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Old 29th June 2010, 16:55   #1
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Default My Safari Musings.

Hi all,

I would like to take this opportunity to pen down my experiences of owning and maintaining a Safari 2.2 VTT. It has been a little over an year (April 2009) when I finally took the plunge and bought my first SUV.

I had been contemplating a Safari for almost two years prior to that and somehow was never able to make up my mind. The reasons were simple, I wanted a trouble free vehicle which would not give up on me in the middle of nowhere. With the mixed feelings and reports for the Safari, this definitely was not an easy decision.

I have been primarily a Maruti Suzuki customer and presently own the M-800, Zen, Esteem and also the Baleno. With nothing else but reliability to speak about, my loyalty to the Maruti Suzuki brand was unflinching. My shortlist for the SUV had just two candidates, the Grand Vitara and the Safari 2.2 VTT.

Finally it was the Safari and the reasons to tip the scales in favour of the Safari were the inner space (I am a little over 6 feet tall), the ride quality and the sheer torque. I took the chance of the reliability factor since I am myself a auto enthusiast and quite adept at servicing and maintaining my own vehicles.

So on 29th April 2009, I finally got the delivery of my pearl white brand new Tata Safari 2.2 VTT, 4x4. I had to wait for almost 3 weeks before I got the delivery, but it was well worth it.

So after an year, how has been my experience, am I happy with my decision or do I repent every single day, has it given up on me leaving me stranded or has it stood by me on my few trips, has it demanded too much maintenance or remained happy like a well fed baby and finally what is my honest opinion about the Safari. Well read on if you like to know the details.

For the impatient here is a summary:

1. Mileage till date: 6540 Kms.
2. Regular Servicing Cost: First Three Services for total of Rs. 5112/-
3. Other Maintenance Costs: Aprroximately Rs. 1400/-
4. Trips undertaken: Mussoorie, Chail, Kasuali, Gurgaon (Total of around 1600 Kms)
5. Fuel efficiency: Hovers around 11 Kmpl in city and around 13 on highway.
6. Retro Status: Completed with the usual items ECU Cover, Front Windows Retro, ECU Update, Fuse Updates Timing Pulley change was not required.
7. Satisfied: Oh Absolutely.
8. Did it give up on me: Not yet.

For the truly interested here are the other details.

Over the last one year, I have added some much needed extras to my vehicle. Here is an overview.

1. Added a custom built computer system that is primarily a media centre with a little of GPS and OBD-II thrown in.
2. Added a bluetooth enabled rear view mirror with a reversing camera.
3. Replaced the stock speaker system with a complete JBL setup. Replaced the tweeters, front speakers and the rear speakers and added a 12 inch Woofer.
4. Added two JBL amps, one driving the 6 speakers and one for the 12 inch woofer.
5. Added the official Garware Window film for Safari.
6. Added the official Gear Lock, Minda

I will upload photographs soon.

Here are some of my experiences with Tata Motors / Dealer

1. They issued the insurance policy for my vehicle as a 4x2. I pointed out the mistake and it was duly rectified and a separate note issued by the insurer.

2. The knowledge of the servicing staff is limited. They know how to do the usual things, but the moment you ask for a specific detail or request a specific adjustment they are at a loss. We definitely need a service manual.

3. Their customer feedback process works. They call absolutely religiously after every scheduled service and take feedback. They also follow up in case you report something out of the ordinary.

4. There 24x7 on road service is definitely pro-active. The other day I added there number to my cell phone and dialed it just to confirm if I could dial the 1800 number from my cell phone. The call definitely went through and I kept the phone before the could pick it up (Since I was just testing the number). Surprise Surprise, I got a call back within 15 minutes and the person apologized to me. He said he is sorry that my call could not be attended when I called so they are calling to find out how they can help. This was out of the world. I have never yet seen this kind of responsiveness from any individual / organization. I am impressed.

5. I registered for the Safari Explorer Club and the letter came back after 10 days, apparently the company that handles registration on behalf of Tata Motors has shifted from the address mentioned in the owners manual. I rang up Tata Motors and I had the Safari club packet delivered to me within next two weeks. Although what I can do with it remains a mystery to me.

Problems faced and so far un-resolved.

1. During washing water drips in from somewhere above the clutch and brake pedals.
2. There is a grinding noise from the front brakes when the brakes are heated. Comes only when bringing the vehicle to a very slow stop.
3. The front windows have a tendency to make a "khat" noise when you go over a pothole. Comes only once when you go over the pothole the first time. Guess it has something to do with the window getting settled into it's place the first time it gets a shock.
4. There is definitely some air leakage from the Air Conditioner vents. Even with Re-circulation mode on, outside air definitely comes in. I have seen others report it too and thought it is best to leave it at that.

Things I like:

1. The sheer amount of space and legroom upfront and the rear seat comfort is the best that I have experienced.
2. The presence and ride quality of the vehicle. It just munches the miles and makes a mincemeat of the potholed roads.
3. The confidence it inspires, even if you are driving slow people will not act funny around you and respect your line of driving.
4. Go anywhere anytime capability. Absolutely love this and drive without any tension of damaging my vehicle. I am nevertheless a careful driver so I know the limits.

Things that could have been better:

1. Attention to detail: Particularly missing in certain areas, Cigarette lighter cover for example is something that is ready to come off anytime. Same is the case with the row of buttons that control the fog lamps and other items. The buttons have a tendency to pop out if you have a quick finger. Not that these impact the vehicle in any considerable manner, but at the same time nothing would have added more cost to the vehicle if a little attention had been given to these small things.

2. General Quality Control at factory: I had a leaking rear quarter glass, they fixed it at the first service no doubt, then I had a rubber lining on the door come off since it was loose and they fixed that too, then I had the vehicle tilted oh very slightly to the right side which they fixed too by adjusting the torsion bars (although I had to do it again myself later).

Well I guess that sums up my experience with the Safari so far and I am quite satisfied.

There is one last thing that I would like to add, by buying and owning a Safari we should not believe that we have bought a vehicle that is indestructible. It is after all a vehicle and even the best one's out there will fail if not looked after properly. With reasonable amount of attention and care I believe it is quite a vehicle and offers the best value for money.
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Old 29th June 2010, 17:21   #2
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Your posting on Safari is great. Please post some pics of your Safari. We would like to know more details on the suspensions and their maintenance if you can post on few lines more.
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Old 29th June 2010, 17:50   #3
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Default Some Photographs

Here are a few photographs from the time I checked the vehicle in the stock yard to my recent trips to Chail.
Attached Thumbnails
My Safari Musings.-27042009046.jpg  

My Safari Musings.-27042009051.jpg  

My Safari Musings.-27042009052.jpg  

My Safari Musings.-img_18931.jpg  

My Safari Musings.-img_18981.jpg  

My Safari Musings.-img_20471.jpg  

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Old 29th June 2010, 18:01   #4
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Nice pics, it looks great, I too checked it out at a Tata showroom and the space and comfort was super
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Old 29th June 2010, 18:06   #5
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Hello Manik,

The pictures have come well. Thanks a lot. This thread will be very enjoyable by Safari lovers. Colour of the Safari is very good.
As you have mentioned a custom made computer, where I can get such one? Is it an Audio Head Unit with GPS and touch screen? How much it will cost?
Congrats on your Safari Praaji Have happy miles ahead.
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Old 29th June 2010, 18:24   #6
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Hi Yogesh,

I made the computer myself, there are however some options available with Home*-*iRide Technologies if I recall correctly.

Last edited by Traveler : 29th June 2010 at 18:26.
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Old 29th June 2010, 19:05   #7
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Manikahuja,

A very good review.

Is that the right KM's that you have noted? 3 free service but just 6540kms?
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Old 29th June 2010, 19:21   #8
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Hi Manikahuja

Thats indeed a very good vehicle and looks scratch less after one year of use.
I like your carputer images. It would be nice to see images of the carputer rather than only screen.

If you can post some pics of your additions viz ICE and rear view cam/mirror.

I also want to know more about the problems. Have you reported about these problems at TASS during services? Do you mean to say that these problems could not be rectified by the TASS? If not would suggest you to do so, such minor problems are irritants and spoil the fun of driving.
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Old 29th June 2010, 19:29   #9
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Very honest review, Manik

And regarding the problems still unresolved, please search the Safari Problems/Resolutions thread, i am sure there must be some answers.

good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 29th June 2010, 21:43   #10
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Excellently detailed review Manik. And yes regarding your Safari problem you can check the Safari problems and solution thread. That will be useful. Regarding the breaks grinding noise I think get the front Discs checked. Maybe they are the ones giving the problem. Yes the khat noise from window is because maybe the windows are not fitted properly. And regarding your AC problem I also face the same problem in my Grande. It is maybe because of the re circulation switch not functioning problem. Some minor wiring problem I think. Hope this helps.
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Old 29th June 2010, 21:58   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
Manikahuja,

A very good review.

Is that the right KM's that you have noted? 3 free service but just 6540kms?

Unfortunately that is true. I have not driven it much as I have been pretty busy with work. Did not get much time to travel. I definitely have plans though.
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Old 29th June 2010, 22:05   #12
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Manik, congratulations for buying a vehicle like the Safari, knowing fully well that it won't be a painless exercise. In my opinion, the Safari is a rewarding vehicle for a hands-on owner (one fairly adept with DIYs).

It's fantastic how the safari still looks so good after all these years. A real tribute to the original design and the subsequent updates. I wish Mahindra had been able to do the same, with each iteration the Scorpio (which looked quite handsome in it's first avatar) has slowly turned into a bling mobile.
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Old 29th June 2010, 22:16   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Hi Manikahuja

Thats indeed a very good vehicle and looks scratch less after one year of use.
I like your carputer images. It would be nice to see images of the carputer rather than only screen.

If you can post some pics of your additions viz ICE and rear view cam/mirror.

I also want to know more about the problems. Have you reported about these problems at TASS during services? Do you mean to say that these problems could not be rectified by the TASS? If not would suggest you to do so, such minor problems are irritants and spoil the fun of driving.
The problems faced by me are at best just annoyances and nothing more. I prefer to fix these small things myself or leave them as it is. I really don't trust the staff at the TASS. They break more often than they fix.

I did ask them about the Air Leaking in from outside and they said they will need to open the entire center console. About the water leaking in from the pedals, their answer is that this is normal. Since these are small things I don't really want to get things opened up.

I had another issue about my vehicle being a little tilted to the right when viewed from behind. I reported this and they did fix it. But in the process they raised the front height to it's max. I had to then do this myself and bought it down to within the limits.

I will be posting more photographs soon including the ICE setup and the Computer Setup. Thanks for your comments and encouragement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRoadie View Post
Excellently detailed review Manik. And yes regarding your Safari problem you can check the Safari problems and solution thread. That will be useful. Regarding the breaks grinding noise I think get the front Discs checked. Maybe they are the ones giving the problem. Yes the khat noise from window is because maybe the windows are not fitted properly. And regarding your AC problem I also face the same problem in my Grande. It is maybe because of the re circulation switch not functioning problem. Some minor wiring problem I think. Hope this helps.
Thanks for your comments, I did get the brakes checked and they came up with the answer that the pads and discs needed cleaning. Well I got it done in the last service but that did not change things at all. So I wasted the 300/- odd rupees. Then I took it again and their best mechanic and the service supervisor took a long test drive. They were able to reproduce the noise as well but both were blank. They said they will have to open and check a few things. This was a vague answer and I left it at that.

Last edited by Eddy : 30th June 2010 at 12:36. Reason: Please use the edit / multiquote option instead of posting back to back posts within 20 mins. Thanks.
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Old 29th June 2010, 22:31   #14
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Enjoyed reading your post!

Actually I try to get to every bit of info on Safari (quite uncharacteristic of me); now that am seriously considering taking that plunge. Your story has been a positive one so far and it's a +1 "for" the Safari.
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Old 29th June 2010, 22:34   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josepeter View Post
Enjoyed reading your post!

Actually I try to get to every bit of info on Safari (quite uncharacteristic of me); now that am seriously considering taking that plunge. Your story has been a positive one so far and it's a +1 "for" the Safari.
You are welcome to ask me any specific questions that you may have, will be glad to be of help.
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