DISCLAIMER: Hey guys! I would like to just pen down my thoughts about the Storme here in this bustling thread. These are my personal opinions and do not have anything to do with the company. I m not getting paid (sadly ) to write this review so its my own impartial appreciation. Pardon me if I m technically wrong somewhere, as I am no expert. I'm just a guy who has had the good fortune of taking 3 TDs with different vehicles in different dealerships and partcipating in one fullfilling Terrapod activity.
For most of us, the TATA Safari does and will always have a special place in our hearts. It seems as though this handsome beast has been around for a very long time....born a very, very long time ago, when God was a boy. From the time of its birth to a good fourteen years hence, it has remained one of the most distinguished home grown steeds and has continously hynoptised a vast fan base, calling out to loyalists across age groups. The first Indian SUV with 4x4, the Safari has been the sole reason and means for putting the words 'rally' and 'offroad' into the average Indian's dictionary.
The tides of time ushered in the next evolution of this rare species and in comes the Safari Storme. Looks
As always , this remains a matter of personal opinion. When TATA was developing the new Safari under the cloak of 'Merlin', there were many guesses as to how the new SUV will look.
With M&M setting style mags on fire with its XUV 5oo, it was only natural for motorheads to hope for an all new design by TATA for the Safari. When the STORME did make its appearance at the AutoExpo, it received a mixed welcome. Some were even disappointed that the Storme was just another Safari with its tail chopped off and face punched in.
But personally, I am quite happy with the way Storme looks. Its actually good that TML didn't mess with the old design much. We owe that much to the legendary Safari to carry its genes into the future. The power bulge on the bonnet makes a bold statement of what lies underneath. The chrome name strip on the nose gives it a nice regal touch. The front grille reminds one, of the Storme's distant rich cousin,the Landrover. The only thing I would complain about is the upswept 'grinning' headlamps (more of a Skoda Superb than a LandRover) I really would've loved a more squarish pair of eyes for the Storme. (Yes it's a Beast,not a dragon).
The side profile is thankfully the good old Safari, looking all macho with the heavy body cladding, albeit plastic. The door handles are of fine design and quality and the' thud' with which the door closes is reassuring. Thanks again, for the Safari glasshouse has been retained. The sweetest thing I love about the profile is that lovely footstep tastefully married to the doorsill. Its melodious...everything from the footstep's width, to its design and texture and the way it totally fits into the main body of the car looking unlike anything close to an add-on accessory. I hate to imagine what blasphemy it would've been to have a chrome side step rod, wiht rubber foot strips, jutting out of the Storme's width instead, with flimsy clip-ons holding it to the underbody.Aargh!
The rear is where some real home work's been done. The tailgate mounted spare wheel is gone(Nooooo :( ) That was the signature of the legendary Safari. In the most crowded of streets, in serpentine traffic queues, one could never miss that lovely wheel cap.(Always reminded me of a backpacker all kitted up and ready to head out into the wilderness and beyond....to some place far away...maybe where only Safaris could go.) But like it or not, it's gone. And on hindsight (err, literally) it actually is not that bad. The wheel now snugly goes beneath the body and makes the door lighter and easier to operate. (I only hope, that this ease continues into removing the spare wheel from underbody when one needs to) The rear looks clean and nice with the matte black brushed strip breaking the tail gate monotony and bearing the Tata marque and the STORME in its signature font, quite nicely. The tail door open button snugged under the handle feels to operate. The elliptical dual exhaust tips add some nice finishing touches to arguably the "best looking rear" in the segment ;)
This section would be incomplete without commending TATA for the wonderful paint quailty that they have gifted the Storme with. All new cars look delicious in the showroom. but only few would tempt you to 'eat' them. Apologies for the culinary comparison but nothing else would've driven my point home. Those of you who are yet to see the Storme in flesh, remember these lines, grin and nod when you gaze upon her for the first time. And again Thank you TATA for the Urban Bronze. Its undoubtedly, my personal favourite colour on the Storme.
In totality, if looks could kill, the Storme may not do jail time for murder, but it could nip and tuck on the hearts of a particular kind of people. The kind who understand how Daniel Craig and Roger Moore are the same Bond at different phases of life. The young reckless butch 007 matured into that suave, regal elegance that only comes with age and refinement. Just remember, neither would think twice to get their hands dirty.In its new avatar, the Safari Storme may not be love at first sight, but instead oozes a rare character that slowly grows on you. Interiors:
Step (read climb) into the Safari Storme , settle down into the driver's seat and you will first notice 'space'. A sense of anticlaustrophobic freedom that is all around. Imposing seat height gives a good all round view, thanks to the huge windscreen, side screens, large ORVMs, a full breadth rear windshield and a complementing wide RVM. There are almost nil blindsposts and this surely instills a sense of control in the driver. There is no other vehicle in this segment perhaps, that can boast of this kind of a commanding all round view.
The plastic quality has been beefed up several notches and is visibly plush. The all beige trim adds to the aforesaid 'spacious' feeling, but will definitely get dirty if the Beast goes about its daily business.The center console is the main disappointment inside the vehicle, with only an unbelievable single DIN system bravely staring at you, with the same unbelievable blank expression.There are simple looking knobs for temperature control that, well, just look too simple. There are a lot of blank gaps and opportunities in the console and a hopeful mind can get very creative with it. There are no pretty ladies greeting you when you enter the car,no theatre nor theatrics. There are no TVs, refrigerators, washing machines or other home appliances inside. A few goodies thrown in would have justified the asking price and reassured the few of us who have to break our banks to materialize the buying decision. Maybe tire tronics and auto wipers and the like can be done without but Cruise control and climate control are sorely missed. It is here in the feature list department that the Storme has to bow down to the competition. There is a thin line between classic and outdated and the analog clock in the center console trips and falls into the latter category. The stalk mounted controls may need a lot of getting used to against the steering mounted alternative.
But then one could always argue, that these creature comforts are not what this beast is meant for. Storme does come with the bare essentials like two airbags, EBD
and with all 4 disc brakes its pretty geared up for its basic duty. But then it would only remain an argument for after plonking a million and a half smiling Gandhis on the Storme, its only fair that the owner gets to have a few smiles of his own.
The steering position leaves very little room for flexibility as it would have helped each driver to find that personal sweet spot if it came with both telescopic and height adjustment. The 4x4 knob replaces that tiny dial and sits aft of the gear lever, where it looks more meaningful and ready to engage. The seats are adorned with good quality leather and are comfortable. As always with the Safari, middle row is indeed the Emperors throne. Performance:
The Storme puts up some pretty decent numbers with its 2.2 litre fancy nomenclatured Varicor heart churning out 138 horses with 320 Nm torque. I love the way the steering lets you flick the two ton truck around with fluid ease. I would ve preferred a meatier grip around the steering wheel though.
I personally found the ride quality and handling satisfactory as I kept reminding myself that I am driving a Body on frame SUV and not a monocoque sedan. It could definitely be better but I promised myself I won't complain too much. The already well appreciated turning radius needs no mention. NVH insulation is pretty impressive with the windows rolled up and thumbs up for that.
I hope Tata pulls up its socks and gives Storme a good after sales service to back up the trust invested in it. Because anyone who is trusting a TATA with 15 big ones deserves, besides a bravery award, a good treatment.
All the above rant still dont tip the scales in favour of the Storme. I wouldn't go and book one as yet...until.... 4x4
For me, this trait alone tips, flips and bangs down the scales in favour of the Storme. This is where the Storme stays true to its bloodline and the legendary icon it succeeds. One drive off the road on a Storme and you will find yourself and all your doubts melting away. The Storme is truly at home off road and feels like the beast it is meant to be, in its natural habitat. Yes there are other capable 4x4s that one could own shelling out lesser. They are the best buys if you could afford a second car dedicated for recreation and offroading. Their practicality as an everyday car somehow never convinced me. But the Storme can get down and dirty, pump up your adrenaline and after a quick wash, take you calmly to office the next day with your collar creased and white, or your wife could drive the kids to school and drive it to the mall and give it back to you to get it dirty all over again. The Storme can do all that and do all that with style. (Get the Bond connection?)
I wish Tata would reveal some numbers like the approach, departure and ramp over angles, as the 200 mm Ground clearance might not count for much without some impressive angle figures and may be wading depth too. The offroad ability with the Electronic Shift on Fly makes the SUV so much more than the other four wheelers that share the road with it and puts it up on a different league. At this side of 15 lacs I wonder if any other SUV can do what the Storme does.(Except ofcourse, if you are lucky enough to find a Mitsu Pajero ;)
The Storme is not the best riding car you can have. It is certainly not the fastest or the quickest car around. Its so surely not the most Value for Money proposition available.On road, it cannot behave like a well mannered police dog. The Storme cannot do all that. What the Storme can do is claw its way up that unsurmountable looking incline, reach up on to the peak, turn around spit on the incline and then commence an eventless descent with the same composure that fools lady gravity despite its two ton weight.
If you are one of those who get wet dreams of that white Safari- Full Throttle dune bashing at Jaisalmer, you will understand what I mean. If not, take a nice long test drive on road and off it. If sparks fly and you find yourself grinning...! Dont look for reasons for that grin,cheers! you are in love again! 'Merlin' has cast his spell on you.If not, there are other wonderful machines out there that might suit you better.
Though both kinds are right in their own might, there are only two kinds of people in the world: Ones who love the Safari and ones who don't.Whichever side you are in, make way..there's a STORME coming...