Tata Safari is one of the India’s first Indigenous and best selling SUV present in Indian Market for more than a decade now. Through in this time span it has received various update and tweaks including engine and power output. But after Tata went through JLR deal and had access to their world class Research and Development facility, they came out with a new fully redesigned and Face lifted version of their ongoing monster called TATA Safari STORME.Safari Storm is based on its sibling ARIA’s X2 Platform which has more strong Hydro formed Chassis sections, new 2.2 liter,16 valve DOHC Common Rail Direct injection diesel Engine named VARICOR with Variable Turbine Technology and new G76 MarkII Gearbox. It is lighter than its predecessor model to improve fuel Efficiency, and as this car has been made with European countries launch in its mind so it has been developed to comply EuroNCAP safety standard in mind. Launched at 2012 Auto Expo initially supposed to be named Merlin (Rumour) is well versed in terms of features and equipment, it comes with luxurious interiors loaded with some of the best-in-class features which include ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution as standard in all models, Roof mounted rear AC, Approach lights, seat belt unfastened warning, 3-positon lumber support in seats.
EXTERIORS AND STYLE
In profile, it looks huge or more of bulky, the front chrome finished dual-slat grille meets with the large pulled back head light units. A thick chrome band is placed just above the front grille showcasing STORME embossing in black. The bonnet is flat and hence makes the SUV appear old-fashioned. Fog lamps assembly on lower side of bumper features fog lights and small air-intakes. Frankly, the front wind-screen and the mundane window frame on flanks are a huge put off. Side profile isn’t impressive and appears too crowded featuring multiple creases. Wheel arches are flared and a side stepper is placed for convenience of passengers. Moreover, the tyres are not placed justly; there is a conspicuous gap between arches and wheels. Despite various makeovers, Tata could not do justice to the rear styling, it looks dated featuring a rounded spoiler at top, a flat boot lid, a pair of unimpressive tail lights, reflectors and dual chrome finished tail pipes
INTERIORS AND COMFORT
This is one area where Tata has been smart. The outgoing Safari Storme lacked visual charm when compared to its younger competition. In this avatar, Tata has clearly put in more efforts on the interiors. First the positives. The dual tone black-silver dashboard looks a lot neater now and the overall quality has also improved significantly. The steering wheel that has been borrowed from the Zest, is a good addition. The buttons and knobs on the centre console are nice to operate but look rather dated. The Safari Storme continues to be generous with regards to space. Comfort levels have improved with better cushioning and fabrics. Although the dashboard is significantly better than what we saw on the outgoing model, in terms of design it doesn’t look contemporary. The jumps seats at the back can only seat kids, two adults at the back would struggle for knee room and head space.
The list of features remains more or less the same. The facelifted Safari Storme continues to be installed with projector headlamps and disc brakes on all four corners. For a car is close to 5metres in length, the Safari Storme unfortunately has to make do with parking sensors instead of a reversing camera. In this age of touchscreen infotainment systems, the Safari Storme makes do with a single DIN unit. Tata could have plunked the Multimedia System from the Zest/Bolt into this one too. That said, it does come with Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity. As opposed to the stalk controls on the earlier model, the Safari Storme now gets steering mounted controls. Other features include, height adjustable seats, electronically adjustable ORVMs, two air con vents at the back and an economy mode for better efficiency.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
The Safari Storme is powered by a 2.2-litre VARICOR diesel engine that now churns out 150 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 320 Nm of torque between 1700-2700 RPM. The engine is mated to the same 5-speed manual transmission but the SUV now gets a 260 mm self-adjusting clutch which is much lighter than the previous model. The steering also feels lighter than before. Torque delivery at low RPMs is good and the Safari offers good drivability. The vehicle moves along smoothly in low and mid RPMs and and the turbo kicks in at a notch below 2000 RPM. The vehicle cruises at 2100 RPM in 5th gear at 100 km/hr. The engine has enough grunt to reach speeds well above the ton, the additional 10 PS being felt.
0-100 km/hr on the Safari 4×2 takes 14.11 seconds as per our VBOX tests (4×4 does it in 14.39 seconds) which is quite quick for a car of this size. The Safari Storme gets an electronic shift-on-fly feature that can engage the 4WD mode on the move. The vehicle also gets an LSD (Limited Slip Differential) and along with the huge ground clearance of 200 mm, the Storme needn’t worry about scraping road surfaces. The SUV comes in four variants – EX, LX, VX and VX 4×4. The non-4×4 variants get a rear wheel drive layout. Talking about mileage, we got figures of 12-12.5 km/l with relaxed driving manners while with aggressive driving, we extracted about 10 km/l, which is still good for an SUV of this size.
Tata has done a good job by increasing the fuel tank capacity. The SUV can now easily go on for at least 600 kms on a full tank of diesel as the tank has grown in size by 8-litres to 63-litres. Talking about the gearbox, the shifts are notchy and not at all slick. Also, the gear throws are very, very long and cause some discomfort in traffic, where frequent gearshifts are required. The long throws are one of the main reasons why the Safari feels a bit tiring to drive in city traffic. But the gearbox feels smoother than the previous version and doesn’t have issues getting into second gear like the old model. Looking at the demand that automatic gearboxes command these days, Tata Motors could have introduced an AT with this facelift itself, rather than waiting till 2016.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The ride of the Safari Storme was always the best in its segment and it continues to remain the same. The Storme is built on the X1 platform and it gets good handling characteristics too. The Safari Storme is a breeze to drive in city and at the same time, it is stable on highways too. The steering position could have been made more car-like to make it more enjoyable. As the rear-mounted wheel has been moved underneath the body, the fuel tank capacity has been reduced to about 50 litres from the original 65 litres on the Safari.The Safari Storme has got a major revamp on the inside and on engines that really matter. But in terms of features, Tata Motors still has to do some catching up. But the Safari Storme has been a product with the best all-round capabilities and this is what it still retains. The upgrade has just made the SUV a lot better than what it was. It is still a no non-sense SUV.
The Safari Storme’s rigid ladder frame chassis is constructed with advanced hydro formed members for high structural strength, adding robustness, enabling best load carrying capabilities, enhancing rigidity, while simultaneously reducing the weight for better fuel economy and speed. The crumple zones, side intrusion beams on all the four doors, dual SRS airbags and the collapsible steering column keeps the occupants safe from all sides during any mishap. The car is also equipped with inertia switch and an auto engine immobilizer. During an exigency, the inertia switch automatically cuts off the fuel supply to the engine and unlocks all the doors and also switches on the hazard warning lights, therefore warning other vehicles. The Safari Storme gets PES headlamps for better illumination and unwanted glare.
The incremental improvements have made the 2015 Safari Storme the best Safari ever, but is it good enough to buy? The revised interior, extra power, lighter clutch, and a less truck-like driving position have made it far more user-friendly whilst the time-honoured traits of super visibility, great cruising ability and all-round comfort haven’t been compromised.However, the changes are not comprehensive enough to keep the Safari in the game, and for the expected asking price of Rs 14 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the top trim, there are better options out there. Tata could have given the Safari a few more styling tweaks, added a front-facing third row, improved the dynamics further and thrown in auto transmission as an option. It looks like Tata is saving the best for the Hexa, which sadly makes the new Safari Storme a case of too little too late.
Tata Safari Storme Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 9,78,863/- (Safari Storme Lx Refreshed) to 14,47,013/- (Safari Storme VX Refreshed 4×4 400 NM) .Tata Safari Storme has 4 Variants of Diesel are available in India. Tata Safari Storme comes in 5 colours, namely Urban Bronze,Arctic White,Pearl White,Astern Black,Artic Silver.