Mahindra Big Bolero pick up BS IV vs Tata Xenon Yodha BS IV

Tata Xenon Yodha vs Mahindra Big Bolero Pick up

The Tata Xenon Yodha is the latest entrant in the pickup market and has its eyes set on the reigning champion, the Mahindra Big Bolero pick up. 
Over the years, Mahindra has chopped the front portions of the Maxi series and subsequently increased the loadbody and the payload of the vehicle. This has resulted in operators queuing up in showrooms to lap up the Bolero Maxis month after month, year after year.
Tata Motors, even though was the pioneer in the segment with the Tatamobile as earlier as the 90s could not consolidate its position in the segment primarily due to the fact that the Tatamobile was ahead of its time in India and more expensive for the category ruled by Matadors and Mahindra FJ trucks. 
Later on, Tatas did not concentrate much on the segment as the customer needs were getting fulfilled by the Ace at the lower end(sub 1 Ton) and 407 at the other end of the 0-4 ton loading range. The result, Mahindra ran away with the segment and also started nibbling at the Super Ace and Ace at the lower end. 

Tatas Introduced the Xenon series in 2007 but did not float it out as a mass market vehicle but rather maintained it as a lifestyle vehicle. This changed with the Xenon Rx in 2012 which was the 'rigid front axle' rugged version of the Xenon intended for the mass market. The chassis remained the welded 'C in C' chassis of the Tatamobile lineage while Mahindras stuck to the more practical and cheaper tubular chassis.
4 years post the Xenon Rx, Tatas have regrouped and come out with a modified and better Xenon, the Yodha which retains the virtues of the Xenon Rx but compensates for its weaknesses. To start with, the Yodha has a tubular chassis which has much lesser welds and is more corrosion resistant and also easier to repair if needed. Secondly, the vehicle has the 3 liter 85 ps Sumo Gold power plant which has won accolades in the industry as the most tractable motor in the segment.

So how does the new Tata compare with the reigning champion, the Mahindra Bolero Big pickup ? lets find out.

Engine and Gearbox
The Mahindra has its tried and tested 2523 cc MDI powerplant pumping out 70 horses and 195 NM, whereas the Tata has a 3 liter 85 PS engine with 250 NM of torque. Despite the higher power, the fuel efficiency of the Xenon is similar to the Bolero with an average 14 - 15 kmpl in a combined cycle. The Tata with its better engine and most importantly the 250 NM torque wins this round. Both vehicles come fitted with a manual 5 speed gearbox

Chassis and Mechanicals
This is the shortest part of the comparison as there is actually no real difference between the two here with both sporting a tubular chassis with rigid suspensions and live rear axle. Both vehicles have leaf springs for the front and rear which indicates the overload capability of both vehicles. The tata comes with a maintenance free LFL propeller shaft which does not require greasing and hence offers peace of mind. It is more of a tie between the two.

Cab, Comfort and Safety
This is a segment with a lot of owner drivers and captive applications and hence comfort and safety merits a mention here. The Mahindra with its commander derived cabin is no match to the much more modern and comfortable Tata. To start with, we are least impressed with the single skin cabin of the Big Bolero truck. The hinges on the outside are from the Commander era and the thin profile doors do not inspire confidence either. in terms of comfort, the vehicle does not even offer blowers leave alone an optional air conditioning. What saves the day is the fact that the seats are comfortable and reclines a bit. Most importantly, the vehicle is not known to have passed any crash norms anywhere in India or abroad with regards to side impact and frontal crash. The cabin offers a 12 V socket and bottle holders 

The Xenon on the other hand was conceived with the International markets in mind and hence has a cabin which is structurally capable of meeting the frontal crash and also has side impact beams in the doors making it a much safer and more insulated vehicle.
The yodha also provides for good comfortable seats with necessary supports and also a recliner. The Xenon also has a lockable glovebox along with a proper floor console which makes the cabin of the Yodha a better place to be in. All these factor contribute to the better in cab comfort in the Xenon which is many notches above the Bolero. Xenon wins this round with a Huge margin. 

Overload capability 
I repeat, we at overload India are obsessed with abuse friendliness and overload capabilities of vehicles we review and this comparison is no different. The Big Bolero is available with a 1.25 ton payload as well as a 1.5 ton payload whereas the Xenon is available with just a single 1.25 ton version. It will hence be fair to compare the 1.25 ton versions even though the mechanical differences are almost nil between the 1.25 and 1.5 ton variants. The Mahindra has a proven track record in terms of overloading and is capable of carrying at least two times the rated load without complaints. The Yodha being a new entrant, is yet to prove its capabilities in the market but if we look at the Xenon Rx as any indication, the Tata too is designed for a 100% overload factor which again means that it is abuse friendly as well. The big difference here is the engine which is much superior in the tata with almost 60 NM of torque more than the Mahindra.
The Xenon has a gradeability of 24% whereas the Bolero had not specified the same. All said and done, we believe that the superior torque curve of the Tata Xenon will be more tractable towards the operating range in hilly areas. So if the application is overload or abusive and also involves ghat sections, we would go with the Tata.

Price and running economics
The BS IV version of the Xenon retails for 6.19 lacs whereas the comparable Bolero big pick up retails for about 6.4 lacs. The Xenon has a service interval of 20,000 kms whereas the Bolero Pick up has a service interval of 10,000 kms both meaning that the engine oil will have to be changed at the specified intervals. Mahindra offers a 1 year unlimited km on the BS IV engine whereas the Xenon offers a 3 year 3 lakh Kms warranty on the Xenon. Surprisingly Mahindra had offered a 3 year unlimited warranty on the BS III variant. We expect the Xenon to have a cheaper 'Total cost of ownership' over the entire life and better peace of mind owing to the superior warranty cover. 

Load Body Dimensions
The Xenon Yodha has load body dimensions of 2550 mm X 1750 mm whereas the Big Bolero pick up has load body dimensions of 2765 mm X 1700 mm. This effectively means that the Bolero pick up offers a larger loading area primarily due to the longer load body. Bolero wins this round. 

This is one comparison where we ourselves knew the winner right from the word go. What is best is not what sells best. Sadly this is the state of the Indian automobile market. While the Mahindra pickup does its basic duty well, it is no match to the well built and much more modern Tata pick up. Why then is the Big Bolero pick up still more expensive than the Xenon? Well! we do not know the answer, and for that you may have to check with Mahindra themselves. We can bet our lives that Mahindra would be offering big discounts on their pick up now. 

The negative points of the Big Bolero with regards to cabin and comfort are apparently addressed in the Imperio which is based on the Xylo cabin. It may be worth mentioning that its predecessor, the Genio was a big flop and Imperio seems to have learned from the Genio as well. We expect that to be a more evenly matched comparison which is arriving soon in overloadIndia. Till then, our clear and conclusive winner in this shootout is the Tata Xenon Yodha.