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Old 25th January 2021, 17:50   #1
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Default Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Mod Note: Team-BHP's 2021 Tata Safari Review has been taken live at this link. Please continue the discussion over on the new thread. Thanks!

Hello bhpians.

After a very long wait, finally got my hands on the all new Safari a few days ago thanks to my sources. So without further ado here's what I thought of the Safari after spending more than a couple of hours with it both in the city and out on the highway.

Positives

1. Huge road presence. Easily one of the best looking SUV's in our market. Kudos to Pratap Bose.

2. Amazing engine and gearbox combo for the diesel automatic. Both feel like a match made in heaven.

3. Pliant ride quality and sure footed road manners. Ride quality is easily the best in class now that the Hexa is no more.

4. Loaded with features like connected car technology, panoramic sunroof, EPB and a kickass music system to name a few.

5. Top notch safety kit with a plethora of both active and passive safety features.

6. Solid build quality and robust construction.

Negatives

1. Unknown safety of the product as Tata is yet to test the Harrier as well as the Safari at NCAP.

2. Cumbersome to maneuver in the city.

3. Poor rear camera quality.

4. Cramped 3rd row best left for occasional use by full size adults.

5. Uneven panel gaps at some places on the exterior.

6. Doubts over initial batches of a fresh Tata product though the Harrier V2 seems to have ironed out almost all the initial niggles.

7. Missing essentials like wireless charging, ventilated seats, electric tailgate, 360 degree camera etc.

Last edited by Aditya : 1st February 2021 at 09:12. Reason: Adding link to official review
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Old 25th January 2021, 18:15   #2
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Default re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Exterior

As you approach the Safari from the front you cannot make out any difference as compared to the Harrier save for the additional chrome on the front grille and the headlamps. Moving to the side you can clearly see the additional box added aft of the rear doors to make this a 7 seater. Also Tata has cleverly used stepped roof rails to hide the upwards slope of the roof which was necessary to accommodate the panoramic sunroof.
Moving to the rear, the appearance is a bit more boxy as compared to the Harrier and also there are a few cosmetic tweaks to the bumper and to the scuff plate.
To put it simply, the new Safari lacks the Maharaja like presence of the older one yet has a commanding presence of it's own.

The Safari is equipped with 18 inch tyres and also comes with all round disc brakes. Alloy wheel design is the same as the Harrier but I didn't feel the extra inch in the tyres by just looking at them. Also the stance of the car seemed a bit jacked up as compared to the Harrier. Also Tata could have used this opportunity to add hydraulic struts for the bonnet which is expected at this price point.

Build quality of all the body panels is strong and the doors also close with a nice thud. Panel gaps around the tailgate and the bonnet are quite large though. Heck even my Hexa has smaller gaps. The tailgate of the Safari was not aligned properly because it took several hard hits to close it properly, this despite the car being specially checked at the plant with extra care.

Paint quality is good as usual and the blue shade looks stellar as well. It's almost the same as the Arizona blue that was available in the Hexa.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-tyre-size.jpg
Bridgestone Ecopia tyres in 235/60 R18 size

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-tailgate-badging.jpg
Safari badging provided on the tailgate in the same font as the Harrier.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-rear-disc.jpg
Rear disc brakes provided

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-save-tiger.jpg
Tata's way of advertising their bit to help the "Save the tiger" foundation

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-front-changed-.jpg
The chrome treatment at the front looks aftermarket. I prefer the black one on the Harrier.

Last edited by GTO : 27th January 2021 at 07:34. Reason: Spacing between the images :)
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Old 25th January 2021, 21:14   #3
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Default re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Interiors
1st row

Step inside the Safari and it's a feeling of deja vu if you have ever sat in a Harrier. Everything is the same except for the new colour scheme and the addition of EPB with auto hold. I hate the white upholstery selected by Tata for the seats and the door pads as it's a sure shot dirt magnet and will be a pain to keep clean. The fake wood strip running across the dash is now a dark grey colour. Tata internally calls this shade as "the Lalitpur grey".

Tata should have provided an adjustable drivers armrest as the EPB frees up space in the handbrake console. The drivers armrest gets a cooling vent and 2 USB as well as a 12V charging socket.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-epb.jpg
The electronic parking brake with auto hold


2nd row

The version I test drove was the 6 seater one with captains chairs in the middle. The captains chairs are placed theatre style so you have a good view ahead. Also the seats are extremely comfortable with their individual armrests. But I distinctly remember the Hexa's captains chairs being that much better. One thing to note is the width of the armrests for the captain seats. Its woefully narrow and my arm kept on slipping from the top and those with broader forearms can have trouble. Feltlining is provided on the side of the armrests to avoid scuffing to your arms in case you are not using them.

Also, despite the use of panoramic sunroof and the raised seating, there is ample headroom available for the middle row occupants.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-2nd-armrest.jpg
Extremely narrow armrest
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-20210125_144243.jpg
Feltlining provided on the sides

There is ample adjustment in the middle row seats and even 6 footers won't have any complaints as far as the legroom is concerned.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-2nd-row-min.jpg
Here's the minimum legroom for my 5ft 9 height...
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-2nd-row-max.jpg
... While this is the maximum legroom
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-20210125_205836.jpg
The new favourite of India, the panoramic sunroof

3rd row

In the captain seat version you have to walk between the seats to reach the 3rd row which is easier than folding the seats. Once seated you can enjoy sufficient headroom for adults with a medium height but you still sit knees up and also the view out is restricted due to the odd placement of the air con vent which further blocks your view out through the quarter glass.

Also while you have blower controls on the RHS armrest, there are 2 USB charging points on the LHD armrest. One point to note is that my arm couldn't be placed comfortably on the RHS armrest especially because the blower control knob kept fouling with it.

All in all I would recommend using the 3rd row for long journeys only if you have kids or smaller adults sitting their. Still its comfortable for occasional use by full size adults if you can make a good compromise in legroom with the middle row passengers.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-3rd-ac-vent.jpg
Weirdly placed and in your face placement of the AC vent
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-20210125_215011.jpg
The blower control on the right and...
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-20210125_214944.jpg
... USB charging points on the left
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-3rd-row-minimum.jpg
Here is the minimum legroom...
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-3rd-row-maximum-.jpg
... while this is the maximum

Boot

The boot space with all 3 rows up is laughable. I mean it can hardly fit anything and looks same as the current gen XUV500. Even Hexa offers at least double the amount of boot space with all rows up. On the positive side you can fold the seats flat by using latches fixed to the seatbacks and you need to use straps on the seatbacks to put them up.

One thing to note is that the middle row seat needs to be slid to its centre position else it fouls with the 3rd row headrests and doesn't allow it to fold flat. Need to mention this again that the tailgate of the test car was not aligned properly and needed a firm push to slam it shut.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-3rd-row-up.jpg
Comical boot space with all rows up
Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-3rd-row-down.jpg
Flat folding 3rd row hugely improved the luggage carrying capacity.

Last edited by ram87pune : 25th January 2021 at 22:12.
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Old 25th January 2021, 22:32   #4
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Default re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Engine Gearbox and Performance

The Safari comes mated to the same engine and gearbox setup as the Harrier with same power and torque figures. Whether Tata has made any changes to the tune of this engine to make it more suitable for hauling 7 people can only be confirmed after a back to back test with the Harrier.

One thing immediately noticeable as soon as you crank the engine is the sheer refinement. Man I was taken aback by how smooth Tata has made the engine and the overall NVH and this seems a clear step up from the Harrier BS6. The Hyundai sourced 6 speed automatic suits the car perfectly. The gearshifts are barely noticeable when you drive with a light to medium foot and even in full bore sport mode the shifts are timely and quick. This engine gearbox combo is surely going to be the strongest selling point of the Safari.

The Safari weighs approximately 100 kgs more than the equivalent Harrier variant so only a back to back acceleration run can confirm its performance against the watch. But in day to day driving you won't feel the engine to be underpowered or lethargic.

Ride and Handling

The mechanicals of the Safari are same as the Harrier as is the suspension setup. Whether Tata has made the suspension softer or stiffer can again be confirmed after a back to back test with the Harrier.

Whatever maybe the case, the Safari rides really well. It easily takes small and medium potholes in its stride without ruffling the feathers inside the cabin at medium speeds. Up the pace and it stays flat and tracks true over a series of potholes. Only the really big craters need to be taken slow as the Safari lacks that all encompassing ride quality of the Hexa. You cannot pummel any bombed out road into submission like you can do in the Hexa.

Coming to the handling the Safari definitely feels a bit more cumbersome than the Harrier and there also seems to be a bit more roll around corners. Still the overall ride and handling balance is easily the best in class and by a large margin.

The rear disc brakes again inspire confidence and the car sheds speed without any drama whatsoever. They should offer lesser stopping distances and brake fade than the drum brakes on the Harrier.

Last edited by ram87pune : 25th January 2021 at 23:08.
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Old 25th January 2021, 22:45   #5
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Default re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Other points

1. I have confirmed from multiple sources in multiple departments of Tata Motors that this naming fiasco was a last ditch effort by Tata to somehow grab eyeballs in the ever crowded 20 lakh SUV segment. This was supposed to be the Gravitas till almost diwali last year. It was "never" meant to be a Safari from the get go.

2. The Safari will be available in following variants

XE, XM, XT, XT(O), XZ 6STR, XZ 7STR, XZ+ 6STR, XZ+7STR, XMA, XZA, XZA, XZA+ 6STR, XZA+ 7STR.

3. Turning circle diameter is 11.6 meters which seems to be the same as the Harrier.

4. Tomorrow that is on 26th of January, Tata will send packed food for dinner to all the invited media journos and they will take part in the live webcast from their homes. Atleast this is what was shared with me by a senior journalist from a reputed magazine.

5. Tata claimed top speed of the Safari is 170 kmph.

6. The XE variant weighs 1756 kg while the XZA+ 7STR variant weighs 1825 kg(1815 kg for 6STR).

Conclusion

To conclude, I think this is a serious contender in the 7 seater SUV segment by Tata and apart from the hatred it is receiving from the Safari fanboys (including me) this is an SUV that you should have on your shortlist when shopping in the 20-30 lakh space.

It may not have the gamut of creature comforts offered by the completion these days but its core strengths of solid build and excellent ride and handling are hard to ignore. The only other SUV which will spoil its party will be the all new XUV whose launch seems to be just a few months away. Till then Tata should seriously market and push this SUV and also make sure that niggle free cars are produced from day 1.

Also my suggestion would be to not keep on adding features and other improvements every 6 months or so as to make the initial customers feel shortchanged or cheated like they felt when the V2 Harrier was launched.

Also if someone is not going to use the 3rd row then the Harrier makes better sense since its expected to be more than a lakh rupees cheaper while not missing out on much. 18 inch wheels and rear disc brakes are surely not worth that amount while only the EPB seems to be a worthwhile addition as even the Harrier is expected to get the connected car technology soon.

Hope you have enjoyed reading my first ever detailed review on the forum and I am sure our official review will be even more detailed. Till then enjoy reading and a happy republic day to all of you.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 30th January 2021 at 18:54. Reason: edited
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:18   #6
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Reviews section. Thanks for sharing!

What a scoop drive! You even beat us and all auto journos . Many thanks for sharing, bud. Will be going to our homepage today.
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:38   #7
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

A few points here:

1. The 60 profile on the tyres is reassuring for our roads. However, 18" tyres would be frightfully expensive. With every incremental inch increase in dia, the cost of tyres goes up exponentially eg. 15" to 16" to 17".

2. No SUV or MUV other than the Xylo has provided comfortable seating for the third row. The new Safari has just joined the UTR club (Uncomfortable Third Row).

3. The immediate task for those buying this car is to cover the handrests with some cover else the thing would look real shabby after 2 years.

4. The top speed of 170kmph is irrelevant in the Indian context.

5. The chrome grille looks overdone. They should have had a chrome surround and a shining grey grille.

6. Too many variants will confuse the buyer, and the already uninformed sales guy

I hope this product doesn't go the Hexa way.
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:55   #8
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

What a scoop, a coup de la of sorts.
This would be on The Bada Sahab's shopping list, with the last 2 seats for the gunners.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:18   #9
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Hey mate, thanks for the quick review.

No offense, but it did feel like a little nitpicking at places stressing Hexa to be a better package. Atleast I felt so.

Hexa is a flop, though a quite well rounded product that it is and is not relevant today as it is no more on sale.

I guess new safari will find a lot of takers, even those well heeled politicians would think of getting one instead of much expensive Toyota and Ford.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 26th January 2021 at 15:07. Reason: minor typo. thanks.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:21   #10
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Default

Thanks for the exclusive scoop ! Yup it's huge boot space,usable 3rd row, additional features like rear discs , epb and connected tech are the biggest USP over Harrier .

I think it has turned out to be a worthy contender against Innova Crysta especially the AT variants .

With Safari and XUV coming back with a bang we can expect huge discounts and variant rejigging on MG Hector- the top retailer !
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:36   #11
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

How heavy is the steering? Have they ditched the hydraulic he- man steering? Else will be difficult to live with. If 90%of life is on city.

Heard on the forum that it is going to be electric power steering,but I have high doubts that will be the case as this platform was not designed with EPS in mind.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:54   #12
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

In my view a 6 seater is neither here nor there for a personal car buyer. It is a 4 seater with huge luggage capacity (waste of automotive real estate) or a 5-6 seater with 1 unhappy passenger and an unhappy mother (limited luggage).

Based on the points mentioned in the review, the Safari brings zero value addition to the table relative to the Innova. It doesnt have a 3rd row that is as comfortable. It doesnt have a boot space that is as much as the Innova. It is a mild soft roader like the rest of the lot. And they expect people to pay 26-28 lacs ? And what's with this huge list of variants for a supposedly premium product ? Do they want to cannibalise the Harrier ?

Bottom line- They should have made a proper AWD 7 seater with comfort/luxury options targeting 20-30 lacs price that would have taken out some of the market from the Fortuner/Endeavour or even the Compass, instead of landing in no-mans-land like this. It would have befitted the Safari brand lineage too.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:04   #13
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Safari Base Variant spied.

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-a6a2144c41ae4d389a7b12b6245edfce.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-57fce5a3e9bd4ae1b66630ee1d28b602.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-1d6c8097d4604d218da468945d1117d4.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-33a1e495848a4b15915dcf4af72b3952.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-8e7a126a0e7a46fd8b309b605beb3326.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-f705e217dcad449d9bd129e0cb4f53c0.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-1de189aaed2346b7bbd697e1c36a9774.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-292c32af43354b32adb95c7d739064b8.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-866034ed89df4fe090597d352a13f400.jpeg

Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater-df2762a8d0c6454b889b404118470ee7.jpeg

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKfXMGrA...d=s71drzo0whic
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:04   #14
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

SUV with 7 seats is an utopian dream so from that perspective, this Safari does what every other 7 seat(er) SUV does. But not getting the fit and finish right - cant understand why cause this car is being seen under test for over 2yrs. Also, Tata worries about costs too much and this skimming of features is such a shame. People pay a huge premium for features and that's been proven by competition. Just keep adding variants but why not even offer them?

Guess Tata still lacks confidence in its products and somehow seems to be holding back. It's like let's get the core design and engineering bit right and worry about features later. They invest so much in products that fall short of current expectations when they should invest a bit more and do what MG does. Wow the customers with a feature set that is forward looking even if it is useful to every one or not. To me, they should just shrug the monkey off their shoulders and go all out! For all the positives esp on the engine+gear box, this to me is again a lost opportunity. Calling it Safari can help only so much.

But I hope it works for them in the soon to be crowded space - I somehow always felt happy about them and Mahindra trying to build an enterprise locally. So wish them much success!

Last edited by Nilesh5417 : 26th January 2021 at 10:11.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:10   #15
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Default Re: Driven : 2021 Tata Safari XZA+ 6 seater

Now that's a first.
After scoop pics, scoop videos and scoop tidbits, now TeamBHP is on another level with scoop reviews.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram87pune View Post
[b] Also Tata could have used this opportunity to add hydraulic struts for the bonnet which is expected at this price point.
True. Add to that their older models had hydraulic struts a decade ago. The Harrier/Safari bonnet is heavy too.
But then again, the struts in Safaris wouldn't even last half a decade. So maybe TML way of ensuring a part doesn't fail. Remove it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram87pune View Post
Tata's way of advertising their bit to help the "Save the tiger" foundation
Err...They look more like lions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram87pune View Post
The chrome treatment at the front looks aftermarket. I prefer the black one on the Harrier.
Ugh...Even if they didn't want any substantial changes, they could have did something else other than this aftermarket chrome mesh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram87pune View Post
1. I have confirmed from multiple sources in multiple departments of Tata Motors that this naming fiasco was a last ditch effort by Tata to somehow grab eyeballs in the ever crowded 20 lakh SUV segment. This was supposed to be the Gravitas till almost diwali last year. It was "never" meant to be a Safari from the get go.
As clear as daylight. Unlike some of their senior officials who are adamant on stating that it was always meant to be one, they just wanted to surprise people.
That said, eyeballs did they grab. Am of the opinion they sacrificed the Safari brand for short-medium term gain, but boy did it turn a oh, another 5+2 model to a desirable one. Just by a name change. What is in a name? Looks like everything is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram87pune View Post
The only other SUV which will spoil its party will be the all new XUV whose launch seems to be just a few months away.
Nothing like some domestic rivalries. Can't wait for both of these to fight it out on the market.
Though unlike the previous Safari-Scorpio rivalry, this time the Safari will sell decently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ram87pune View Post
Also my suggestion would be to not keep on adding features and other improvements every 6 months or so so as to make the initial customers shortchanged or cheated like they felt when the V2 Harrier was launched.
Though Tata has made the stance official by saying they would have a new launch every 6 months, nothing pisses off existing owners more than missing out features by a few weeks.
But then, they know better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post

2. No SUV or MUV other than the Xylo has provided comfortable seating for the third row. The new Safari has just joined the UTR club (Uncomfortable Third Row).
I believe the Innova and Marazzo does third rows decently.
But yes, the Xylo's comfortable in any row and walk throught the vehicle nature is another level altogether.
But then that plus point (height) was also its major shortcoming. ( Atleast the earlier versions )

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
6. Too many variants will confuse the buyer, and the already uninformed sales guy
Don't want Kia type of confusing variant spread. But I believe the XE to XZA+ range is a good variant spread.

Last edited by DicKy : 26th January 2021 at 10:12.
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