Tata Motors Safari Storme
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Customer Rating
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Expert Rating
: 7/10
: 3 Yrs / 1,00,000 Kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
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11.09 Lakhs-16.34 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Up market ambience
  • Refined good performer
  • Cushioning ride quality
  • Great all-around visibility
  • Sophisticated user-friendly design

Weak Areas

  • Low fuel efficiency
  • Overpriced in segment
  • Low space at third row
  • Handling not satisfying 
  • Avg stereo and sound quality
Tata Motors Safari Storme

Tata Motors banking on Storme to regain lost SUV buyers in India

Safari Storme launched recently does not, at least externally look very different from its current avatar the Safari which has been holding Tata Motors flag in the Indian SUV market for some decades now. However, interiors undergo huge amount of upgrades with a fairly tuned engine under the hood. Ride quality has improved and a sun 10 lac starting price does indicate Tata Motors serious attempt to gain back share lost to Scorpio.



ecardlr.com National

Tata Storme

After It was unveiled at this year’s Auto Expo, Tata Motors has finally launched the new Safari Storme. The company has taken ten long month to bring it out and, during this period, Tata engineers worked long and hard to significantly raise the game of their long-standing SUV.

However, the first impression you get is that it’s not much of a game-changer. The new nose and rear suggest that it’s nothing more than a facelift. That’s until you drive it. Within 15 minutes of being behind the wheel, you realise how different the Storme is. It feels better built, it’s far more refined, it rides really well and the interior too feels better built, it’s far more refined, it rides really well and the interior too feels a generation ahead. There’s little doubt that this is a thoroughly re-engineered car, but who’s to know?

And that’s the biggest problem with the new Safari. It just doesn’t look all-new. The styling is a strange mix of new and old bits, which doesn’t translate into a very cohesive design. The most obvious changes are to the front, where the slim, wide grille (capped with a thick chrome strip) undercuts the sharp-looking headlights in a nice, stylistic touch. The mesh effect on the grille looks quite interesting and, overall, from the front, the storme looks more modern than before. Sadly, the new nose is not in sync with the rest of the car. Move to the side and the storme looks exactly like the old Safari. New cladding for the doors and wheel arches can’t hide the fact that the glasshouse is identical, the doors are similar and the A, B and C pillars are the same as well. The same as seen on a car launched by Tata a full 14 years ago.

The rear of the storme has been smartened up, and the big news is that the tailgate-mounted spare wheel has been moved under the floor. The tailgate-mounted spare wheel has been moved under the floor. The tailgate now has a fat chrome strip running across it and is flanked by a new set of tail-lights that make the Storme’s rear look cleaner. The twin chrome-tipped exhausts and the grey plastic scuff guard add a sporty touch. Moving the spare under the floor has other advantage too. With less of a load on the tailgate, the rattling issue has now been resolved, say Tata engineers. However, it’s quite a chore to get the heavy spare wheel out if you have a puncture.

After the half-baked job on the exterior, the Storme’s interiors come as a pleasant surprise. Almost nothing of the old car is visible inside, save for the instrument panel, and you can immediately feel the huge improvement in quality all around. Where the earlier car looked pretty basic and plastic quality was only slightly better than the indica’s, the interiors, now feel even a step up from the Aria.

The design of the dash isn’t too radical, but the minimalism is neat and pleasing. The chrome door handles and leather seats add a touch of luxury, as do small touches like the chrome on the gearlever and the flock lining in the glovebox. The mock-wood bits look quite convincing too, and the beige trim and - coloured leather seats work well together. The roof-mounted rear air-con unit still causes a bump in the ceiling, but the unit has now been incorporated under the roof lining.

However, look closely and you can still spot some uneven panel gaps. The utility box on top of the dash doesn’t align properly when shut, the rubber beadings are still wavy, and the seat trim also has an inconsistent finish. True, the Safari can’t yet match the sheer accuracy and detail with which the cabin of a Japanese or European SUV is put together, but of all the home-grown SUVs we have, the Storme’s cabin is possibly the best built.

The Safari has always been about seat comfort and the Storme is no exception. It’s quite a step up into the cabin, but once you haul yourself in, you are rewarded with a commanding seating position and a delightfully spacious and airy cabin. The front seats are large and very well bolstered, whilst the rear bench is supportive too; perhaps a bit too supportive. There’s an excess of thigh support for short passengers, who will find the seat base extending beyond the undersides of their knees. But apart from this small flaw, the storme’s middle row is one of the most comfortable spots on four wheels thanks to a high ‘hip point’, good all-round visibility and generous cushioning.

In stark contrast, the third row is far from comfortable or practical. The tiny, foldable jump seats are only useable on short journeys, at best other niggles include cup holders and cubby holes in the dash that are too shallow to be of much use, and the absence of a rear-view camera and audio controls on the steering wheel. You can, however, adjust the super-sounding Alpine audio system with a steering-mounted stalk. That’s because Tata has shifted the headlight controls to a German car like dial on the right of the steering wheel. Another positive change is the 4x4 selector, which has been moved from the dashboard to the centre console between the seats.

The Safari Storme uses an updated version of the 138bhp DiCor motor, which Tata now call VariCor, because of the use of a variable geometry turbo. This 2.2-litre common-rail, direct-injection motor, which was first developed in collaboration with AVL of Austria, uses double overhead cams, hydraulic valve adjusters and sixteen valves to breathe better. The fuel-injection system runs a very high pressure of 1600bar, and the fuel system uses three injections per stroke; two tiny pre-injections for smoothness and emissions control, followed by the main injection of diesel.

Drive off in the Storme and the first thing that strikes you is the overall level of refinement. The engine is now much quieter throughout its rev range and the cabin feels particularly well insulated from the outside. Again, Tata engineers have worked hard to eliminate unwanted noise with better sealing of the cabin and superior engine mounts.

The good thing is that, despite all the extras the Storme comes with, its weight hasn’t increases. In fact, Tata engineers have managed to shave around 75kg off the old car thanks to a lighter chassis, but the Storme still tips the scales beyond two tonnes, which does blunt its performance.

This hulking SUV is a bit lethargic off the line, a result of its weight and lack of low-end torque. You need to keep the engine above 1800rpm, after which the Storme picks up the pace with a fair amount of enthusiasm. The mid-range is quite punchy and cruising is quite effortless, which suits the Safari’s is role as a long-distance cruiser. The motor also pulls strongly till around 4,000rpm, so once the car gets going, it has more than sufficient performance.

Allow the motor to drop below 1700rpm and the Storme will continue to cruise well at a steady speed. But ask it to accelerate without dropping down a gear and the power takes its own sweet time to come in. Turbo lag is a bit of an issue and, despite the use of a variable-geometry turbo, the turbo is slow to spool up.

The clutch is reasonably light and the gearbox has been improved with shorter throws, but the shift still feels a bit soggy and vague.

What has improved dramatically is the Safari’s driving dynamics, and a lot of that is down to the brand-new underpinnings. The Storme sits on a shortened version of the Aria’s hydroformed X2 chassis and maintains the previous Safari’s 2650mm wheelbase. As a result’s the Storme’s chassis is approximately 50 percent stiffer and 35kg lighter than the old Safari’s outdated ladder frame, which, incidentally, started life in the original Tatamobile in 1988!

The ride comfort is simply fantastic. The Storme coasts over bumps and broken roads like a freight train, flattening out even the largest of potholes. The suspension soaks up everything that’s thrown at it with a rubber-footed silence that only adds to the sense of comfort. The suspension, also carried over from the Aria, is on the softer side, and hence there’s a fair amount of pitching and heaving over uneven surfaces. The ride certainly isn’t flat, but the up-and-down motion of the suspension isn’t really disturbing either.

The rack and pinion steering system has been borrowed from the Aria too. The steering isn’t exactly precise and it still has an inconsistent feel about it, but it inspires a lot more confidence than the old Safari did and the wider track makes the Storme more surefooted than before. It doesn’t feel as clumsy through corners and you’re not always on the edge. The Safari’s problem, however, is that it’s still too top-heavy and roll at alarming angles. The brakes deliver more confidence and stopping power is better with disc brakes all around, but the brake pedal still feels spongy under hard braking.

The Storme retains the old Safari’s comprehensive four-wheel-drive system that includes a low range and a limited slip differential. The systems is easily engaged by using a central console-mounted dial and this allows the big Tata to tackle medium to difficult sections. Yes, this is a real SUV and you can genuinely take it off road, if you know how far to go.

Tata Motors has added value to the Safari Storme by making a few feature like ABS, remote locking and an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity standard across the range. In fact, the Rs 9.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) that Tata is asking for the base Storme LX may be considerably more than the old LX, but the equipment is on par, if not better than, the old mid-level EX.

Unusually, the top-end VX versions (Rs 12.5 lakh for the 4x2) no longer get the reversing camera (there’s just parking sensors) or DVD player as they did before.

Overall, the Storme comes across as a rather well-equipped and reasonably priced SUV. More refined, better built and comprehensively updated, the Storme is a quantum leap ahead of the previous Safari. It retains the tough, old-school character that has given the Safari a loyal following over the years. It may not be as well-equipped as Mahindra’s XUV 500, but it’s every bit as capable. With prices starting from Rs 9.9 lakh for the base 4x2 model and going to Rs 13.7 lakh for the fully loaded 4x4 option, it’s great value for money. And as a long-distance cruiser, nothing can quite beat it for the money. It’s such a pity that after 14 years, Tata Motors didn’t get around to changing the ageing body completely. 

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