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Old 19th April 2010, 16:24   #1
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Smile Safari GX: 12000 KMs of pure bliss.

Well now that its been 6 months and roughly 12,000 KMs I thought may be I should make an attempt at writing an ownership report of sorts. Considering my lazyness I know if I tried to write it in one go, I will never be able to finish it. So here' the first installment.

Hope you guys would like it.

PS: I am not as technically savvy as most of our friends at Team-BHP so I am going to try to keep it simple.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

Prologue:

I was born a biker, but somewhere down the line I got married.

I had been an avid biker since my teenage years. Started off on my Dad’ 82’ Yezdi Classic. And like all bikers never thought studies were something which needed my attention. So when I did managed to pass my 10th board exams with flying colours (80+ %) Dad was so pleased and surprised that he got me a brand new Yezdi 250 Classic. That was in ’96.

Later I moved to Delhi in ’98 and because of my driving skills and reputation as a safe driver (the nickname “Devil on Wheels” is not a misnomer) I was not allowed to bring my Yezdi to Delhi. I had to slog for 5 years before I could buy my Pulser 150 in ’03.

And the love affair was going pretty smooth. Infact so smooth that my CFO who was based in Sheffield UK asked me to prepare a contingency plan. Just in case something happened to me during one of my infamous rides; the organization won’t have to suffer.

2006 I fell in love again and got married in 2007. And the rest, as they say, is HISTORY.

Bought a black Alto LXi just before my marriage and so far I have done around 42,000 with the Little Beauty. But deep in my heart I always knew, I am not meant for Alto. Both my bikes were mean and tough and reliable. Alto no doubt was and is very reliable but it did come up short on the mean and toughness issue. I mean I still love the Alto but I wasn’t able to do the kind of journeys I wanted to do (the trip to McLeodgunj-Manali not withstanding).

So last August we started thinking about buying a new car and after considering couple of hatchbacks/sedans (just for the sake of going through the routine) the good old devil inside me said- go for an SUV. And when it came to an SUV, it had to be Mean, it had to be Tough and it had to be Reliable. So the choice was obvious, it had to be a Safari. I didn’t even bothered to take a look at the other options available.

In fact the first time I walked into the Tata show room, the first question I asked was: “when can you deliver me a black Safari?”, prompt came the reply, “which variant Sir?” and I was like, “ummm…., aaah, how many variants are available?”

So it was time to gather some much needed ‘gyaan’. That’s when I started searching for my Team-BHP login ID and password, which I had created log ago, but had never bothered to use. I did read few (okay, more than a few) negative reviews but my faith in the Tata brand name prevailed, or was it the Devil in me? I may never know. It took me almost 2-3 months to gather enough 'gyaan' from the experts at T-BHP, going through various posts/travelogues/expert opinions was a tedious and time consuming process but I am thankful I did.

Here are some basic details:

The Car: Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT

Colour: Quartz Black + Real Earth

Distance Covered: 11,600 KMs

Mileage: Between 12-13 in Delhi – Gurgaon traffic. Highways: a shade over 13.

Audio System: Still using the stock Alpine and seems OK.

Top Speed Achieved: 160 KMPH on NH-8 between Ajmer and Jaipur. (Daytime)
145 KMPH on NH-2 between Agra and Kanpur (Nighttime)

Mods done: Front and rear guards. Hella 500 monted on front guard. Sunfilm the cheap local stuff. All costing around 11,000/-

Road Trips so far:
Delhi-Ajmer-Ranthambore-Jaipur-Delhi 1500 KM (Dec ’09)
Delhi-Jamshedpur-Delhi 3100 KM (Feb ’10)
Delhi-Hardoi-Delhi 1100 KM (Apr ’10)

Issues faced:

Rattling noise from front left wheel when going over potholes. Resolved. SA said he just greased the suspension.

Rattling noise from both front windows. The driver side spooler was replaced during 2nd free service have not faced any issues so far. Spooler for the Passenger side window was not available at that time with TASS, will get it changed at next visit. Cost covered under warranty.

ORVMs got stolen. Had to buy new ones. Cost: 8,000/-plus labour and paint Rs. 1000/-

Front bumper got damaged when the car was just 2 weeks old, in a freak accident. But its holding on fine and doesn’t look like its broken, so haven’t changed it yet. A new one will cost around 6000/- plus labour.

That's all for now folks. Will come back with more in a day or two.
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Old 19th April 2010, 18:53   #2
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Nice write-up. Add some pics of your beast as well. That will attract a lot of BHPians

Prem.
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Old 20th April 2010, 10:35   #3
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Default ABS indicator

Today while coming to the Office, after drving about 3-4 KMs from home I saw the ABS indicator was glowing. Obviously it was alarming. I pulled over, shut down the engine and started my safari again and the ABS indicator went off.

Is this something I should get checked at the TASS or should I ignore it until the next service which is about 3000 KM away. Have others faced similar problems.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:18   #4
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Congrats on the GX

ABS indicator looks like a false pass, show it to T.A.S.S if the indicator glows frequently.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:29   #5
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Default 12000KMs of Pure Bliss: Part-II

The Story so far:

I would consider myself one of the fortunate ones, as unlike several Safari owners I haven’t faced any serious issue so far. Or is there something just waiting to happen. Fingers crossed.

So far I have driven the Safari more than 5700 KMs on Highways all kind. From the majestic and royal NH-2 and NH-8 to the crumpling NH-91 and not to forget the perennially under construction NH-24. And I must say Safari has done exceedingly well on all these various kinds of roads. On a recent trip to Hardoi (near Lucknow) 6 of us were packed in to the monster along with my friends daughter who is just a year and half old. The rear seat was completely taken thanks to the luggage and my new 12 Liter Fridge. And still everyone felt so comfortable throughout the ride, all thanks to the massive size of the Safari.

The best things I liked about it:

- Space. Six adults (two of them over 6 ft tall) and a year old kid had a comfortable ride through 500 KMs, with 4 of them cramped into the second row seat.

- Air Conditioning. Despite the weather conditions right now, we had to switch off the roof mounted AC during our drive from Hardoi to Delhi last week, it was getting too cold for the rear seat passengers.

- Breaking. I am really thankful that I avoided the temptation of a 4X4 and went in for a Gx which had ABS and EBD. I have been in couple of difficult situations and I know I would have been in trouble had it not been for the ABS.

- Power & Pick-up. I have never driven any other car in the same segment, but the Torgue and Pick-up offered by Safari is just too good for a car of its size. The 3rd gear is simply awesome.

Things which can work upon /improved:

- Cabin Noise. A lot could be done to reduce cabin noise, which would make the ride even more pleasurable.

- Mobile Charger. There should be a third charger outlet at the rear end of the car. I have placed my fridge just below one of the two seats at the rear end and have to run the cable through under the second row of seats. Not mention the fact that the plug gets disconnected repeatedly when you have someone sitting in the second row.

- Gear lever. It is a bit too uncomfortable right now, specially shifting to the 1st gear. If they can make this a bit more comfortable, it would add loads to the experience.

- Nagging issues. There are far too many minor issues which are faced by almost every Safari owner. Tata’ should collect data from Safari owners and try and improve their product so that future Safari owners do not face such issues.

Last edited by Devil on Wheels : 20th April 2010 at 11:34.
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:14   #6
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DOW,

Nice short review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil on Wheels View Post
Today while coming to the Office, after drving about 3-4 KMs from home I saw the ABS indicator was glowing. Obviously it was alarming. I pulled over, shut down the engine and started my safari again and the ABS indicator went off.

Is this something I should get checked at the TASS or should I ignore it until the next service which is about 3000 KM away. Have others faced similar problems.
I got this ABS blinking on me on the very first long drive, that too just into the 5th KM from home! Restarted the vehicle and pumped the brakes. The ABS blinking was gone; and yes, the ABS does work like a charm ( I test it once a while ). Reaching 15k kms now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil on Wheels View Post
The Story so far:

I would consider myself one of the fortunate ones, as unlike several Safari owners I haven’t faced any serious issue so far. Or is there something just waiting to happen. Fingers crossed.
...

The best things I liked about it:

...
Things which can work upon /improved:

....
Good choice on going for the GX for the ABS! It is really a must have!

And as for the space, its a playground! My vehicle regularly sees a fully loaded trip, usually me picking up a small batch who are waiting for the last-mile bus to office.

And as for the mobile charger, it is a pain on where it is. Very difficult to use it if you have someone sitting on the middle row, more so if there are kids! I wish they had placed it somewhere else where it would not be so exposed!

Cabin noise - planning for some dampers as FreeWheelBurning has done.

Niggles: so far are the seat squeaks, boot door switch stuck, rear right seat belt getting stuck.

And one suggestion: great power greater responsibility. This two tonner causes more damage under unfortunate situations than an bike or car. Drive safe.
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil on Wheels View Post
.
Crisp writeup , it made me want to own one but don't think that is going to happen sometime soon . Are you running on stock wheels or have you upgraded them ?
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Old 20th April 2010, 13:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prguru View Post
Crisp writeup , it made me want to own one but don't think that is going to happen sometime soon . Are you running on stock wheels or have you upgraded them ?
Yes still running on stock wheels. Haven't felt the need to upgrade/change. Performance on the road and off the road (very limited) has been satisfactory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
DOW,

Nice short review.

And as for the mobile charger, it is a pain on where it is. Very difficult to use it if you have someone sitting on the middle row, more so if there are kids! I wish they had placed it somewhere else where it would not be so exposed!

Cabin noise - planning for some dampers as FreeWheelBurning has done.

Niggles: so far are the seat squeaks, boot door switch stuck, rear right seat belt getting stuck.

And one suggestion: great power greater responsibility. This two tonner causes more damage under unfortunate situations than an bike or car. Drive safe.
Thanks. Anyone tried installing the mabile charger in the third row?? Is it possible?

Dampers sound like a good option but wouldn't it affect mileage?

And very rightly said about the responsibility bit. If not for ourselves, we need to be careful about others moving on the road, specially two wheelers and pedestrians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
Congrats on the GX

ABS indicator looks like a false pass, show it to T.A.S.S if the indicator glows frequently.
Thanks Dadu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaviprem View Post
Nice write-up. Add some pics of your beast as well. That will attract a lot of BHPians

Prem.
Will surely upload some pics when I get home. Haven't got my hard disk right now.
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Old 20th April 2010, 13:56   #9
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Nice write up, devilonwheels. I test drove the Safari recently (couple of different ones actually) and the first gear is a pain. Both me and my wife found it difficult. It is not just about far it is (a mile!) but also it just does'nt slot in well. I was never sure if it was in place until I slowly released the clutch and the vehicle started moving! By comparison, my Indica gears are smooth and sure. I guess it's one of those Safari peculiarities one has to live with if you want to live with the beast. Can other Safari owners pitch in: is it the same for all Safaris?

About the ABS, I know it is necessary, but the 1 Lakh above EX hurts a lot. I don't drive very fast, so I am still debating whether I can forgo it. Of course, I wish I did'nt have to make such choices . . .
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Old 20th April 2010, 14:08   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
And as for the mobile charger, it is a pain on where it is. Very difficult to use it if you have someone sitting on the middle row, more so if there are kids! I wish they had placed it somewhere else where it would not be so exposed!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devil on Wheels View Post

Thanks. Anyone tried installing the mabile charger in the third row?? Is it possible?

Remove the Lighter next to the Ashtray in the front row and use it as a charger.
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Old 20th April 2010, 14:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_R View Post
Nice write up, devilonwheels. I test drove the Safari recently (couple of different ones actually) and the first gear is a pain. Both me and my wife found it difficult. It is not just about far it is (a mile!) but also it just does'nt slot in well. I was never sure if it was in place until I slowly released the clutch and the vehicle started moving! By comparison, my Indica gears are smooth and sure. I guess it's one of those Safari peculiarities one has to live with if you want to live with the beast. Can other Safari owners pitch in: is it the same for all Safaris?

About the ABS, I know it is necessary, but the 1 Lakh above EX hurts a lot. I don't drive very fast, so I am still debating whether I can forgo it. Of course, I wish I did'nt have to make such choices . . .
The first gear is uncomfortable. Almost everyone will vouch for it. Its feels like you have to get up from your seat, fix the gear and then walk back to your seat. But then you wouldn't be driving in the 1st gear, even in bumper to bumper traffic, you can easily move while in the second gear.

As regards ABS. Try a simple test, go to speeds in excess of 60-80 KMPH and shift to the neutral gear and then check how far the momentum will take you, if you do not apply breaks.

I would recommend going for GX. A human life certainly costs a lot more than 1 lakh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
Remove the Lighter next to the Ashtray in the front row and use it as a charger.
Dadu I need it for running a fridge which is placed below the third row seat. If I use the slot next to the ashtray I would have to run the wire all the way to the back. Plus I need the lighter.

Last edited by Devil on Wheels : 20th April 2010 at 14:49. Reason: grammer
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Old 20th April 2010, 14:54   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadu View Post
Remove the Lighter next to the Ashtray in the front row and use it as a charger.
Lighter is removed, but the FM modulator is plugged in.
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Old 20th April 2010, 19:56   #13
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@devilonwheels, loved reading your report.I am not surprised that you did not face any issues.Actually very few people have faced major issues with the car.Infact in my 13,500 Kms of ownership the only problems faced were fuel lid release,a faulty rear lock(when i had bought it) and some minor rattles.But after driving my dad's Santro(run 5000 kms) i felt that my car has very little rattles(Had fixed them during a check up service).For cabin noise, the usage of closed cell foam will do the trick.I had done damping using closed cell foam and dynamat extreme.On idle there is only a slight muted clatter.While driving , to really hear the engine noise i have to switch off a/c.I find engine noise levels lower than an innova.Would recommend damping your vehicle.It has worked for me anyways.Safari is not just a vehicle.It's a way of life.Even after almost 9 months i keep looking at the car and thank myself i bought it.One of the few Indian made cars with loads of character!Wishing you happy motoring!!Regarding your first gear issue i have found that the more you use the first gear it becomes smoother.Also every time you shift to first gear use the same hand movement.Try pushing it gently holding the gear knob completely inside the palm of the hand and guide it into slot.For me initially i found first gear really hard.Now it is much more smoother and i always shift to first gear in traffic when starting from a dead stop.Also usage of system D and Indian oil normal diesel keeps the engine butter smooth.I can really notice it and today i opened the bonnet just to have a look at the engine vibrations.I noticed that it has reduced so much that after an idling of over a minute the vibrations are very very minimal and hardly noticeable.Occasional high revving(gradually and not abruptly) helps in clearing any black smoke issues.This is a simple way to de-carbonise.

Last edited by freewheelburnin : 20th April 2010 at 20:09.
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Old 21st April 2010, 10:24   #14
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DOW, that was a nice report.
My Safari has clocked 45000 kms in 1.5 years. And no major or minor issues whatsoever (fingers crossed). Even the rattles are a minimum.

Personally there are few things that I follow which i think help in the upkeep of the vehicle:

1) Leaving the engine to idle for sometime before start and stop.

2) Engine oil change every 7k kms

3) Regular thorough wash of the vehicle

4) Tyre rotatation every 5k kms

5) I think the safari loves highways. I have noticed that if the highway to city drive ratio is in excess of 60:40. generally the vehicle is happy Mine is 75:25 and the SUV rides like a dream. While couple of my friends are more of city riders and their vehicle complains
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Old 23rd April 2010, 00:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freewheelburnin View Post
For cabin noise, the usage of closed cell foam will do the trick.
Would recommend damping your vehicle.

Also usage of system D and Indian oil normal diesel keeps the engine butter smooth.

Occasional high revving(gradually and not abruptly) helps in clearing any black smoke issues.This is a simple way to de-carbonise.
Thanks for all your inputs, will try to implement all your suggestions. De-carbonise is a new word for me, straight to my list of things to do tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post

1) Leaving the engine to idle for sometime before start and stop.

2) Engine oil change every 7k kms

3) Regular thorough wash of the vehicle

4) Tyre rotatation every 5k kms

5) I think the safari loves highways. I have noticed that if the highway to city drive ratio is in excess of 60:40. generally the vehicle is happy Mine is 75:25 and the SUV rides like a dream. While couple of my friends are more of city riders and their vehicle complains
That was one crisp feedback.

1) I know this helps but haven't been patient enough to implement this.

2) Done.

3) Have to blame my laziness.

4) Shouldn't this be done at 15K intervals.

5) So far I have driven more than 6000 Kms (out of a total 12,000) on outstation tours. Plus my daily route to office is NH-8. So I guess my ratio should be 80:20.

Will upload some pics pretty soon.
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