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Old 1st December 2012, 20:44   #1
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Default Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

The Tata Safari Storme has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 9.95 - 13.66 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Considerably improved in nearly every way. The best Safari till date
• Solid body-on-frame construction. Substantial size & presence
• Competent 2.2L diesel motor. Excellent driveability. Smoother gearbox
• 1st & 2nd seat rows have enormous space and comfort
• Outstanding ride quality at low as well as high speeds
• Better handling, steering & brakes
• Low range 4x4 transfer case, limited slip differential and sufficient rear wheel articulation

What you won’t:

• The same old body style. Looks like a mere facelift
• Imperfect fit & finish. Ample rough edges, especially on the inside
• Effectively a 5 seater. The 3rd row jump seats aren't suitable even for kids
• Not as dynamically accomplished as the XUV500, Duster or its sibling, the Aria
• No MID, climate control or dead pedal. Reversing camera removed from the Storme
• Niggling issues & problems (as per the many Safari ownership reports)
• Tata's after-sales service experience remains a gamble

The 4x4 Variant:

4x4 Review (Tata Safari Storme 4x4 : Official Review)


Last edited by GTO : 18th April 2013 at 16:23. Reason: Adding link to 4x4 Review
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:45   #2
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review



From the time of its launch in Ď97, the Tata Safari has spawned generations of fans & loyalists. Some even call it the "Enfield Bullet" of SUVs. It enjoys a cult following without doubt, despite being poorer in quality and having a pricey retail tag. Supported by Tata's brilliant advertising campaigns, the Safari has an enviable image.

For the initial 7 years, an old school 2.0L IDI diesel did duty in the engine bay. There was a petrol too, although it wasn't popular at all. In 2005, the first common-rail engine for the Safari - the 3.0L DiCOR - was introduced. Meant to be a stopgap, this 3.0L unit was essentially a light truck engine with a modern head churning out 113 BHP. Then came the 2.2L DiCOR with 138 BHP on tap; this is easily amongst the better diesel motors in the segment today.

Tata Safari Storme : Official Review-tata-safari-storme-specifications-comparison.png

Safari sales have been tepid (1,150 average for the most recent 12 months) and it hasn't gained much from the market's newfound fascination with SUVs. The competition has intensified, with favourites like the Mahindra XUV500 & Renault Duster recording over 4,000 monthly shipments. It is important to note that both of these new launches are monocoque SUVs, while the Tata Safari & Mahindra Scorpio retain a traditional body-on-frame construction. To know more about the advantages & disadvantages of either, peek into this thread (Monocoque SUVs : Advantages and Disadvantages).

In this intensifying competition & changing market scenario, the Storme was born. The older Safari had it easy since the only competition from the price bracket was the Scorpio. The new Storme, however, has to contend with the compact Duster, the big XUV500 and its old rival, the Scorpio. Mahindra has neatly slotted the Rexton right above the Storme VX 4x4, while the low end of the market has the Duster and soon-to-be-launched Ford EcoSport.

Tata Safari Storme : Official Review-tata-safari-storme-price-comparison.png

The best part about the Storme is its modern chassis. Where the old Safariís architecture is based on the antique Tata Mobile platform of the 80ís, the Storme has the contemporary, hydroformed X2 chassis (first seen on the Aria). On the flip side, the body shell is the same as first seen on the Safari in the late 90ís. One wonders why, after all this time & effort, Tata didnít give the Storme an all new set of clothes. Also, the design is too tall and too narrow. The Storme looks like a facelifted Safari at best. Nevertheless, you canít argue with this SUVís street cred. It does have substantial size & presence. Although purists insist that each facelift takes some charm away, the Safariís new face is contemporary, even if it looks less butch now. In 2005, Tata swapped the twin-barrel headlamps for a simpler H4 setup. On the Storme, the twin barrels have returned. With projectors too! Heavily inspired from the Range Rovers, the Storme's front end is sophisticated.

Features comparison of the variants:
Tata Safari Storme : Official Review-tata-safari-storme-features-comparison.png

Exterior paint quality is topnotch while the overall build feels robust. The doors shut in a solid manner too. However, Tata needs to learn how to diet. The Storme 4x2 weighs a whopping 2,000 kilos (2,095 for the 4x4). Thatís nearly double the kerb weight of the Renault Duster and higher than the Scorpio, XUV500, Force One and the Fortuner! Excessive weight is the enemy of performance, efficiency and handling. As can be seen in the detailed pictures below, the large panel gaps are from an era left behind by the auto industry.





Comparo with its older sibling:


Tata visited the chop shop with the rear. Plagued with complaints of rattles and misaligned tail-gates, Tata drops the spare wheel. This picture will make many fans sad. The Safari has lost what defined her, and the rear simply gets lost in the crowd now:


Rear end comparison. Click on the small thumbnails to view their high-res versions:


Practically speaking however, this change will go a long way in making the ownership experience better. For starters, the tailgate is lighter and the probability of rattle / vibration is greatly reduced. Secondly, mounting the spare back meant lifting the 16 inch wheel to chest level. This could very well result in a back injury. Now, there is a simpler mechanism (like other UVs) where a rotary nut gently lowers the wheel or raises it up, depending on your need. In fact, it's easier than placing the spare in the boot of a hatchback! That said, I myself am a fan of the older "spare on tailgate" look. I feel it gave the Safari a brute personality.

If Tata had changed the rear to a more rectangular shape, it would have looked in sync with the new front. In the interest of cost savings however, Tata has retained the older body shell. The side profile is more or less unchanged from the older Safari. The wheel arches look beefed up, thanks to a different cladding design. The new cladding is not wobbly or prone to falling off (like in the older car):


The front three quarter view is the most flattering for her. Notice the new antenna on top. The older antenna placement on the windscreen suffered interference issues with the reverse camera. Well, the reverse camera is gone and so is the windshield antenna. The new antenna folds flat on the roof, so you needn't worry about snagging it on low ceilings or tree branches:


That big chrome strip & Tata logo dominate the front end:


The headlamps gel well with the face. Projectors do their job nicely:


Fog-lights are neatly tucked in, protected from the terrain and ringed with chrome. They work well too!


The windshield wash-wipe mechanism is recessed. Unfortunately, like the older Safari, this entire area will accumulate leaves, dust, mud and whatever else falls on the vehicle:


The Storme gets disc brakes on all 4 wheels. 235/70 R16 Bridgestone Dueler H/T tyres on our test vehicle:


Chromed ORVMs. Be cautious : That chrome can get scratched and the ORVMs don't fold forwards either. When in danger, just flick a switch to electrically fold them in:


These pull-type door handles are with the times and feel good to use. They feel sturdier than the flimsy units of the ol' Safari:


Puddle lamps & warning lights on all 4 doors retained. The running board's quality has considerably improved:


Tata has chosen a simple tail-lamp assembly. No LEDs:


Rear fog lamp is now slightly recessed. The earlier design used to stick out and broke easily:


Rear door latch is hidden under the chrome strip. Takes a bit of getting used to. Notice the Storme badging:


This is the VX, the highest 4x2 variant:


A big Tata logo resides above the chrome strip. In this colour, the matt black strip is not conspicuous, although it should break the monotony of the rear end on lighter body shades:


Classy chrome exhaust tips flank the bumper on both sides:


Another rear angle picture. Notice that the rear grab rail (over the rearmost window) is gone, though the roof rails remain. An existing Safari owner who held onto these while cleaning the roof wasn't too happy with the change. That high mounted stop lamp is an LED:


Overall, the Storme has improved in terms of build quality. The cladding is durable, the mirrors feel solid, the wiper stalks are of good quality and the door handles feel built to last. However, all is not well. For instance, panel gaps are h-u-g-e!




Spare wheel located underneath:


A parting shot:

Last edited by tsk1979 : 1st December 2012 at 20:56.
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:46   #3
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review



To get inside the Safari, just walk in and sit down. There's no need to crouch or twist. Space and visibility weren't limited in the old Safari, and they aren't in the Storme either. It can be safely stated this is one of the most comfortable vehicles to ride in, this side of 20 lakh rupees.

The massive greenhouse leads to a bright & airy cabin. The Storme's interiors have a straight-forward, functional design that will please all and offend none. It's the interior quality that was always a letdown though. Tata engineers have made an earnest attempt to iron the rough edges out, and they have succeeded to a certain extent. Material quality on the dashboard and doors is excellent. The dash is soft touch too, while the beige finish is topnotch. The generous use of faux wood inserts gives a touch of class to the Storme's cabin. The switches and control stalks feel nice to use. The new air-con rotary controls are a delight to operate. However, there is no climate control available, even on the highest trim level. There are several other areas that could use improvement. Every time I crossed speed breakers, the driver seat squeaked like an old sofa. The door handles made a creaking sound and during hard braking, the rear seat unfolded itself! Inside the glovebox, the light came loose and some plastic bits fell off. The air-con temperature knob of my test car was buggy; the exact same setting threw cold air at one time, and hot air the other. Over the course of my test, cosmetic attachments of the rear seat came off. All of these are irritants that sour the ownership experience. It requires little investment to fix, but Tata isn't known for attention to detail or quality checking. While the Storme's interiors are an improvement on the Safari, they aren't a match to the nice feeling Tata Aria.

Driver visibility is perfect and the high seating position gives you a commanding view of the road ahead. Both front seats get individual center armrests. The 3-stage lumbar support works as intended. Back support is excellent, but under-thigh support is poor, especially for tall drivers. Then, the leather seats feel a tad too hard (hopefully, the lower variant's regular seats are softer). Though the driver seat has height adjustment, it doesn't go as low as in the older Safari. If you have long legs, the lowest part of the steering wheel will brush against your thighs. The seat position also results in the steering blocking your view of the top of the instrument console. I couldn't see the 4L / 4H indicators at all!

That aside, the driver's seat is a great place to be. The Safari was always a comfortable long distance tourer, and the Storme only takes that reputation forward. The steering is chunky and the horn controls are within easy reach & soft to the touch:


The instrument console is largely unchanged, save for some cosmetic bits. The LCD display doesn't have an MID. All you get are two trip-meters, digital clock and external temperature display. When B segment hatchbacks get a DTE / FE counter, the Storme's console feels rather basic. The low fuel indicator kicks in when the tank has ~10 liters remaining:


Instead of being placed on the steering, the audio controls are located on the RHS stalk. Though many might find it odd, I actually prefer it this way. Reason : Less clutter on the steering wheel. The turn indicators get a lane change function where a tap on the RHS stalk gives you three blinks:


The gearshift has ergonomically improved. The lever is much shorter now and no longer fouls with the CD slot. On the older Safari, 5th gear would hit the USB pen drive (if you had one inserted) and in 3rd gear, CD removal was impossible. Though the gear lever's finish is decent, the faux leather is prone to collecting dirt & grime:


Headlight controls have moved to the right of the dashboard. The Storme gets a Euro-style switch. Pull the rotary switch outwards by one click to activate the front fogs, and once more for the rear fogs:


The LHS stalk houses the wash & wipe functions. 5 interval settings for the intermittent mode. After spraying and wiping, the wiper runs a final time (a few seconds after use) to remove any remaining water droplets:


As with all Tata cars (including the Nano), the air-conditioner is super effective. Controls are now electronic. The A/C gets an economy mode where the compressor cuts off earlier. Note the rear air-con button:


The vents let out some air, even after they've been fully closed. The older Safari had a rotary mechanism which was effective, but a pain to use:


Alpine head-unit is standard, but looks like an after-market piece. Has above average sound quality. iPod, USB, AUX & bluetooth connectivity. Pre-outs make it easier to add an amplifier:


Cupholders have moved below the stereo and are actually usable now:


The Storme gets electrically-folding wing mirrors:


Power window switches are illuminated (on all doors) and all 4 windows get the "one-touch-down" function. The placement of the fuel lid switch is weird. I'm betting that many owners will mistakenly pop the fuel lid open, when they actually meant to lower a window:


The Safari finally gets bottle holders on the front door pads. A 1 liter bottle easily finds place here, with room to spare:


Illuminated keyhole? Check:


Here's the internal rear view mirror (IRVM) in auto night mode (to reduce headlamp glare from the cars behind). The IRVM also houses the parking sensor display. I didn't find this "auto night mode" to be as effective as other cars where you manually switch the prismatic mirror. Further, the parking sensors are a lot less useful than the old Safari's reverse cam:


The ORVMs & IRVM offer excellent visibility:


A little known fact : The defogger button also heats up the Safari's ORVMs, removing fog and condensation:


Storage spot on top of the dashboard. The push-down lid feels built to last:


Deep glovebox is illuminated and has dedicated slots for a pen & tickets / business cards:


There's plenty of storage space in the center area, below the handbrake and between the seats:


That said, the central storage area is narrower than that of the older Safari (picture on the left). That's my Galaxy Note to show scale:


A fish eye view of the entire cabin. Each seat row gets its own light. The illumination offered is really good, especially at the front where you get 2 bright map lights as well:


The headlamps are very powerful. The throw & beam pattern are perfect. Even the foglamps are purposeful, unlike on the old Safari where they didn't really illuminate anything. Foglamps only:


Low beam:


Low + High beam:
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:46   #4
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

Why fix something that isn't broken? Tata made no changes to the middle seat. Hence, you get the same commanding seating position with ample under-thigh and lower back support. In fact, the rear seat is more comfortable than the front seats in some ways.

Even with the driver's seat pushed all the way back, there is sufficient room for a 6+ footer. The second row can easily seat three people in comfort:


With the front seat pushed ahead, you can literally stretch your legs:


A look at minimum / maximum legroom. Notice how the seat chassis is crudely exposed (on the left):


A center armrest with flip-out cup holders:


Rear air-con is standard on all variants. Also included is a charging point:


Higher variants (EX onward) get a roof mounted A/C as well. The upper air-con has separate cooling coils. Unlike in the older Safari, it doesn't look like a cheap after-market fitment at all:


Rear A/C controls are now housed in the light fixture and are far better to use:


Passengers get pull-type grab handles that are tight & uncomfortable. Expect skin abrasion on the back of your hand if you use them often:


Rear doors get small pockets, but no bottle holders:


If the 1st and 2nd seat rows were a lesson in indulgence and comfort, the last row is something of a torture chamber. Getting in requires a lot of effort due to the high floor and diminutive foot rest (which incidentally doesn't fold). Shockingly, Tata hasn't provided any rubber scuff plates here. You can expect the paint to get scratched pretty soon:


The 3rd row jump seat:


The seating position on the jump seats is horrible. If you are above 5'5" in height, plan a visit to the physiotherapist after a short ride. On the bright side, you can charge your smartphone here!


There is enormous luggage space. A great vehicle for those airport runs. The netting is standard across all variants and useful for securing loose objects. The last row lamp is fairly bright; this helps when looking for stuff at night:


The rear seat has a 60:40 split functionality. It can fold down partially or fully:


With the seat fully folded, there's enough room for you to sleep in here:


Putting the seat back in place is a royal pain. The latch and the hook (on which it rides) don't work well. This was an issue with the older Safari too. As a result, if you aren't careful, the rear seat will flip forward on hard braking:


There are compartment covers on all four corners of the boot. The front two provide access to the rear seatbelt mechanism, while the rear left allows you to open the fuel tank, should the main switch fail (a common occurrence with the Safari):


Remove this plastic cover to access the spare wheel removal mechanism:


The rear door is now lighter and easier to open. It gets a long storage area. Nice place to install the amp? In what is a design flaw, the rear door's (internal) lock / unlock button is the same as the other doors. If your luggage comes to rest on the locking mechanism, then the rear door won't unlock! You have to crawl from the inside, pull your luggage and then unlock the tailgate:


The toolkit is so shoddily held in place that it frequently comes loose:
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:47   #5
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review



The Storme is powered by the same 2.2L motor and variable geometry turbocharger as the old Safari. It churns out 138 BHP (@ 4,000 rpm) and 320 Nm of torque (1,700 - 2,700 rpm). This SUV gets the improved G-76 Mark II gearbox. On paper, the specs are similar, yet there are subtle differences. First of all, the engine bay is much better arranged. Access to parts & hoses is easier, and you'll also notice a new engine cover with the Varicor nameplate.

Fire the engine up and it settles into a slightly clattery idle. Engine noise is acceptable for the most part. Slot her into gear and you'll immediately notice the reduced turbo lag. Though power figures are identical to the older car, it's obvious that the torque curve has been altered. As a result, the Storme will pull cleanly from as low as 1,200 rpm, even in 4th gear. This is where the difference really is. The older Safari used to boom & vibrate if you tried to lug the engine. In the Storme, that dreaded vibration is no longer there. This has been accomplished by using a Torsional Vibration Damper that keeps the shakes and shivers to a minimum. The Storme's improved driveability will put a smile on your face. That said, the Duster 85, Scorpio & XUV500 do have an edge in the lower rpm range.

The 5th gear is now taller with a ratio of 0.73 (0.77 earlier). This shows at 100 kph where the Storme is at a relaxed 2,200 rpm. 120 kph sees the rpm needle @ ~2,500 rpm. It's an able long-distance cruiser that can happily munch kms at three digit speeds all day. There is ample amount of torque available at 1,500 rpm and up, thus you don't need to downshift too often on the highway. Revving beyond ~2,800 rpm is not this engine's strong point, and she does get noisy once you cross 3,000 rpm. The Storme's "happy zone" is 1,500 - 2,500 rpm. Thanks to the tweaked gear ratios, you can extract the most from this rpm range. It's best to understand the power characteristics of the Varicor motor and accordingly, shift up early. On a related note, I might add that wind noise on the highway is well controlled (in contrast to the hurricane effect of the earlier Safari).

The improved gearbox is a delight to use. The gear lever is more car-like and the throw is shorter as well. Thus, no more spraining your shoulder to engage first gear. That typical Safari habit of a jammed first gear on cold starts is gone too. This could be due to the synthetic oil in the gearbox. One fly in the ointment is the lack of a dead pedal. However, due to the upright seating position, you can place your left foot on the floor without any discomfort. A big improvement is the reverse gear ratio. The old Safari had a rather tall reverse; coupled with the lack of low end torque, reversing up steep slopes always required clutch slipping and wheel spinning. The Storme doesn't have this problem. The gradeability figures of the Storme are also better.

Some issues did crop up during our test-drive. The Storme suffered a weird clatter which would go away after de-clutching a couple of times. GTO reports a similar issue with his 15 year old Jeep. Probably the release bearing, but would you tolerate it in your brand new million rupee SUV? Then, if I was puttering about at idle rpms in 1st or 2nd gear, pressing the accelerator would make the Storme leap forward with an unnerving jerk. This could pose a problem in rush hour traffic. Tata has a long way to go in terms of quality control. Our test Storme's steering was off-center. This is a known problem with the Safari. Driving on bad roads led to a lot of squeaks, especially from the seats. As mentioned earlier, the rear bench unlatched itself during a braking test.

As you drive around, the Storme grows on you. Truth is, I had a hard time driving my old Safari after spending a couple of days with the Storme. The clutch is softer, the gearshift easier to use and there is ready torque on tap. The lighter kerb weight (40 kg for the 4x2, 75 kg for the 4x4) and reduced turbo-lag should result in improved fuel efficiency. For the record, my Safari 4x4 delivers 10.5 kpl in the city and 13 kpl on the highway. ARAI statistics for the Storme are as follows : 14 kpl (4x2) and 13.2 kpl (4x4).

Ask anyone about the Safari's handling and the resulting adjectives would be unflattering. Boat, wobbly, handful, oil tanker, Boeing 747...the list goes on. Additionally, Safari owners had to frequently deal with alignment issues. Tasks like camber adjustment required the disassembly of the entire front suspension.

This is precisely why Tata moved the Storme to its more modern X2 platform (first seen on the Aria). The Storme's chassis & suspension layout are entirely new. I've been told that camber & caster adjustments are controlled by a screw, as opposed to the old system of shims. Translated, setting the alignment right is a simpler exercise.

New suspension:


Old suspension:


This chassis & suspension have made a world of difference to the road manners. If you were to ask me about the biggest improvement on the Storme (over the old Safari), I'd say it's the suspension character.

That excessive body roll is gone. While roll is still present, it's better controlled. For instance, you can change lanes on the expressway without upsetting her composure. The suspension is definitely tauter and well sorted. Neither driver nor car feels nervous at 120 kph on the highway. Importantly, there aren't any of those nasty surprises that the earlier Safari used to throw out. The Storme has safer & more predictable on-road behaviour. No, it's no corner carver and you should still maintain a conservative driving style. As long as you remain mindful of the fact that the Storme is a tall 2 tonne SUV, you won't be disappointed. Of course, monocoque SUVs like the Duster & XUV500 will run rings around it. Equally, I might add that the on-road behaviour is far superior to the likes of the Mahindra Scorpio & Ford Endeavour. In the earlier Safari, turning the steering wheel was like a suggestion. You would turn the steering, the Safari would think about it and then, start turning if she wanted to. With the Storme, it's a command. Turn left, it goes left. Turn right, it moves to the right. This has been made possible due to a new rack and pinion design. The hydraulic power steering adequately weighs up at speed. Conversely, it's not as light as the Scorpio steering at parking speeds or within the city. The turning radius has come down from 6 meters to 5.4, which is actually comparable to midsize sedans (e.g. Toyota Altis = 5.3 meters). Being the same sized vehicle, this means the turning clearance (which includes overhangs) has also come down from 13 meters to 11.8 m. U turns? Possible. That tight parking spot? Possible. Parallel parking? Possible. A lot of things that were previously impossible are now possible. I invited a Safari 3.0L owner to check out the Storme. He deliberately took 4-5 u-turns just to enjoy the feel!

The Safari is known for its low speed ride quality and the Storme is no different. The suspension is excellent within the city and at sub-100 kph speeds. Where the Storme has made great strides is in high speed ride comfort. With the ol' Safari, bad village roads would make the occupants carsick. Uneven roads led to the SUV bobbing about like a see-saw. The Storme completely fixes that problem. In the exact same conditions, the Storme keeps the ride pliant and its occupants comfortable. The new suspension has the SUV far more planted at speed. Potholes, speed breakers and bad roads are dismissed with nonchalance. There is still a certain amount of body roll though, and an aggressive driver can make passengers uncomfortable on twisty ghat sections. Again, it's best to maintain a conservative right foot with such a tall SUV.

The Storme is equipped with ABS, EBD & disc brakes on all 4 wheels. This, along with the more contemporary chassis, has significantly improved braking performance. The previous Safari used to easily lose the line under hard braking. It would even fishtail and end up perpendicular to the road. No such drama with the Tata Storme and its powerful brakes. Though some amount of judder makes its way to the pedal, overall braking is now safe & predictable. Sedan owners will find the brakes to be under-servoed. Spend some time behind the wheel to get used to the braking feel.

Here's what Mrs. Tsk1979 had to say after a spin in the Storme:

Quote:
Finally, I can change gears without spraining my shoulder. No more struggling with the gearbox on cold winter mornings. The clutch is also lighter and better to use, and the braking is really good now. Parking is a breeze, and this is no longer a cumbersome vehicle to drive around the city. But I wish they had not got rid of the small pockets near the power window switches. Used to be very handy to keep coins and other small stuff. The electric folding mirrors are great to have. In the older Safari, you had to get down to fold or unfold the passenger side ORVM. Removal of the reverse camera is a negative. The parking sensors do not work really well, and coverage of corners is nonexistent.
Another shot of the rear suspension:
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:48   #6
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

The Storme 4x4:

While the Storme 4x2 is available in 3 trim levels, only the top VX variant gets the 4x4 option. I drove the Storme 4x4 on a custom off-road track.

The main difference on the inside (from the 4x2 variant) is the 4x4 control switch. A user-friendly rotary dial has been provided. This is much preferred over the tiny dash-mounted switch of the older Safari:


An electronic shift on the fly Borg Warner transfer case with low range. The low range goes down to 1:2.48, resulting in tremendous pulling power & speed control:


The X2 platform hasn't taken anything away on the articulation front. Look at this picture and you'll agree that the Storme has good articulation. The limited slip differential + 200 mm of ground clearance further help it in the rough. One drawback with a large SUV on offroad trails is that you keep losing bits and pieces. Notice the missing chrome exhaust tip (on the right). Body cladding is also prone to scratches and damage:


The front end doesn't articulate as competently. That's the case with most modern SUVs and independent front suspensions:


Highway tyres are a major letdown in this terrain:


Wheel well clearance is limited, thus fitting bigger tyres a problem:


For a family SUV, the Storme is a decent offroader. The low range works when needed and the articulation is acceptable. Do keep in mind the limitations from its 2 tonne kerb weight and tall, narrow stance though:
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:48   #7
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

The Smaller yet Significant Things:

• The doors auto-lock once the vehicle crosses 20 km/h.

• Seatbelt warning buzzer stays on above 20 km/h. Good move, Tata.

• No light in the bonnet area. The older Safari was equipped with one.

• Fuel tank capacity has been reduced to 55 liters (from the earlier 65 liters). Too small for a touring SUV and the same as sedans like the VW Vento. Further, the tank has moved toward the center of the vehicle, is placed very low and has no protection.

• Standard warranty is for 3 years / 100,000 kms. We highly recommend the extended warranty pack that adds another year & 50,000 kms of coverage.

• In an accident, the Storme automatically unlocks its doors, cuts off the fuel supply and activates the hazard lights.

• The clutch & brake oil was the same in the old Safari, but with different reservoirs. The Storme uses a common reservoir for both. If you need to drain the brake oil, you'll drain clutch oil too.

Big key. It has a "headlamp on" button. Useful as the follow me home feature has been removed:


Well-marked fuse box moves to the engine bay:


Wheel cups don't protrude and aren't easy to remove. That's a good thing! The older Safari's cups easily fell off (with a light kick or during offroading):


The 4x4 gets bigger discs at the front. There could be a non-ABS version in the future (ref : right column, top row, LSPV for non-ABS version):


4x4 & 4x2 axle oils are now the same. Earlier Safari 4x4 used a rear axle oil that was difficult to procure. A friction modifier needs to be added for the limited slip differential on the 4x4:


Free service only till 30,000 kms (previously 60,000 kms):


The low & high beams, both, use H7 bulbs (as opposed to differing H3 & H7 bulbs in most cars). Translated, you need to carry only one type of spare bulb:


4x4 transfer case is exposed. Probably best to avoid splashing through water:


Only the intercooler hose gets a screw-type clamp. Here, the turbo intake hose is shown with a clip-on type clamp which I've seen are more prone to failure, especially if the quality isn't good:


Analog clock - A Safari trademark:


Height-adjustable seatbelts for driver & co-passenger:


Pictured here is the gear lever's faux leather @ just 5,000 kms. Like in the old Safari, these seams will prematurely fray, tear and develop holes:


Set to a higher position, the front seat takes an angle that robs it of underthigh support. Notice the exposed mechanism:


OBD port is located in the footwell:


No wire clutter under the seat. The chassis ECU (OBD / ABS control) now sits behind the glovebox:


Front seat travel is restricted by the center console, rather than dedicated stoppers on the seat rail!


Washer reservoir cap is easy to lose:


Vanity mirror on the passenger sunvisor only. Decent size:


Rearward view has improved because there is no spare wheel on the tailgate. Be cautious when reversing though, you could miss a motorcycle parked right on your tail:


Director's cut of one of the many brilliant Tata Safari ads:


Here's the entire series. The role of these ads in building the Safari's image cannot be underestimated:
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Old 1st December 2012, 20:55   #8
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

A hatch/sedan owner's impression of the Safari Storme:

Owning a sedan and a hatch meant that I rarely get to drive a SUV like the Safari or Scorpio. I was pretty excited that I would get to drive the Storme for a short while in Delhi with Tsk1979.

After a short ride at the back and a quick drive here's my short impression of the Storme. Tanveer's exhaustive review pretty much covers all the point so there's not much for me to write.

On first look at the Storme, I felt that the looks have tamed down compared to the Safari. The front looks less butch and more sedate. The rear is now clean without the spare wheel which I prefer but others obviously loved the butch look with the spare on the rear door.

Getting inside is not easy. You have to climb 2 big steps which will be a very challenging ordeal for elders. Once inside, the comfort of the back seat blew me away. I know the Safari was known for it's back seat and I had sat in my boss' Safari as well but was still taken aback by the comfort. Even for a 6 footer like me I had ample legroom and the best under thigh support vs any car I have sat in. It was just perfect.

The quality of materials was very impressive, with the soft touch plastics on the doors feeling better than my Altis. While the materials were of good quality the fit and finish was nowhere as good. Plastic panels had huge gaps and many were loose fitting. The 12V outlet at the back had a white LED illuminated ring with the light leaking out through the small gaps around the panel.

It's way more improved than the older Safari but doesn't match the D segment sedans as yet.

It was now time to get into the driver's seat. The driver's seat again is extremely comfortable with good seat travel and I was able to find a comfy car like driving position. This was something I could never do in a Scorpio which had very poor seat travel. One very irritating phenomenon was with my left foot getting stuck with the dash every time I released the clutch. The toe of my shoe would get jammed with a protruding panel in the dash. This was highly irritating but surprisingly Tanveer never faced this. Probably I need to get used to placing my foot differently.

Initial low down torque is very impressive but it's got a bit of lag which you need to get used to. NVH levels are decent unless revved which as Tanveer pointed out is pointless in a Safari since all the torque is lower down. The Storme was fairly easy to drive around town and I did not feel awed by the size of the SUV. The commanding driving position and excellent visibility is a boon around crowded city roads. The fact that on narrow roads the oncoming traffic gives way for a Safari hurtling down was a delight. The steering is not overly light like the current crop of SUV's like XUV and Scorpio. It has a certain heaviness to it which is the way I like it. Turning radius was a surprise when Tanveer managed a complete U-turn on a dead end street we went into in one go. In comparison my boss' Safari has to take a 3 point U-turn in my office campus, something the Tempo traveller shuttle can do in one go! Gears were pretty smooth as well and throw was short. Clutch was on heavier side but I'm used to it on my Figo on Altis.

Tanveer reminded me as I was driving that I need to show some respect to the Storme as it's no Figo around corners. Never the less I was not disappointed by the handling as I picked up a little speed around a swooping curve. I had driven a Quanto a couple of days earlier and was appalled by the cornering ability. Comparatively this was pretty decent with not a lot of roll. Ofcourse speeds around corners need to be in check compared to sedans. Ride was brilliant with the Storme soaking up all bumps in it's stride even the few I missed being new to Delhi. There was a bit of wobble/shudder after you go over a pothole a little fast. This was a little unnerving since you feel that you are not in control for a few seconds. Tanveer tells me it is normal and it is much better in the Storme than his Safari.

Overall I came away pretty impressed with the Storme but the usual fears of poor quality and after sales will be the major deciding factor. For someone looking at a Duster, this may be worth a look but only if size does matter. The XUV makes a much more compelling case since the Storme even in the top trim VX is pretty bare bones. Not having a trip computer in 2012 is a serious oversight.

Would a Storme replace the Altis or a similar D segment sedan? It will but not in the same way the XUV did. The XUV has an edge being an all new product rather than being a re-engineered one. Tata's biggest challenge will be convincing customers that the Storme is far improved than the older Safari. The older Safari is known in the circles for being plagued with issues, horrible turning radius, wonky steering and many more. To clear out all those cobwebs in the mind of the buyer will be the biggest challenge.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 1st December 2012 at 21:00.
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Old 1st December 2012, 21:04   #9
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

*Rates Thread a well-deserved 5 stars!*

Tanveer, I gotta say : This is one heck of a review . The attention to the smallest details & your experience as a Safari owner is respected. Everything that needs to be known about the Storme is in here! Thank you for sharing this report with us and ending 2012 on a high note. Yep, this is the final Team-BHP review of an important car for the current year (although we do have a drive of a high performance sedan coming up next ).

I have no doubt that the Storme is the best Safari till date. It's much improved in every way and that's only good news for Safari fans. I'm impressed by the space, ride quality and most importantly, how the driving experience (engine, gearbox, handling, steering, brakes) is a step ahead. The Safari has lost none of its strengths and has only gained new ones. IMHO, Tata should have discontinued the old Safari entirely and only let the Storme continue. I have my concerns on the long-term reliability though. Then, the pricing is too darn close to the XUV500 and this could be a classic case of too little, too late.

I am also disappointed at the lost opportunity. Slapping a new body onto the contemporary X2 chassis would have made for an "all new" Safari; one that would've created a lot more buzz and had a wider appeal in the marketplace. I think the Storme will attract a lot of folk who were sitting on the fence WRT buying a Safari. Maybe, some new customers too. But the improved SUV isn't going to set charts on fire the way that an all-new XUV (ahem, SUV) would. Tata has focused so much on the regular passenger car division that it's handed the UV segment to Mahindra & others on a silver platter.

Thanks again Tanveer! You made our weekend.

Last edited by GTO : 1st December 2012 at 21:55.
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Old 1st December 2012, 21:19   #10
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

TSK, lovely and balanced review, boosted by high quality pics. Many congratulations to you on your effort, meticulousness and attention to detail. Simply superb especially considering this is all honorary work.
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Old 1st December 2012, 21:38   #11
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

Excellent review, one that lots of Safari fans would use as THE reference review going forward.

Comparo with old gen Safari is great, and one of the most important ways to highlight the improvements in Storme.

Lack of fit and finish is a major turn off. Safari has always won on the external looks and lost the plot in interiors. This was the opportunity to turn on the Range Rover effect full blast interiors wise, and Tata lost it.

Removing the spare wheel from the tailgate is an excellent move. In the old gen Safari, the tailgate gas strut is over powerful to counter the spare wheel weight. So if a newbie opens the tailgate, it just doesnt stop opening till it is fully extended, the person might even be hit by the tailgate.

Last edited by abeerbagul : 1st December 2012 at 21:41.
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Old 1st December 2012, 22:00   #12
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

Tanveer amazing details. This sets a new benchmark on how the reviews are written. Bravo. Nothing less than 5 stars of course. :-)

Last edited by Zappo : 1st December 2012 at 22:08.
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Old 1st December 2012, 22:04   #13
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

Awesome review as usual.

But now after reading the review I realize that the Aria has so much more kit at not too different a price especially for the lower versions wrt the Safari, its simply a no brainer not to go for the Aria unless you really want that SUV exterior.

Cheers
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Old 1st December 2012, 22:04   #14
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

Excellent review Tanveer. Rated a well deserved 5-Stars!

I've got to say, the Storme is an impressive product on the face of it. It's a great effort by Tata, a company that's desperately trying to regain some ground that it had lost to Mahindra. And apart from the decade-old design, it seems like a proper improvement over the older Safari. This is a classic case of 'new wine in old bottle' and it isn't such a bad thing.

I'm the sort of guy who is positively averse to SUVs as I feel it's unnecessary to drive one of these massive things around if the purpose is to commute. But that's just me. So if there is someone looking for a car in this price-bracket, it will be foolhardy to give the Storme a miss.

Tata has done well with the pricing and this time, they haven't been overly optimistic as they were with the Aria. All they need to do now is make sure that they serve their customers well.

That design may now be slightly long-in-the-tooth, but you'd be daft to judge it solely on that basis!
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Old 1st December 2012, 22:08   #15
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme : Official Review

Thanks Tanveer. This was one of the most eagerly waited reviews, and this has fulfilled every desire. Though I have a question, Is the AC flow changing knob now Electrical? unlike the old Safari which had a cable operated mechanism.
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