After enjoying a successful stint of more than a decade, Tata Safari got its first major update in 2012. This gave birth to the most advanced Safari till date, the Safari Storme, with new chassis, refreshed interiors and significant styling updates. Here, what you see in the images is the 2015 Safari Storme and this is the first time when Tata has updated the Storme since 2012. Needless to mention that the changes on this newest avatar are rather less substantial, but whatever it is, we figured out.
It actually needs lot of close attention to figure out the exterior changes present on this Safari Storme facelift. Apart from a new front radiator grille reminiscent of the honeycomb pattern on the obsolete Land Rover Freelander 2 or the Discovery Sport, and a Varicor moniker close to wheel arch, there’s hardly anything else worth mentioning.
The overall silhouette, side profile and the butch stance remains unchanged as does the tail section, which is certainly disappointing. Tata would have given sportier alloys, LED daytime running lamps or any such elements which could differentiate the one with the old model as well as justify the ‘facelift’ tag it comes with.
Step inside the cabin of new Safari Storme and a really upmarket space greets you. This is an area where Tata has worked the most upon. Ditching the conventional beige-brown theme, an all-new black and grey dual-tone scheme has made its way. The basic dash layout remains the same, while the faux wood panels on the previous model is now replaced with the silver-finished ones, which defenitely looks way better.
A new 6-speaker Harman infotainment system looks properly integrated into the overall setup, unlike the earlier unit that gave an aftermarket feel. It offers all the modern connectivity options including Bluetooth, USB, Aux-in and alongside these, a graphical display that links up to the rear parking sensors. Though the sensors do a decent job at most occasions, a rear view camera would have made the experience more convenient.
Another important addition that the new Safari comes with is a new Zest-Bolt borrowed steering wheel, but slightly bigger in size. And finally, it now houses the audio and telephony controls, so tackling the quirky stalk-mounted audio controls was no more required.
Safari has always been one of the airiest spaces you will ever come across and the new Storme continues to be the same.
The new Storme gets the same engine with some updates that Aria already comes with. So, basically it’s the Aria’s 2.2-litre Varicore unit that puts out 148 bhp, instead of earlier 138 bhp. The torque though remains identical at 320 Nm.
The additional horsepower has been achieved through the re-mapping of the old motor, but having a sheet-metal weighing over 2 tons, it’s difficult or even impossible to feel that difference. What can be easily felt is the improved response and linear power delivery.
While the early Safari models used to get debilitate at low revs, this one moves relatively clean and smooth. The mid-range performance is also better than before, letting it go off quickly. The clutch feel is light and NVH levels have gone down too, at least to certain extent.
All these goods are mismatched with the same 5-speed gearbox that’s still notchy and struggles to slot it into gear. Overall, its improved – a lot can be said too, but still a long way to go.
Safari has always scored good marks in terms of ride quality, and the new Storme carries forward this legacy. Its ability to engulf potholes remains intact and nothing too deep or high bothers Storme to glide over it. What comes as a pleasant surprise is the fact that now it’s less of a skyscraper on wheels, which is quite an achievement when compared to the Safaris before.
Driving dynamics though remains almost similar, the new steering plays a crucial factor in enhancing the driving pleasure. It is now easy to grip and has been positioned a lot conveniently which makes the Storme more car-like to drive. On a straight run, the Safari feels rock steady but the high centre of gravity again comes as a restriction to go more heroic with it. The body-roll is still very much evident and doesn’t really inspire confidence around corners.
The Safari Storme gets an electronic shift-on-fly feature that can engage the 4WD mode on the move. Being in 4High, the Safari manages most of the terrains with ease but in worst conditions the 4Low comes into play and is simply fantastic. All in combined, the Storme left me very impressed with its off-road capabilities.
With a starting sticker price of INR 10 lacs and considering the fact that this is the most advanced Safari yet, the 2015 Safari Storme can be a good option to look at. These refreshments make the Storme a more relevant buy in its segment as well as help it to compete against the primary rival Mahindra Scorpio, which recently got some serious updates. Though it would have been an ‘obvious’ choice rather than just being a ‘relevant’ option, if it came with some substantial upgrades.
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