The heat from the auto sector is reaching mountain top with each SUV setting a benchmark for the other in the segment. This time the contesting automakers are MG Hector Plus and Tata Safari. While the current 7-seater MG Hector Plus derives its evolution from the 5-seater MG Hector and the last year’s 6-seater MG Hector Plus, Tata Safari is an old player with its new avatar being the 6/7-seater Safari. Safari is considered as the three row derivative of Tata Harrier.

A further detailed comparison between the two will reveal the ground realities.

A Briefing

MG Hector Plus

The MG Hector Plus 7-seater is an enhancement over its 6-seater edition. It is available in diesel (1956cc) as well as petrol engine (1451cc) version. The diesel engine has manual transmission mode only, while the petrol engine has both manual and automatic transmission mode. MG Hector Plus is based on monocoque chassis.  It is priced between Rs. 13.96 - 19.94 Lakh (ex-showroom).

Tata Safari

Again Tata Safari is built on the earlier launched Tata Harrier. It is based on OMEGA architecture of Land Rover. Safari is available only in diesel engine. The dual transmission mode-manual and automatic are given. The diesel engine is 1956cc. SUV is in the range of Rs. 14.99 - 22.01 Lakh (ex-showroom).


Comparison Chart- Diesel Engines


MG Hector Plus

Tata Safari

Engine Type

2.0L Turbocharged Diesel

Kryotec 2.0L Turbocharged

Displacement (cc)



Max Power (bhp@rpm)



Max Torque (nm@rpm)



Fuel Type



Mileage (ARAI)


14.08 kmpl

Fuel Tank Capacity

60.0 (Liters)

50.0 (Liters)

Front Suspension

McPherson Strut with Stabilizer bar

Independent, Lower Wishbone, McPherson Strut with Coil Spring & Anti Roll Bar

Rear Suspension

Semi Independent Helical Spring Torsion Beam

Semi Independent Twist Blade with Panhard Rod & Coil Spring

Steering Column

Tilt & Telescopic

Tilt & Telescopic

Length (mm)



Width (mm)



Height (mm)



Ground Clearance Laden (mm)



Wheel Base (mm)



Kerb Weight (kg)



Tyre Size

215/55 R18

235/60 R18

Seating Capacity



Boot Space (Litres)


73 (third row unfolded)

No. of Doors



Emission Norm Compliance







MG Hector Plus v/s Tata Safari- the Exterior

MG Hector Plus

It is quite close to the 5-seater sibling on the exterior. The Chrome Finish on Front Grille is a redefined finish which is lined by the new LED DRLs and fog lamps. Outer door handles are Chrome finish. Floating Light Turn Indicators are eye catchy. Turn Indicators available on ORVMs too. Chrome finish runs along the windows. There is a minor tweaking in the bumper. The rear is altered with new LED tail lamps. The bash plate holds two symmetrically placed exhaust pipes. The reflector strip bridging the tail lamps has now been finished black. MG Hector Plus rests on bigger 18-inch Dual Tone Machined Alloy Wheels. It is extended in length by 65mm than the Hector.  Roof Rails present a sense of accomplishment.

Tata Safari

Front looks familiar to Tata Harrier. There isn’t a change in split lamps design. The Chrome tri arrow grille is enclosed by the Headlamps, LED DRLs (daytime running lights) and fog lamps. The bumper has a gentle touch with no excesses. With the addition of a spacious third row, roofline has improved. The rear part is stretched and rear quarter glass is added. Silver Skid plates merges well with the exterior. Safari has a mature look and its wheel arches, roof rail step, and C-pillar covering and 18inches diamond carved alloy wheels give it masculinity. The roof mounted spoiler is a decent addition.

MG Hector v/s Tata Safari- the Inside

Front row

Both the SUVs are given a decent commanding driving position. Each SUV is further fitted with electric adjustment for the driver seat. Hector Plus earns a point with electric adjustment for the front passenger seat too. Safari has more headroom to offer. Seat base although is comparatively smaller than the Hector Plus, the seat in the Safari is more comfortable, well cushioned and quite supportive.

Second row

The same thing follows in the second row as well. Safari’s thigh support goes short here too. Hector Plus's rear seats are comparatively flat even with a longer wheel base. The backrest is higher. Tata Safari has both captain seats and bench like arrangement in different variants. The ‘Boss Mode’ in Safari allow you to manipulate the co-driver seat from behind. With better headroom and shoulder room when all the seats are occupied wins the Safari additional points.

Third row

Accessibility to the third row is critical in both the SUVs. It is either through the captain seats or by the sideways of the middle row. But Safari offers a relatively less chaotic passage owing to better leg room. Safari’s third row can adjust a medium size adult. Hector Plus on the other hand explains that their third row is most suitable for kids. Panoramic sunroof is present in both the SUVs.


They both aren’t great in boot space until the third row is folded. Safari has foldable middle row thus taking the boot capacity to another level. With third row standing the boot space is just 73L for Safari.  Therefore, boot isn’t going to be a deciding factor in comparison between the two.



Both the Hector Plus and Safari have soft touch plastics on dashboard. The top-specs of both have leather enveloped steering and gear knob.  Both SUVs are rich in features. Some commonality include-, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, panoramic sunroof, steering mounted control, ambient lighting, climate control and a user friendly infotainment system. Hector Plus is equipped with 10.4 inch infotainment system with the option of Smartphone mirroring. Hinglish voice command gives an Indian touch. The Safari is fitted with 8.8 inch widescreen which looks unimpressive with the big size screens available in the segment. It has Apple Car Play and Anroid Auto.

Sound quality of Tata Safari is enhanced by JBL sound system. Hector Plus has Infinity sound system. Safari offers three drive modes- Eco, City and Sport. It is also featured with Wet/Rough Terrain Response modes.  Safari is fitted with electronic parking brake which outshines the manual handbrake of Hector Plus.

However, top-spec Safari can lose out to Hector Plus when contested in terms of equipment. Hector Plus is rich in features -360 degree camera, front parking sensors, wireless charging, and front parking sensors, electrically adjustable co-driver seat among others-which can conquer over Safari.

Hector Plus v/s Tata Safari- Engine and Performance

MG Hector Plus

Hector Plus is launched with 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled to 6-speed manual and 6-speed dual-clutch auto, 1.5-litre petrol with mild hybrid engine coupled to 6-speed manual and a 2.0-litre diesel engine coupled to a 6-speed manual with each delivering 141 bhp, 141 bhp and 167.67 bhp respectively. Maximum torque generated by each engine is 250 Nm, 250 Nm and 350 Nm respectively.

The petrol engine though not quick enough but does the job well. Hector Plus fan base will have their reasons to favor it. The power isn’t an issue. It is readily available when needed.


The mild-hybrid system is easy to use. The clutch gearshifts are easy and smooth.

Otherwise heavy looking, giant SUV is comfortable to handle. The steering is light. The 360 degree camera is an added advantage. The SUV is quite friendly in city drives. However, at higher speed there is an up and down movement that might ruin your drive.

Tata Safari

The SUV comes in 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine. It is offered in six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic transmission mode. Top power produced is 168bhp with peak torque amounting to 350Nm. Absence of petrol variant could be a disappointment. Diesel engine performance is appealing. Gearshifts have no issues as such. Steering becomes heavy to handle at lower speeds. The available Sports Mode exhibits the dominance of Safari on road. Safari is a front wheel drive but is good on rough terrain. Braking system is good with all-round disc brakes.

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The Conclusion

The Safari may disappoint some with front-wheel drive. But its performance on road can’t be ignored either. However, not being a feature rich SUV could be a spoiler for Safari.

Hector Plus may not have earned that level of reliability but its market value is quite strong. If features become the criterion for selection, the buyers might line for Hector Plus.



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