been following the master thread on storme for quite a while now. I've become a member recently and on 19 Oct 12, i had the fortune to test drive the veh at delhi (courtsey Rama Motors, Okhla Ph II).
My take: (and i'd purely talk of the ride quality both on a good, a not so good, and a very bad road, that was more potholes and less tar. For I feel, enough has been said about the interiors, the paint job, the goodies and gizmos)
And yes. before i begin, the looks. I think it's nothing but a matter of personal choice. I've always loved how Safari looks and I thank the design desk guys at Tata, for not fiddling too much with it.
So you feel in control of your space on the road. That's the first thing i noticed. The comfort, the space, the height everything. As i drove out of the showroom, a truck decided to move slowly right in front of me and i had no option but to follow it for a while. What better a way to see, the torque/speed/rpm characteristics. so the first and the second gear were obviously no problem, the joy began at a steady third at a steady 20kmph and the joyous suprise increased as the truck sped a bit, and i could test the 4th gear. that responded smoothly at a steady 25-30 kmph.
Tar road. Bad mid day traffic. The vehicle meandered like a dream. Short gear throws suddenly made a lot of sense and with all due regards to Ms Renuka Kriplani (she reviewed the storme on bloomberg tv on 18 oct 12), i did not find the gear shift notchy. it's not perfect but it's at a level, where it's definitely a non-issue. So, the 140 bhp, extricated each time without much ado. And the road presence, was awe-inspiring as i saw it in the eyes of the onlookers. (The AC btw
way, was now very effective. the music to my liking and the sudden open stretch of road ahead inviting).
So, I revved. Touched 100 in no time (i didn't check if it did it in 0-15 seconds, but it was pretty fast). the over-drive felt like it and the best. i tried my best to perceive turbo-lag. I couldn't. Not once.
And as usual, a dog decided to cross the road. My co-driver jumped in her seat. i felt adrenaline rush and the ball of my right foot, felt a gentle pulse. The storme felt nothing. it simply, stoically stopped. ready to speed again, in no time.
We turned into another lane of the industrial area. The pot-holed paradise for the off-roader. Ironically, the place was jam packed. Bumper to bumper. So you were mostly static and in between you moved so sluggishly that the feel you desired of the vehicle going into and coming out of giant chunks of the missing road, was not achieved. I decided you U-turn, at the next opportunity. But it so appeared that it would take ages to reach the next cut in the divider.
The divider. For a non-existant road as bad as the one i describe, the divider was remarkably good. Solid 12'' stones cemented together. painted yellow and black, then a bit of slushy mud and then the same stone on the other side of the road. So i got a window of opportunity. nothing was coming from the opposite side. I made my decision and to the surprise of my co-driver and other people stuck in the jam, i made a U-turn there itself. First gear. beautiful feel as the veh raised, descended, raised, descended. partially raised and descended twice more (this for the rear wheels) and made a neat short u-turn. The magic figure of 5.4 m proven to hilt. It was for me, the high point of the drive. I expected an ovation of sorts from the guys still stuck in the jam on the now opposite side of the road. All i got was stares from people when they see a crazy guy do a crazy thing (this once effortlessly. beautifully and in no time).
Soon reached back. Reversed the vehicle in the narrow pathway and got the first hand experience of the reverse-aid mounted in the IRVM. Effective. non-dramatic and very functional.
I was happy with the drive. They showed me, how the phone paired with the internal bluetooth. good.
The Alpine 1-din (a major issue in this and so many other forums for some) what one learnt was, that the Tata guys stuck to it, because it's the only one in its class, that can withstand serious off-roading without once jumping a track or misbehaving.
The spare wheel lowering and raising mechanism is again functionally very basic. simple and i personally checked it to see, if my wife was on her own and needed to change the tyre, would she be able to do it. She would. I'm convinced.
One last word about a comparison between the XUV and the Storme. I've driven both the vehicles. Personally, I felt more at home in the Storme. XUV bedazzles you, with its looks, its gizmos. the small surprises here and there. There are no surprises in Storme. It's simply meant for people, who'd thank an LSD. who'd use the 4x4, who'd thank the guys to put the volume control on the stalk and not the steering wheel. who'd swoon each time, the vehicle u-turns caressing 5.4 m.
My two cents. No offence to anyone. Happy off-roading.