Tata Safari – First Drive Report
- Published On: 13 February 2021
- 6 min read
The Safari badge is back - can Tata Motors recreate history by bringing back the iconic SUV? Let us find out.
Remember the Tata Safari? Well, the iconic SUV is back in the form of a 6 and 7-seater SUV. Showcased during the Delhi Auto Expo 2020, the vehicle was recently rechristened with the famous nameplate. Though at that time, most of us would recognize the four-wheeler as Tata Gravitas but now the story is different. Is the Tata Safari all new? Well, let us find out.
How is it to look at?
SUV’s are always a delight for the Indian consumer and playing on that card Tata Motors is all set to introduce the Safari into the country. In appearance, the SUV might seem familiar from upfront which is due to the similarity in design that it shares with its younger sibling the Tata Harrier. In fact, the nose besides the presence of a new tri-arrow grille does not have much of a change to offer. When compared with the 5-Seater, this new SUV offers the same sculpted hood, LED DRL’s, projector headlamps, fog lamp clusters and skid plate as before. Unlike the front fascia, the side profile has a few distinct highlights to take note off. For starters, the SUV is longer by 63mm than the Harrier while its height has been increased by 80mm. This portion of the vehicle also caters to a stepped-up roof rails that provides it a premium quotient. Coming to the tailgate, like upfront not much has changed besides the presence of a Safari badge which has been interchanged with the Harrier moniker. Other design elements remain the same. The rear profile offers sleek tail lights, a roof mounted spoiler, skid plate and reflector inserts located within the bumper. Overall, by way of appeal, the Safari looks like a well-rounded product. However, time will only tell if the design is loved by the end consumer.
What are its interiors like?
Moving away from the exterior, let us now get into the interior. But hold on, before that, let me tell you that the old Safari was synonymous with imperfections especially when it came to the cabin. Though it felt rugged, the quality of plastics and fit & finish were an issue which this time around have been taken care off. Thus, what you get in the new SUV is a premium feel and 3rd row of seats. Once inside, the layout might seem a bit recognizable due the part sharing with Harrier. That said, key highlights consist of a 7-inch colour instrument cluster, chunky electronic steering wheel with mounted controls, an 8.8-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system that comes compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Its dual tone colour theme (white and black) lends the interiors a very airy feel. The Ashwood insert on the dashboard is a welcome change as is the quality of plastics and their fit plus finish. For on-board entertainment, the vehicle provides a 9 speaker JBL audio system that relays decent quality sound. That apart, presence of features such as USB port, navigation, IRA – Tata Motors Connected Car Technology are added benefits. From a convenience perspective, the cabin offers a whole lot of storage spaces in the form of cupholders, a glovebox, door panels and seat back pockets.
As this was the top-of-the-line model, it catered to captain seats in the middle-row while the third row provided seating for 3 persons. From a leg space point of view the former has a lot of it and the later feels a bit constrained and ideally best suited for children. The company has given a bit of thought for the third-row occupants as it has provided separate rear A/C vents on either side, plus the inclusion of two USB ports on the left-hand side is an added benefit to charge your electronic gadgets. Presence of a panoramic sunroof will be loved by most. Speaking of comfort, the front two rows offer ample of it.
What is its performance and drive like?
Under the hood, the New Tata Safari comes equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine. The power plant delivers a maximum power output of 168 bhp with 350 Nm of peak torque. The variant that we were driving was the manual which provided a 6-speed gearbox. Talking first about the gear shifts, they felt smooth from start to finish. The engine overall feels very refined and provides a linear power delivery.
Besides these, the SUV also comes equipped with 3 driving modes namely Eco, City and Sports. Eco here refers to fuel saving driving conditions while City is apt for stop go bumper to bumper traffic while Sports caters to a spirited driving performance. To make driving an enjoyable experience the four-wheeler is provided with a terrain response system that caters to 3 more modes – normal, rough, and wet. Running on 18-inch wheels, the vehicle suspension set up is such that it soaks in potholes and broken roads with utter ease. The handling is not the best considering the overall dimensions, as it features a great degree of body roll especially while negotiating corners or turns. This apart, in the performance department, I do feel that most enthusiasts will love the way it performs on and off the road.