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Old 29th July 2014, 23:45   #1
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Default Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

First of all, I would like to make an honest confession that I am not a mech-tech person. Therefore, my review is going to be from an average user's perspective and the views expressed in this review are completely my personal opinion based on my four and half months of experience of owning this vehicle.

It’s all muscles and claws – S1


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s1intro.jpg


In his video review of the Safari Storme VX 4x4, Bertrand D'souza, the editor of the Overdrive, told “this baby can take you places”. Indeed, but what he missed to mention is that it can take you to the hardest to reach places in sheer comfort. I have added links to some of the reviews that I liked as a ready reference for those who are considering the Storme as an option.

At a Glance

Likes

1. Ride & handling
2. 4x4 system
3. The smooth VariCor engine
4. The brakes
5. Space
6. Understated but elegant exterior
7. Upmarket interiors

Dislikes

1. Wind noise
2. Lack of gadgetry
3. Inadequate cup and bottle holders

The Shortlisting & Selection

Come 2014 and we started thinking of getting our second car. My wife wanted a car with a touch of class and one that is not a very common sight on the roads. My requirement was an SUV with proper 4x4 transfer case with Low Range since I wanted the freedom to go anywhere. We started test driving the shortlisted SUVs. My heart was on the Thar and my wife was somewhat inclined to the Fortuner until the visit to the Toyota dealership.

The Contenders

1. Toyota Fortuner 4WD
Likes – The looks, road presence, the reputation for quality, ground clearance, 4x4 system with lockable centre differential
Dislikes – Cheap-looking interior, brakes, ride quality, no 2WD mode in the 4WD model, overpriced
Dealership Visited – Topsel Toyota, EM Bypass, Kolkata
Reason for Rejection – The moment my wife stepped into the car, she said the she is not willing to commit Rs 27lacs (OTR Kolkata) for such an average looking interior. In fact, except the overall exterior looks, nothing else in the car seemed worthy of the price tag.

2. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Likes – Ground clearance, ride quality, 4x4 system with lockable centre differential, overall quality
Dislikes – External appearance, ultra-thin service network, high maintenance cost, overpriced
Dealership Visited – Shah Automobiles, VIP Road, Kolkata
Reason for Rejection – I had to reject the vehicle for lack of service network and the VFM factor.

3. Mahindra XUV500 W8 AWD
Likes – External appearance, infotainment system, safety features, mileage
Dislikes – cheap quality interior, ground clearance, the AWD system (it’s not a real 4x4), overall quality is questionable (epical list of niggles in all the reviews I read), feedback on after sales service
Dealership Visited – Mohan Motors, Salt Lake Sector V, Kolkata
Reason for Rejection – Primarily due to lack of proper 4x4 system, overall quality and ASS related concern

4. Ford Endeavour Alterrain (3.0L 4x4)
Likes – Auto gearbox, ease of driving, creature comfort & features (especially the infotainment system with BIG touchscreen and reverse parking camera and the roof mounted DVD player), the super easy to use yet capable Brog-Warner 4x4 system, the third row seats
Dislikes – Mileage, price
Dealership Visited – Kaikan Ford, VIP Road, Kolkata
Reason for Rejection – Mileage and price

5. Mahindra Thar CRDe 4x4
Likes – Looks, road presence, it’s a REAL jeep at heart, cost of ownership, style quotient, basic but competent 4x4 system
Dislikes – Fit and finish, experience at the dealership, poor feedback regarding ASS, not a comfortable ride for the family and a whole lot of other things (but none of them really matters to me just because it’s Thar)
Dealership Visited – Mohan Motors, Salt Lake Sector V, Kolkata
Reason for Rejection – Could not convince even a single soul in the family 

6. Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4
Likes – The understated yet elegant appearance, the legacy, the road presence, upmarket interiors, the super easy to use yet capable Brog-Warner 4x4 system with LSD, ride and handling (the best of all the vehicles in the list), extremely spacious cabin
Dislikes – Bad reputation of the ASS of Tata Motors, feature list too short for the price tag
Dealership Visited – KB Motors, Ballygunge Circular Road, Kolkata
Reason for Selection – Please refer to the next section

Love at First Ride – The Test Drive, Finalization & Booking

One fine day we came across a Safari Storme test drive vehicle in front of my wife's office during lunch break and asked for a test drive. The sales person from the dealership (KB Motors, Kolkata) happily agreed. Guess what, both I and my wife was completely blown away after taking the test drive and decided on the spot that this is the one we were in search of. It meets all the requirement of both of us.

But then the all the bad things that we heard about the quality of TATA cars in general and the after sales service of Tata Motors started to scare us. After all it is a big investment with ever diminishing monetary return! Therefore, I asked for a second test drive at my home so that I can seek my parents opinion even though they are not the best judge of cars. All I needed is moral support. Surprisingly, the sales representative of the dealer agreed to come all the way to my place (about 23kms) with the vehicle for a second test drive! My parents liked the car.

Now, the engineer in me needed the logical reasons and technical facts to support our decision. This is when I called up my friend, philosopher and guide (at least in the automobile related stuffs), my brother-in-law who is a mech grad from IIT-Kanpur and works at Tata Motors. He answered all my questions very patiently and assured me that Storme is a very good product and that he hadn’t come across any significant issue with the 4x4 system of Safari. I also did some research by watching the reviews on YouTube and reading through all the official and ownership reviews on Team-BHP.

Gathering all the info and facts to support our decision, we booked “the” TATA Safari Storme VX 4x4 on 14th February, 2014. What a Valentine’s Day gift from my wife!!!

The Purchase Experience

The Problems

The dealer (KB Motors) and SBI had been very helpful all throughout. Finally, I was notified that I can take delivery of the car on 8th of March, 2014. When I went to bring my baby home, I found the temporary registration had not been done. The sales rep tried to push me to take the car home without temporary registration! I denied without paying any attention to his (il)logical arguments. Then I found that the car had fabric upholstery instead of leather as seen in the brochure and as mentioned in the booking receipt and had no music system!!! The dealer told me it is a change from Tata Motors and hence they cannot help in anyway. I did not take the delivery of the car on that day.

The Resolution

The talks heated up and I sought intervention of the regional sales manager of Tata Motors. The RM of TML tried to convince me to take a VX 4x2 (with leather upholstery and factory-fitted music system) which they have in store from their 2013 inventory. But I was not ready to give up 4x4 for anything. I gave them a deal, either give my money back or give the “my” car with a well spec’d music system installed and art leather seat cover fitted free of cost. Finally they agreed to go with the second option after 2-3 days of back and forth. Mr. Rakesh Dalmia, General Manager, KB Motors, personally supervised the deal to completion.

We got our Storme unleashed with art leather seat cover and a very well spec’d Sony music system on the 14th Day of March, 2014.

The D-Day: Mr Rakesh Dalmia, GM, KB Motors, handing over our Storme to my father, my wife and me – S2


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s2delivery.jpg


Srishti welcoming the Baby home – S3


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Discounts, Tax Cut & Final On-Road-Price
Discounts & Tax Cut

Dealer – Rs 17,000 (shown as a reduction of ex-showroom price)
Corporate – Rs 7,000 (available to all Tata Group employees)
Tax Cut – Rs 84,000

Fate supported us by bringing in the Interim Budget, 2014 by the UPA govt. The excise duty on SUVs was slashed by 6% making it 24%. This translated into an additional saving of Rs 84,000.

Accessories

Mats – Rs 2,500
Teflon coating – Rs 3,500
Underbody coating – Rs 2,500
Front Nudge Guard – Rs 15,000
Music System (Sony) + 4 speakers – Rs 19,000 (approx.) (the dealer gave it for free)
Art Leather Seat Covers – Rs 8,500 (may be a little higher) (the dealer gave it for free)

Final On-Road-Price: Rs 16.2 lacs

The After Sales Service

The ASS has been pretty good so far. I have been to the service centre of KB Motors thrice – once because the check engine light came on and then for the first servicing and the second servicing. The customer care dept. of both Tata Motors and KB Motors (dealer) called for feedback after every visit to the service centre. Tata Motors seems to be really serious about customer satisfaction these days because the customer service dept. of the dealer seems to be scared to death of negative feedback.

I have put on 5400+kms on the ODO of my Storme in these 4.5 months and I got the second servicing done on 4th Aug, 2014. The quality of work has been pretty impressive this time. The small niggles, that developed over the course of the last few months, e.g. front-left power window rolling up with a hiccup, were resolved to my satisfaction in the very first attempt. The vehicle is now running smoother than ever before.

The Experience

This is the point after all those running around and paper work when the real story starts. The nature of the story, love story or hate story, depends on the kind of experience people have with their cars. Fortunately, in my case it is a very sweet love story. Below is a detailed account of my experience/impression of various things, small and big, of the car.

Safety

This car has got an impressive list of safety features like ABS with EBD, Dual Airbags, Engine Immobilizer, Door Ajar Warning, Child Locks, Automatic Rear Wiper, Puddle Lamps, IRVM with night mode, Auto Locks (locks all the doors as you start driving, I simply love this one), Inertia Switch (unlocks the doors in the event of an accident) and Auto Fuel cut off in the event of an accident. I have tested the ABS and it kicks in just when it’s needed.

Exterior

The front features Land Rover inspired grille with a big Tata logo in the middle, wrap around projector head lamps, a wide chrome strip with STORME embossing running across the lip of the bonnet.

Overall, from the front the Storme has a gentlemanly appearance with an imposing stance - S4


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s4front.jpg


The rear features simplistic tail lamp clusters, typical big Tata logo, a chrome strip running across the tail gate, dual chrome tipped exhausts. The noticeable change is that now the spare wheel has gone under the body making the tail gate much cleaner and much easier to open and close. The rear gets the Safari Storme badging, the variant (VX) badging and the 4x4 badging.

The simplistic yet smarter rear design – S5


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From the side, it is unmistakably a Safari. But with better quality claddings, paint and plastics, the Storme looks way more upmarket. The side steps are wider, stronger and hence very much usable.

From side, it is still a Safari but definitely a better one – S6


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s6side.jpg


The appearance has some subtle cues that are still growing on me.

Interior

Step into the vehicle and you have a grand view of the road that makes you feel like “The King of the Road” – S7


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s7visibility.jpg
The visibility all around the vehicle is unhindered and probably the only blind spot of the vehicle is the area under the rear glass.

The plastics of the dashboard are of very high quality and the textures are rich. The faux wood inserts in the dashboard and the door handles are top notch. – S8


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s8interiorquality.jpg

The analogue clock on the centre console, the chrome accents on the gear head and door locks, the elegant AC and blower control knobs together add a touch of class. The rotary shifter for the transfer case is on the right of the gear lever and easy to reach and operate. – S9


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The cup holders on the centre console are under the music system unit and are small and shallow making their usefulness very limited. They are also behind the gear lever. Therefore, accessibility is an issue.

I love the German style rotary switch for the headlights and fog lamps. The driver side foot well is spacious and uncluttered. – S10


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The front row seats are very spacious and comfortable. Both the seats feature arm rests, slider and back rest adjustment. The driver seat additionally feature height adjustment and lumber support adjustment. The steering features tiltable column for steering wheel height adjustment. The storage pockets on the front doors are enormous. - S11



Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s11frontrowspace.jpg

Step into the second row and you will be in the couch of a VIP lounge. It is probably the most comfortable place on wheels. Three adults can sit in comfort in the second row. It has a centre arm rest with storage and cup holders. The storage pockets on the doors of the second row are too small to hold any bottles other than my baby's feeding bottles. - S12



Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s12middlerowspace.jpg

Open the tailgate and you are challenged with a difficult climb and a small space to fit yourself into. The jump seats are of good quality. An adult of 5' 8'' height can travel up to couple of hours in the last row without much issue. Practically, the last row is best suited for kids only. Fold the seats away and you have a huge luggage space. Should you need more space for moving your home, you can fold away the second row seats too. The tailgate as well has some useful storage. - S13



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Engine, Gearbox & Performance

The 2.2 ltr VariCor engine (140 bhp / 320 NM) is very refined. The power and the torque band is accessible from as low as 1600-1700 RPM making it easy to drive in the city and in off-road conditions. The gearbox has the problem of the first gear showing occasional unwillingness to engage in a stop-n-go situation. The problem has subsided to a great extent after the second servicing but it is not completely gone. Overall, the gearbox is smooth and requires very little getting used to.

The performance is more than adequate for my usage pattern. The vehicle has ample of grunt to pull ahead of the traffic when the signal turns green. I have driven it at a maximum speed of 120 kph and found that it can effortlessly cruise at that speed for hours without showing any harshness. I usually prefer to drive between 80 kph and 100 kph since that is my comfort zone. I can drive my Storme for hours together in that band without stressing my head and the vehicle returns maximum mileage.

Mileage
City – 11 to 11.5 km/l
Highway – 13+ km/l with only the front AC in economy mode, 12 km/l with both ACs running in normal mode

Ride, Handling & Braking

The ride quality is simply phenomenal. It has an extremely pliant ride and irons out roughest of the patches of the road. This is one aspect of Safari that no other car has been able to supersede in more than 15 years.

The steering is precisely weighted and gives just enough feedback of what’s underneath the tyres. The body roll is well controlled in the new X2 platform of the Storme. Taking corners at reasonably higher speeds is not unnerving anymore. You definitely cannot beat a GT around the corners, but you can surely show-off to other SUVs and tallboys.

Braking is another ace up the Storme’s sleeves. With disk brakes on all four wheels and ABS with EBD, braking is very confidence inspiring under any situation. The characteristic nose-dive under hard braking of the older Safari is gone altogether. In fact, braking is such an effortless experience that it is hard to realize that I am, in reality, trying to change the state of motion of a 2 ton+ mass.

The 4x4 System & Off-roadability

Take the baby off the road and it immediately lets you know “Caesar is home...” (quoted from the movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”). With its 200mm ground clearance, rigid ladder frame chassis, Brog-Warner transfer case with Limited Slip Differential and superbly engineered suspensions, off-roading is a luxurious experience in the Storme. Driving it off the road is effortless and sitting in any of the passenger seats on an off-road track is a cosy affair. The Safari has always been a very capable off-road machine and the Storme is even better with the improved chassis.

The only thing that goes against the Storme on off-road tracks is its 2095 kgs of dry weight (of the 4x4 variant). Therefore, every steep climb up or descent down a sandy or a slushy surface needs to be planned and is better avoided when alone. I have done steep climb on rocks and mud in the rain without any issues.

The baby loves to climb – S14


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s14offroading1.jpg

The Storme reigns supreme On The Rocks – S15

Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s15offroading2.jpg

Introducing King Kong!

My Storme makes me feel like the King of the Roads when I am at its wheel. It feels very much at home in the mountains and the jungles just like the King Kong. Therefore, I named my baby the mighty beast.

A Love Story that Never Ends – S16


Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4-s16offroading3.jpg



Some Useful Reviews on YouTube








Last edited by GTO : 11th August 2014 at 19:02. Reason: Removing naked COLOR tags :)
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Old 8th August 2014, 22:47   #2
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Exclamation re: Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

Thread moved to the Initial Ownership Reports section.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th August 2014, 07:13   #3
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Congratulations on the storme. Your passion for the beast really comes through on your write up

We have a very active Facebook page for safari owners. Join is there as well

Happy mile munching!!
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Old 9th August 2014, 07:24   #4
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Default re: Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

Congrats ! And thanks for the nice review.

One suggestion - on long drives, take out those rear 2 seats. You will be surprised how much more space you get. To remove it is jut 2 nuts each seat. I have posted this in the Storme review thread in case you need more details.
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Old 9th August 2014, 11:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himanshugoswami View Post
Congratulations on the storme. Your passion for the beast really comes through on your write up

We have a very active Facebook page for safari owners. Join is there as well

Happy mile munching!!
Thanks Himanshu. I am following the official Tata Safari page. Please let me know the url of the page you referred here if that is different from the official one.





Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Congrats ! And thanks for the nice review.

One suggestion - on long drives, take out those rear 2 seats. You will be surprised how much more space you get. To remove it is jut 2 nuts each seat. I have posted this in the Storme review thread in case you need more details.
Thanks condor. I bet your tip is going to be very helpful in my future trips.
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Old 9th August 2014, 13:14   #6
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Thumbs up re: Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

Congratulations again Partha da. A thoroughly comprehensive review. Will take that ride next time we meet.

I had driven the 4WD Safari (Gen 2) and even had a close shave at the Rajarhat expressway when it was getting constructed. That was during our college days and my friend's car. I still feel its the most comfortable ride amongst the current batch of SUVs. I haven't tested its capabilities offroad as my friend would had killed me for that. I remember one instance of its sheer torque and 4x4 capabilities. It was while I was trying to make it up the steeply inclined slop of the Space Circle club's underground parking and it was pouring. Generally the car was driven in 2WD mode and fully loaded it just spun its wheels trying to make it up the slippery slop. Switched it to 4WD and it made it up without a sweat. During those days that itself felt like quite an achievement. Brings a smile everytime I think of those days.
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Old 9th August 2014, 13:20   #7
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Lovely write-up and neat photographs of the Storme. This is one mean machine and will take you comfortably to remote corners but do pamper it well. Please do not take it to the otr's just for the sake of doing one or as the trend is now a days. This is an explorer, have loads of fun going to new places. Your daughter is very cute and loving, little angel.
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Old 9th August 2014, 13:48   #8
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Default re: Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

Nice pictures of the King kong beast.
The write up is good and brings out the passion you have for the beast.

This color looks the best on the Storme i m o .
Storme has it's own unique road presence.
Wish you happy mile crunching.

Last edited by madhu33 : 9th August 2014 at 13:50.
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Old 9th August 2014, 13:57   #9
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Default re: Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

@psurelia Congrats for being a proud owner of a real beast. Wishing you many more miles.

BTW i noticed that you haven't installed a reverse parking camera. Are you able to manage just with the parking sensors? In my case i initially felt there was no need to install a camera but took a decision to get this installed on day of delivery. I feel happy about this decision since parking this beast in tight spots is quite a task and camera will definitely help. Though it costed me 10K since i bought from the dealer, i feel now its worth every penny
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Old 9th August 2014, 14:20   #10
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An excellent review Mate. The best part was its simplistic language and no jargons. Kudos for following your heart and bringing the beast home. Loved the pics, especially the side view wherein the storme is on an incline. Keep updating us about your experiences and enjoy the sheer pleasure of "riding the storme" .

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazybrain View Post
@psurelia Congrats for being a proud owner of a real beast. Wishing you many more miles.

BTW i noticed that you haven't installed a reverse parking camera. Are you able to manage just with the parking sensors? In my case i initially felt there was no need to install a camera but took a decision to get this installed on day of delivery. I feel happy about this decision since parking this beast in tight spots is quite a task and camera will definitely help. Though it costed me 10K since i bought from the dealer, i feel now its worth every penny
I was under an impression that the cost of the camera is 2100 bucks, atleast thats what my dealer told me.

Last edited by Stratos : 9th August 2014 at 19:45.
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Old 9th August 2014, 15:51   #11
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Default Re: Road or no road, no problem: Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4

Partha, many congratulations for the King Kong.
Wish you many many happy mile munching with the beast and a niggle free performance from the truck.
Enjoy the beast and hope to see many more TL with the beast.
Thanks for the honest review and drive safe.
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Old 9th August 2014, 16:21   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burn_out View Post
During those days that itself felt like quite an achievement. Brings a smile everytime I think of those days.
If you can trust me, that really was a big achievement because you learnt to connect your senses to the limbs of a 4x4 machine and felt the difference between 2wd and 4wd for the first time.




Quote:
Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
Lovely write-up and neat photographs of the Storme. This is one mean machine and will take you comfortably to remote corners but do pamper it well. Please do not take it to the otr's just for the sake of doing one or as the trend is now a days. This is an explorer, have loads of fun going to new places. Your daughter is very cute and loving, little angel.

Thanks for your encouragement and support, Himadri da. I am totally in agreement with you regarding the usage of the vehicle and, in all honesty, I accepted the dent on my wallet for the same purpose of pan-India travel as you mentioned. The 4x4, to me, is more of a quintessential utility than anything else.




Quote:
Originally Posted by madhu33 View Post
Nice pictures of the King kong beast.
The write up is good and brings out the passion you have for the beast.

This color looks the best on the Storme i m o .
Storme has it's own unique road presence.
Wish you happy mile crunching.

Thanks Madhu.




Quote:
Originally Posted by lazybrain View Post
@psurelia Congrats for being a proud owner of a real beast. Wishing you many more miles.

BTW i noticed that you haven't installed a reverse parking camera. Are you able to manage just with the parking sensors? In my case i initially felt there was no need to install a camera but took a decision to get this installed on day of delivery. I feel happy about this decision since parking this beast in tight spots is quite a task and camera will definitely help. Though it costed me 10K since i bought from the dealer, i feel now its worth every penny

I am used to driving vehicles bigger in size and having poorer visibility than the Storme and that too without any sensors. Therefore, Storme felt extremely easy to handle to me and as you rightly pointed out, I am driving it only with the sensor and no camera.

I definitely think it is a good idea to spend a few thousand bucks for installing a reverse parking camera than spending more money repairing dents and scratches later on. It becomes even more relevant if the vehicle happens to be the first big boy in exchange of YOUR OWN hard earned money.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Storme_on_d_way View Post
An excellent review Mate. The best part was its simplistic language and no jargons. Kudos for following your heart and bringing the beast home. Loved the pics, especially the side view wherein the storme is on an incline. Keep updating us about your experiences and enjoy the sheer pleasure of "riding the storme" .
Thanks Storme_on_d_way. I shall definitely keep you guys posted on my experience with King Kong.

Cheers!
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Old 9th August 2014, 18:43   #13
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Congrats! Nice review.
Wish you a long and niggle-free ownership.
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Old 10th August 2014, 15:28   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psurelia View Post
Thanks Himanshu. I am following the official Tata Safari page. Please let me know the url of the page you referred here if that is different from the official one.






Thanks condor. I bet your tip is going to be very helpful in my future trips.

please PM Bhpian Lukeskywalker. he is the Admin for that group and its a closed group.
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Old 10th August 2014, 15:56   #15
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please PM Bhpian Lukeskywalker. he is the Admin for that group and its a closed group.
Thanks for the info Himanshu. I shall definitely PM lukeskywalker.
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