New Mahindra Scorpio vs Renault Duster AWD vs Tata Safari Storme 4x4: Comparison Review

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  • Dec 12, 2014
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How does the new Renault Duster AWD and Mahindra Scorpio stack up against the Tata Safari Storme? We bring you the answer

Duster AWD, Scorpio and Safari Storme in action

There have been five SUVs launched in the month of September alone. This not only goes to show the demand for these massive mean machines but also reflects the kind of importance these cars hold for the manufacturers. But within this class of cars, the entry-level SUVs are the ones that rank right up there on the sales charts. 

For long has Mahindra Scorpio been the favorite of the junta looking to make a purchase in this class. The Renault Duster too hit the right not. A for the Tata Safari Storme, well, with its bulk and intimidating looks, it has never had to work hard to get noticed either.

We pitch the new Mahindra Scorpio and the Renault Duster AWD against the Tata Safari Storme 4x4 to find out which one is most worthy purchase.

Renault Duster, Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari Storme

Exterior Styling and Design

This one is all about the bulk and the muscled look but ironically despite being the smallest of the lot, the Renault Duster AWD takes top honours in it. In fact, with the three cars parked right in front, almost every member of the ZigWheels team cast his vote in favour of the Duster. While our some of us loved certain elements like the flared wheel arches and the chrome front grille, the entire team appreciated the Duster for its compact yet well integrated design. 

The new Mahindra Scorpio ranks right up there with the Duster. It comes with more than just the big bulky feel of an SUV. We couldn’t help but fall in love with the some segment-first details like the Daytime-running lamps, the LED taillights and the predator-like new grille. Each element on the Scorpio including the black plastic panel as well as the 3D badging on the sides come together to give the Scorpio the muscle that an SUV needs. 

Although the Tata Safari Storme has the bulk and stance of a hardcore SUV it fails to make as much of an impact as its rivals in discussion. The fact that the Safari Storme in its new avatar is more than two years which incidentally still resembles the original Safari is more ways than one,  puts it at a disadvantage. 

Renault Duster AWD – 4

Mahindra Scorpio – 4

Tata Safari Storme – 3

Mahindra Scorpio interiors

Interiors and Space

The dashboard looks neat and welcoming, is the first reaction that the new Scorpio's interior draws. And rightly so. The light and dark grey combo gives the cabin an airy feel. Moreover, aside from the overall layout of the dash, there are a lot of likeable details on the inside like the chrome strips surrounding the AC vents and the Scorpio badging on the passenger side. The new instrumentation with its blue backlighting is a good addition as well. And then of course there is space. With each of these things in mind, it’s hard not to declare the new Mahindra Scorpio as the winner in this category. 

Tata Safari Storme interiors

One thing that all of us believed was, a glance at the interiors of the Tata Safari Storme is enough to make you feel that you have turned back time. The dashboard isn’t as appealing as on the new Scorpio - the faux wood finish doesn’t make things exciting, neither is it the most ergonomically sound of the lot. But what the Safari Storme does offer, is space and loads of it. The rear AC vents are at the top, and helps cool not just the second row but the rear bench as well. 

Renault Duster AWD interiors

Although the layout of the Duster’s dashboard is decent, it falls back in terms of quality. The dash isn’t as well built as the other two. As for space, even if we just consider the second row, the Duster isn’t as spacious as its rivals in discussion. The ergonomics aren’t completely sorted either. 

Renault Duster AWD – 3

Mahindra Scorpio – 4

Tata Safari Storme – 3.5


Scorpio vs Duster AWD vs Safari Storme features

Features and Equipment

All cars come with two airbags for the driver and passenger, anti-lock braking system and reverse parking sensors. While the new Mahindra Scorpio and the Renault Duster AWD come with an integrated 2 din audio system with touchscreen, the top-end trim of the Tata Safari Storme gets an aftermarket one. Although all three get steering mounted audio controls, its positioning is a little odd on the Duster and the Safari Storme. The new Scorpio and the Duster AWD get a navigation system too. 

With regards to features then, the Scorpio comes loaded with the most number of features right from projector type headlamps, Daytime Running Lamps, Cruise control and the auto Start/stop feature to help save fuel.

Renault Duster AWD – 3.5

Mahindra Scorpio – 4

Tata Safari Storme – 3


Duster AWD vs Scorpio vs Safari Storme in action


Ride and Ease of Driving

SUVs aren’t easy to drive, especially in the city. But the Renault Duster is different. And how! The ride quality of the Duster AWD is exceptional. It's quiet, devoid of vibration or excessive body movement. It's also the most planted of the three over bad roads. Moreover, the clutch is light and the steering though weighted, doesn't feel unnecessarily so. The Duster’s relatively smaller proportions make it easy to park in tight spots as well. 

Next in line is the new Mahindra Scorpio. Unlike the previous generation model, this one rides a lot better over all kinds of surfaces. A lot of this can be credited to the new chassis and the revised suspension setup. That said, the ride is still choppy and nowhere as well absorbent as the Duster. It side to side movement over undulating roads is more on the new Scorpio as well.

The USP of the Tata Safari Storme, meanwhile, is it's brilliant all round visibility. Visibility on all four corners is exceptional which makes it easy to drive in the city. That said, parking it in tight spots can be quite a task thanks to the large turning radius. The steering is a bit on the heavier side too which makes manoeuvring in traffic slightly difficult. The new Scorpio as well as the Safari Storme are a lot taller than the Duster making the ingress more challenging on these two compared to the Renault. 

Renault Duster AWD – 4.5

Mahindra Scorpio – 3.5

Tata Safari Storme – 3


Renault Duster AWD engine

Engine and performance

The Renault Duster AWD’s 1.5-litre diesel mill is an absolute gem. At 110PS and 248Nm, it produces the least power and torque among the three cars in discussion, but it doesn’t quite reflect in its performance thanks to it being considerable lighter. The Renault’s 6-speed gearbox shifts quickly and precisely. The combination of the two makes for better drivability and acceleration. Further, the low NVH levels make it a lot less tiring while driving in the city. 

New Mahindra Scorpio engine

The new Mahindra Scorpio retains the same 2.2-litre engine from its previous generation model and it continues to pump 122PS and 280Nm. The torquey nature of the engine really comes in handy while making those quick overtaking maneuvers. That said, it isn’t the kind of engine that will feel happy at higher revs. The five-speed gearbox is better than before but still not as good as the Duster. The clutch feels light but a little more progression would have worked wonders in making it a lot easy to drive. 

Tata Safari Storme engine

At 140PS and 320Nm, the Tata Safari Storme’s 2.2-litre engine produces the maximum power and torque among the three. Mated to a 5-speed gearbox, the engine does feel quite good as long as you keep it in its peak power/torque band. Despite it being the most powerful of the lot, the over 2-tonne weight of the Tata Safari Storme does not go unnoticed. 

Renault Duster AWD – 4

Mahindra Scorpio – 3.5

Tata Safari Storme – 3


Renault Duster AWD in action

Ride and Handling

The Renault Duster and the Tata Safari Storme come with all-wheel drive versions while the new Mahindra Scorpio 4x4 is yet to be launched. The Renault Duster proved to be the better off-roader and once again, the credit goes to the fact that it is lot lighter than the Safari Storme. The MacPherson struts upfront and the multi-link set ate rear play their part well. In fact, it handles well even on normal road surfaces. The steering wheel is just rightly weighted and precise, the suspension is well setup to take on undulations as well as be happy while cornering. On our way to the shoot, up the ghats, the Duster easily left the other two in its dust. The 215/65 R16 tyres perform well on and off the road. 

Mahindra Scorpio

While the older Scorpio didn’t have great handling dynamics, the new chassis and the changes made to the suspension does improve things a little. That said, it still isn’t as sorted as the Duster when it comes to handling. There is quite a bit of body roll thanks to which it just doesn’t feel confident enough. 

Tata Safari Storme in action

As far as the Tata Safari Storme goes, although it rides fairly well, it is the least confident of the lot when it comes to handling. Push it round a corner it still rolls, turn it hard and it will understeer and you will have to fight the steering wheel to take the desired line. It isn’t the most pleasant place to be in if you are the kind that loves to push it around bends. 

Renault Duster AWD – 4

Mahindra Scorpio – 3.5

Tata Safari Storme – 3


Duster AWD, Scorpio, Safari Storme


Fuel Efficiency and Price

In terms of fuel efficiency too the Renault Duster AWD scores the maximum points. The Renault Duster 4x4 has an ARAI fuel efficiency of 19.72kmpl, which as opposed to the Mahindra Scorpio’s 15.4kmpl and the Tata Safari Storme’s 14.1kmpl is pretty impressive. 

With regards to price, the new Mahindra Scorpio is the cheapest of the lot at Rs 11.95 lakh and at that price, it has quite a bit to flaunt. The Renault Duster AWD on the other hand is priced at Rs 13 lakh and while it doesn’t quite have as many features on offer as the Scorpio, it compromises well with the help of a great engine and good handling dynamics. The Tata Safari Storme will drill a Rs 14.33 lakh hole in your pocket, and when compared to its rivals in discussion it really has little on offer except for space. (All Prices ex-showroom Delhi)

Renault Duster AWD – 3.5

Mahindra Scorpio – 4

Tata Safari Storme – 2.5


Duster vs Scorpio vs Safari Storme



This is a close one. The new Mahindra Scorpio makes a superb case for itself. It has road presence, space, equipment and a fantastic price. It is the best value buy here no doubt. But, it loses put to the Duster AWD by the slimmest of margins. The Duster is just better engineered and that reflects in its ride and handling as well as the overall driving feel. It is the easier of the two to live with. And of course, it is more fuel efficient. Bottom line is, you can't go wrong with either. The Tata Safari Strome 4x4 though feels the most cumbersome here. It has space, decently finished interiors, a good ride and much better handling than the older Safari, but its weight and sheer size which reflects in its comparatively poorer dynamics and fuel efficiency on the road, does it it down. It also needs a better multi media system and ergonomics. So, even though the Tata finishes third here we expect the new versions - due late this year - to improve upon this package significantly.  Now, the wait for the new Tata Safari Storme begins…

Renault Duster AWD – 4

Mahindra Scorpio – 3.5

Tata Safari Storme – 3

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