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XUV300 vs EcoSport vs Nexon vs Brezza

XUV300 vs EcoSport vs Nexon vs Brezza

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They say competition breeds excellence and in the case of the sub 4 meter SUV segment, that certainly seems to be true. Take the Ford EcoSport for example, when it was new it was the one that really popularized this class and it had people flocking to it in droves, but then the competition came knocking really fast and really ferociously and it was time for this cars? mid-life up there that you see here. Speaking of the competition, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is probably the Ford EcoSport?s biggest headache. Brezza is right now the country?s best-selling SUV, which is not only because of its Suzuki badge on the notch, it also have plenty of tricks under its bonnet. Tata Nexon is the car that proves that you don?t have to sacrifice sexiness in order to be big, spacious, practical, comfortable SUV. Mahindra XUV300 is the new kid on the block which seems to have taken a page out of all these cars. It delivers a really strong package.

Dimensionally it?s not a surprise that they are all of a similar size since they all have a 4-meter length constrain to fit inside. What?s more telling is the wheel base where the XUV300 has almost 100 mm more than all others. You would also find that the curb width go up from the Brezza?s bantam weight of 1195 kg to the Nexon and the EcoSport that are close to the 1300 kg mark. The XUV300 weighs a full 1405 kg. Let?s not get too deep into the discussion of styling because that can be quite subjective. However, while the EcoSport and XUV300 are both well-tuned out they look very truncated at the rear and this is owing to the fact that both started out from vehicle more than 4 meters long and were cut down to size.

XUV300 scores highly for interior quality like the infotainment and steering controls. Switches and buttons are really well finished and damped and plastic quality is generally very good. It is just the design a bit incongruous, particularly the HVAC controls inherited from the SsangYong Tivoli which looks rather dated.

The EcoSport looks far more cohesive and in the case of the S model, it is sporty too. I particularly like the large touchscreen placed at the edge of the dashboard comfortably in arm?s reach. The Ford also has the best instrumentation with simple but clear dials and a large informative TFT screen between them.

You have to love the Nexa?s cabin design, which much like the exterior is really attractive. I particularly like the dull grey trim that runs across the centre and the way AC vents are integrated. The drawback is an inconsistency of quality. The dash top has a rich grain and feels premium, but lower down you?ll find too many rough edges.

The Vitara Brezza?s cabin feels better put together but it is let down by cheap and dull looking plastics. The interior design lacks any flair and can be described as functional at best. While the Tata and Maruti are well enough equipped, it is the Ford and the Mahindra that are really pushing the boundaries of the segment. They are for instance the only that offer the much sought-after sunroof.

Top spec XUV300 is packed with segments like dynamic steering modes, dual zone climate control and heated mirrors. The Nexon uniquely does have driving modes for the engine.

All these cars have touchscreens and all get android auto and apple car play, but it is the EcoSport?s interface that is the slickest, quickest and most intuitive. Mahindra?s system isn?t too bad either. It has come a long way since version 1. Maruti?s smart play interface is clean but quite sluggish in operation. The Tata?s small 6.5 inch screen simple feels the furthest behind. Though it is clunky, slow to respond and the screen is quite crowded, none of them you?ll want on the move.

All the cars offers two airbags. This is standard across the entire model range, but the top spec EcoSport gets you 6 and XUV300 tops that with even a 7th airbag. All cars get rear parking sensors and cameras help you back up but the XUV goes a step further with front parking sensors. While the other three have drum brakes at the rear, Mahindra has discs.

Safety Features:

Mahindra XUV300Ford EcoSportTata NexonMaruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Parking SensorsFront + RearRearRearRear
Tyre Pressure MonitorYesYesNoNo
ISOFIX child seat mountsYesYesYesYes
ABS with EBDYesYesYesYes
Brake AssistNoYesNoNo
Hill HoldYesYesNoNo
Traction ControlYesYesNoNo
Rear Disc BrakesYesNoNoNo

When it comes to crash worthiness, comparing them is not so easy. The Nexon famously became the first Indian car to score 5-stars for adult occupant safety in the global endcap test. The Brezza wasn?t too far with the 4-stars. The EcoSport scores 4-stars too, but this was in the Euro endcap test which has a different scoring system and it was carried out on a European market EcoSport. The XUV300 also scores 4-stars on the Euro endcap test.

There is plenty to like in the backseat of the XUV300. Knee room for one is more than ample. Even a tall person wouldn?t have too much of a problem. One can also like the fact that it has got 3 headrests for 3 passengers and also three 3-point seatbelts, one for each, which?s really cool. There are few drawbacks though. Headroom isn?t so great and the seat is really low, so thigh support isn?t too great either.

The backseat is possibly the weakest link in the EcoSport package. The space isn?t quite as good as some rivals especially something like Brezza. The seat is really comfortable, supportive and it feels very plush, even we get a good view out of the large window.

The backseat of the Nexon is actually quite a pleasant surprise. You might not think of the sloping roof, there?s a lot of room back but actually there is still a lot of knee room (it?s not the class best) and quite a descent amount of headroom as well. The sloping roofline does cut into visibility a little bit but it?s not a deal-breaker. The biggest chunk of this car is the rear AC vent which is something the others don?t get.

The backseat of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza seem to have caught all the fundamentals just right. There is loads of space for one. There is more room to stretch out. The seat itself is quite comfortable and positioned really well so that you get a good view out of this window. It even got a hook over the back of driver seat to hang the luggage.

One area the new Mahindra just can?t hope to keep up is in the boot. A 257 litres will find more room in some hatchbacks and it is almost a 100 litres down when compared with the EcoSport and Nexon. The Nexon and Brezza boots at 350 and 328 litres respectively. A 352 litres of EcoSport might have the largest boot on paper but the load area is tall and shallow so it requires you to stack your things vertically. Also while all the others have conventional hatchback openings, the EcoSport side hinged door with the heavy spare attached to it can be an inconvenience.

The XUV300 impresses the moment you start driving. It starts with really light clutch and even lighter gearshift. There is a bit of the lag ease go down but it is not as bad as some of the others and when you do cross into the mid-range of the turbo comes on full boost, the car just flies. It has got the class leading numbers and while the engine has geared towards performance, the dynamics haven?t so much. However there is a good amount of body control when you take it around the corner, but the steering just doesn?t have a lot of feed in it. It is got weight and you can dial that up by pressing the steering ferocity button over putting it in sport mode. It has got some heft, it just doesn?t give as much feedback from the road as some of the others do.

As we know the EcoSport is the car that caught Indians excited about sub 4 meter SUVs. Frankly it is because it got formula right the first time around and everyone has just been catch-up since. The very big part is the way it drives, from its engines to its chassis. The suspension department is a bit softer and engines are tweaked a little bit too. It is a lot more linear and frankly it?s all the better for it. This feels like the most responsive engine off the line and you feel very little of the turbo lag, not as much as you can feel in the others. It pulls so cleanly from the low down without any fuss. Though it may not have the highest outputs in this class it certainly feels like a fun engine to drive. Usually someone who enjoys driving would lament the softening of the car?s suspension. Now they have softened the suspensions and it becomes much more comfortable. The steering for instance still remains the sharpest in this class. It is just so precise and gives you so much feedback from the road, you would absolutely love to check this car into corners.

Equipment Comparision

Mahindra XUV300Ford EcoSportTata NexonMaruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Android Auto / Apple CarPlayYesYesYesYes
Satellite NavigationYesNoNoYes
Auto Climate ControlDual zoneSingle zoneSingle zoneSingle zone
Rear AC VentNoNoYesNo
Leatherette UpholsteryYesPartNoNo
Projector HeadlampsYesYesYesYes
Automatic HeadlampsYesYesNoYes
Automatic WipersYesYesNoYes
Cruise ControlYesYesNoYes
Keyless Entry & GoYesYesYesYes
Steering AdjustTiltTilt + TeleTiltTilt
Rear View CameraYesYesYesYes
Auto-dimming Inside MirrorYesYesNoNo
Heating Wing MirrorsYesNoNoNo
Drive ModesSteeringNoEngineNo

The Nexon might grab your attention with the really attractive styling but you will be happy to know that it has some pretty solid mechanicals underneath as well. It has got that 1.5L diesel engine with 110 horsepower and 260 Nm of torque and those are some pretty healthy numbers. In fact the second only after XUC300 in this test. The engine does feel quite strong but its power delivery isn?t quite as forceful as you get in some of the others. It is more linear, gentler, but the power is all there. The only other shortcoming we can feel from this engine is that at low revs at light throttle inputs it can feel quite jerky. What other motors have absolutely nailed with this car is the suspension and the chassis. We can feel a little bit light and lumpy at low speeds but it?s not long before it becomes really complaint as you pick up the pace even just slightly. The steering feels very good too. It has got a really nice amount of weight to it without being overly heavy and it feels precise. It really makes you want to steer this car.

Vitara Brezza is a very familiar thing if you are familiar with other Maruti and that include the engine and gearbox. It is the same tried and tested 1.3L multi jet diesel with 90 horsepower and 200 Nm torque mated to a 5-speed manual. The engine is one of this car?s biggest weak points. There is a lot of turbo lag low down and at low city speeds you really have to work the gears to get around that. It?s all right once you get it into ride but that initial phase which comes in a lot when you?re driving in city traffic at low speeds that can be really annoying. It is a little bit firm at lower speeds but it?s not bad enough for you to really complain about and it flattens out just wonderfully once you pick-up the pace. It maintains a very good composure out on the highway which you would really like.

Fuel Efficiency:

City / Highway
Mahindra XUV300 Diesel W814.40 / 17.90 kpl
Ford EcoSport TDCi S13.30 / 18.60 kpl
Tata Nexon Revotorq XZ+14.00 / 18.00 kpl
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza ZDi+15.30 / 17.90 kpl

The Brezza over here is a jack-of-all-trades but a master of only a few. One of those is space in the boot or the backseat. Beyond that it gets the basics right but doesn?t go out of its way to ?wow? you. You get descent equipment, fuel economy and the peace of mind of the Suzuki badge. When you stretch for an SUV you expect a bit more.

The striking looking Nexon makes a far greater effort to win your heart. Tata?s design these days is really pushing the boundaries. It looks a lot more expensive than it is. This alone can be a big good reason to pick it. It sacrifices a little by way of practicality in the process with plenty of space and the best ride quality. The trouble lies in the execution, it is not the friendliest to drive in town, the infotainment system needs work and while the price is low, so is the equipment level.

The EcoSport is aggressive on the outside, sporty on the inside, well equipped and that?s all before you even prodded the starter button. If you enjoy driving this is the one you?ll want with really sharp dynamics and little detriment to comfort. However it just doesn?t work well enough as a family car as the backseat simple isn?t as spacious as any of the others.

In the Mahindra you feel that you are getting more for your money. Apart from the woefully small booth as little else to seriously mark the XUV300 down. In fact it is class leading in almost every way. The strongest performance, longest equipment list and loads of segment force make it objectively the best car here.
If you are extremely tight with the budget you could still go with the Nexon which gets you a lot of feel-good factor for the money but ultimately it is still the Mahindra that wins this test.

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