2016 Tata Safari Storme Long Term Review
Long Term Test No. 102
Car Tested: Tata Safari Storme Facelift
Kms Done: 5926 kms
Test Started at: 7619 kms
Test Concluded at: 13,545 kms
Mileage: 10.50 km/l, 12.20 km/l (best), 9.41 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 535.95-litres
Fuel Cost: Rs. 32,125/-
Rs. per km: Rs. 5.42/-
The Safari is not your regular SUV with gimmicks, it’s a car that connects with your heart & soul
When the Safari Storme joined our fleet, I was quite excited to drive the beast on a daily basis as I am a hardcore Safari fan. However, at the back of my mind I had a feeling that I’ll get impassive with it in a couple of months but most importantly I was worried about the reliability of the big bad Tata. Now after driving it for about 6000 kms, let me tell you straight away, my connect with the Storme became stronger with every passing day and this new age Safari proved to be a reliable and practical machine for daily usage. Read on to see my long term experience with the Safari and also a comparative viewpoint on my short encounter with its new brother, the Hexa.
One of the biggest USPs of the Safari Storme is its humongous and intimidating proportions. Such typical SUV look with a long bonnet, upright windshield and a huge cabin space is difficult to get nowadays. Even the new generation full size SUV Audi Q7 looks like a kid in front of this beast. With such powerful presence on the road, you naturally get the bragging rights and no one dares to come in your way. I’ve even got exempted from a couple of toll booths in Uttar Pradesh, where the Safari is known as “Neta ki gaadi”.
The Tata Safari Storme is very practical with a spacious cabin that can accommodate a lot of luggage too
The interiors look dated when compared to the new age rivals but Tata has slightly improved the cosmetics compared to the pre-facelift model. The Safari Storme comes with all-black interior with silver accents and the new family steering wheel adds some freshness to the dashboard. Shockingly the analogue clock has been removed from the dash and that space looks a bit ugly. The instrument cluster too remains the same which doesn’t get MID. In our previous report, I had mentioned some missing features that Tata should have offered with the facelifted Safari but the Indian automaker has covered all the missing tech with the new Hexa and furthermore they’re offering some segment first features in their upcoming flagship. Don’t expect Tata to offer new tech in this generation of the Safari, for now, we have to wait a couple of years until the next gen Safari (Q501) comes loaded with tech.
If you are thinking that the Hexa is a better alternative to the Storme, then you might be wrong because it’s a different product altogether. It doesn’t have that commanding driving position that the Safari has. You can’t clearly see the bonnet of the Hexa no matter how tall you are and the seating position is a bit raked, more car-like and comparable to the XUV500. Another interesting aspect of the Safari is the cabin space. Legroom, head room, shoulder room, you name it and you have acres of space. I have also used the Safari for shifting from one house to another within Delhi. One session of loading and unloading a Tata 407 truck was equal to three rounds of the Safari simultaneously which saved me a full one day of shifting.
The Tata Safari Storme can easily make its own path and even its own parking!
You can’t do such heavy duty stuff with any other car as you might feel worried about abusing the interior but the Safari borne it all without a fuss. Another aspect for which the Safari always shines is negotiating dividers and kerbs. I hardly faced parking issues with the Safari. Nose jutting out? Just reverse it up on a kerb. Parallel parking is tight? Crawl it up the kerb and you are good to go. The high ground clearance and low-end torque makes it very capable in such situations without even having a 4×4 system like our long term tester. The short turning radius of 5.4-metres further makes it quite easy to manoeuvre in tight parking spots and sharp U-turns.
The Safari Storme has a very different character in city driving conditions and out on the highway. The varying behaviour is seen because of the engine tuning and gear ratios. The 2.2-litre Varicor 320 diesel engine is quite potent and mated well to the 5-speed manual transmission. Now since the first three gears have short ratios, it quickly surpasses the initial turbo lag and rides on the mid-range making it easy to drive in the city. It also provides prominent engine braking due to short ratios, which helps in avoiding frequent braking. The clutch is light too for SUV standards and even after doing a Gurgaon-Delhi in the evening you won’t ask for a left leg massage.
The Safari doesn’t feel underpowered in spite of being quite a heavy weight SUV
Now when it comes to mile munching, the beast stretches its legs and gets ready to cruise all day long. The tall 4th and 5th gears provide a wide torque band to ride on and the in-gear acceleration for overtaking trucks is always there so that you don’t feel the need to downshift. Yes it gets a bit vocal and thirsty if you cross and maintain the 120 km/hr mark in the 5th gear with the Varicor 320 engine but that’s now rectified with the additional 6th gear of the Varicor 400. The fantastic suspension keeps absorbing the unwanted jerks on the road while the high speed stability doesn’t make you feel nervous at all. However, if your road trip has ghats section like on the Mumbai-Goa route, the passengers might have to swing a tad more with the pronounced body roll of the Safari.
All in all, the Tata Safari Storme is an addiction after you get a hang of it. The more you drive it, the more you feel connected to it. It is best explained as a dark chocolate for a layman. You might hate it when you try it first but the taste grows on you with time, you need to develop it and then you won’t like eating other fancy chocolates (Mahindra XUV500, Hyundai Creta, etc.) that offer a variety of flavours but have no soul. Living with the legend was my childhood dream come true. My attachment went to such an extent that I made a sketch (even though I’m not good at it) of the Safari to keep it on my desk, aiming to buy it very soon.
* People maintain distance from the Safari due to its massive size
* The interiors are very spacious and comfortable with huge loading capacity
* The multi-faceted engine and gearbox offer strong performance
* Very comfortable ride quality and highway drivability
What’s Not So Cool
* Doesn’t come with a long list of features in gimmicks
* No major changes compared to the pre-facelift Storme
Further Reading –
2016 Tata Safari Storme Long Term Review – Initial Report
Tata Safari Storme Long Term Review – Initial Report
Tata Safari Storme Long Term Review – Final Report
2016 Tata Safari Storme Varicor 400 Test Drive Review
2015 Tata Safari Storme Facelift Test Drive Review
Tata Safari Storme – Tour de Gujarat [Travelogue]