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Old 31st October 2010, 20:06   #1
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Talking Initial ownership report of my Silver Knight!

Hi Folks,
Let, me introduce myself briefly. I am a petrolhead from Pune whose religion is Motorsports, god is Valentino Rossi, who hasnít slept on the last day of every month in past 7-8 years without reading the ĎAutocar Indiaí of next month. I have been following TeamĖBhp since past couple of years, but, havenít done any posting so far. This forum has strongly influenced all of my car purchases and also the car accessories. But since past few weeks, I have been feeling this strong sense of guilt for being very selfish in using all the info on this forum, but not making any contribution to the same. So, let me make some amends now by posting some reviews/experiences of a few amazing beauties that I own! And I have got a big reason to start! I have bought myself a Silver Knight! So, here follows the initial review!

Why I bought it?
Basically, I was looking for a comfortable family car/MUV with 5+ seats as my parents always used to complain about ride quality of all my previous /present cars whenever we went to our native place/outstation trips. Back seat of my previous car, Swift Zxi always reminded my mom of her bullock cart days in her own words! Although, she likes the ride quality of my Palio, any hatchback is cramped with three people in the back over long distances, and with the 12Ē sub in the boot (which is an absolute necessity for me), luggage space is also not enough for her. My vRS is not suitable for broken village roads in our native place. So, although all my cars kept me smiling, none of them could keep my parents happy. So, I needed another vehicle to fulfil their requirements. Also, my occupation and hobbies call for occasional visits to off-road/no road conditions for which a comfy SUV/MUV seemed to be the only logical solution. So, the search started for a car within the budget of 25L which will be used for next five years with the focus on comfort, space, decent off road abilities and preferably diesel engine.

The Choices:
  • Toyota Innova: This was the most logical choice, but with ABS (a must have in Indian highway driving conditions) on only top end variants, it felt quite overpriced and it couldnít do off-roading. I always look for value for money in any product than the price itself. So, negative.
  • Mahindra Scorpio: Then came the Scorpio vlx which offered 4WD at the cost lower than the top end Innova. Fit and finish seemed just acceptable and reliability is supposed to be good. I almost finalized it, but, somehow I could not imagine myself using the Scorpio, as I donít like itís present looks (original design looked much better to my eyes.), and absolutely hate the image it carries. Also, there is this super light steering with zero feel. So, negative.
  • Tata Safari: I had test driven it 2-3 yrs before and remember not liking it at all because of poor fit and finish, quality of plastics, too much play in the steering wheel and what not. So, didnít bother to check it out again.
  • Ford Endeavour: Though the quality is much superior than Scorpio, and has good long list of features, this just didnít make any sense with leaf-spring suspension, low middle row sitting and knees up sitting in the back at close to 21L for 3.0 4x4 version. So, no.
  • Suzuki Grand Vitara: Liked the car minus the average interiors but, not a good value at all with the CBU price tag of 21+L and also the petrol running costs.
  • Mitsubishi Outlander: Absolutely loved the car and went to book it only to find that I will have to buy it with new looks which I am still not comfortable with. Also, the petrol running costs were a negative. So, no.
  • Mitsubishi Pajero: Totally love this car. Only if it came with common rail diesel. Not willing to pay so much for obsolete tech.
  • Nissan X-trail: If there is one car that has won my heart in past year, it is this one! I just love the understated looks, perfect balance between ride and handling, excellent list of features for slx, excellent engine and performance without compromising on fuel economy. But, CBU import makes it very poor value for money (close to 28L for slx m/t). If Nissan makes it available for close to 20-22L by using CKD route, I will buy this car eyes closed! It just fits my requirements to the tee. But, not for now.
  • Captiva and CRV: good soft roaders, but this class of cars donít fit into my tastes as I donít like half measures.
  • Toyota Fortuner: Large waiting periods, lumpy ride quality at back and very little extras over Innova V for ten lakh rupees more didnít entice me to consider it.
So after going through all the options only X-trail SLX M/T satisfied me. But it meant I had to stretch my budget considerably to buy a product which is a very poor value for money. Also, I read somewhere that Nissan has started manufacturing cars in India which lead to the possibility of getting X-trail as CKD in few months down the line. So, decided to wait for some time and continued enjoying my existing beauties!

A few months passed. One fine day we had to visit some remote place with hardly any roads. We found that none of my/my partnerís vehicles can go there. So, one of my partner brought a Safari from his relatives. I had never travelled in a Safari for a considerable distance before this occasion. There were only four of us in the car. So, I sat on the left middle row seat with one leg folded and over the other, arm rest down. And I say to myself, ĎI am a petrolhead who has TDed almost every car this side of 50L. Do I remember sitting like this in any other car? I sit like this only in my living room on my sofa when I am watching TV!í Supporting everywhere was just superb with almost faultless ergonomics. I checked what the status at the front seat is only to find out itís the same there with still acres of legroom to play with. Wow! This is amazing!
So, we pass through Chandani chowk towards Pirangut. There arrives the Toll naka, we slow down, but, the attendant doesnít even bother to look at us, forget making any signal to stop! He just focuses on the car behind and lets us through without collecting the toll! Whoa! This car must have got some intimidating presence and image (our car was also carrying a VIP No. plate)! I have passed thru this Naka a number of times in my vRS( which also has a VIP no.) before but never got treated like this!
So, we continue our journey towards mulshi. I notice that engine noise is quite low than what I expected inside, at least at the back seat. Nice for a Tata! By now the rear A/C has started to chill me, so decreased the blower speed. Wow! Car has so much glass area and still I am doing this! Great!
Then we leave the highway and start travelling on a village road which leads us to our destination. Now, on the last part of the route, we are travelling on the twisting broken earthen road with 6-8Ē size loose rocks/rubble on the road, we are climbing on a hill with almost 15-20 degrees incline, and I am not feeling a thing! Though the soft suspension is moving considerably, there is not a single jerk inside! On one of the steep inclines, car gives some burning smell (from clutch), but, we reach at the top quite effortlessly! And this is 2WD! Wonder what the 4WD can do!
So, what followed this drive is extensive search about Safari on Team-Bhp. After watching Bhpians and their Safaris doing some awesome stuff, I got totally hooked on to the Safari Mania! Arranged a Safari (this time a 3.0 Dicor) for outstation trip to Akluj, came back and headed straight to the Tata showroom, came out booking my Silver Knight!

Booking Process and Delivery experience:
Booked the car from Pandit Auto in July, as my previous experience with them with my Palio was good. I always liked the looks of a black Safari, but, ordered my car in arctic silver as I wanted it to be easy to maintain and this colour also grew on me after watching pics of the fellow bhpian Sumanís car. I selected the GX variant as ABS is a must have feature for me and value addition in VX over GX is not justified for additional 1.4 L.
Booking process was smooth, sales person was polite and prompt in his service though not very knowledgeable (they tend to make random statements about the product without studying the technical details). Since arctic silver GX 4x4 is a made to order variant, I was given a delivery period of one month which I accepted as I didnít want my car in any other configuration.
One fine morning in August I got a phone call from Pandit that my vehicle has arrived. So, went to the showroom, completed the remaining formalities, wanted to do the PDI myself with the Team Bhp checklist, but, finally didnít do it. Sales guy convinced me that I can do the PDI if I want but no need for it. Got the car a day before my birthday, so this turned out to be a kind of self gift!

Initial Ownership Experience:
Buying a Tata product for the first time in my life, I was mentally prepared for some small issues regarding fit /finish, reliability and off course they did come!
Incidentally, first service was due and so took the car to the workshop with prior appointment. Here is the detailed report about it.
First Service:
I reached the workshop at 10:30 as per the scheduled appointment. Service advisor inspected my vehicle and was ready to take my vehicle.
Me: there are few minor issues with the car. Firstly, the hydraulic arm on tail gate has got detached.

Advisor: No problem sir. It will be done under warranty.

Me: Ok. Then, doors sometime donít open when unlocked individually, not centrally.

Advisor: (Locks and unlocks the doors which function properly this time) Sir, there isnít any problem. It is working fine.

Me: Am I lying to you? Please still get them checked. Next, reverse parking sensors are not working properly. They have got a mind of their own and give false beeps and distances.

Advisor: (Tries reversing in the parking lot). No Sir, it is working fine.

Me: Try one more time.
Advisor: (Reverses immediately with overconfidence to prove me wrong, comes back and Bang! He has hit the gate behind as he depends too much on the sensors. Now, he has started sweating!) Ohhh! Sir, I am really sorry! Will get the damages repaired at my own cost! (So, the flaw accepted in a hard way!)

Me: Engine sort of takes the pause and gives some jerks at 1400-1700 RPM before continuing to accelerate smoothly. I understand the turbo lag but, this is something different. (Now, we head out for the TD)

Advisor: Sir, this is normal as this is a high torque machine and Blah! Blah! Blah!

Me: Tell me what the torque figure of the car is.

Advisor: Sir, it is about 130bhp.

Me: I asked you the Torque figure which you are putting blame to, not the bhp.

Advisor: (Hesitates) Sir, I donít know the exact figure.

Me: Let me tell you. It is 32kgm. Now, listen to me. Donít give me your nonsense answers. I myself am an engineer who knows much more about cars than you do. So, speak only if you have something that can contribute to understand and solve the problems. Also, there is one more problem. There is some krrrrrrÖ noise from the steering column when we are at 1400-1800 rpm.

Advisor: (Keeps on driving above 2000rpm and refuses to accept the noise) Sir, you should not drive below 2000 rpm! (Now, he wants to teach me how to drive!)
Me: Now, stop the car. I will drive and show you how the krrrrrr.. noise comes.

So, I drive the car and show him the noise from steering column for which he has no option but to accept. When we reach back to the workshop I get out of the car only to find out that he is knocking on the passenger window from the inside asking me to open the passenger side door from the outside! Now, he has to accept the problem with the door lock also!

So, I leave the car with the workshop and come back to pick it up in the evening. The car is delivered within time. The problems with the door locks, steering column noise are solved. They say that parking sensor problem is also solved, but, I am not fully satisfied nor with the pause/jerks that engine gives before turbo comes into the action. I need Bhpiansí opinions on the same.

Apart from the poor levels of knowledge and attitudes of the service staff, I would like to say that I am totally bowled over by this Tata product. So, here is my overall evaluation of the car on various aspects:
A. Looks: Amazing, muscular and I find them to be Timeless. This full size SUV has a huge presence and makes other soft-roaders look quite small and commands respect from every road user.

B. Space, seat comfort and ride quality: In my opinion, luxury starts with space. I donít like to call a car luxurious if you donít have enough room to move your legs in it. Power this and power that comes only after space. And, the space and seating comfort of Safari is unmatched by any other car this side of Rs. 50 Lakhs. Ride though is not flat, is soft and we donít feel any jerk inside even on worst surfaces.

C. Handling: Car even handles pretty good for an SUV, taking sweeping turns on highways at 100 kph comfortably. And to my surprise, steering feedback is much better than what I was expecting and also has very little play in it.

D. Braking and Safety: I have found even braking to be adequate. Although, we have to maintain a safe distance from the vehicles ahead.

E. Fuel efficiency: Till now it is close to 10-11 kpl for mixed driving cycle.

F. Off Road Ability: Although, I am not an off road enthusiast, car manages rough roads and no roads situations very comfortably which is enough for me. 4L mode is just amazing, car manages to climb 30 degree climb in soft soil as if it is nothing.

G. City experience: After driving it for a considerable distance, I donít find it to be difficult to drive in the crowded traffic conditions either, although, taking U turns requires advance planning (which I am very much used to because of my Palio!).

H. Interior fit/finish: Poor quality plastics are abound and gives the feeling that something will go wrong shortly rather than after a long use.

I. Equipment and features: Car has adequate amount of equipment. Only thing I find uncomfortable is that car locks itself sometime after we start the engine even when the car is stationary. It should lock the doors only after we start moving. So, u can get left outside with car locked if u come out of the car after starting it and close the door for some reason.

I am really impressed with the concept of this vehicle, as the most comfortable, spacious, luxurious vehicle for the Indians by an Indian company which can do some serious off roading and still donít cost you the bomb to buy and run. But, execution of the concept has to be improved a lot. I donít mind paying Rs. 1-2 lakh more for high quality interior materials, rattle-free experience and better fit/finish for interiors and exteriors as well. With the level of improvements we have seen in Manza over Indigo and in Vista over Indica, I am really expecting a lot from the next generation Safari. I just hope that they donít change the looks which are perfect and may I say ĎTimelessí.

To sum up my experience, I would like to say that my Silver Knight is delivering me a whole lot more than it promised! It is serving me as my daily driver and it has also managed to change me! My vRS is running close to 32k and Palio 1.6 is close to 35k, both are brilliant cars in their own right, but, none has made me write a review! And only 2k in the Safari has made me sit up, shake up my laziness and write such a long review! This car truly has been a revelation and in my personal opinion is replaceable (for space, comfort and off road ability) only with a Land Cruiser or a Range Rover which obviously cost a moon to run! Long live the Safari!

As no review here is complete without photographs, here are a few photos of my car. They are taken with my phone camera, so arenít really up to the Team-Bhp standards. So, please bear with them.

About the name: Like most of the Bhpians I used to call my Safari as the ĎBeastí. But, after seeing and using it for a considerable time, I donít feel it looks beastly in arctic silver avatar. Although it looks very muscular and powerful, it looks quiet elegant and good natured in this colour. So, rechristened it as the ĎSilver Knightí! So, enjoy the photos! Also, thanks for going thru this long review!
Awaiting your replies.
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Old 31st October 2010, 20:39   #2
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Congrats on your silver knight.
Great story and the buildup to your buy is interesting.

We have a 10 year old safari TCIC in our family. It is used sparingly but still rides like a dream.
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Old 16th November 2010, 21:14   #3
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Congrats 46TheDoctor.

Great write up and a very hilarous conversation with the service advisor. Enjoyed reading it.

Wishing you miles and miles of happiness with your 'Silver Knight'.

I am beginning to like this name, so I'll probably rename my Safari to "The Dark Knight', since it is black.

BTW, I am curious to know why you removed the spare wheel cover.

Last edited by Kairalee : 16th November 2010 at 21:19.
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Old 17th November 2010, 03:44   #4
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Congrats for your vehicle. It looks lovely.
What happened to the wheel cover for the spare wheel?
Since your Safari made you write a review, believe me it will also make you a photographer .
I am also sure with this purchase, you must be planning to take your knight for long distances and to the roads less traveled. Hopefully you get time to write those travelogues as well (or am I expecting too much)
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Old 17th November 2010, 03:47   #5
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Congratualtions! I saw this now after 18 days. I love the color and feel that it is the best for the current Safari. Drive safe. Nice write up as well.
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Old 17th November 2010, 09:01   #6
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Congrats on owning the Silver Knight! Nice pictures there.

Enjoy many more miles Safari-ing in your silver knight.
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Old 17th November 2010, 12:34   #7
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Congratulations Doctor for being a proud owner of Silver Knight

I wish you many many happy miles with your Silver Knight. Make sure that you always wear your seatbelt. Drive safe.

Amith
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Old 14th December 2011, 21:37   #8
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Default Initial ownership report of my Silver Knight!

Hello Friends,
This is a bit embarrassing to react so late to your replies, but, here i am!
Thing is when i received super duper 1 reply for my review within one week of posting, i assumed that i need to learn a lot about writing skills and never returned to my own thread . Only today did i notice that a few replies are received after a few weeks of posting, so here i am replying!
I will also write a long term ownership review shortly as the car has done 24k now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Congrats on owning the Silver Knight! Nice pictures there.

Enjoy many more miles Safari-ing in your silver knight.
Thnx a lot nkrishnap!

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
Congratualtions! I saw this now after 18 days. I love the color and feel that it is the best for the current Safari. Drive safe. Nice write up as well.
Yep! silver looks very classy on safari and also reduces the effect of the excess chrome which i hate and no worries of bushes thorns while off-roading, like say black.

Quote:
Originally Posted by himavanth_m View Post
Congrats for your vehicle. It looks lovely.
What happened to the wheel cover for the spare wheel?
Since your Safari made you write a review, believe me it will also make you a photographer .
I am also sure with this purchase, you must be planning to take your knight for long distances and to the roads less traveled. Hopefully you get time to write those travelogues as well (or am I expecting too much)
Thnx. Spare wheel cover was broken by the service adviser while reversing as mentioned in the review.
As far as becoming a photographer is concerned, i have purchased a D90, but, yet to master it.
I have done a lot of out of town trips, but, will try to write a travelog when i do some really specially trip, like say Leh/Ladakh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kairalee View Post
Congrats 46TheDoctor.

Great write up and a very hilarous conversation with the service advisor. Enjoyed reading it.

Wishing you miles and miles of happiness with your 'Silver Knight'.

I am beginning to like this name, so I'll probably rename my Safari to "The Dark Knight', since it is black.

BTW, I am curious to know why you removed the spare wheel cover.
Thnx a lot!
I too enjoyed the time with that service adviser, though it can't be called as a good service . The best thing is now he remembers me personally and gives very nice service!
I also saw the pics of your 'Dark Night'. Looks amazing on beach!
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedmiester View Post
Congrats on your silver knight.
Great story and the buildup to your buy is interesting.

We have a 10 year old safari TCIC in our family. It is used sparingly but still rides like a dream.
Thnx a lot. But, i am not convinced about how good my review is looking at the no. of replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klub Class View Post
Congratulations Doctor for being a proud owner of Silver Knight

I wish you many many happy miles with your Silver Knight. Make sure that you always wear your seatbelt. Drive safe.

Amith
Thnx a lot. I always put on seat belt before firing the engine, even for very short distances.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 15th December 2011 at 07:30. Reason: removing smiley
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Old 15th December 2011, 07:59   #9
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Default Re: Initial ownership report of my Silver Knight!

Congratulations on your Safari. The colour is looking very nice on Safari. Hope you will keep the thread updated. Do post some interior pictures of your beast.
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