3 brothers & their 3 Tata SUVs: New Safari Dark PDI & first impressions

While the Tata Safari is definitely a great mile-muncher, it misses out on the driving dynamics of the 2018 Volkswagen Vento TDI.

BHPian PrasannaDhana recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Tata Safari XZA+ Dark 7 Seater - PDI

2020 - 3 brothers with three c2 segment sedans

Though my primary ride was the Ciaz 1.3 diesel, I enjoyed driving the Rapid 1.6 TDI and Vento 1.5 TDI whenever we met.

Early 2021, I sold my Ciaz and decided to use my Storme Varicor 400 as my primary ride

Mid 2021, my brother had a major head-on crash with a lorry. He was lucky to survive it without a single scratch, but the Rapid was declared a total loss. 1.8 lakh km of reliable service in 8 years! He wanted to go for an SUV next and chose Harrier. I did suggest using Octavia 2.0 TDI (new Octavia came only in petrol), but his affinity towards the Harrier won.

So 2 sedans were out and 2 SUVs took their places.

The only sedan was the 2018 Vento 1.5 TDI

Now he wanted a 7 seater as the family is growing. Vento was put for sale. Lovely car! 4 years and 70,000 km of flawless ownership.

He had booked a Safari XZA+ Dark 7 seater and the car reached the dealership. We did a PDI today. The car had no issues. It is getting registered tomorrow or the day after.

18-inch tyres. Will definitely ride stiffer than the Harrier.

The infotainment screen looks a bit small for the area of the dash. Also, wish they gave a nicer steering wheel. Nexon/Altroz get a flat-bottom steering wheel which is nice to hold.

Legroom with driver seat set to 5'10 driver

Just 19km on the odo

What I like about the Safari:

Engine - Fiat's 2 litre Kryotec is a nice engine. I loved every bit of extracting all those 170 PS in the Harrier MT on the highways. It's fun to drive in the sports mode with enough grunt and can munch miles effortlessly

Looks - it looks great and has a nice road presence. The Dark shade is awesome, though requires a lot of effort to maintain

That being said, I am sure that guys who are used to driving fun-to-drive sedans/hatchbacks will always feel that lacking in Harrier/Safari. My brother who bought the Harrier still misses the Rapid 1.6 TDI at times on ghats and twisties. He is completely impressed with the space and comforts the Harrier offers.

This one who is replacing the Vento with Safari will definitely appreciate the mile-munching capability, ride quality and space. But he will definitely miss the driving dynamics of his previous cars. Especially when his last rides were all fun to drive machines: Opel Astra - Skoda Octavia 1.9 Rider - Volkswagen Polo GT 1.6 TDI - Vento 1.5 TDI.

I hated the way the steering of Harrier remained light even at upper triple-digit speeds. I am not sure if Safari is going to be any different.

Will have to wait till run in is over and I get my hands on it on the highway. Personally, owning Safari Dicor in the past and Storme currently, I feel the sense of space isn't as much in the new Safari as in the old gen. Let's be honest, the older Safaris were practically very spacious 5 seaters and that's about it. The last row of jump seats was useless. But then the first 2 rows had unmatched legroom, headroom and shoulder room. New Safari, in comparison, doesn't feel as spacious. 3rd row is a joke. It's suitable only for kids. The front seats are nice, 2nd row is good provided you aren't 6ft+ and the front row is also occupied by 6 footers. Even Harrier feels more spacious in the 2nd row than the Safari, even after moving the Safaris 2nd row to the backmost position. Don't get me wrong, I am talking from the perspective of a tall person. For an average Indian family, Safari is still a great 6/7 seater. Only that Storme/Hexa owners won't find the space impressive in the new Safari. I must also admit that the body roll is much lesser in the new Safari/harrier vs the older gen Storme/Safari. The new Safari is also a faster car, being 200 kg lighter than the old gen Storme and also being shorter. Much better power to weight ratio and aerodynamics. New Safari also feels thoroughly modern in comparison to the barebones Storme.

Will I replace my Safari Storme with a new Safari in the future? That's not going to be a quick yes unless I check out MG Hector and XUV7OO thoroughly. Well, that decision is still a few years away and let's hope some more options are launched by then.

AC vents to all rows and USB outlet to the 3rd row were all nice touches. Wondering why rear AC controls were kept in the 3rd row instead of the 2nd row.

It makes me wonder how the market underestimated Hexa. It definitely was a better 6/7 seater than the current Safari. Varicor 400 was equally refined as well as powerful. Hexa had better ride quality too. It was a flop retailing at 21 lakhs on the road for the AT top end a few years ago.

Now, Safari top end AT costs 28.4 lakhs OTR! Surprisingly it sells much better than the Hexa.

I will update you about how the car performs after we clock a few thousand kilometres.

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