Tata Safari Storme: Storme-ing A Long Way…

Ask anyone about an elegant, inspiring and a no-nonsense SUV that our Indian market has ever offered, you will surprisingly find people reiterating a single word – ‘Safari’. The term is much more than a word here – a phenomenon! For more than a decade and four years since its conception, this nonchalant yet business-minded SUV remains to be a well reputed admiring car for a really heterogeneous customers – entrepreneurs, base to top-level polticians, family-caring households, fun-loving youths, etc. The Delhi Auto Expo ended all speculations and answered a critical question that persist for years about the much-awaited Safari upgrade.

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The Tata Safari has been chugging along for 14 years with so many revisions and update, hard to keep count. Suffixed as ‘Storme’, the latest one has undergone a through restructuring, so much so that it could be considered a completely new car. A modern and much-improved hydroformed ladder frame chassis that underpins the Aria helps in terms of rigidity and weight. The suspension is also borrowed from the bigger Aria, as does the steering mechanism, which reduces the Safari’s
massive 12m turning circle to a more manageable 10.8m. It is still powered by the same 2.2 litre DiCOR engine, but the refinement and performance is enhanced. It is more responsive and brisky. The gearbox is also an improved one, but still not the best.

The Safari’s supple ride quality, which is one of the best in its class, is appreciable. No matter how worst the road is, you’ll be comfortable inside. The sofa masquerading as a rear bench, with of legroom plenty on offer, is still one of the best
in the business at this price. The front seats too are comfy and the high perch they affort ensures comanding visibility. The boot is fairly large in spite of jump seats, suitable not for adults. The Storme now gets disc brakes for all four wheel, assisted by ABS.
Unfortunately, a complete redesign of exterior is missing and a minor revision doesn’t do justice to the complete overhaul the car has received under the skin. The slimmer headlights now house projector lamps. Nestled between them is a new, near-vertical
grey honeycomb grille that’s capped by a thick crome strip, which gives the Storme a Land Rover-like look. The new bumper with a slim air dam looks cool. A missing spare wheel on the rear door ( which is now moved below the body), sports car-like twin exhausts, reworked tail lamps, a chrome strip on the door and a roof-mounted spoiler ensures fair amount of changes at the rear. The Storme looks taller than before from the sides. But how prodigious the changes are, Tata should have given us nothing short of an all-new design.

But the cabin gets substantial changes in terms of design and quality. Materials used inside are superior in terms of feel and look. The dashboard is completely fresh and the beige – faux wood treatment on the centre console gives it an upmarket look. But the layout is very basic and lacks energy. The Storme is equipped with necessary ones but feels lacking, keeping in mind the more mature and modern competition.

The new Safari Strome is a completely new stuff, but comes in a old wrapper. Crucial changes give it a new lease on life, simply looks dated. With the XUV5oo redefining the SUV requirements, cheap pricing of the Storme will find a lot of takers.

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.