The New Tata Safari: Car Review
Updated: Mar 19
Tata Safari was India’s first, Made in India SUV. It was way ahead of time and continues to stay relevant today as a brand that has touched a million hearts.
One has to remember, that when TATA Motors launched the Safari, it already had two UV offerings. The Sumo and Sierra. So they had to go out of their way to establish Safari as a different product, which they did successfully.
For all of us the Indians, the Tata Safari was the first time we came across a true 4WD SUV. This had garnered tremendous popularity amongst auto enthusiasts.
Over the years we have seen many generations of the Safari. Right from 1998 to 2021. Let's have a quick look at the journey of Tata Safari before we dive into the car review.
1st Generation Safari ( 1998-2005 )
The 1st generation Tata Safari was a 2-litre diesel SUV. It attracted great attention for the spacious and muscular looks. It was dubbed as India’s own SUV as a response to the global launches in the SUV at that time. Tata never let the excitement die around the safari, there was constant marketing TVCs running, which helped build the Tata Safari into the cult brand it is today.
Tata didn’t stop with a one-time introduction product. There were constant refresh and facelifts. We saw the 2.1-litre petrol engine @135 BHP.
2nd Generation Safari ( 2005-2007 )
The major facelift or rather upgrade happened in 2005, the 3-litre Dicor Diesel engine got introduced here. Di-cor would remain a marketing effort right up to 2007. The engine had an output of 116 ps with its 5-speed gearbox.
We saw a lot of changes in the facelift. The front grill, interiors, tail lamps, headlamps all gave the safari a refreshed new look.
3rd Generation Safari ( 2007-2012)
The Dicor philosophy remained and this time it was a 2.2 Dicor engine, which would last for almost a decade with Tata Motors. The dual-tone interiors gave a healthy look. Safety features were in trend during this period ABS and EBD were big sales points.
The onslaught of the Scorpio from Mahindra was at its peak. This is when Safari started to lose its volumes and the customers started drifting to Mahindra. Tata did make strong efforts with great offers, financial schemes with the in house Tata motors finance during this period.
4th Generation Safari- Storme ( 20212-2019 )
Tata launched the Storme all over India in a phased manner. It was not a launch at one go. They had phased the launch state wise.
The Storme was based on the X2 platform. The X2 platform was a lot lighter this gave better management of power and better handling. The 2.2 litre engine continued with a new name of Varicor.
There were constantly limited editions launched and the upgrades kept on rolling. We had the honeycombed grill, which was rumoured to be inspired by the Marque of LR.
However, the onslaught from Mahindra and new entrants was rampant. Safari somewhere lost it’s mojo amongst the onslaught and gradually during the BS 6 migration we saw the Safari being phased out.
5th Generation Safari- ( 2020 to now )
It was in the auto expo where we saw the 'Gravitas' for the first time. The gravitas now has the Safari Badging and has will now take forward the baton of this legendry brand forward.
TATA SAFARI 2021 - CAR REVIEW:
We were lucky to get our hands on the adventure edition of the Safari. And our readers today can enjoy a detailed review of all the premium offerings of the car in one of it's best colours.
The elder sibling of the Harrier was launched this February 2021. The Gravitas which was shown at the 2020 auto expo, has now been officially named Tata Safari. The Three-row SUV has grabbed the attention of the public for all the right reasons. From aggressive SUV stance to feature-packed offerings.
Let’s dive deep and see if the SUV really stands up to its legendary name the SAFARI.
Price [ Ex-showroom Bangalore]
The Tata Safari ensures it’s entry-level is very attractively priced at below the 15 lakhs range. This ensures that you give Safari a look when you go beyond spending 13 lakhs+ for other SUVs.
Also, since it’s a spacious and three-seater SUV, it makes a very strong case for itself at this price point. It’s definitely a value buy at the entry-level.
As we climb up the price ladder for better variants in search of features upgrade, we start feeling the price increase is linear. If you look from the basic to the top trim ( manual & excluding the adventure editions) it is about a lakh costlier at each level up.
Here you are not spoilt for choice. Tata has kept it simple here.
They have given Four colour options.
· Orcus White
· Royale Blue
· Topical Mist
· Daytona Grey
The much-promoted red colour option, which is used by the MG hector+ is not available. Nor you have the silver colour options here.
What are the Hi 5’s, which you will love about the Safari
1.) Butch SUV looks
2.) Features loaded
3.) 170 PS raw power & great 6-speed auto.
4.) Great Ride and handling along with breaks at high speeds.
5.) Safety at its peak
Not so Hi5’s, which you may not like
1.) Poor boot space – 73 litres. Also, 3rd-row ingress and egress is difficult.
2.) Concerns over the long term reliability of Tata Service will always keep you in doubt.
3.) No petrol option.[ Almost all other OEMs in this segment offer it ]
4.) Heavy Steering
5.) NO 4x4 option.
Tata Continues with the tri arrow front grill. Keeps it simple and elegant. The Safari badging on the front bonnet adds to the SUV's appeal. The DRLs and Headlamps add to the overall style.
The design with a domineering stance and imposing proportions commands attention
The SUV's front look is true to the character and name of Safari. The Black under-bumper helps add to the off-roader look.
The 200 mm ground clearance is good for almost all terrains.
A closer look at the tri Arrow grill with the Tata Logo. The grill kept simple adds to the elegance. Generally, we would see this portion flooded with unwanted chrome lining.
The side stance is majestic. Adds to a stronger road presence. Right from proportionate tyre arch to the roof rails. The car seems proportionate and bold in design.
On the side rear, we can see the turn indicators wrapping the side to the rear.
The Rear looks equally proportionate. We can see bold lines being drawn across the rear door.
The rear lights are bright even during the day.
This is a signature design of each Tata Car on the rear glass, we see different animals reflecting the respective brand. We have seen this right from the Nexon to Harrier. On the Safari we see a Lion's family.
The door handles are dual-tone in colour. Wide, broad and strong. Fit for some rough usage.
The E-ORVM are dual-tone in colour and with turn indicators molded in. Add the overall style of the car.
The black cladding on the bottom, adds to the SUV's look. It complements the black front bottom bumper right through the sides.
The Dual exhaust fit perfectly well in the rear. We don't observe any sharp edges or unkept bends across the rear.
The signature Tata Logo on the rear. We also find the rear camera placed below it on the rear door. One would definitely expect a much better camera quality in cars at this price range. This is definitely not good enough for today's demanding customers.
The Rear Lights for the Number plate and rear door handle are placed beside the rear camera.
The Shark Fin on the rear is consciously kept proportionate to the roof rails and is not overdone in size.
The black roof rails complement the overall side stance and give the car a sporty look.
The R18 tyres along with the Machine cut alloy, not only give you a great drive they complement the overall aesthetics of the exteriors.
The wheel arch though bigger is very proportionate and the entire black looks help add to the visual appeal.
Tata Safari true to its predecessors is dominant, to say the least. The design with a domineering stance and imposing proportions commands attention. This is one such car that will give you a second look when you drive past the masses.
The front grill continues with the signature new design philosophy of Tata Motors and has a Tri arrow. The chrome grille adds to the character and it also not overdone and looks elegant.
The Tyres are of R18 which gives you a handsome look that adds machine-cut alloys, it helps you compliment the car’s majestic design. Signature Twin LED tail lamps are well fit and neatly fit. Despite the boot coming in between it is easy to the eye and seamless.
The Safari also comes with Iconic Roof rails of the safari. These roof rails add to the sporty looks. And of course, you have the shark fin which is part of even a hatchback these days.
The car’s proportions are true to be called an SUV. Unlike other cars which will have to claim to be an SUV, this is very well balanced and proportionate to a sporty UV look.
The Headlamps are as expected HID projector headlamps. Which has now kind of become a hygiene factor for cars these days. When one spends these kinds of amounts they expect these as a hygiene factor.
The Safari also has DRLs which adds to the style when the car is ruling the roads during the day and night. The door handles get a touch of chrome, again this adds to the overall majestic look of the car. The Dual-tone bumper adds to the off-roader feel. Looks ready to take on any terrain from the front and the rear. The Wheel arch around the tyre is flared, which helps to add a bigger look to the already R18 tyres.
The seating is spacious, to say the least. Great Head-Shoulder and legroom. the 3-row seating is well distanced and with the premium leather seats, comfort is at its peak.
The second row is where you want to be with reclinable seats and the great side and back support.
The 6-way adjustable seat system, helps people of all heights fit in the driver's seat with comfort.
The second-row legroom is great with the front row pushed right to the back.
The Panoramic sunroof is elegant. Right from the front screen to the entire roof, it is a delight to be seated within the car during outdoor drives.
One can choose from multiple modes on the sunroof.
The sunroof is easy to use and multiple options at one go are at your fingertips.
The rearview mirror is placed at the right position to avoid blind spots and is big enough to capture the entire rearview at a broad angle.
Your entire electronic gadgets can be carried along with the car with sufficient charging points for almost all types of users with utility space for them.
The auto-hold hand break feature works with ease. very responsive and works perfectly well.
The gear play is short and easy. Seamless for a big car of this size. Easy to change and smooth to step up and down with ease.
The multi-terrain assist is placed conveniently before the gear shifting handle and also the cup holders are large and convenient.
The mobile phone utility space has a good grip mat. But however, the space is a little small.
The black on the dashboard runs very well with the dual-tone interiors.
The infotainment system is placed centrally and is easy to handle. A brief on the usage is mentioned in our interiors summary.
The signature design and steering mounted controls are a thumbs up. But, one would be left begging with the quality of the plastic used here. It can definitely be improved a lot more.
The standard push start and stop key is well placed and conveniently accessible.
The AC features standard and not with the touch screen. And the driving modes can be activated with a touch.
The Instrument cluster is well placed and easy to the eye. The regular information with regards to the driving modes/speed /fuel/distance to empty etc is on display.
Different Modes :
Different Modes :
Power & Torque Display
The Rear windows are wide, they help in a good broad view from the rear.
The rear boot with the third row completely folded gives you good boot space.
However, the boot itself isn't spacious at all.
On the Inside, it’s a grand feeling. The seats are wide and spacious.
Legroom - Shoulder room and Headroom for a Safari was never a concern. Here it is no different. To all that space the Panoramic sunroof steals the show. One can enjoy the view right from the mid-row up to the front windshield which is seamless and it leaves you wonderstruck when you're exploring the natural terrains.
The oyster white leather interiors are very comfortable and add to a very elegant look. However, not the best place to have your back rested during summers. The captain seats are wide and comfortable and can accommodate people of all fitness shapes.
The dashboard which is “Ashwood” compliments the light-coloured interiors and the combination fits well to the eye. The driver's seat is 6 way adjustable, which will give you the option of taking charge of the steering with good comfort. And if you plan to share the driving responsibility amongst the friends/family, this feature helps customise the seating for the respective driver.
The darkness sensing headlamps are another hygiene feature present. Along with Auto Electric ORVM, The rain-sensing wipers are also part of the features here. The ambient mood lighting is soothing to the eye. The presence of a cooled glovebox is a healthy add on.
The second row reclines well. This means you can switch on the boss mode when you are travelling alone or with another passenger in the second row. We generally tend to ignore the third-row passengers in most SUV’s. However, here we can see Tata Motors has also ensured the last row seated passengers get their due share of features.
We have a basic phone charger, AC vent, Mobile phone holder, reading lamp, Magazine pocket and a Cup hold which can hold a small-sized water bottle. To this add decent space and comfort for the passengers. So, you would now not have to fight to send people to the last row, they would rather agree with ease.
The seats are foldable in many forms. Tata calls it Experience modes. This gives you complete freedom to try out different modes based on your travel plans and the number of passengers travelling.
Tata Motors has given its best in terms of connectivity in the New Safari. The IRA tech is impressive and yet easy to use.
Remote commands which we saw with the other premium OEM cars last year, has been introduced Which means basic lights switch on / off, remote horn etc. Find my car which is a standard of any connected car today is available.
Location-based updates. Tata has also tried to get the Safari owners club active through this tech with a bit of gamification. Also, vehicle diagnostics are available. The touch screen is big and you will enjoy it when the reverse camera view is on display. The 7-inch screen is easy to use and is well placed for the driver and the co-passenger to access without much of a stretch. The car’s audio output is impressive, 9 JBL speakers help you have a good in-car party.
The Kryotec Diesel engine is of course powerful. When you have 170 PS under your hood, there are seldom chances you want to drive easy. The car responds well on the lower gears and when you are at top speed then of course there is no looking back.
The Telescopic steering helps you in good control. However, you will not be very impressed with the heavy steering if you prefer riding mid-sized cars. When you try and park the car the heavy steering is definitely not encouraging. The noise from the engine when you cross the 3,500 rpm is also not the lowest.
The automatic transmission is a 6 speed automatic. Which is mated very well with the engine. When you speed up in a haste, the car doesn’t respond instantly. The driving experience in the automatic is however comfortable and smooth.
In order to enjoy each terrain the Advanced ESP terrain response mode helps you give better control and customised grip. The multi-drive modes which have been a standard TATA offering these days help you when you need that bit more power. Cruise control on the high way works with ease. You can literally get rid of your stress to press the pedal at one go.
The Lotus Engineering team from the UK has played a great role in terms of giving Safari a strong suspension. When the car is loaded to the brim or being driven alone, the advanced rear twist blade suspension ensures you have an easy drive.
This is a niche TATA Motors had created for itself. They have made this a USP for all their cars. With the new Safari, it’s no different. The legendry D8 platform of the Land Rover is a very strong selling point in favour of the new Safari. The Omegarc is a proven veteran and needs no introduction.
All Disc breaks is a big thumbs up. To this, there are 6 airbags. Electronic parking break with auto hold. Apart from this, the other standard safety features are on offer. For example seat belt reminder, child seat ISOFIX points etc. ESP, Tyre pressure monitoring system.
Priced at about Rs.14.69 lakhs-21.45 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi ) Tata Safari is just a bit higher on the price compared to the sibling Harrier. One would not mind paying this premium for the extra seating row.
With regards to competition, it competes with the MG Hector Plus as of now. However, we still have the 7 seater Creta and XUV5OO to come in it’s refreshed form. The New Safari is feature-rich and with a good aggressive stance. The added third row has helped make Tata Safari a very strong case for itself. If you are a family who prefers using the third row often and is driven by a SUVish aggressive stance, the Tata Safari does the job for you.
Special Thanks to Key Motors for helping us with the cars.