What is it like to buy a real SUV in a sea of pseudo SUVs?
Those who know me are aware of the fact that Tata Safari is my favourite car ever! Some of you might have seen me in Tata Safari vs Mahindra Scorpio drag race and Tata vs Mahindra fanboy videos on our YouTube channel. We’ve had three Safari Storme long term cars in our fleet. While Faisal didn’t share the pre-facelift long termer with me, I managed to keep the other two. After driving the Safari for two years I didn’t like driving any other SUV be it some luxury German SUVs or the new breed of compact SUVs loaded with tech, they just don’t give me the real SUV feel. That’s when I decided I have to get the Safari come what may. It has been my dream car since childhood and finally I’ve got one of the last units left! It was not easy though.
When I heard about the news of Safari getting discontinued a couple of years back, I was on my toes and preparing to get one before it gets out of stock. Early this year, the news got confirmed that the production has been stopped. I checked with Tata Motors and only 2 units of the Storme VX 4×4 white were left! I rushed to the dealership and booked mine right away. Look at the coincidence, the random number that I got is 1942, a love story indeed!
Now that my dream car is here with me, I get to deal with people making faces and asking me random questions making fun of my car buying decision. These queries are like – Why not MG Hector or Kia Seltos dude? This is so old, even if you wanted a Tata you could’ve bought the new Harrier! There are no features, how do you manage? What about the resale of this Tata car? Will you get parts now?
For me, the meaning of SUV is simple and straight. It should have 4×4 with a low range gearbox, ladder frame chassis, proper SUV proportions and dimensions with a torquey engine that can take it anywhere without breaking a sweat. However, people want easy to drive, easy to park, automatic cars with sunroof, huge touch screen, cameras, cooled glove box and what not without caring about a single aspect of an SUV, not even 4×4. Don’t call them SUVs people, call them crossovers or hatchbacks with high ground clearance!
Then there are people who talk about resale. Imagine you just got into a relationship and you’re already thinking about when will it end or how profitable the ending will be? People actually don’t love their cars in India and this is the reason why we get very few cars that have emotional connect. In fact the cars that enthusiasts love are rare and get discontinued very soon because there are very few takers. I never thought about the resale of the Safari as I intend to keep it for eternity.
Talking about parts, yes one should think about it for long term maintenance. However, most of the manufacturers supply parts for 10 years after discontinuation of a car. Also, the Safari is still in production for the Indian Army and VVIPs and I believe parts will be available for a long time.
Even the fuel station owner came up to me when I went to fuel up the Safari for the first time, he said I’m seeing a new Safari after a long time, why didn’t you get the Innova “Crystal”? I told him I wanted a real SUV not an MPV. He says “magar Innova bhi kaafi dumdaar hai (Innova is quite powerful too)”. I wasn’t in a mood to argue with him coming straight from the dealership. Now that was the beginning of criticism and I got used to it pretty quickly. That’s my story of getting the Safari home against all odds and here today I am celebrating 1000 km on the ODO with a wide grin on my face.