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Old 8th February 2013, 21:10   #1
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Cool TATA Safari Storme EX Urban Bronze-Buying Experience Initial Ownership Report

First Love..and Infidelity

The story begins in the streets of Madras (I still like to call it that way). We had a blue-green Ambassador, old yet reliable, at home. These were years before I started to drive and all I knew of cars was what my Dad taught me. He loves driving and those days were no different. His work required him to travel around the country. His escapades of Madras to Delhi in that Ambassador fixed a firm belief in my little head that Ambassador was the most invincible thing on four wheels. I had decided that as soon as my legs could reach the pedals I will have to buy my own ambassador. I was eight.

As years ticked away on the calendar, more miles ticked away in the Odo and love for the Ambassador grew as pure as the distilled water we had to put in her radiator. No amount of beauties I saw on the road could shake that puppy love.

Enter, the white beauty! The neighbor brought home a swanky huge white Safari. The one with the tiny graphic streaks on the sides and so were sown the first seeds of infidelity. My teenage heart swung like that tail gate and I had fallen for the beast. All packed up and ready with the spare on the tail gate like a backpack, to go somewhere far and rare, somewhere only Safaris could go. Mind was made. Someday ,maybe.SUV fever.

Bullet Meri Jaan.
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Fast forward to a few years ago, I found myself bitten by the travel bug. And as many in the forum would vouch for, it’s incurable. Age made me wiser and reality slapped me on the face. Cars will have to wait or I had to rob a bank. So I went ahead and gifted myself a Royal Enfield with my first few salaries. “So Many Roads So Little Time” has been the perennial echo in my head for the little time I‘ve been touring this great wide nation of ours. When the echo got loud enough, I made a sticker and put it up behind my trusted steed, as we went around the country, treading on two wheels, getting surprised around every turn of the road as to how much more India had in store…to see, to feel, to taste.

Grew a Pair of Extra Wheels.

I grew a pair of extra wheels and our Wagon R helped us commute from point A to B. Plus one soon as the family bought the lucky first Nano in Madras (with that lottery gimmicks). After tying the knot, a petrol Figo became the wife’s car. And when I realized that I can’t leave wife behind on these bike trips anymore (is there ever a choice?), I used it as the best excuse to revive that old crush. Let’s get the Safari home.!!

The Cheetah Vs Refined Beast Dilemma…

The launch of the XUV 5 double Oh took the nation by ‘storm’(pun not intended)and I was no exception. The fresh looks and the international fascia was enticing. Took test drive after waiting in a long queue and was baffled on seeing so many features stuffed to the brim. And at that price tag, it was definitely VFM. My childhood crush was still my sweetheart, but I couldn’t give this new girl next door a miss. Darn! Frankly, The SOLD OUT weeks and the lottery games made it only more elusive. (Come on, you guys agree with the ‘hot cakes that sell out must’ve been great’ analogy) As bookings closed anyway and reality slapped my pocket again, I decided to keep the dilemma hanging. Moreover, they said a Storme’s coming and I owed it that much to my sweetheart to wait for her newest avatar. I was at sea then, so the wait was easier.

Storme hits the Capital.

Providence or destiny, I found myself at TATA Concorde on the day of the launch and was one among the first to take the TD.

First look First Impressions:

# Excellent paint quality. Deliciously mouth watering.
# Okay, the smiling face looks a little funny. That’s not how I remember my lady love. But the cheesegrater grill does very remotely remind one of its richer cousin. This grows on you eventually. I can live with this.
# Brawny with the body cladding.
#Urban Bronze! Yes!
#Where’s my back pack? But the back looks neat even without it. Traded elegance for character. Acceptable considering practicability with the heavy spare off the gate.
#Excellent all round visibility. The high seat and the large windshields front and back give almost nil blindspot . ‘A’ pillar doesn’t get in your way.
#Height adjustable seats were good enough for the wife to drive it also. This is the first SUV she is driving but was pretty comfortable with the Storme’s size and handling.
#Both of us loved the way the Storme ate up potholes and bad roads.
# Impressive turning radius and confident braking.
#Over all experience was very impressive though it didn’t quite score on the features side.
I‘ve covered my views about the Storme in detail in my Review elsewhere. So I’ll jump to the part where I decided to go for it.

Signing on the dotted line…

It was now time to take a call.

Duster: Light weight and agile for an SUV. Liked the handling and the ‘car like’ road manners But frankly the car’s size didn’t convince me for an SUV and the looks were too quirky French for me. Lack of a 4x4 option and that price tag for what it offered looked overpriced to me.

Scorpio: Good Workhorse. My best friend has it and will vouch for it. But both wife and myself didn’t like the Scorpio for its boxy looks and body roll. Heard a facelift is coming. But couldn’t wait for it.

XUV: With all the features and the gizmos the XUV did appeal to my head. But the heart was stolen by the Storme. The design of the dash and the waterfall console look stunning but quality of materials inside the Storme was better. The Storme came out as an elegant no nonsense option with no fancy electronics that I may never need.

The Storme looked more rugged and built like it was meant for abuse. Nothing plasticky about it. Space and comfort was unmatched and ride quality was a winner.The Safari design DNA and the childhood crush won over everything else and I went ahead and signed on the dotted line.

I would’ve definitely gone for the 4x4 if not for budget slap. I’m still disappointed that no entry level 4x4 trims are available.

Went for the EX against the budget happy LX for the following:
Height adjust was required.
Rear wash and wipe.
Factory fitted Fog lamps.


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Buying Experience

Now that I had decided to go for the Beast it was now time to choose the dealer. I went ahead with Concorde as it was TATA owned and location was close to work and home.

The SA Mr Deepak Joshi was very proactive through out the time I was deciding on the car. He arranged test drives at my convenience and arranged for a long test drive when I took my wife along for her to handle the beast. Colors were not readily available on display and hence we had told him to show us a Black and a Bronze. He had promptly called us when someone was taking their delivery few days later and we went ahead and saw it from a distance. Both the SA and us respected that it was some one else’s baby so didn’t touch or fiddle with it. We loved both colours but disregarded the black for sentimental reasons for wife and maintenance reasons for myself.

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On Pongal, we went paid up the advance amount of one lac. There was disparity among bookings as some people were paying only 50 k. But I didn’t mind complying with their insisting for the full six digits. I was promised delivery before month end. The showroom was being done up entirely by a LandRover makeover team and so I wanted to take delivery after the facelift.

What followed were silent days of frustration as there was a lull and no communication from the dealer. SA was off for training so no communication/e mail from dealer or TML.

We ganged up, a friend and myself, and attacked the dealer. Calls were made, emails shot around and I got my delivery on the 2nd of Feb.

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Wallet Woes

Ex-showroom (Delhi) 1082866
Regn (DL 6C ) 135658 (Could’ve saved some 40k by registering with HR address, but considering resale is better with DL and didn’t want problems when I move out on transfer. Personal experience: DL number fetches better around the country)

Number Plate 213
Smart Card 416
MCD Charges 4000
Logistics 3500
Extended Warranty 7000
Basic Kit 3001 (DID NOT TAKE. Was offered some funny foot mats and car perfume and Ganesha idol.)
Insurance 41541(DID NOT TAKE.Was offered Oriental Insurance.Cashless. First party, third party.No zero dep. Called up and pitted ICICI Lombard and Bajaj Allianz agents against each other. Got Cashless.Zero Dep.Bumper to Bumper Comprehensive Cover.First& Third party.Plus Engine protector,free tow service,road side assistance from Allianz at 36k.With vol.excess of 7.5k)

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D Day experience

The showroom has been facelifted to arguably one of the best showrooms in the country. With one huge LCD screen on the wall which runs live streaming of TMFT from their Mumbai office. A nice waiting lounge and another screen flush with the wall that runs the features of the vehicles on display.Stunning for any standards, more so for a TATA.

TATA Safari Storme EX Urban Bronze-Buying Experience Initial Ownership Report-dsc_0070.jpg

I called and confirmed that we would be there at 1030 am. I was told to come at 1130 as the car is getting cleaned and decorated. I reached at 1230 knowing that they would be late. Car was getting cleaned still. Wife was angry that they were not punctual. I was gawking at my baby and didn’t mind the delay. Went closer and told them to take their time and clean her up properly. Some guy came running with a painted number plate and put it on top of the TR number. Then slowly at 2 PM we got the keys in from of the showroom with a chocolate box. The SA explained to me the locations of the tool boxes, first aid kit etc. I was bargaining the OEM alloys price and he stood steadfast at 26.5k Decided it was getting too late and so postponed alloy biz for later and started the engine’s heartbeat for the first time. Bliss. Maybe this is how it feels when you become a Dad.

And that’s how we got home our new family addition. Christened him ‘KUMKI’*. And that’s the story of how I became the proud(??) owner of two TATA cars one in each end of the spectrum.

TATA Safari Storme EX Urban Bronze-Buying Experience Initial Ownership Report-dsc_0060.jpg

Good Bad Ugly


TD vehicles were multiple handled and abused. When you get your own car it feels totally different and eventually grows a character similar to the drivers. When I drove around my beast I could feel it very unspoilt and eager to learn.

The alloys would ve been better but the metal rims don’t look too bad themselves.

Interiors in EX are better than VX for maintainability and looks better too.

Loved the black steering and black gear knob. Both in beige would be a nightmare to maintain. Storage spaces and cubby holes are a plenty and the glove box light is thoughtful. Doors are heavy and robust and hence take a good push to shut tight. Puddle lamps are usefulKey is huge but good. Headlamp button on key is handy to locate car in parking lots and when parked in dark places can be used as Follow Me home. First click unlock opens only driver door. Rest doors unlock on second click.

ALPINE music system is simple and decent sound quality. Thankfully, there are no ladies annoyingly welcoming you each time you start the car. The car comes with an I POD cable which looks like it doesn’t belong there. Yet to find where it plugs into the system. Used my own ipod and its cable in aux port and played perfectly. Phone Bluetooth connectivity works like a charm and mic is placed just ahead of the IRVM and is effective enough to have a conversation while driving. Stalk mounted controls are not present in the EX. Didn’t miss it much. Similar to my Figo, headlight location is handy for me. Headlight throw is very good and throw angle switch is also handy. Fog lamps are good and effective. Tried it in the evening fog while entering Gurgaon. Wiper switch and all stalks in general are of robust quality and click nicely on tap. On an isolated occasion the wipers came on when I hit a bump suddenly. Rear wash and wipe is a boon in dusty rainy conditions.

Seating is very comfortable for driver and passenger. Lumbar support knob is ok.The height adjust is a pump mechanism and is good enough to pump me up and down (85 kg when seated) I found that sweet driving spot with the seat at a good height and the steering at top most height. Would‘ve still preferred one more notch possibility for steering height adjustment.

AC in economy mode is effective and chills cabin very fast. Separate switch for Rear AC. ORVM joystick adjust was very useful to check what’s beside you and I had to set my left mirror a little lower to see smaller cars zipping past me (LOL)

The toolbox is kept in a cardboard type enclosure under the seat. Could ve been better stored.Looks downright cheap when you take it out. Seat fastening mechanism could have been better for the middle row.
Fuel gauge has no DTE indication. But has two trip modes with a SET and a MODE button.

First Drive

Neemrana and back was a 250 km run. The car proved to be a head turner on the highway with many cars pulling up for a closer look. Some old DICORs came beside and gave a greeting smile to their new brother.

The vehicle is a dream on the highway as it stretches its legs and shoots like a dart. Kept it between 1800-2000 revs between 80-100 kmph on top gear for running in the engine through out the trip. Torque available was meaty across gears. Seldom had to downshift.The car offers top notch ride quality over all terrains. Put it through rumblers and speedbreakers and went off the road (not offroad) for a bit and ride quality was still admirable. Karl Slym has kept his promise with the Most Comfortable Ride on the Most Difficult Terrain line.
Delhi guys might understand what Im talking about: The slope that climbs to the Fort is pretty steep and on weekends parking on the slope is expensive real estate. There was another Range Rover and our own beast doing a jigsaw puzzle on the slope for an elusive spot. I was impressed how the vehicle held sideways in that slope. Was able to turn around on the slope fully with hand brake on and off and the heavy beast still held its ground. Terrapod might have been on a fabricated obstacle. This right here was real. I am aware that any car could’ve done the same but I was just happy that this Hulk did it and I made him do it. Im still getting used to her size and weight hence was excited.

Tires offer decent not great grip in such slope. Came out pretty impressed and happy after parking (RR had to find another spot! :P) Did a small stretch on loose mud and tires tend to drift as I picked up speed. Could’ve been fun in an open stretch like the Rann. But here it was limited and wouldn’t ve tried further without better grip tires suited for such duty. Loved kicking up some dust in the sandy stretch and saw the sandstorm follow. Would’ve made a great campaign pic.

My beast gave me a no nonsense ride with all the essentials I needed and excellent ride quality with acres of space. I can safely say that its worth every penny I plonked and Im looking forward to many more happy miles in many different terrain.

So Many Roads So Little Time…

* Of all the beasts of the wild I love the pachyderm elephant the most. Yes, it’s definitely not the fastest beast but with its size and strength, what’s the hurry? There’s no one to run from. But as it happens in the forest bordering villages of Tamil Nadu, an odd elephant may go rogue and comes out to the villages destroying everything in its path. The only thing that is called to stop this juggernaut is another trained elephant. With its mahout’s (driver’s) capable handling and its own strength (140horses?) it takes the mad beast, head on with arrogant ease. Such elephants are called ‘Kumki’ and I thought the name fit.

Last edited by GTO : 9th February 2013 at 13:03. Reason: Adding paragraph spacing for better readability
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Old 8th February 2013, 21:42   #2
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Congrats Vignesh,

I am waiting for your review eagerly.
Hope you enjoy the beast to the T and looking for your review after crossing some miles.
I am very much looking for Strome EX if not XUV 5OO w8.
Enjoy and Drive Safe
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Old 8th February 2013, 22:51   #3
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Heartiest Congratulations Vignesh! The Safari Storme is one car that I was eagerly waiting to know more about. I guess yours is the first Safari Storme ownership thread in Team-BHP. So, get ready for a flurry of wishes. I will be glued to your thread for months to come. Enjoy the real SUV amongst the current crop of crossovers that are selling big in India.
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Old 8th February 2013, 23:40   #4
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Congrats on your Storme! Treat us with more pics please!

Wish you miles of happy & safe motoring!
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Old 8th February 2013, 23:46   #5
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Congrats Vignesh for bringing the beast home. Shall look forward for more pics. The one on the stony curved road looks really great.
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Old 8th February 2013, 23:48   #6
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What a delightful review. Made me smile as if someone close had bought what they always wanted to. So happy for you and your family. Now that the beast is all yours and there's nothing to run from some serious travelogues should happen eh?

Absolutely loved the last paragraph. May Kumki continue to bring you happiness for decades.
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Old 9th February 2013, 00:19   #7
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Your review made me fall in love with the beast all over again.

May your Kumki help you discover many wondrous places. Wish you a very happy and peaceful ownership.
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Old 9th February 2013, 00:35   #8
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Many, many congratulations! I have been scouting the forum for an owner's write-up, for some time now. Yours is poetic! A few questions:
  • How many adults can occupy the middle row comfortably? How about 2 adults and 2 kids?
  • How is the pick up after 100 kmph?
  • The Storme is supposed to have a smaller turning radius. Are U turns comfortable in Delhi Traffic?
  • About the traffic noise, with windows rolled up, does it sound quite enough?
I am going to be in the market to replace my Innova, end of this year, so I am very interested in your ownership experience to understand the Storme better. Please keep posting.
Regards.
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Old 9th February 2013, 00:42   #9
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Congratulations . Very well written opening post. Good cars , bad cars all seems immaterial when you actually buy what you want rather than what people think you should get. I like the new storme alot and the space and comfort of the vehicle is second to none. Here's hoping this car gives you years of joy. Drive safe !
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Old 9th February 2013, 01:06   #10
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Congratulations Vignesh! Thats called a review written from heart and a purchase made by heart. I like that. Wish you trouble free miles with your beast. And please more pics wanted.
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Old 9th February 2013, 09:32   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insearch View Post
Many, many congratulations! I have been scouting the forum for an owner's write-up, for some time now. Yours is poetic! A few questions:
  • How many adults can occupy the middle row comfortably? How about 2 adults and 2 kids?
  • How is the pick up after 100 kmph?
  • The Storme is supposed to have a smaller turning radius. Are U turns comfortable in Delhi Traffic?
  • About the traffic noise, with windows rolled up, does it sound quite enough?
I am going to be in the market to replace my Innova, end of this year, so I am very interested in your ownership experience to understand the Storme better. Please keep posting.
Regards.
Than you all for your wishes guys,
3 heavy adults can sit abreast on the middle seat, enough shoulder and leg room even if driver is at his rearmost configuration.
Pickup is great for its size, after 100 it climbs effortlessly upwards.but I'm running in the engine not revving beyond 2'k so will let you know later when I'm familiar with triple digits performance
The beast is unbelievably easy in traffic. If you drive with allowance for the dimensions of the car to move around in Traffic you will not feel cumbersome to flick it around.each time I take a turn my wife goes like :"wow my figo wouldn't ve done that without a 3 point."Delhi guys will know: last night was at the hudco place subway.it was closed and I had to turn around inside subway only.the beast swung around fully inside the subway with minimal drama.love the radius.
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:06   #12
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Many Congratulations Vignesh for the Safari Storme aka "Kumki".
I really appreciate your decision to listen to your heart; because at the end of the day it gives immense satisfaction.
Wish you many happy mile munching with the beast and niggle free performance.
Enjoy your ride and drive safe.
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:44   #13
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Congrats Vignesh and a crisp delightful read I must add! Kudos!

Have you taken the Strome above 100? I'm interested in the RPM range for cruising at 110-120. Thanks and happy driving.
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:49   #14
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Congratulations Vignesh ! First in TBHP, per the review order
Enjoy the ride, have a safe one.

Prem.
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Old 9th February 2013, 11:50   #15
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Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
Congrats Vignesh and a crisp delightful read I must add! Kudos!

Have you taken the Strome above 100? I'm interested in the RPM range for cruising at 110-120. Thanks and happy driving.
Still running in engine keeping it under 2k revs.did peak to 100to 120 kmph occasionally when.it revs at a little over around 2000to 2200rpm on top gear,very effortless .
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