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Old 16th January 2006, 12:56   #1
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Thumbs up Tata Safari Long-Term Review

Vehicle: Tata Safari Dicor
Variant: EX 4X4
Bought: 19th August, 2005
Price on-the-road: Rs.10.70 Lakhs all inclusive
"Free" accessories: VX Grille, Body color bumpers, side claddings and wheel cover, underbody rust-proofing.
Paid accesories on delivery: 3M Paint Protection coating.

Okay guys, the beast is back from its first official service (2nd oil change) and its time to report on the ownership experience.

The Safari was bought with a lot of expectations AND apprehensions. However, it suited my requirements and budget to a 'T' and I was praying that I plonked my moolah on the right 'T' when I got my Innova deposit refund and went to the Tata dealer way back in August (not so long, actually!).

As expected, the vehicle has had its share of long trips - including 2 Cochin-Bangalore trips (one via Ooty-Masinagudi) and 1 long mountain trek through the western ghats (Valpparai - Udumalpet - Munnar - Thekkady) plus quite a few trips through the length (and whatever bredth) of Kerala.

First the bad bits, which have been sorted out and stomped out of the way:


1. A/c coils develop a leak @ about 1000 kms. Coils replaced by Subros.

2. A/c switch doesnt work on '1' and '4'. Switch replaced by Subros.

3. Starter motor conks off one rainy day @ about 4,000 kms. Motor replaced by TVS.

4. A/c compressor fan bearings shot @ about 4,500 kms on the way to Bangalore. Fan assembly replaced by Subros. By now most of my HVAC has been replaced.

5. Wiring fault causes the alarm to go off one night, waking up the entire neighbourhood because the vehicle's horn is the alarm. Mended by Minda engineers next morning after I switch off the theft alarm and lock the car manually.

6. Cabin lights switch on and off randomly.

7. Front window glass panes rattle. Fixed.


I did a voluntary oil change @ 5,800 kms (company recommends at 10 k) and then shot off a really pissed off email to Tata Motors demanding a complete checkup to ensure that I dont face any more of these irritating (and more than irritating) niggles.

Got a reply back within 15 minutes and a call from the Regional Office in Bangalore in about an hour. Mr Muthukumaran from Bangalore bore the brunt of my frustrations and listened calmly as I regurgitated all my anger onto him.

A checkup was arranged when I was out of the country and the vehicle was picked up from my friend's place near Cochin Airport, and duly returned 3 days later after a thorough checkup. All faults fixed, according to my pal.

Since then, the vehicle has run without any major issue and I've had a ball. Meanwhile here is a list of retrofits done voluntarily by Tata Motors - they send the stuff to my dealer for a retrofit every time they make a change in the vehicles coming out of the factory (most of this is repetition of what was posted earlier):

@ 2500 kms

1. Clutch slave cylinder drain pipe changed to avoid clutch failure on account of the drain pipe falling off. New drain pipe with locking mechanism fixed.

2. Hi-tension cables from the battery to the Starter Motor replaced with a Korean cable.

3. Fuel feed plumbing changed to a chinese/korean make.

4. Plumbing to intercooler changed/modified. Again replaced with a foreign component.

@ 7,500 kms approx, no complaints from my side:

1. EGR Valve band changed through an ECU update. EGR valve band is now 900~2200 in place of 700~2400 earlier. Result - drastic reduction in exhaust smoke, which has almost disappeared completely. Very little smoke on hard acceleration. ENGINE IS SMOOTHER.

2. EGR Valve Modulator retro-fitted onto the engine.

3. Turbo plumbing changed. No modifications, just replaced with better quality (imported?) piping.

4. Additional insulation and stays retrofitted around electrical cables at some points in the engine bay - allegedly some wires have shorted against the radiator elsewhere.
Now the good news:

1. The engine has settled in very nicely, and the vibrations have almost disappeared. Pretty smooth now.

2. Braking seems to have improved.

3. Mileage has also improved to about 12 kmpl with my uncouth driving style.

4. No further niggling issues after that checkup by Tata Motors @ about 5,800 kms.

5. What can I say - I'm one VERY happy man!


Mods done / Accessories fitted:

1. Tyres changed
From 235/70/R16 Bridgestone Duellers
To 255/65/R16 Falken Zeix S/TZ semi-offroaders.

Massive improvement in handling and grip, fewer onlookers shocked when I take U-turns.


2. Headlamp Bulbs changed from miserable OE bulbs to Philips Vision Plus.

Much better focus and throw. A couple of flashes get most other motorists to dip their lamps.

3. Wiper blades changed from pathetic Syndicate wipers to Bosch.

No more chatter or streaks from the wipers. Good clean windshields.

4. OE Head Unit changed from Blaupunkt Monte Carlo MP34 to Pioneer 7650.

5. OE speakers replaced with Boston FX5 in the rear and Blau 6" 2-ways in front.

6. Pioneer 12-cd changer mounted under front passenger seat.

7. Blau ODsb 8000A sub mounted after taking off one of the rear jump seats.

8. Waeco 18 ltr refridgerator in the boot.


Wishlist for Tata Motors:

1. Release those hidden horses. Engine is clearly capable of more, though it shows a clean pair of heels to most cars even otherwise. Ask the Scorpio, the Santro, the Elantra CRDi and the Skoda TDi who fancied their chances on my recent trip to Bangalore. They ate dust and read www.team-bhp.com on my rear numberplates.

2. Stiffer suspension, please. I am quite happy to trade off a bit of that phenomenal ride for a tauter feel, basically because I tend to throw the beast around a bit (ask TBHP Bangalore!).

3. Get the turbo to kick in earlier than around 1700 rpm.

4. More intermediate speeds for the wipers. The current 'variable' speeds are either too slow or too fast.

5. Xenons, please!

6. Please give me a rear camera as seen in the Vx, whatever be the cost.

7. A/c should cool without having to set it to '2' or higher. Never used more than '1' on my Accent and got used to not having the fan hum around. Preferably, kick Subros out and get a better vendor.

8. MOST IMPORTANT: TAKE OFF THAT STUPID REV LIMITER @ 2,300 RPM ON 5TH GEAR. LET ME DRIVE AT 180 KMPH.


Overall impressions - originally pissed-off owner is now a very happy customer. The vehicle is finally living up to my expectations! This car is imperious on the highways, excellent off-road and usable within the City. Comfort is unbeatable, as is space and convenience.

Last edited by Steeroid : 16th January 2006 at 13:10.
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Old 16th January 2006, 13:13   #2
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Were the retrofits done for you or as a rule for all DICORs ? Seems like a much improved gaadi since u bought it! Hmm...wondering.
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Old 16th January 2006, 14:34   #3
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Good review,steeroid.

Quote:
6. Please give me a rear camera as seen in the Vx, whatever be the cost.
U can always get after-market fitments.
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Old 16th January 2006, 14:53   #4
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excellent write up steeroid .. Off all the stuff that u mentioned about the dicor i think u forgot to mention that it nearly RAN OVER psycho .. v1p3r had his chance with the dicor , the next time ur in town its my turn ..
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Old 16th January 2006, 14:56   #5
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very well written detailed report steeroid.ofcourse pictures would have helped but its ok.


Rev
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Old 16th January 2006, 14:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revtech
very well written detailed report steeroid.ofcourse pictures would have helped but its ok.


Rev
Pics in the gallery. Dont want to load the threads unnecessarily.
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:20   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
6. Please give me a rear camera as seen in the Vx, whatever be the cost.
Nice review Steeroid, I'm sure there will be quite a few converts to the Dicor once you go through 20,000 kms!

About the camera, from what I'd experienced during the test drive, not very useful for reversing, more cosmetic. You'd probably bump into something and then see it - maybe reverse sensors would be better?

Also, thats good news about the smoke disappearing with the EGR valve band change - I suppose its across the board with all the Dicors?
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:36   #8
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Nice review, cover nearly everything. You could have got the top model which has got a DVD player, a reverse cam n stuff.

Well, enjoy ur car. Hope to see it soon
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:46   #9
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[SIZE=2]Great to hear you are finally enjoying your DICOR the way it was meant to be. Look forward to your 20,000 KM report. If that is also positive, I might join the DICOR club too. Wishing you lots of happy driving![/SIZE]
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman
Also, thats good news about the smoke disappearing with the EGR valve band change - I suppose its across the board with all the Dicors?
Has happened with Nitin's Dicor as well, so it should be across the board.
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:50   #11
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Nice review.

however, I couldn't help but snigger at this -
Quote:
"Ask the Scorpio, the Santro, the Elantra CRDi and the Skoda TDi who fancied their chances on my recent trip to Bangalore. "


A bit optimistic don't you think? Unless we are talking about a dirst road here?
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtech
Nice review.

however, I couldn't help but snigger at this -


A bit optimistic don't you think? Unless we are talking about a dirst road here?
Snigger all you want, Rtech - they were too cautious. No it was good clean tarmac and we took the Elantra at a curve, and I mentally told the driver he's chicken to be taken where his car is stronger.

No they werent running Pete's boxes.

Last edited by Steeroid : 16th January 2006 at 15:58.
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Old 16th January 2006, 16:17   #13
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Elantra will handle better than the DICOR on tarmac, curves or no curves. Cant say the same about the scorpio though. As for Santro, anything above 120 it feel like it will lift the moment a truck passes from opposite side.
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Old 16th January 2006, 16:22   #14
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Nicely put review. We are thinking of buying the Dicor but havent made up our mind as yet. Looking at the EX version.

Did you pay for getting the grey bumpers painted? As the brochure says only grey bumpers for the EX as standard fitment.
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Old 16th January 2006, 16:31   #15
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That was an excellent report Steeroid.
Seems like you are enjoying your Dicor.
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