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Old 7th August 2013, 13:48   #1
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Default Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

3-8-2013| 2:00pm - The beast is finally home and it has been a long drawn decision making process. In my first few posts I will talk about how this journey has been and follow it up with initial ownership experience over the last few days.
We have so far owned four cars – 2000 Esteem, 2001 OHC, 2009 Vista and the 2010 i10. The first three have been bought used and hence I am an old hand at this “buying pre-worshipped cars” thingey . The i10 came when my company offered a car scheme and with the associated tax benefits had bought it as a second car for the family to use. Among all these cars, only the OHC was always close to our heart and was with us for the max period of nearly 8 years. All the other cars were bought with a specific logical/scientific/straight from the brains decision (but definitely served their intended purposes well).
Hence the quest for a new car which would once again strike a chord with that little fist sized blood pump started around 1.5 years back. SUVs had already become the rage and while our collective wisdom told us that they made no sense at all, like I said we were thinking through our hearts and hence decided the next car should be an SUV. Of course justifications like “long drives”, “comfort for elders/kids” etc came to our rescue to seal this decision.
I have seriously considered the Scorpio, Thar, Duster and the XUV5OO during this process and here is a quick summary of how the decision was made.



Scorpio:
This was my all time favorite back in 2012 all though my better half hates its looks. I was keen to convince her otherwise and we had booked a TD with one of the local dealers. I got a feedback that they don’t have any manual geared TD vehicles! Was quite surprised to hear this and told them that unless there is a manual geared vehicle there is no point in the TD because I am not looking at the Auto box at all. So they promptly brought a Manual Ex version with the loud engine and spartan interiors (not that the Lx or even the Sle has anything better). The better half hated the looks and the middle row.

What I liked:
1) Excellent butch stance
2) Easy to drive within the city
3) The Sle model was well specced for my requirements
4) Good FE for its class
5) Excellent resale value and above average A.S.S. experience
My brain said Scorpio.

Duster:
I thought this was the best vehicle to hit the Indian roads at that time and was quite sure it would decimate vehicles like the Scorpio and Safari (not that it was doing that well as such!). Though it didn’t decimate the Scorpio, it did make the sedans in that price bracket look lack luster. Took a TD of the Duster (without the better half) and was completely sold on it. The better half again didn’t like the looks and felt it resembled a particular amphibian when looked from the back!

What I liked:
1) Super smooth engine – no jiggles when you start or stop the engine like in the Scorpio or Safari
2) Super smooth gear shifts
3) Decent space for my requirements
4) Decent interiors – I was not too worked up about the “poor” quality of plastics etc.
5) Excellent FE as reported by many for the 85ps version and even for the 110ps
6) Superb ride quality
Again my brain kept telling me – go for the Duster Rxl 85ps. This is the car for you

XUV5OO
M&M at its best and how! What a vehicle! Totally a class apart. Initially it was beyond my budget but in 2013 after some changes to our company car policy the W6 was within my reach. We booked a TD with a local dealer and I should say it was by far the BEST PRE SALES experience among all cars I have TDed. Totally professional approach and the TD vehicle which showed around 40k on the ODO was very very refined.

What I liked:
1) Super smooth engine – no jiggles when you start or stop the engine like in the Scorpio or Safari
2) Super smooth gear shifts
3) Very good space for my requirements. The 3rd front facing row was a bonus
4) Good interiors – while M&M has experimented well with different colours and surface textures I didn’t find it cheap looking
5) Feature rich – again M&M has done a good job loading it up with features all though I may not use all of them. Also I find it extremely immature when many point out that these are “cheap Chinese” made electronics. Most of the electronic goods we buy are made in China – so what?
6) A.S.S model – I liked the concept of a dedicated RM and the promptness with which M&M had been addressing the various issues as reported in the forum
My brain said – this had to be it. Look no further and book the XUV. Also when I looked at the launch price, I could see that the original batch of buyers had really got a very good deal because prices have already risen nearly 1.5lakhs but it still was a good buy. My better half felt the looks were a bit too loud but bearable if this was going to be our final decision.
In the meantime the Storme was launched some time in Dec 2012 and was keenly following the developments thereon. Tata, as usual, wasted another golden opportunity to kill the Scorpio totally by launching a good product at a good price point. As the sales figures eventually emerged, the Storme turned out to be a sales dud.
But dud or not, it definitely was a looker and so we thought of taking a TD (and eventually we took some 3 or 4 TDs across various colours and trim levels!). Once the vehicle arrived the sales consultant called us and we went down to check out the vehicle. One thing common to both me and my better half was that the moment we looked at the Storme parked at our drive way, it immediately strikes you deep in your heart and brings out various emotions which none of the other cars did. All the other SUVs were out there with clinical precision flashing their feature sets but here was a SUV which just stood there and did nothing but set our hearts pounding (and our brains cursing as you will see soon!)

What I hated in the Storme:
1) Significant jiggles when you start/stop the engine
2) The gear shift keeps vibrating just to let you know it exists
3) Huge improvement in interiors compared to the Safari but plenty of rough edges which should have ideally been ironed out given the time it took to launch and the price point
4) Nowhere as nimble as the ageing Scorpio let alone the modern XUV
5) Front facing 3rd row would have been nice


In the meantime, our car buying process kept coming up in various discussions at work and with family members and one common thread across all these conversations was “Storme? Who makes this SUV? Oh! TATA! Why the hell would you buy a TATA?” As you guys can see from my signature, I already own a pre-owned Vista and my friends and family gave me strange looks when I bought it. So people seriously doubted my mental health when I was suggesting that we were even considering another TATA vehicle.


The decision to buy kept dragging and finally towards mid July my better half told me that either ways we need to take a call soon and decide on a new SUV quickly since some long trips were coming. She was all for the Storme but told me that I should take a careful decision and she will go with the vehicle of my choice. I called up the TATA dealership and checked on latest offers and the discounts on offer sounded good. So the decision was made almost completely with the heart. In my next few posts I will explain how the brain later concurred with this decision as well.


Choice of colour and variant:
I felt the Lx was the most bang for the buck because the Ex didn’t have any incremental features which I personally attached value in. Also since TATA vehicles are anyway depreciation disasters, on this decision alone I let my brain take the final call and it said “Go for the lowest variant since it will depreciate the least”. So Lx it was.
Colour options were limited to Silver, Pearl White or Black. Black was quickly ruled out from the maintenance and heat aspects. Between Silver and Pearl white, it was a very close call. The latter colour is typically associated with vehicles owned by the political class. Also the discount got sweetened for Silver that was in stock with the dealer. So decided on the Silver. In the end, I think it was a good decision because the Storme looks quite majestic in Silver and the steel wheels also don’t stand out in this particular colour. This is not the case with White or Black where the steel wheels really stand out as a sore thumb (demanding an immediate upgrade to alloys)


So now I have 2 TATAs in my garage! I never ever ever thought in my life that I will have even 1 TATA vehicle. Now that I have 2 TATA vehicles – does this make me a TATA fan? Definitely not. I am an even more stronger critic of TATA than ever before. The entire decision making process I have given above shows what is totally wrong with TATA these days. While I made my decision almost completely with my heart, there are 100 others who don’t even consider a TATA vehicle because it’s not the “logical” choice. What a waste of a strong brand! the sooner TATA wakes up the better for them.

Last edited by narayan : 7th August 2013 at 14:32.
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Old 7th August 2013, 16:54   #2
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Initial ownership Experience:

This is my feedback over the last 4 days of driving the car. Hence a bit premature but still relevant for people who might consider buying this truck

The bad points first:

1) The steering set up fouling with your knees is definitly a point worth noting. This has been reported elaborately in the Official review thread with many members claiming the steering fouling with their knees and some having no issues. I am 5'8" and I do notice that for my seating position, my knees do keep bumping into the lower part of the steering assembly when i get in or get out of the car. While driving there is no issue at all. So taller folks might have a problem while driving unless they push back the seat to the appropriate position so that your legs are stretched out and your knees dont bump the lower portion of the steering assembly

2) Jiggles while start and stop is irritating in this day and age. Comon, is it so difficult to dampen that momentary vibration ?

3) Gear shift does have a constant vibration. This is similar to the Scorpio also ( which I test drove ).

4) Fit could have been a lot better. I have noticed small gaps in the body cladding and will need to get these sealed during the first service. Door handles look solid but arent fit solidly. This raises serious doubts on one of Tata vehicle's traditional weakness - premature ageing. I hope this will not be the case with Storme ( my hard earned 11.75 big ones are already invested in this beast )

5) Ergonomics - Tata has spent little time on addressing these. Power window switches are placed very much behind where they should be. So you need to consciously raise your hand, go back and then operate the switches. No large bottle holders at the rear seat. No grab handles along the inside of the A or B pillars to hold on to while climbing in.

6) Gear shift quality - quite rubbery and needs a solid thrust to get the gear slotted in. Getting into 1st and 2nd gear is extra difficult. I hope shift quality improves after the initial run in but not sure why Tata is struggling to get a sure slotted gear shift pattern like in an i10
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Old 7th August 2013, 17:38   #3
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

The good points:

1) Every time I walk upto the car, get into the driver seat and drive it around, this is how my face looks ( of course not green in colour. But I see a lot of greens in others who are looking at the beast )

2) Good ride comfort within the city ( not yet taken it to the highways ). Front row and middle row are unparalleled in comfort

3) Nice power - This one is no laggard, you can feel the thrust right from 1500rpm onwards. Havent cross 2000 rpm yet. Also havent even reached 2000rpm in 3rd,4th, 5th gears so far. Have a long drive coming up over the weekend. Will know better then

4) Interiors - I love the Lx interiors which is a good mix of Black and Beige all though all black would have been classy. The quality of plastics is very good. Feel and finish is also good. Seats a super comfy

5) Clutch - super light clutch. lighter than my 33k run i10 but I hope it stays this way and doesnt harden up like the Safari clutch

6) Since my immediately previous ride was the i10 I was apprehensive about handling this beast within the city but it has been quite good so far. Steering is fairly light ( harder than the i10 though ! ) and coupled with the light clutch, this beast is easier to putter around the city than my 2009 Vista which has a harder steering + super hard clutch !


So far I have taken just one or two pics of the Storme. Am taking the beast to a nearby beach resort over the weekend. Will post pics by early next week

Last edited by narayan : 7th August 2013 at 17:39.
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Old 11th August 2013, 20:44   #4
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Here are a few pictures from a recent trip. Am planning a 800km drive on Aug 15th after which will share more thoughts on how the car is faring on long drives and FE figures.

1) Rear and rear three quarters is in my view the best looking part of the Storme
Attached Thumbnails
Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!-img_1700.jpg  

Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!-img_1698.jpg  

Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!-img_1699.jpg  

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Old 11th August 2013, 20:52   #5
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

2) Head on the Storme is less photogenic maybe because there isnt much of curves/surfaces and its a plain smiling look ( which looks ok in real but not that great in pics )
Attached Thumbnails
Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!-img_1717.jpg  

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Old 11th August 2013, 20:54   #6
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

3) Traditional rivals - standing next to the Scorpio which has a good looking front but completely loses the plot as you start walking around. The Storme on the other hand is neutral head on and then improves dramatically as you look from the side and the best bit is in the rear.
Attached Thumbnails
Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!-img_1692.jpg  

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Old 11th August 2013, 21:04   #7
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Over the weekend I had met up with some 7 colleagues with their families and none of them had heard of this vehicle called Storme.

I took 6 adults and 5 kids for a joy ride for them to experience the vehicle and most of them were pleasantly surprised by the space/comfort and of course the quality feel of the interiors.

Tata Motors would have done themselves a lot of service by pitching the Storme directly against the Scorpio. Couple this with aggressive marketing and Extended warranty and service packages, the Storme could have turned out to be a 2500 a month car. What a wasted opportunity. Even now little is being done to sell this car aggressively. I wonder what who in Tata Motors thought this vehicle should be pitted against the XUV.
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Old 11th August 2013, 21:06   #8
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Additions done so far in the car:

1) Wuerth Bumper/door/mirror strips - Rs999
2) Very light tints in the windows

Planning on the below:

1) Wuerth/3M/Garware films for the wind shield - will be going for the one which gives max visibility and max heat reduction
2) Underbody anti rust treatment - still in 2 minds on this.
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Old 11th August 2013, 21:33   #9
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Thread moved out of the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th August 2013, 22:23   #10
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

The long awaited ownership thread! Congrats Narayan (once again!) Wishing you many miles of niggle free and wonderful rides!
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Old 12th August 2013, 01:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post

Tata Motors would have done themselves a lot of service by pitching the Storme directly against the Scorpio. Couple this with aggressive marketing and Extended warranty and service packages, the Storme could have turned out to be a 2500 a month car. What a wasted opportunity. Even now little is being done to sell this car aggressively. I wonder what who in Tata Motors thought this vehicle should be pitted against the XUV.
Seems TATA is busy with its busses and trucks. Well I admire your decision and risk taking appetite. I am also struggling hard to find a suitable SUV. I like safari and also impressed with looks of strome but not able to take the bold decision to go for a TATA car. Do share more about your experience particularly about after sales service and initial teething problems.
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Old 12th August 2013, 11:13   #12
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Very detailed review. Congratulations

I am sure this new TATA will be with less niggles and more fun. Do keep sharing pics and experiences
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Old 12th August 2013, 14:14   #13
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Default re: Stormed and How! Tata Safari Storme LX Review. EDIT: Sold!

Narayan; many congratulations for your Storme.
Wish it gives you niggle free performance for years.
Also wishing your many happy mile munching with the Storme.

Enjoy your ride and drive safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
[b] One thing common to both me and my better half was that the moment we looked at the Storme parked at our drive way, it immediately strikes you deep in your heart and brings out various emotions which none of the other cars did. All the other SUVs were out there with clinical precision flashing their feature sets but here was a SUV which just stood there and did nothing but set our hearts pounding (and our brains cursing as you will see soon!)
I feel this is the most important part during a vehicle purchase.
If the car can connect to your heart, it'll give you immense pleasure every single time you take the car out on the road.
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Old 12th August 2013, 14:57   #14
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Congratulations Narayan, I hope the Storme serves you well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
... Couple this with aggressive marketing and Extended warranty and service packages, the Storme could have turned out to be a 2500 a month car. What a wasted opportunity. Even now little is being done to sell this car aggressively. I wonder what who in Tata Motors thought this vehicle should be pitted against the XUV.
Exactly my feeling and exactly what I had mentioned in the official review thread. As I see it, TML have nothing to lose here at this point. The sales are at their lowest and aggressive marketing can sure turn the tide. At least in Storme's case.

On the flip side, with the current sales numbers, it will remain a sort of exclusive vehicle.
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Old 12th August 2013, 15:11   #15
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Congrats Narayan, wish you many happy miles. Enjoy and keep updating. Rahul
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