Tata Safari Storme Review: Battling the Storme
Back in 1998, when Tata Motors introduced the Safari in India, little did the company know that its first true blood SUV will keep battling the competition fiercely for so long. The Safari has braved various tides across its tenure.
Tata Motors realized that the Safari may be an enthusiast’s favorite but then not exactly a very popular car among its competition especially with the Mahindra XUV500 scooping the SUV segment with its giant market share.
The boys at Tata Motors were determined to bring in a new version of this cult SUV but with a refined persona. Changing the way it looks, feels and performs but without compromising on the basic essence of Safari.
Thus, Tata Safari Storme was born, an SUV which the company claims to boast of redesigned exteriors, improved quality of interiors, better performance and a refined VariCOR engine. This is our detailed review of the Tata Safari Storme VX 4x4 variant where we find out more on this classic SUV.
The Tata Safari has always had the looks of a macho SUV. It does not have wild and aggressive lines as such but then its matured looks always illustrated power in a controlled way. When we got our Storme for review, our cameras were more than excited to shoot it as we knew it that the Storme will give us plenty of opportunities to shoot it in dust and sand with the Storme enjoying it too.
With the Storme, Tata Motors wanted to express their maturity in design. The new design language of it drops delicious hints of the British Land Rover connect. It has got a well rounded design and looks very modern from all angles. The flat head and longish bonnet brings a new element in the Safari.
Finally, the projector headlamps make its way into the Safari and in a nice way. The new headlamp design looks compact and the detailing done in it is good. The Storme gets a new face with the chrome lining on the bonnet line. This bling line also has the syllables STORME etched on it. We are glad that Tata Motors chose to make the Storme look modern instead of giving it a family look with a rectangular wire meshed radiator grille which has a V design embedded in it.
The lower jaw line of the front face has been cleaned from the earlier generation and the one on the Storme features clean lines without any unnecessary profiles on them. Circular fog lamps with chrome lining around them are fixed on the bumper. At the extreme end of the bumper is the air splitter with mild scoops which has been done very neatly.
Seen from the side, the difference starts to reduce as it appears very similar to the earlier Safaris unless observed very patiently and pointing out the minor differences. The ones that stand out are the new design alloy wheels which are not exactly very sporty unlike the ones that come on DICOR. Outside rear view mirrors are now covered in chrome with indicators affixed on them. These mirrors can be electrically adjusted from inside the cabin.
The distinct roof rails and the new tail lamp design are also new additions. Dimensionally, the Storme is marginally longer i.e. by 5 mm and wider than the Safari DICOR. The footsteps provided to aid the passenger get in are indeed very useful and of a strong built.
The Safari Storme visually reminds of the Land Rover Discovery 4 with its overall design looking inspired from the premium SUV. The rear D Pillar design and the clean lines on the rear tail gate are very reminiscent. On the rear tail door is a chunky dull matte plank with the naming done in chrome. The rear bumper sports twin rear exhausts affixed on the rear bumper and look very interesting. One more welcome change is the tail door sans the spare wheel mounted on it which gives it a more contemporary look.
Contrast in colors used on the body and the bumper is good with a small drawback though. This drawback is the positioning of the rear foot step for the third row passengers which is on the left of the bumper. It gets difficult for the third row passenger, specially the one sitting on the right to spot the footstep which is close to impossible in dark conditions. Making it a centrally placed arrangement would have served the purpose just right.
Getting inside the tall cabin is not that easy as it’s located at a considerable height and also there is no handle on the A-pillar to aid your entry inside the vehicle. Inside the cabin, it feels a lot roomier and also with the fact that this one is wider so there is lots of room to breathe throughout the cabin.
It may not exactly be a premium SUV but then the Safari Storme shows tremendous improvement over the earlier offering. The sand and chocolate wood colors used in the interior feel nice and plush. The dashboard, central console and the door handles are done in wooden vinyls and none of it looks overly done. The front dashboard design remains same with lots of straight and square lines.
The steering wheel has pseudo metal finish on its spokes. It feels nice and confident to grip. The only drawback about it is no audio / phone controls on it and thus you have to toggle off and on the steering. However, there is an audio control lever on the right of the steering wheel through which you can change the mode i.e. Aux, Radio etc and also seek different tracks and control volume as well. Its peculiar position does not make it too convenient to use and instead we ended up using the music system directly. Another drawback is the quality of music through the speakers which was disappointing. All frequencies of music sound the same and there was no sort of bass in the speakers.
Legroom of SUVs are not an area of complain and so the Safari Storme too doesn’t fall behind. The front and second row legroom is generous. The materials used in the seats feel improved with adequate bolstering. One small place of improvement can be the level of comfort especially for the second row passengers. It is at the same height with the front row however in long journeys they may not prove to be very comfortable. The foldable third row seats are the last place you can expect any comfort from. We kept the seats folded and often flooded this space with our luggage and equipment.
The plastic quality and the interior trim quality is decent and shows that the engineers at Tata Motors have indeed taken the feedback very seriously and worked meticulously on it. The Safari Storme indeed has good quality of interiors but then still it can be pushed further more improving the overall fit and finish of the vehicle.
The Safari Storme features an improved version of the DICOR called the VariCOR engine which promises to be more reliable and efficient with less vibration. The VariCOR unit has the same displacement of 2179cc. It produces a maximum power of 140 PS at 4000 rpm and a torque of 320 Nm at a range of 1700 to 2700 rpm.
Some of the characteristics of the Safari are felt in the Storme too. Crank up the key and the Storme gets evidently alive as the VariCOR produces a good kick as soon as the engine is started. It is not an agile vehicle at all also on lower rpms the Storme just gets too lazy to make any move. Press the pedal and the body starts swinging along its length. The rocking movement has been a Safari trait and the ride gets very choppy as we move forward.
A turning radius of 5.4m is a very impressive element for a SUV of this size and dimensions. Also to aid reverse the vehicle is a reverse assist on the rear view mirror which alerts the driver on the nearest obstacle from the vehicle. The Air conditioner was chilling and it didn’t take lot of time to cool the cabin. For the second row passengers, roof mounted AC vents serve the purpose though these vents take up good space. It would be a task to clean these vents when dirty as the sand interiors would attract dust very easily.
Press the brake pedal hard and the vehicle will swing and cradle towards the front. The braking quality is decent and can be improved. Maneuvering the vehicle from tight turns and spots can be a bit of a task. The gear shits are better but not too smooth. The shifts can get a bit notchy when shifted often. Inside the city in bumper to bumper traffic the gear shifts get hard to be dealt with.
This issue however subsides on highways. It’s a total treat on the highways. Its bully stance and amazing street presence work totally in its favor. During our review, a curious onlooker in a Skoda Superb tried catching up with us but was not able to, now this was cause of our stellar performing Storme or his driving skills is what we left it at.
We had already driven the Safari Storme on the special terrapod track where we got an idea of its off roading capabilities. During our detailed review, we tried squeezing the best from the Storme by challenging it across different types of terrains and surfaces which can be seen from our images as well. The Shift on the fly 4 wheel drive mode is something we got to play around. Twist it and the Storme gets into serious mud fight mode. It gets into a maximum traction mode and just anchors the ground firm.
The Storme is based on the Aria’s platform and has a stiff hydro formed chassis which is a superb change. We tested the new setup on hilly terrains with the vehicle generously loaded. Naturally, we had to be on lower gears but then the Storme took on the obstacles with great ease. Its ground clearance of 200mm came in handy.
While some would complain about the new engine being noisy, I personally was enjoying it. It was better than the factory fitted music system at least. Driving it on road and off it was a fun experience as the dual character of the vehicle gets out evidently. The Safari Storme surely does feel improved and lighter but then still it leaves space for further improvement.
The company claims a mileage of 14kmpl (2WD Mode) for the Safari Storme. We got a realistic figure of 11kmpl throughout our review.
|Engine Displacement (cc)||2179|
|Power in PS/RPM||140/4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||320/2700|
|Transmisson||Manual 5 speed|
|Tyre rating||235/70 r16|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||55 L|
|Average Mileage in KMPL||13.2|
|Dimensions in MM|
|Rurning circle radius||5.4 M|
|Ground clearance (mm)||200|
|Kerb Weight in Kgs||2000|
|Features||LX 4X2||EX 4X2||VX 4X2||EX 4X4|
|Ex-showroom Price Mumbai (in Lakhs)||995000||1075000||1235000||1365000|
|4WD Electronic shift||No||No||No||Yes|
|Limited slip differential||No||No||No||Yes|
|Roof mounted AC||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power foldable mirrors||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Electrical rear glass Demister||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Height adjustable driver seat||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Arm rest for driver and co driver||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Reverse guide system with display||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dual Exhaust with chrome finish||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS With EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||VX 4X4||W8 AWD||V X|
|Ex-showroom price Mumbai (in Lakhs)||1365000||1396120||1363550|
|Power in PS/RPM||140/4000||140/3750||102/3600|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||320/2700||330/2800||200/3400|
|Turning circle radius||5.4M||5.6M||5.4 M|
|Fuel Tank in Liters||55||70||55|
|Seating||7 Seater||8 Seater||7 Seater|
|Mileage in KMPL||13.2||12||14|
|Roof mounted AC||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power foldable mirrors||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electrical rear glass Demister||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Height adjustable driver seat||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Arm rest for driver and co driver||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Reverse guide system with display||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual Exhaust with chrome finish||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS With EBD||Yes||Yes||No|
It has not been too long that the Safari Storme has been launched inspite of delay in the launch. This delay can be seen as the period which Tata Motors took to make sure the Safari Storme hits the market with a bang and does not go unnoticed.
Prices start from Rs.10,39,262 for the LX 4x2 variant and goes upto Rs.13,99,191 for the VX 4x4 variant (prices are Ex-Showroom Mumbai). On the other hand, Safari Storme’s rival the Mahindra Scorpio which offers features such as voice assist, steering mounted controls and cruise control stands not just as an obstacle but a tough block to ignore. The only way the Storme beats the Scorpio is by its better performing engine and off roading capabilities.
Safari Storme comes forward as a very promising SUV. With the new additions and changes, it proves to be a serious contender in the now popular SUV segment. There is also news about Tata Motors launching a more powerful and luxurious version of the Safari Storme. Also an automatic variant is in consideration too.
The Safari Storme also bring in confidence of the consumers back to the Safari brand which has a cult fan following. We just hope Tata Motors takes the feedback seriously and incorporates all the changes in the next generation Safari Storme.