The Safari brand has become a cult for Tata Motors, however it has lost out some ground over the years as it didn’t get any time-to-time updates and even the features on offer weren’t at par with the competition. In 2012, the Safari Storme changed the dynamics of the Safari, however the exterior and interior design were almost the same. Recently, Tata has given a upgrade to the Safari Storme. We get our hands on the new SUV, and tell you how different it is.
To begin with, let us be honest that the Safari Storme has got some changes but on the outside there aren’t many major upgrades. It gets a new badging on the front grille and that’s about it. There is no other difference in the styling, well yes there are the new alloy wheels too. But why will the company change the exterior, when it needs to make an upgrade for the interiors.
Step inside and you shall notice a sea of changes. The Safari Storme gets a new steering wheel, revised instrument cluster and an integrated music system for the first-time. The steering wheel has been borrowed from the Zest and the Bolt, however the size is larger and it also still inclined a lot. If the position of the steering wheel was a bit more vertical, then it would have been very much car like and even the drive would have been more comfortable in the city.
The new music system is a bit complicated to use, but has good quality of sound. Seems like the Harman speakers are used on the Safari Storme. But there is one major downside. Today, Safari Storme’s competition is offering a lot more features and even touchscreen is a standard feature on top-of-the-line variant. But this Safari Storme that we drove has a single DIN music system. The new seat fabric and black and grey interiors are more welcoming than the previously used beige on VX variant. The seats are a lot more comfortable too, as the previous ones did feel a little uncomfortable especially on long journeys.
The second row has always been comfortable and while the third row of side-facing seats are just fine. What I really never understood was why does the second row in the Safari Storme have AC vents on the roof and also on the floor. The Safari Storme has the best second row space and comfort of all its class and even the segment above.
The engine is the same 2.2-litre, however it has been updated with the VARiCOR technology once again and now it produces 148bhp of power (instead of 138bhp) and the maximum torque is the same at 320Nm. One will not feel the increase in power while driving in city, and this can be felt more on an open road. The Safari Storme’s drivability has improved and one doesn’t have to shift a lot of gears while driving in city traffic. This has made it a lot easier to drive in city traffic. There is no major increase in the surge. What the Safari Storme is again good at is high speed stability, which isn’t a phenomena seen on the competition.
The transmission remains the same with the G76 Mk-II that is also there on the Aria as well. The gearbox is a bit rubbery and at the same time, the throws could have been a bit shorter. The clutch is extremely light and it makes driving a breeze in city traffic. Also, with the short turning radius, things can’t get any better.
The ride of the Safari Storme was always the best in its segment and it continues to remain the same. The Storme is built on the X1 platform and it gets good handling characteristics too. The Safari Storme is a breeze to drive in city and at the same time, it is stable on highways too. The steering position could have been made more car-like to make it more enjoyable. As the rear-mounted wheel has been moved underneath the body, the fuel tank capacity has been reduced to about 50 litres from the original 65 litres on the Safari.
The Safari Storme has got a major revamp on the inside and on engines that really matter. But in terms of features, Tata Motors still has to do some catching up. But the Safari Storme has been a product with the best all-round capabilities and this is what it still retains. The upgrade has just made the SUV a lot better than what it was. It is still a no non-sense SUV.