It’s been over four years since we last had this trio and since then a lot has changed. The XUV500 back then is now the XUV700, the Tata Harrier gets a significant facelift with a new design, new interior and a lot more features and the Jeep Compass has been updated as well. Now back then the Tata Harrier was our choice. Four years later, can it retain its top spot? Let’s find out. These three SUVs might have similar pricing but are quite different in terms of their personality. Where the Compass and Harrier are strictly 5-seater, the XUV700 gets a third row as well. And then there is the design. Now in terms of design, the Jeep Compass, especially in this black shark look, gets a blacked out grille up front, you get some black elements on the bumper as well, blacked out wheels and strangely the cladding is not blacked out.
Yeah I agree, I think in its quest to go a little more upmarket and a little more sophisticated, It’s lost that bit of that rugged character and I think it looks a bit soft. Soft is not something that can be said about the new Tata Harrier though. Now, if the Jeep Compass was a bit too plain and you know old school, the Tata Harrier is properly aggressive, turns heads absolutely everywhere, especially in its dark trim, you know everything’s blacked out, so it definitely has that menacing road presence. You’ve got the sleek LED DRLs, you’ve got this pilot lamp that extends through the width of the car, and it overall, I mean you just can’t miss it. And don’t miss the Lamborghini Urus-like 19-inch wheels, of course you sacrifice ride quality a bit. But then hey, this looks stunning, isn’t it? And even the LED tail lamps like a Lexus. So, if you’re looking for road presence, this is the one you should have. However, if the dark is a bit too dark for your taste, there are enough personas to choose from that help the Harrier stand out in a crowd, including a high visibility neon shade as well. But if you’re looking for a bit more sophistication, the Mahindra should do the trick just fine. In this company, the XUV700 does offer a bit of balance, you get a lot of premium touches as well like these intricate LED headlamps, you have a lot of piano black on the grille and the overall road presence is quite present too. And balanced it is, I mean it’s got the size of the Tata Harrier, you know you have the big 18-inch wheels, the large proportions, it’s got the sophisticated styling like a Compass and then unlike Mahindra’s of yore, it isn’t over styled either.
The design is always subjective and while some would like the Harrier for its aggressive look, there are others who would prefer the subtlety of the XUV700. The Compass on the other hand lags behind for its compact look. But what are they like on the inside? And inside the Mahindra, it’s a far cry from older Mahindras. I mean, it is just so upmarket, so sophisticated, a proper blend of modern and old school. Your thoughts? Exactly, I mean, the bright upholstery is what I really like, that really uplifts the cabin, gives it a premium look. And just the amount of materials used, you know, you’ve got this four metal look, you’ve got this bright cream upholstery up top, you’ve got a decent amount of plastic as well, it’s good quality plastic. Then you have the piano black, a lot of chrome as well, so it’s a good mesh of stuff. And then there are the screens, you know, this is properly modern, futuristic. And then you have the classic buttons which, you know, we really love to use on the move. Toggle switches. I mean, it’s a great layout, well thought of. I mean, Mahindra has really hit the ball out of the park with this one. Absolutely a really well appointed cabin. You get electric seats for the driver. You have a wireless charging tray, panoramic sunroof, drive mode. So it just is so much on offer. The front seats surely have enough drama. But where the XUV also scores well is the rear seat. Jumping into the back seat of the XUV 700 and as you can see space is in abundance for me at least. What about you? Your headroom seems to be tight. Headroom, yes, is a bit tight but my head is not really grazing so it’s not that big of an issue. Legroom is very, very good. Knee room, plenty. You have a good amount of under-thigh support as well. And what I really like is for the middle passenger. there is no massive tunnel. Yes, the vents are slightly protruding, that’s a bit of an adjustment, but apart from that, space overall is very, very good. And the best thing is you can always recline the backrest and get really comfortable. And well, the panoramic sunroof, it just elevates the sense of space on inside. I agree, and speaking of sense of space, the left seat also gets a boss mode, which means at the tug of a lever, you can extend the legroom even more and then this is a proper king seat.
And yes, that’s nice, but in terms of amenities, I think The XUV backseat passengers are a bit short-changed. Well, you just have air vents, you have a USB type-C charging port, a mobile holder. I would have liked sun blinds on the windows for a bit more privacy and… Yes, sun blinds definitely would have been a good addition along with vents in the pillars like you had on the XUV 500 and even a blower control. That would have made things a lot more convenient. But on the subject of convenience, it is the XUV that gets a third row in this price bracket which is also quite accommodating, gets blower controls for the third row and hugely ups the value quotient. Now into the Harrier compared to the XUV it is a stark contrast because where you had the nice bright upholstery in the dark it really is completely dark. And dark it is but then you have screens galore out here, there’s a huge touchscreen entertainment system, you have a digital instrument cluster. This is a touch-operable panel, the climate control, it looks very minimalistic, very modern and even the steering wheel has that illuminated logo. So, I mean in terms of modernity, it’s all there. Definitely, it looks really premium and modern. Even the center console, it looks really nice but functionality is where it takes a backstep because as you can see, this space for the wireless charging pad is a bit too cramped and awkward. Then you have the touch panel, again looks really nice but in piano black, reflections, dust, all there and while on the move it really is quite tricky to operate. And then there’s a screen I mean you have wireless Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, a really simple user interface and you have some connected car apps as well but with so many things packed into the screen it often throws up a glitch here and there and that is not something you’d expect in a 30 lakh car and what you also don’t expect in a 30 lakh car are panel gaps on the inside I mean… Tata, this should have been sorted out, isn’t it? Definitely and what I also have a bit of a gripe is the instrument cluster, digital, modern looking but the font is a bit too small for my liking so that I think could have been an improvement along with the seats. Now Tata seats have always been very good historically but on this even though the support is nice the squabs are a bit too short so under thigh support is missing at least for me.
And even the cushioning is a bit firmer than the XUV but the good thing is that even the passenger as well. That’s nice. Well that’s the front let’s quickly hop in the back and see what that’s like. So Jay, almost immediately I prefer the Harrier’s backseat compared to the XUV700’s, not just in terms of support, seat comfort, but even these headrest supports, they make the experience so much more comfortable. I agree, I mean in terms of space, it’s not really a problem at all. I don’t have my knees grazing in, there’s a decent amount of support, under-thigh support is very good as well. The seat comfort as you mentioned is really nice and headroom is not an issue either. slight tunnel but then you don’t have the AC vents protruding out instead you have vents in the pillars and you have plenty of amenities that were missing on the XUV so sun blinds there’s a bit of space to keep your phone or knickknacks and just overall it is a lot more comfortable. The Harrier might not have a third row to boast about but when it comes to rear seat comfort it surely is right up there. Alright now into the Jeep and it feels like we’ve come into a car from an SUV, we’re sitting quite close, it’s quite cramped as well, what do you think? Yeah the whole world seems to have shrunk in the Jeep and well, I quite like the traditional sort of layout of the Jeep. You know you have these analog dials, really nicely executed instrument cluster which is colour, it looks modern and at the same time you have these lovely dials on the side. You have a nice touchscreen, freestanding one and classic big buttons out here. very easy to use, a good use of the centre console as well, good amount of storage areas and I quite like these matte red inserts on this Black Shark edition. Definitely it looks nice and sporty, even the red stitching you know it just works into the whole Black Shark theme and I really like the materials you know you have soft touch on the top of the doors, it’s on the dash and on the top dash as well so yes it does have that premium appeal to it but in terms of equipment it’s a fair bit behind compared to those two. Yeah, well, absolutely. I mean, you don’t get 360 degree camera, you don’t get ventilated seats and well, this car is around 3.5 lakhs more expensive than the Harrier and well, that’s the least you’d expect.
Exactly, ADAS is not part of the package as well. So yeah, it is a big compromise when it comes to features, but in terms of cabin and that driver centric position, that’s what it gets very well. Alright, inside the Jeep Compass, space is obviously an issue. We saw that in the front seat as well and the back seat is no different. You feel a lot hemmed in. In fact, my hair is grazing on the roof, so headroom pretty tight. Legroom is not the best as well. I only have barely enough room to stretch and under the support, while decent, the overall seat comfort is not to my liking. Backrest, I feel, is slightly upright. And we are a lot closer in this car, aren’t we? So I don’t think that this car is suitable for three passengers. And in terms of amenities, just pretty much like the XUV700, you just have rear AC vents, a USB charging, a 12V socket beneath and you don’t get sunshade and that’s pretty much it. On the topic of luggage space, it is the Compass and Harrier with their 5 seater layouts that are easy to access. The Harrier is large at 445 litres while the Compass is a shade behind at 438 litres. With 3 rows up, there is barely enough space in the XUV but fold the last row and you get a massive boot to boast about. Now for the performance.
Alright so into the Jeep Compass the more recent of these three and I say recent because this is a Black Shark variant it now has the same power train as before, 2.0-litre diesel engine, 170 horsepower, 9-speed automatic but 2-wheel drive now. Yeah it’s funny that you say recent because I think this power train option should have come long back but hey better late than never isn’t it? Absolutely and now that it’s here we get to do what we do so refinement of this engine well I mean we’ve liked it always but it has always had a foot back. Yeah it’s not the quietest around and I think you can hear a bit of the engine especially under load and with this nine-speed torque converter you know you can hear the gearbox loaring a bit under load so I mean it just takes away some points in terms of refinement but once you are on the move things settle down and it does get quieter. But performance, that’s not too bad. Yes, the engine is very familiar, it does have a bit of delay to start off with but once you pass that 2000, it really takes off and takes off quite well. However, with the BS6.2, you know that punch that he used to get post the turbo build up, that has been subdued a bit. It doesn’t feel as aggressive, as strong as before, but well, it still delivers good mid-range performance and well, something you’re not going to complain about. Now speaking of the transmission, 9-speed automatic, the most amount of gears in this segment, what do you think? So it’s quite an effortless transmission. I mean having 9 gears certainly helps on the highway where it’s sipping lesser fuel. So for those long highway drives that translates into lesser fuel stops. And even in the city, I mean the first few gears are really short. So it’s just going through the gears like really quickly. That’s right but if you want even bit more performance, if you want that little bit of engagement there are no drive modes to speak of. And nor are they paddle shifters and well in a car like a Compass you know where you put the seat low down you drive in a sporty manner, there is something missing I think. And speaking of its sporty nature, I think the Compass has the best steering feel out of the three. It just feels a lot more alive, a lot more connected compared to the other two cars. And while changing direction, taking corners, I think this one feels the nicest and the most enjoyable from behind the wheel. And even its highway stability, it’s rock solid, this car, irrespective of the speed you’re doing, this car is just glued to the road surface. And speaking of glued to the surface, it’s very flat, very consistent but what about the ride? Well on such roads it’s phenomenal, the confidence that you’re getting, you know the body roll is well contained for an SUV and the ride is flat and composed, of course there’s a hint of firmness I think at lower speeds but I mean this has a really good balance of… sporty handling and ride comfort and I think Jeep has nailed it with the suspension. If the Jeep was car like to drive, the Tata Harrier that also gets the same engine is quite different and quite big as well. How different is it compared to the Jeep Compass which has the same engine? I mean it is quite different, the first thing that you notice is of course the refinement, if you thought the Jeep was droney and you know that typical diesel clatter was there, in the Harrier it is more pronounced and you just hear a lot more of that engine. I agree I’m sitting right here and I can hear a lot more of it and… I don’t know, I think even the road noise and I think the overall installation is probably not as good as the Jeep. No, it’s not and because this Dark Edition sits on bigger 19-inch wheels, there is a lot of that road noise coming through especially on concrete.
On other things but how’s the character of the engine compared to the Jeep? Is it the same or does it feel a little different? It is similar, I wouldn’t say exactly the same because you have that linear power delivery Like on the Jeep with the V6 Phase 2, the engine is a bit flattened in terms of performance and you do feel that, press on the accelerator and it gains speed but it’s in a very linear manner. There’s not that punch that you used to get on the earlier engine. As a passenger, I think this engine feels a lot more freer compared to the Jeep, doesn’t it? It’s a little more responsive. It is, especially low down and getting off the line, you do get that instant response as soon as you press on the accelerator. So in that terms, yes, this is a bit more free. And well, the Jeep Compass has a 9-speed torque converter, this has a 6-speed torque converter. So, what about the smoothness? Is it as good? Yes, you do get paddle shifters but that driver engagement that one expects from a paddle shifter, you know that total control of the gearbox, that’s not what you get. As soon as you tug along, first thing it does is go into sport mode by default because the car just assumes that if you want to drive yourself, that it’s an engaging road. That’s not a bad thing, however, when you want to downshift. it just won’t allow you to because it’s a failsafe that Tata have incorporated to save the gearbox from abuse but it also is quite a bit restrictive and that means you just lose out on all that control you have to rely on the car for those downshifts and even upshifting it’s not really the most responsive you click on the paddle and like half a second later it shifts And speaking of control, how’s the steering? This is the new EPS. Oh, the steering has made a big difference. The EPS is so much easier to drive and even handling, it’s not like it’s disconnected and feels vague. but it just, the lightness that it has added has made it easier to drive a whole lot more. And compared to the Compass, doesn’t this feel a bit stiffer in terms of the suspension setup? It definitely does and again, like the Compass, on a battered section of road, this will be perfect and by that I mean a really broken patch of road but on normal roads with a little bit of ruts and you know, broken cracks, definitely feel the jitteriness come through the cabin. And I think it’s a little more pronounced because this one’s riding on the 19 inch wheels it’s a little better. It definitely is. On the media drive we had the 18s and that was a lot better. On this you definitely feel that a lot more pronounced. And one of the other talking points of this Harrier facelift is the inclusion of ADAS. Yes, it does get ADAS now and you get your typical ADAS traits, lane keep assist, automatic braking. The thing is, especially with automatic braking, it only detects the object or the obstruction ahead quite late. That’s what we felt on the media drive as well, you know, the sensitivity of that, you know, if it could only detect that obstruction slightly before and not go all the way and break there, it would have been a lot easier. But other stuff like lane keep assist and, you know, rear-across traffic alert, blind spot monitoring is a big plus as well. So those things yes are a big safety plus. Okay so now let’s go to the XUV which also gets ADAS. behind the wheel of the X-series 7WO and right off the bat. difference it is, isn’t it? Absolutely, I mean the first difference that you notice is the level of cabin insulation and how good it is.
Yes, you still have that diesel drone, you know, typical but compared to those two it is a lot more soft and yes it is quieter but more than quiet I think it just the whole experience is a lot smoother, a lot freer, you know, I think the engine’s power, the torque, it all just works so beautifully well. And what’s also nice is that the steering is nice and it just feels a lot more car like. despite its size, despite the weight and the engine just makes it a lot more effortless in the way it strides. And Link, what do you think? I mean, you’re behind the wheel but I can tell that it’s a lot more stable and like you said, a lot more car-like. It doesn’t have that big heavy SUV feel especially in the corners and steering feel, what do you think? So, the steering is nice but I mean it’s very fluid and… Of course, I think the Compass does have an edge on these corners but I mean really I’m having a lot of fun and it’s quite confident to be at the wheel. I mean the engine really is the star because you know that power and that torque it just makes the overall car so much more likeable in terms of driving. Absolutely and even the six-speed torque converter I think it’s really complementing this engine really well. It’s very well tuned and tacking these speed breakers I think the ride quality also feels a touch better at least the low-speed ride quality compared to the other two. I agree where the other two feel a lot more tough on a bad section this is a lot more sophisticated it has that supple edge and it has that hint of softness to it. And the best part is you know even when you’re cruising at high speeds now despite having a soft setup compared to the other two this one doesn’t have those unnecessary movements or you know it’s not all over the place it’s still really well put together and you do feel… confident and planted when you are driving at high speeds so I think Mahindra has got this back its not on. So it’s been a long day testing these three SUVs and like we mentioned at the beginning, the price is what brings them closer despite their varied personalities. The Jeep Compass Black Shark is the most expensive, followed by the Tata Harrier in its dark trim and the XUV700 which being a 7-seater just screams value. So what’s the verdict? Well the Jeep Compass clearly the smallest car in this comparison test, it has the least amount of features and it’s the most expensive. So it doesn’t score well in terms of value and well that’s a shame because it’s a great car to drive. But then you have the Tata Harrier which has an incredible design, just turns heads everywhere, you got a lot of features packed in there as well and it is tough as nails. But then there’s the Mahindra XUV700, I mean it just edges ahead in terms of engine performance, ride comfort and it is just that much more sophisticated than a Tata Harrier. That the XUV700 is the most affordable of this trio, excellent to drive and also the only one with 7 seats further swings the game in its favour. And that makes it the winner of this comparison. Rolling. You can take the arm and look up. Look ahead and then talk to the sunroof. Action. Wow, what a sunroof. Definitely, it’s a very well appointed cabin. Panoramic sunroof, you get wireless charging, there are drive…