam understands what the typical Indian car buyer wants and publishes articles based on that perspective only.Well done!

  • Jigs

    Very bad comparo cant imagine Duster with these real SUVs. This is just paid stuff from Renault we can see as they fear the competition from EcoSport. i have driven Storme Its actually not as bad you are showing here.

  • Ishank Sabharwal

    The Article though providing some insight seems absolutely biased in favour of duster, I have driven duster and the car ambience is sub par. cannot even imagine to come in the same category as safari storme or XUV. Every single review you read of duster says that the interior is below average How is it that you guys ding it better screwed on than the rest.

  • Mahindra

    Is the review is based on price brackets?? Totally biased towards duster. Our homegrown products deserves more than this overpriced not so called SUV… Only fact i accept in duster is engine reliability and handling still XUV500 handles better to me…

    • Isn’t engine reliability a very big thing?

  • Damu

    Nice to read your opinions. Individually, I agree with your comments.
    But, I think this shootout should have been Scorpio vs. Storme only. Both are comparable in size, power, price, construction, and usage. Both are available in 4×4 versions.
    XUV and Duster really shouldn’t be compared here. Neither are 4×4, and both are monocoque. Duster is a 5 seater.
    I have driven both Scorpio and Duster. I own a Scorpio and my son owns a Duster. They are entirely different vehicles, each with its own strong points. I do agree the Duster is great, I like very much too, but treat it individually.
    I am surprised you find the Scorpio uncomfortable over long distance! It is the most comfortable vehicle on a long highway drive. My wife and I are both above 55 years age, and even after a 700 kms drive we feel no fatigue at all. Both of us suffer from cervical spondylitis yet can drive 4 hours or more at a stretch. My wife can easily drive the Scorpio for 3 hours at a stretch, even though she suffers from health problems. Scorpio is superb in highway night driving, night driving is not tested here.

    • Damu, Scorpio has a bouncy ride and its high speed dynamics leave a lot to be desired from.

      XUV is available with AWD.

    • SGR

      Scorpio is poor in Handling, Most of the accidents include Scorpio especially toppled ones in Ghats etcetc

    • Ajil Philip

      Body roll….. Try turning on a highway at more than 50-60kmph and your face will be stuck to your side mirrors. Not to mention your grandkids will be nauseous in the back seat.

  • stephen

    If Duster can be included in this shootout why did u miss Premier Rio

  • Anupam

    Guys.. Chill Out.. I would say a good review AS per Indian customer.. perspective.. when some one sets out to go for a SUVish kind of vehicle they can go for any of these upto a price of 15 lakhs approx. I agree the Force One should be here .. its not a valid point that it doesn’t sell much so it should be not included in a review.. if its a shootout all the vehicles should be considered.. Rio i think is too blend to be called as a..SUV ….Which i think should be little impressive. …but some may disagree.. .. Yeti is out of this league as it is priced out of this bracket…

  • Shubham

    I Think you should have done two separate shootouts :-
    1.) Compact SUV Shootout i.e. ecosport vs duster vs rio vs quanto vs yeti (its price is out of the bracket yet 5 seater)
    2.) Real SUV Shootout i.e. scorpio vs one vs storme vs xuv 500

    • Shubham, we have already done compact SUV shootout between EcoSport and Duster.

  • Mohit Soni

    For all those who are asking for a “off road” review of the SUV you can consider this is an soft road review because 90% of aam junta (you) drive it on road

    While you can wait for the off road review and wait for the Safari to win ;)

    and those asking for a Ecosport vs Duster the review is up in both video and text format

  • Saurabh

    By reading all the comments about about duster and force one, we are talking about a SUV ? What is an SUV ? a Sports Utility Vehicle, means a vehicle which you have drive in xtreme sport condition like off-road and a ofcourse a car with roof and other car parts, SUV is a gene not any category which you can categorize into… Their is a difference between best SUV, best offroader, best big car… SUV didnt mean it should be 7seater or above surely… I think these cars which MOTORBEAM has choosen are the market best when it comes to SUV… Compact or Real or Premium…. Its is a SUV and no one can deny… Just the point is that how much you can afford…

    Scorpio and safari have become a status symbol all over the country
    Yeti is a good offroader with some good features..
    Duster is a newcomer and powerful too…
    XUV is a bash for mahindra, a premium successor of Scorpio gene…
    Pajero is a best offroader SUV i think…
    Ecosport well it is also new… Still not been in the market…
    Force One it is so ridge and groove, it cnt be a status symbol, cnt be a good offroader, hardly i seen any of it in my town hahaha…

  • Saurabh

    Hi Jayantilal, good to have a word from you, i think your the guy who buys a Dodge Viper or Ferrari keep telling people look at my car’s Supercharges, Boosters, spoiler etc… Keep repeating the horsepowers and specs of your car and some crazy stuffs… Dnt go so deep that others got fade up from you, dnt make a fool of yourself answering useless comments,… its(MOTORBEAM) is a renowed automobile magazine, they have more knowledge from us about showcasing the reviews and which vehicle to choose… And keep your car keys in your pocket dnt show off like a baby….

  • I can go around answering everyones comments and questions one by one, like how I usually do. But since most of the questions and comments are the same, I will answer them in one comment itself. So here goes.

    1) Why EcoSport wasn’t included – Because it’s a sub 4-metre vehicle which is more of a jacked up hatchback than an SUV. The EcoSport is such a huge success that most dealers are not taking orders. So is there a point to put a vehicle in the comparo which you can’t buy right now?

    2) Why Duster then? – The Duster is a decent sized vehicle. It can seat 5 people in comfort and has a good sized boot too. Globally Renault offers the Duster with 4-wheel drive too so it is indeed an SUV and if you check YouTube videos, it does have the capability to go off-road.

    3) Others are 7-seaters, Duster isn’t – All other cars with 7-seaters are make-do 7-seaters. In which case even the Duster can be opted for with 2 jump seats. Last row of all cars are strictly for children. If you want a proper 7-seater, you should consider the Toyota Innova or Chevrolet Enjoy.

    4) SUVs but no off-road talk – Our test is for the common man who drives in the city and the highways. How many of us go off-road? How many people buy 4-wheel drive variants of these cars? Very few and even fewer ever take it off-road. Out of these cars, the Safari Storme is by far the best off-roader and we have mentioned this several times before too. But if we want just off-roaders then we should bring in cars like Force Gurkha, Mahindra Thar, etc in the comparison. Now these cars can’t really give you a comfortable experience in day to day driving? Right?

    5) Safari is the best, why didn’t it win – Before we started the test, we were betting big on the Safari Storme. It would have finished at least second but where it scores less is the value part. The top-end goes to Rs. 17 lakhs, on-road. Which is very expensive. At that price you don’t get half the stuff you get in the XUV. So had the Safari been cheaper or better equipped, it would have got more points and thus a better verdict in it’s favour.

    6) Why no Force One – The Force One is not available throughout India and there are very few Force dealerships too. Some one said that very few people buy Audi R8, why review it? Do you know there are more Audi dealerships than Force dealerships? When we did this test, Force Motors was going to bring in new variants, at the time we shot these cars, the 4-wheel drive Force One wasn’t launched and we firmly believe that anyone spending more than Rs. 10 lakhs on a car should get ABS. It’s only now the Force One has got ABS and we did this before it. In the future we can definitely bring in the Force One into contention.

    7) Premier RiO is also an SUV – Yes, it is and the lamest one around. Forget comparo, we won’t recommend anyone buying it because it’s terrible in many ways. It costs as much as the base diesel EcoSport and offers nothing. Dynamics are poor, quality is horrible and the only gem is the Multijet diesel engine.

    8) Why did Duster win, it has poor quality – When we come up to verdicts, we take a long of time considering various factors. All these cars you see here have been driven by us extensively. They have been put through quite some abuse. The Duster’s quality is below average in certain areas but when compared to the others, you realise it’s the best among its peers. Quality in the Safari, Scorpio and XUV are worst than the Duster and thus while the Duster scores 6/10 on quality, others score less than 5. Believe us, we have tested these cars and have seen how poor the quality is on certain places. How these cars have frequent issues like wiper not working, navigation system packing up, etc. This is the reason why even though the Duster is overpriced, people are buying it. Because at that price, the Duster is a reliable vehicle, others are not so reliable.

    9) Why no Yeti – because it’s expensive and it doesn’t fit well with what Indians would like to call an SUV design. Maintenance is higher too compared to the other cars present here.

    10) Duster has 1.5 diesel, others have bigger engines – remember something called power to weight. The Duster trumps everyone with its low weight.

    A request to all, before unnecessary flaming us based on your prejudice, please take a drive in all these cars and judge for yourself. We don’t support any manufacturer and if you read other reviews by us, you will see that we chose the EcoSport over the Duster. But for those who want a fast SUV with good luggage space, fantastic ride quality and reliability, the Duster is the car. I still wouldn’t buy a Duster, I don’t like its interior design and it’s a bit overpriced. But that is my personal take. Our recommendations in comments are based on what people want. There is no one solution fits all. If that would be the case, all of us would be driving the same car, right?

  • Saurabh

    Nice Review Faisal…

  • Ben

    @faisal. You missed one point the xuv500 , has a lot of electrical problems so it doesn’t deserve points, the scorpio has the bumpiest ride of all, so it won’t deserve any points. so finally the winners will be duster and safari.

    • Ben, yes there are some issues in the XUV but Mahindra has started to solve them. Also what goes in the XUV’s favour is the price and features list. The Safari lacks features and costs quite a bit too.

    • Amit

      Faisal, no offense to you.. but you are forgetting that the Safari has a Chassis, Rear Differential, RWD, propellor etc which XUV doesnt have at all. So this adds to the cost. You are considering only the GIZMOS in XUV and feeling its VFM

    • Mayank

      Dude could you give me more details regarding SAFARI STORME

  • sandy

    Well, comparison of 4×2 SUVs is quite controversial topis by itself as its like MUVs. Thankfully the company have tagged them SUV, else blame of not taking Bolero, Innova, Sumo etc. would have gone northwards. Faisal, I understand the intention behind such verdict as this is what the market demands, but declaring the winner and loser should better be left to the readers; as you said no product are made for same kind of application, so no persons usage and desirability is also same. Personally, I found each and every point behind these SUVs -> to the point of what has been mentioned, and I liked all of them to their individual and unique offering. XUV is the luxury one packed with lengthy features, but if one wants XUV comfort on serious offroader minus some features, then they can opt for Safari considering 4×4. Duster are for those who loves car ride n handling yet offroadable and Scorpio is jack of all trade.

    • Sandy, yes for those who can make an informed decision, we don’t have to tell the verdict. But there are many people who are clueless about cars. It’s like if we go to buy furniture, would we have much idea? Probably not and thus we will go by other people’s recommendations and judgements.

      Same thing here, for those who have very less idea about cars, we are trying to make life simpler by giving a verdict. A comparo without a verdict seems pointless, right?

      Besides, let’s not forget that some people want to be spoon fed. See our bike comparisons, we have clearly mentioned in the review which is good, what is bad, which is the choice for what type of needs. Still people ask the same question in the comments, like – what is the mileage in the city, what is the price, which is faster. We already have mentioned all of this in the review!!

    • sandy

      True! :(
      But this will happen and you’ll come to their rescue as always. :)

    • Sandy, yes but sometimes it becomes difficult to reply to each and every comment. I try my best but time constrains at times, you know!

    • sandy

      Faisal, your’s and your team’s response to every post, every comments is highly appreciable and the real flavor, real traction of this site. We tend to clear our doubts, we learn the market n product. Keep it up bro… :)

  • Amit

    This is the dumbest of the comparison i have ever seen. A real SUV – Storme it is. The mahindra XUV cant even be called a offroader. Front wheel drive, no chassis and not so strong underpinnings makes it only a good urban softroaded.
    Scorpio is the worst with terrible body roll, clumsy cabin with disastrous dashboard straight in your face.
    Duster – terrible build. The sheet metal is very thin and doesnt inspire the confidence at all.

    Take the XUV in any of the terrains and this is what is expected from a SUV. 140bhp and 320nm torque on the rear wheel drive + best chassis + new suspension set up + new rack and pinion mechanism + roomy 7 seater, nice interiors.
    Just because its a TATA magazines and such online sophisticated reviewers pull the Storme down.

    • Anupam

      I can understand your feelings for Storme.. Its one of the capable off roaders in right now. But i don not agree on some of your point.. Such as for being a SUV.. its need to have body on Chassis design + Rear Wheel Drive… It was an old school of thought that a body is chassis is better but i must tell you that monocoque Bodies has tremendous strength and flexibility and it also makes the vehicle Lighter in a very good way.. which will make it very agile ON and OFF the Road.. Successful Vehicle like Jeep Cherokee and Patriot and many other vehicles are using front wheel drive system.. Which in turn help to reduce the weight of the vehicle, improve efficiency and makes Vehicle dynamics.. More responsive.

      I am not sure about the metal thickness of duster but what I can tell More thickness of sheet metal means more Material .. more cost and more weight to the vehicle and power and weight ratio will be may not be very impressive for heavy vehicles. But it all depends on the technologies used by the company.. Probably because of lighter body weight of Duster It handles well and may be faster than others. And being a Monocoque design will help to reduce the sheet metal thickness still the structure will be tougher than Body on Chassis design. Thats why this technology is very popular with all the companies around the world

    • Ajil Philip

      All Jeep vehicles (Cherokee, Patriot, Wrangler) come with 4WD.
      In India the most offroading we do is on Mumbai potholes so a monocoque body should do. I guess body-on-frame is preferred cos its easy to repair and greater towing loads?!

    • Yes but we don’t need body on frame, it makes the vehicle heavier thereby reducing mileage and power to weight ratio.

    • Pramod Chennai

      Faisal, it seems that people still live with the same concept of Higher CC gives more power, Heavy only means strong. People still dont understand the weight loss attained in a monocoque construction is not by shedding the thickness of the metal, but by engineering. And some somebody mentioned “only 110 PS for duster”, who like people do not understand what a power to weight ratio can do and apart from engine power what wonders a clever gear ratio can do.

      For those who think heavier only is safer, try hitting the swing arms of R 15(only 128kg) and a Royal enfiend 500( close to 200 Kg) with a hammer and see which is easy to be tampered with.And also ride bith the bikes, R15 with only 17PS of power frm just 150cc and RE with close to 30PS from a 500cc engine…am giving the example of bikes because it is very easy to understand.

    • Bingo Pramod. I am tired explaining. Safari fanboys are not being open minded here. As much as we love the Safari, we can’t ignore the fact that the Duster is a better engineered product and XUV is more value for money.

    • Pramod Chennai

      Faisal..just go ahead with your way of reviewing and getting into the judgement as you always do..all of us love a brand and adore but that should not make us blind towards a better machine,may be from a brand which we hate to the core.

    • Agreed Pramod. When we decided on doing the shootout, we were quite sure Safari would cream it. But then quality on the Safari is still not up to what the asking price suggests.

    • Pramod Chennai

      Faisal, the great news is that Renault has introduced a new varient of Duster-RxZ Plus, wherein they have done the much desired by probably all Duster owners/fans- to take out the AC Blower for 2nd row which was actually eating into middle passenger’s leg room. Good move indeed ..ah..? It is also heard that they came up with the varient after getting feed back/negetive comments on this blower.

      This one is less expensive by 5K from RxZ model, so it is essentially ans RxZ with no blower. They should have named it RxZ Minus right..? :)

    • Pramod, haha. RxZ Minus would take people away. But it’s not such a good move as the rear AC vent could be a USP. Also other variants don’t get rear AC, so they are anyways proper 5-seaters.

    • Pramod Chennai

      Faisal,What I TD was RxZ variant. After sitting behind steering wheel for quite long, I let one of my two friends who were with me to drive and moved myself to rear bench near the left window, when my friend came by the same side to get in and asked me to move to the other side. when I was sliding towards the right there was hardly any sufficient gap left between the blower and seat so that I had to pull and lift my legs up to move on..mind you am 5′ 10.5″. I think the blower was spoiling the width of the seat on offer.

    • Pramod, yes the blower does occupy quite a bit of space. Robs the middle passenger of rear seat legroom.

    • Pramod Chennai

      Faisal, it would hv been better had they given a set roof mounted in Ertiga..

    • I think they should do that in the facelift ed model.

  • Amit

    Correction in the above statement ” Take the Storme in any of the terrains” By mistake i typed XUV instead of Storme.

  • Abhi

    We know you motor beam guys are favourof some products and u guys particularly highlight them. Example Duster and swift in cars and Activa and pulsars in bikes… Don’t fool us… We don’t need your favourites.. We need the best. And mohith soni did you corrected your eye sight and practiced to read the comments properly.. Lol…

  • God

    LOLZZ . . . . . KILL EACH OTHER…..

  • torque

    the proper & real suv is ofcourse : tata safari.

    duster is the most practical suv ,
    the offroading capabilities lof duster is awesome from the reviews abroad,though in india only 2wd till now,

    xuv is never an suv ,its just like a big suv shaped car,

    scorpio is just a truck studying fot its suv graduation,poor offroading capabilities.

    review ws good ,
    duster deserves it.
    good job (y)

  • priyam

    duster izzz garbage… just look whn duster stands in front of a safari ar scorpio… price tag iz same n u ar getting less power… less space n looks ar nt better than safari ar xuv… just a better average u get… nthng else..

  • Abhi

    Don’t say that buddy… These motor beam are fans of duster. They highlights the all the problems in other vehicles except duster.

  • Jazeem

    Duster… Dacia Duster. Dacia, a Romanian automobile manufacturer, We Indian are so biased when it comes to products which are made locally and internationally. How deep can we degrade our self to buy a Romanian cheap product at a higher price tag.
    forget that.
    Duster- is based on a car, its like a kitten is made to wear tiger mask. cmon ppl its a car that looks SUV (only looks). it has a tiny engine too, its just a puffy car. Muscle means weight, this car has very few so not real muscle. Engine makes 110ps on 1.5L!! try a dyno run now and try after an yr.
    Now that the world knows that we Indians buy anything sold under international brand names even with higher price tags, so every tom-d- harry is coming to India stating “the upcoming market opportunities”.
    Wake up ppl. Dare and buy our Own produce before these MNC’s run them down.

  • DevVrat

    R.I.P Mr.JAYANTILAL… :) :P :D =D >D …

  • jai

    Amazing! Treat a SUV like SUV and not a racing car. Respect the vehicle that you own and it will never let you down. Scorpio has its own advantages and should not be compared with duster. I have purchased my SCORPIO Nov, 2012. I was a sedan lover and was all set to go for Nissan sunny. Then came duster, it is simply a sedan with a touch of suv. Please do not compare it with SCORPIO/ safari. I have test driven all the above mentioned vehicle on himalayan express high, chandigarh and believe it or not SCORPIO has changed my view about suvs. I am 33 and initially SCORPIO was a “truck” for me. Thanks to my wife and after trying all she asked me to take a test drive for SCORPIO. She had previous SCORPIO experience. It was AMAZING to drive this machine. Even my wife handles this vehicle on sharp turns definitely above 65kmph and it is smooth.Never experienced any disturbing bodyroll. Yes we do drive it at high speeds but treat it as suv. At the first place suvs are not for taking turns at 80kmph. We have recently traveled to jaisalmer from chandigarh with my parents and believe me it was quite comfortable. I can bet, traveling long distances with 5 people in duster is a punishment. My friend has a duster and we went for a drive to kasauli. it feels as if you have traveled in maruti esteem. Since then my friends who use vehicles like duster, nissan sunny, safari, xuv500, recently eco sport all respect this vehicle. My friend who owns duster has recently found out that duster has least weight amongst these suvs and god forbids if met with an accident can cause disaster. It is also a wrong concept that duster doesnot have bodyroll. We have experienced it more when the car is filled.I am not a car expert and just mentioning about my experiences.We all have specific requirement and one should judge what is best for himself and not some expert review. SCORPIO may not be the best however it is not worst in the class. If it comes down to list the cons, believe me duster / safari/ etc have lot in the kitty. Jai

  • jai

    It’s been 10 years SCORPIO/ safari is there on Indian roads. Too early to comment about duster. Looks does matter however at times can be deceptive. Time will tell the exact story about product quality / service etc. It is not that easy to prove credibility on Indian roads specially for Duster. Jai

  • jithin

    hi all, ofcourse i would say duster is the best. bcz i have driven all the suvs mentioned above and finally bought duster. i have done 20k by now & the only prob is some simple rattling issues & the prob with dealer network, everything else is best in class. i would love to recommend duster. i know its a bit overpriced, but i bought it at the time of launch @ last year and it was the most vfm suv then. good luck everyone.

  • Pramod Chennai

    I would ask all you to just take a look at the sales figures of all these vehicles, that should put the last nail to the coffin I would say. Majority can no way go wrong correct..?

  • Krishan

    Great review for SUV type body vehicle in the price bracket of 12 to 16 lacs. However, it would have been good to have different title for the review. The reason is by definition SUV is a vehicle capable of on and off-roading with 4×4 options available. Definitely the capabilities and usability of the vehicle differs. Let me put in this prospective Scorpio, Storme and XUV have those kind of variants like 4×4 and 4×2 available and can also be family cars. This would be a good reason to keep Thar and Ghorkha out while to include Force one or even Skoda Yeti. The review should not be biased on whether one model selling more than other, that should be part of conclusion, challenges and summary.

    Ford EcoSport is not an SUV neither can Duster, both are FWDs and would a very limited Off-Roading compared to other ones. Well, few can argue that FWD can be good for offraoding, but I would say RWD is more predictable handlers during offraoding. Also, Duster 4×4 is not offered in India and hence terming it as an SUV is bigger market gimmick followed by OEMs and Media. Well we should be calling these vehicles as CUVs (City Utility vehicles).

    Other aspects, M&M as per my understanding has reduced ground clarence of XUV500 from 200mm to 160mm, would be still call that vehicle an SUV or crossover? Also, how can people forget about Yeti, if we are talking and giving marks based on handling, quality and refinement of vehicle. The vehicle is full 5 seater 4×2 and called SUV and 4×2 model is in price range been discussed here.

    • Krishan, valid points there but when we took to the comparo, we focussed on the mass market and that’s why these vehicles were selected. How many people actually go off-road?

    • Krishan

      Faisal it not just about mass market :). To give you a prospective – Which one do you think a Duster, a Scorpio, a XUV or a Storme would take least effort and give more confidence to go over a slither and water filled bad road of let us say 40-50 meters during monsoon season in India.

      To be honest I have been reading your post for sometime and this is the first time I wished to comment, because while reading your post I am parallely evaluating a vehicle for self. Believe me I have test drove most of these vehicles and with due respect I won’t put them into same bucket.

      This is the how IMHO we should classify them:
      CUV (City Utility Vehicles) for Small Families – Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster, Yeti and XUV (XUV may be considered). Characteristics easy for city drive, can take care of potholes and bad roads to certain extend. FWD good on wet road with high traction.
      CUV for Bigger Families – XUV500, Scorpio and Storme. Characteristics – 4×2 Options may be good for City, relatively cheeper, can sit 7 – to – 8 Passenger, RWD may not offer much advantage on wet road without features like ESP, TCS etc.
      SUV – Storme, Scorpio, XUV500, Yeti. Characteristics – either 4×4 or AWD. XUV have least ground clearance (with new model 160mm), Yeti have 180mm, Scorpio and Storme have 200mm of ground clearance.
      The characteristics in above classifications can be expanded and explain in detail.

      You may disagree, but hope you remember uncle Ben’s word “with power comes great responsibility” You own this blog and people follow you. May be you should not restrict to few models when doing comparison. Let us give a companies their due share for introducing certain kind of technologies and capabilities. Thanks.

  • mayank

    guys i think….all these vehicles serves different requirements…….people with city drive or urban drive must look for xuv 500 and duster.
    Drive for village and bad rad conditions scorpio or strome must be adhered.
    Since i believe that suspension of safari storme is the best of above all.
    So people looking for best ride var must look for SAFARI STORME.
    Mayank Singhal

  • Jayant

    Which car has the best ride quality and best NVH among the 4.Good review btw.

  • teja

    xuv 500 is the best car ever for indian roads

  • Pradeep

    faisal. …first and foremost I must congratulate you for a great article..and secondly take a salute for the dignified response to some outrageous language used in some of the comments… I am in a big dilema, I have taken rest drives for all these cars and completely loved safari… I am now confused between xuv and safari.. The worry is that while I would have gone for safari, I am worried about future of tata motors and this car… The sales for tata and market share is dropping .. While safari and storme sell less than 800 vehicles a month, Scorpio and xuv each sell around 3000 and 2500 vehicles.. Heart says storme while head says xuv.. I am considering top end 2 wd for both and primarily city use.pls help…

    • Thanks Pradeep. Yes, you can go ahead with the Safari, it’s a better car than the XUV, the reason why we put it third in the above shootout is because of the lack of equipment at this price.

    • Pradeep

      Guys , I got a fantastic deal ..safari storme 4 By 2 model vx top end at 14 lakh on road….. It’s a steal and best car in the world at this price….
      Safari storme…. Storme of a lifetime … Go for it

  • bhaskar

    I visited to test drive Duster, near Kr puram in Bangalore. By mistake I visited the body shop next the showroom instead of showroom. After seeing few accidents cars of duster especially from back, I decided to leave the place without even giving a thought on test driving the car. that when I understood the body sheet is thin as paper. I would rather by a Strome or Xuv at higher price and have peace of mind. this is my thought not to hurt anyones sentiments

  • Ashish

    I normally love motorbeam reviews. But this one seems to be an utter joke comparing a Duster to proper SUVs, let alone crown it the winner. Sad.

    • Ashish, drive all these cars and tell us if you feel otherwise?

  • Abhiraj…

    @faisal..sorry to say this..your views sometimes confuse me simply… You should understand like bike enthusiasts there are some off road enthusiasts live out there…those are the guys who are screaming at you for comparing duster with their longtime favourates safari and scorpio…you should have done some little offroading..there is no point in asking readers, how many of them go for offroading??..if its like that,then they can ask you when you compare so called super bikes…”how many of you ride your bike above 80 kmph in indian roads???”you should hav atleast change title….i just shared what i thougt after reading your comments..didn’t mean to hurt anyones feelings…

    • I agree Abhiraj but other than the Tata Safari, no other car out of the four is capable off-road. If the Duster gets a 4-wheel drive, it might be the best off-roader?

      Have you read our Jeep Wrangler or Land Rover Defender review?

  • Prashant

    SUV is bought by people who can take more people , can run in worst road(Come out of city mumbai/bangalore India has lots of villages and sub urbas where road are worst) and about common man (if common man can afford 13Lkh+ how cud be common they buy indica swift or less then 10 Lakh car. ) SUV word give idea that off roads bad roads, Have you driven cars across india, if not drive your mind set will change. duster may be gud for city and not of out city.

    • Prashant, Duster is quite good outside city too.

  • alan

    Safari’s 2 ton is kerb weight and scorpio’s 2.5 ton is gross weight . How can we compare both? Check if am correct.

  • bhaskar

    faisal, need help!
    I have taken test ride of all. currently drive swift vdi, 90000nkms

    I liked xuv and safari, wife liked scorpio. duster was ok, v poor interiors for the price and stiff clutch like logan. can consider terrano if clutch better. I will do most of the driving, need reliability, good ride , safety. which one do I go for. am quite confused and postponed my purchase decision. will keep for 100000 kms or 5 yrs.
    should I consider 4wd or awd. it may come into play only on holidays.

    My mechanic strongly advises me against xuv, says niggling issues though my friends own thm and arevery happy with xuv. Body noise , rattling is an irritant.

    await you feedback or may just go an buy an automatic diesel sedan like Verna or elantra.

  • nagarajan

    i want to say that we have to compare suv but not mid sized suv like duster it must be compared to ecosports,rio.yeti,and more but not suv please compare again so that we get the wright winner .

  • reuven

    The best car over here is of course the storme.The storme has got better offroading skills than others and a very good ground clearance than others.the duster s body is like as if it is made made out of paper but safari is like a tree. Yes xuv I agree with speed of xuv because I have driven one but it has many electrical faults andi dont like that for sure.mahindra scorpio is just not so good.over all safari is first.xuv second.duster third and scorpuo forth. Duster must not be in this comparision because its small so instead of duster force one was better

    • And how reliable is the Storme? What about the features?

  • reddy

    This is just a Laymans review…Just see the pics..its best proof to eliminate NO 1 Duster…its just a body on logan platform..witrh front wheel drive..people who driven some sedans think sitting high is SUV..funny mockery…it may look good for some new people who want to upgrade from sedan, way SUV …just have an AWD in topend..good for nothing,,Cant do any offoroad..terrible suspension on bad roads plastics..very ugly back design…Sibbling scorpio 4WD is better than Xuv..but only for off road with limited GC below 200mm..Safari strome with real 4×4 imean 2H 4H 4L is a gem….Majestic looks height and road presence,,140 BHP ,,wit 205 GC,,made fore offroad..but DICOR2.2 4×4 looks better with tail gate wheel mount,.,.So guys..if u buy a SUV buy it WITH REAL 4X4 Imean 4H&4L with good ground clearance n majestic looks…don’t be fooled like Duster and XUV AWD..ive ownrd all these shits for a short time…if u don’t know whats n REAL SUV WITH 4X4just go for people mover XYLO OR INNOVA.or a sedan..don’t waste ur money.BOL…:-)

  • yogesh

    my good suv is safari

  • A B

    Is this a Renault sponsored review ? Logan platform, raised hatch.. Being compared to through bred SUVs which have proved their mettle over the years across various rallies? Dude you got to be kidding me… Just the look is enough to tell me duster is definitely not in the same league & u r forcing it in! Compare it to ecosport / terra no etc… There’s no way it can be compared to a storme.. This review is a JOKE, it’s called review of SUVs & what’s the basis ? wheres the off-roading test ? Duster at best is a WANNA BE SUV & it can NEVER be compared to the big ones no matter how well it handles… A Ford Fiesta also handles well or a Hyundai Verna .. Let’s get them also in this comparison… After all duster is just a raised sedan.,.. & the pretext of price is also strange,,,, you don’t get cars comparing just because they are in the same price range, they have to be the same category 1st…. & a duster starts at 7+ lacs & ecosport is similar… So how can ecosport not be in there ??? clearly… I still believe putting a duster in this league is a BIG JOKE from you!

  • A B

    & 1 more thing… Even on the engine specs… Duster is tiny.. 1.5 l is a hatch or at best a small sedan size… The others are 2l + engines … One of the most important aspects in a suv is its powerful engine… It’s amazing how the weakest engine with the lest power / maximum turbo lag is the best suv (which u accept during the review)….. What a SURPRISE!!!!! Dude you AMUSE ME with the review……

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