The good old Safari has been updated to Safari Storme by Tata Motors, who now call it ‘the real SUV’. We tested it recently and here are our impressions
TATA HAVE UPDATES THEIRtrusted SUV and now call it ‘The RealSUV’, aka SafariStorme. Even after being around for over 13 years, the design of the Safari has not changed much and, surprisingly, still looks pretty aggressive and appealing. There is a new front grille with chrome strips and ‘Storme’ prominently embossed on it. On either side are clear-glass projector headlights and the bonnet gets a prominent hump.However, the side profile remains unchanged and you immediately recognise the glass house, though chunkier side cladding makes an attempt to disguise the obvious.It still runs on 16-inch 235/70 R16 wheels, but, unlike the old Safari, which had its spare wheel mounted on to the tail-gate, the Tata engineers have tucked it neatly under the floor, giving the rear a fresh appearance. Chrome finished dual exhaust, a sporty rear spoiler and some more chrome highlights add to the bling. The muscular design gives the new Storme a menacing look, which most SUVbuyers crave for.
As you climb into the high driver’s seat, you’ll notice a much improved and spruced up interior. Most of it is new and the quality has improved considerably. The well appointed leather upholstery, chrome embellishments and faux wood trim works well to give the cabin a more upmarket touch. The in-mould-grain on the dash looks plush and holds a new music system with Bluetooth and AUX and you also get parking sensors’ proximity guidance onthe rear-view mirror. Just like the old Safari, this is one of the most comfortable cabins in this segment – spacious and airy, with well bolstered seats. Third-row seats are collapsible, but aren’t the most desirable place to be in. You get a highand commanding driving position with good visibility.
Promising to be a pure SUV, the latest Safari is based on a lighter and more rigid ladder-on-frame chassis, derived from the Aria platform albeit maintaining a smaller wheelbase of 2,650 mm as in the outgoing Safari. Ground clearance has been reduced by six mm in an attempt to improve road behaviour and now it even claims a best-in-class turning radius of just 5.4 metres.
Power is derived from an upgraded Dicor 2.2-litre, direct injection, common rail diesel motor, now called VariCOR for its variable geometry turbo, which produces 140 PS. Even after shedding about 100 kg and sporting a 10-litre smaller fuel tank of 55 litres, the Storme still weighs two tonnes. And you feel it as soon as you’re off the line because of the lag till about 1,700 revolutions per minute, but once you’re over that it offers some good mid-range as the 320 Nm comes into play. The company claims a sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 15 seconds and fuel have to wait for a full road test.
The fun began on the challenging terrapod experience arranged by Tata Motors with Lavasa’s pearly blue Warasgaon lake forming a beautiful backdrop. As in the older Safari, the Storme also offers an electrical shift-differential that can engage the 4x4-high, from the sibling Aria, though tuned for Be it the obstacle course set-up at the losing poise. Since the set-up is on the softer speed-breakers and bumps and a fair amount of bodi-roll. The rack and pinhion streed system is another improveement, wich is lighter ant offers a offers a betters feedback.
Storme is leaps ahead of the outgoing design has not changed much in the last 13 years. But now it's not only betterbuilt with a good interior, but also very refined with a better ride quality, reigniting the desire to own 'the real SUV.
Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar