Disclaimer: All opinions presented here are solely my personal and shall not be taken in any other sense.
Just happened to have a WONDERFUL test drive of a Pearl White Storme few hours back, so, decided to share my thought on the same with all of us.
I had booked the TD on their website and got a call from TATA head-office the same day. Next day got a call from the dealer and the TD was fixed. I had requested a 4x4 for the TD but he said that for TD we get 4x2 only. So, I too got the 4x2 VX Pearl White.
Firstly, I am just amazed with the built of this beast. TATA has gone light-years ahead since the time first Safari was launched. From engine fineness to paint quality everything has improved by leaps and bounds.
Let’s strip to details now: The Heart
The 2.2 ltr Varicor engine is just too refined. Turn-on the ignition and let the beast yawn (idle) for a min and the sounds just vanishes, well not literally. There was very minimal engine noise inside the cabin and also when I stood next to the vehicle. Pop the hood and you are welcomed by a stunningly organized engine bay (definitely not anticipated from TATA). All the plumbing and wiring has been routed very thoughtfully and nicely. The engine cover though stylish looks fragile. The NVH levels also have improved considerably. Power Delivery
140PS@4000 with 320NM of torque distributed over a narrow RPM band of 1700 to 2700. Leave aside the figures and numbers, this 2 tonne beast is a breeze to drive. Power delivery is not something that pushes you back into the seat but is more than sufficient to give you that aderalin rush when you need it. Turbo lag is there and is quite evident but not to an extent that it might spoil your driving pleasure by any means. Also, if you are used to driving diesels than for sure you can find out a way to avoid the lag. As soon as the RPM touches 1700 you feel the turbo has came into effect and this is when this beast shows it’s true colors. I even tried some sedan-type driving like redlining in shorter gears, and boy-oh-boy was I thrown a surprise. It zips like anything. I took her past 70 in 2nd, 100 in 3rd and topped out at 160kmph. It definitely began to gasp for air at that moment but a patient foot at the accelerator would definitely take her past 170-180.
Another thing that I feel deserves a special mention here is the superb turning radius. I guess it’s slightly north of 5mtrs. It took turns just like a 1.6 hatchback, if you know what I mean. Chassis and Drive Terrain
The ladder-frame chassis is a huge improvement from the yesteryears and this is what gives Storme it’s sheer advantage over it’s competiters (leave apart the monocoque of XUV). Absolutely zero flex noticed, and this I can safely say as I drove over almost all kinds of terrains, potholes and tried some way to dangerous curves and it ate them all with ease and inspired confidence to push for more. Paired with this are the superbly fine tuned gear ratios that enhance the driving in city as well as highways a breeze. I deliberately tried pulling the giant from standstill in 2nd as well as in 3rd gears. When pulled from 2nd it showed no hesitation at all, but at 3rd it did move but a lot clutch slip was required, but what the heck, the 2 tonne giant did pulled in 3rd gear too from standstill. This is one SUV in which you can comfortable cruise at 50, 60, 80 or even at 120kmph speeds and you won’t feel a difference. Interior and Space
WOW!!! As you enter the cabin you are welcomed by a spacious and airy cabin. The sandstone beige interiors are a delight to eyes but definitely have scope of improvement in the touch and feel departments.
The seats are leather seats with height adjust (non-heated) and a bit on the harder side. Also, seats do not hug you snugly as you might want them to, which is quite confidence inspiring at triple digit speeds. The dashboard is fresh to look at with all the controls placed very ergonomically for the driver.
The AC is an absolute chiller (I can vouch for that as I feel a lot more heat even in winters). For the entire duration we kept it at lowest and still it cooled the cabin fast enough.
Rear AC controls are at front only though we get dedicated rear seat vents just behind the hand-brake with added roof-mounted blower for the last / middle rows.
With the last row side seats folded, there is ample space to carry an entire orchestra’s instruments along, or a bike or at-least 5-6 big suitcases. The second row seats are split at 60:40 and fold-able.
The entire interior is drenched in the same beige shade which is too much for me to stare at (I prefer darker shades like black, charcoal etc. for interiors).
For ICE lovers, Storme comes fitted with a classy Alpine player which features iPod and USB connectivity and has Bluetooth too. Exterior
This is the only area which caught my least interest. The old Safari oozes of bad-a$$ character which the modern day Strome lacks. It’s not like it’s too sedate or boring, not at all, but definitely not as fascinating as the old gen safari (just MY personal opinion guys, do not start bashing me for this comment). The thing I missed the most was the spare mounted on the rear hatch door. C’mon TATA that is what gave Safari a LOOK. The spare is not safely hidden underneath.
Storme now gets new headlights which are projectors paired with new design fog lamps too. The headlights casing looks massive but houses just a projector and parking bulb.
ORVMs are electronic ones with auto-fold feature that looks cool. The range of adjusting the viewing angle is not sufficient but is compensated well by the huge sized ORVMs. The rear is just too bland and didn't appeal to me at all. I really missed that spare mounted on the hatch door.
Another area where TATA has improved a lot is panel gaps. I found them to be consistent throughout the exterior. As a special mention I would like to say that RAJA was absolutely correct in praising the paint quality. It is a so damn amazing. The TD car I got had pearl white (though I had requested Black) but simply the paint quality is just too good, can I say, better than Duster (please do not bash me for this too). Brakes and ABS
Believe me guys my hands are trembling when writing this. **There is ABSOLUTELY no issues with the braking and the functioning of the ABS in the vehicle.
I tried hard braking on tarmac, mud, gravel and what not and not a single time did the wheels lock. You feel the ABS
judder very evidently under hard braking. To be very sure of this behavior, I did the hard braking exercise 5-6 times. Almost every time taking the vehicle to 120-140 speed range and literally slammed the brakes, viola, no skidding at all. Also, once I did the same test by braking from 90kmph without holding the steering tight in my hands (just circling my fingers around it barely touching) and it did stop in almost a straight line. At-least in my today’s TD the Storme passed with flying colors in the braking department. Things I liked the most
The fuel lid opener is just alongside the power window buttons and is an electronic one. Now, what if it fails?? Not to worry, just open the rear hatch, pull out a slitted plastic on the left side and a black colored plastic pops out attached to a nylon thread which reads “pull to open”. Just pull it and the fuel lid opens.
The use of chrome on the interior door locks and the chrome plate reading S T O R M E at the front were just delicious.
The twin exhausts look nice and sporty.
A 12-volt socket near the folding seats at the last row.
Overall a very satisfying TD I must say, had I been looking for a SUV, Storme is definitely in the list and that too near the top.
I hope I have covered all the aspects, but feel free to ask if you have any questions for me.
My most favorite pic :
A few more clicks :
P.S. : I am not good at writing reviews so please bear with me if it was not up to the expectations.