Tata Safari Storme Varicor400 Review

Published On Dec 31, 2015 By Arun for Tata Safari Storme

Watch Expert Review of Tata Safari Storme  Varicor 400

The Safari moniker, is a bit of a legend, isn't it, India's first indigenously developed SUV has come a long way since it first debuted in 1998. The Safari Storme received a refresh earlier this year, lending it refreshed interiors and some extra power. However, Tata Motors decided that wasn't enough.  They've gone ahead and launched the Varicor400. It is available in the VX trim and the changes lie only under the hood. The standard Safari Storme continues to be on sale Let's take a peek at what's different.


  • Power! Extremely linear delivery, can munch miles for hours at a stretch.
  • Ride quality is practically unparalleled in the segment
  • Optional 4x4 variant, 200mm of ground clearance can handle off-roading excursions rather well.
  • Humongous space for the 1st and 2nd row occupants


  • Lack of equipment. No MID, Cruise Control, Automatic Climate Control even in the top-spec.
  • Design has become long in the tooth. Feels dated compared to the competition.
  • Third row of seats are practically useless. Best used as a five seater.

The Numbers








Ground Clearance


Wheel Base


Engine Specifications





Mileage (ARAI Claimed)

14.1 kmpl

Price (ex-showroom Mumbai)


VX 4x2

13.60 lakh

VX 4x4

14.90 lakh

Other than the Varicor400 badging on the fenders, the SUV remains virtually unchanged compared to the updated Safari Storme. The monstrous proportions give the Safari unmatched street presence. The little add ons that you see here, like the bug-deflector, the daytime running lamps and the hood-scoop are all accessories that can be fit at the dealer level.

It’s a similar story on the inside, the interiors are identical to the standard Safari Storme. You get the same integrated music system and the Bolt like steering wheel. It is just as spacious too, which means you get the towering front seat, the lounge like rear bench and jump seats in the boot.

Driving the Varicor400

The 2.2 litre motor on the Safari has been tweaked further to push out 156 PS of power and a whopping 400nm of torque. There is a hint of turbolag below 2000 rpm; post which the engine delivers the grunt in one smooth surge. You aren’t pushed into the seat like you’d expect. What you get instead is a clean, linear power delivery. It is extremely similar to being swept away by a large wave in a wave pool - it isn’t scary, but predictable and most importantly, controllable.

Also new is the 6 speed manual gearbox. The ratios on the gearbox are well spaced out. You can be in one gear higher and it won't stutter or judder. In fact, you can upshift to 3rd at around 20km/h and go upto 100 in the same gear!  While cruising at triple digit speeds the engine remains in the meat of its torque band. For reference, the Safari ticks at around 2000rpm at 100km/h in 6th gear. It can do these speeds all day long if needed, without breaking a sweat if I may add. The torque is so usable that I never felt the need to downshift while executing an overtake. Even at speeds above 100km/h, all I had to do, was go slightly heavier on the throttle to pass traffic. This same wave of torque makes the Safari extremely drivable inside the city.

The Safari is ‘drivable’ within the city. The low end grunt is fantastic and you can hover around town in 1st or 2nd. However, I for one wouldn’t want to be in a Safari in peak traffic.The clutch on the Varicor400 isn't the lightest ones around. Also, the long travel actually made my knees ache in bumper to bumper traffic. I'm sure I'll be looking at a knee replacement surgery if I drive this to work daily.

The ride and handling remains near identical to the standard Safari. Ride quality is fantastic, there’s simply no other way of putting it. There’s nothing that has deterred the Safari over the years, and we don’t think anything well. It eats potholes and broken roads for a living, it is just that good. The steering is heavy and this will again be a bother on a day to day basis. However, hit the highways and you would want nothing else. Thanks to its size, it has oodles of body roll. The 2 ton behemoth isn’t meant to attack corners and in all earnesty, please don’t. A couple of times I flicked the Safari into a corner, the back end decided to step out. Not the best feeling when you are sitting high off the ground in a vehicle that weighs as much as the bus you nearly missed crashing into.


The Safari goes up against a host of competition thanks to it’s sticker price. The grand daddy of SUVs in India, faces heat from the younger-fresher Compact SUVs like the Creta and the Duster, its decade old rival - the Mahindra Scorpio and the Scorpio’s rich cousin - the XUV5OO.  The Safari is a bit of an icon, but all the glory does seem to lose sheen when you look at the equipment list. The Safari simply needs to be better equipped to make a significant impact. For example, It misses out on simple essentials like an MID, reach adjust for the steering, automatic climate control and the list goes on. All of these do matter to someone paying the 13.25 lakh ex-showroom price tag.

For now, the extra power is welcome. It is significantly better than the 320 Nm version, and you should definitely pay the 15,000 rupee premium for it. That said, we believe that this version is what the updated Storme should have been all along. The Varicor400 continues to remain the pick for someone who finds every possible excuse to grab the keys and head out exploring.

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