Although the basic boxy shape of the Safari has remained the same over the years, Tata has tried to keep it fresh through facelifts and feature additions. The Tata Safari Storme Varicor 400 is the latest and the most powerful version of the Safari.
The Safari Storme Varicor 400 is available only in the top-end VX variant in both 2WD and 4WD versions. The 2.2 liter VARICOR diesel engine in it produces 156 PS of power @ 4000 RPM and as it's name implies 400 N-M of torque @ 1750-2500 RPM compared to the normal Safari Storme in which the same engine produces 150 Ps of power @ 4000 RPM and 320 N-M of torque @ 1700-2700 RPM.
The extra power and torque can be felt during acceleration which is better than the normal Safari Storme. 0-100 kmph takes 12.8 seconds which is about 1 second faster than the normal Safari Storme.
The engine has some turbo-lag though until 2000 RPM and a surge of torque is felt above that. Due to that gear down shifting may be required if the RPM drops below 2000.
It also has a 6 speed manual gearbox as against the 5 speed manual in the normal Safari Storme. The extra gear helps in getting better fuel economy during highway cruising. The gear shifting itself is notchy and could be more smooth shifting.
The Safari Storme's suspension is among the most absorbent among Indian SUVs and absorbs road imperfections nicely though it's tall stance and high center of gravity means it is not meant for high speed cornering.
The interiors are spacious enough although the 3rd row bench seats are good enough only for kids. The dashboard looks basic and is not as modern as other SUVs like the Mahindra XUV500. It lacks amenities like automatic climate control, touch screen infotainment system and a full multi-information display which are expected at this price. The air conditioner control is manual, the multi-information display offered is basic and displays just 2 trip meters and a digital clock.
Overall the Tata Safari Storme Varicor 400 is the most powerful variant of the Safari Storme which has its' traditional strengths like space and ride quality but it's basic boxy shape and interiors have not been modernized much over the years and feel dated. Rivals like the Mahindra XUV500 and the Toyota Fortuner offer more modern styling and interiors and similar or more power and torque. Tata is going to launch the Hexa in the coming months which will have the same engine with the same power and torque figures as the Safari Storme Varicor 400 but with much more modern styling and interiors than it. Wait for that if you can. Buy the Safari Storme only if you can overlook it's shortcomings.
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