How it all started
It all start, I do not know from when I have this passion for cars, travelling and driving. I only remember my grandpa’s jeep followed by ambassador and the fleet of cars which my uncle used to own ranging from the Maruthi 800s, Omnis and a Zen (D), in which I used to play a lot and the first and the closest driver I remember with whom I was always associated and used to observed what he was doing. I remember getting ready early and stay in the car till everyone else would come. My permanent place was always between the steering column in the front. ( on the either side of the gear rod
I Still remember when I used to always go for morning walks with my uncle to Necklace road in Hyderabad (a place which is flocked by many for morning and evening walks around Tank Bund) only to have a drive early in the morning. Once when I was young, I asked my father as to why we can’t own a car and dad said we are not rich to afford one. Then came the year 2005 when dad bought his first car ever. A pre worshipped 1998 white Maruthi 800, which always has a special place in my heart.
I remember buying many cassettes as it had a cassette player. This is the first ever car in which I actually started driving. But the point is neither mom nor dad knew how to drive. I knew how to start and idle the engine which I used to regularly do. After this I remember spending early mornings and evenings accompanying both mom and dad while they used to drive as well as me driving in the colony as well as to grandpa’s place nearby. This was a matter of pride way back then. I remember one afternoon when mom, few others relatives and I, had to attend some function and mom asked me to uncover and clean the windshield. I, instead, took out the car from the parked area and reversed it exactly in front of the house. Guess what my mom came running out as to check out what I was upto. Mom was shocked to see me driving. All I could recollect is only because I used to always observe the drivers. As soon as I got my Learner’s licence when I turned 18, I started to drive extensively on all roads. Today it’s been almost a decade since I’ve been driving on city roads and occasional highways. Long distance driving and ghat driving was a distant dream which soon got fulfilled with the Kochi - Munnar - Kochi drive in the rented Ford Ikon with my friends which really exposed me to ghats as well as pathetic roads and my first inter-state drive was from Hyd-Pune drive.
My father upgraded to a Maruthi Suzuki Zen 2005 model in 2008 just a day before my Engineering entrance exam. This Silver cutie was my proposal and dad finally budged in with my choice and after an extensive search for about 6 months, he got hold of this with a decent deal which was just 3 years old with 38000 km under its belt for Rs 2.25 lakhs. She is still going great and clocked about 85000 km till date and is decent performer and extremely comfortable for average trips. However could not grab a chance to hit long except very rare 120-150 odd kms at a time. All about Tata Safari
Well it counts up to years when I started fantasizing about the beast, but all I felt is its way too huge and an expensive to own one. I grew up hearing all sorts of things against it and just one point supporting – ‘it is a powerful car which is only for highways and not for us’ is what I heard from dad whenever I used to drool all over it on the roads. Well the dream of owning a used Safari did not go well with my parents as they were quite sceptical about Tata cars and especially a used diesel. It’s an old norm with the diesels whose maintenance costs are high and the fuel efficiency of this particular car is not good either. I looked at other cars like the Terrano, Duster, Ecosport, Vento, Polo, Fluidic Verna, Swift, Dzire and even jeeps by Mahindra ranging from the Classic, MM540, MM550, Commander and the Thar. Though all these cars had their own pros and cons I still secretly admired the truck. I momentarily shifted to the sedans or the hatchbacks but I get smitten by the truck the moment I see her on the roads. It took me some time but I understood that I secretly admired her and it’s hard to get over. I tried my best to keep myself away from her but could never run too far. She has those killer looks which strike me even on the busiest of the roads and I can spot her with just a glance at any point of time and from any angle. I just started to realise I still have a secret crush on her. This is when I made up my mind that I’ll be going for a used Safari.
Initially I started searching for the car just as like that and I soon became serious about them. I could find many safaris generally in Pearl White colour which ran for a minimum of 80,000 km and above and they were even highly priced. As days passed by I even started to look for jeeps and found few really good ones. At one point I really got carried away by the ownership reviews of Thar and the off roading activities which they do but soon got stuck to my true love. Started reading many blogs like The Automotive India, Car Wale, Gear Heads etc to follow the ownership reviews, mods carried out as well as various problems faced by the owners. Each and every picture of her only results me getting my feet swept by her all over again. Finally one day I could notice two advertisements in the OLX.in which listed two Safaris. First one was of 2009 which ran about 51000 km and the owner quoted Rs 5.5 lakhs whereas the second one was of 2008, a Quartz Black car which had about 48000 km under its belt which stood at 5 lacs. Called up the first car but it was already sold. The second car was still available. These are few of the snaps which I found on the internet.
One evening in the last week of Jan 14 went to see the vehicle. I actually liked it in the first go as she looked decently maintained and the external body looked good. Then the owner gave the keys for a test drive and god the first time I would be driving this vehicle. True, yes it’s true that I’ve never ever drove a Safari before and I’m the one who is taking a test drive of it to decide how the vehicle is. I know it is crazy but never ever got a chance to sit in a moving Safari. I got a glimpse of it in the showroom twice when I just sat in the driver’s seat. So here I go first time I cranked and the engine roared. The feeling was just awesome. The first drive lasted for about 10 min and it just swept me off my feet. I liked the vehicle and then negotiated it to 4.25 lakhs and said we’ll surely get back the next day.
Then I spoke to parents and my father was still not happy with me even thinking about the vehicle. Mother on the other hand was little positive and asked me to get it checked by a mechanic. I left the place with a million thoughts.
Then after two days, took the vehicle to Concorde motors located on Mumbai-Pune highway to get the vehicle checked. One person who looked quite experienced and was among the senior guys in the Tata Assured Cars took a test drive and pointed out at the clutch, Air Conditioning as well as the Suspension tie rods which have to be worked upon and said that the vehicle was good and can go ahead with the deal. I asked him to tell the best price of this car and he was little thoughtful as the price which he’ll give for the vehicle would be much less than the price which the owner is quoting. After little persuasion from my side he finally obliged to tell the price which he would be giving to this vehicle and that was much less than the price which I negotiated to. It was just 3.25 lac. So a good 1 lac above the market valve of the car. But he enquired about the price and said yes you can go ahead as the vehicle is good and is worth 4 lac. We tried negotiating the price but the owner did not budge a bit. So had to finally agree for 4.25 lac plus the registration charges. I called up my parents and narrated the whole story and they gave me a green signal. So I returned after giving an advance of 10k before telling him that I would surely return with the amount soon. So here it goes… My first car is the TATA SAFARI DICOR 2.2 VTT Quartz Black which was a dream for almost more than a decade. I was not able to believe that I seriously could own her and she will be mine in a matter of few days.
Finally on Feb 6, 2014 and took the delivery of the vehicle and got the puja done.
Snaps after the puja.
Its been 04 months & 6000 kms. It is sheer pleasure to drive this beast. What I like
(c) Seating posture
(d) Boot Space
(e) Road Presence
(f) Looks ofcourse
(g) Ground clearance
(h) Roof top AC for Mid row seating
(j) Air conditioning Dislikes
(a) 2 jump seats
(b) Fuel efficiency
Apart from the above negatives I have no much to crib about. I am satisfied completely with the interiors which are always pointed out by many people and in reviews but I have no complaints regarding this. It has immense power and never disappointed me when I needed power at the right time. On the whole I am in love with the beast. My dream, my crush and she is all mine Additions done:
1. Steering Cover, Car Perfume, Sticker: Rs 800/-
2. USB software box for Blaupunkt HU: Rs 2000/-
3. MRF Wanderer A/T tyres (set of 4): Rs 27500/- Future Additions/Works:
(a) Underbody 3M Anti-Rust coat (Will get it done this month, Rs 4810/- for a 5 year warranty coat by 3M Car Care unit. There are totally 05 3M Car Care units in and around Pune
(b) Should get the suspensions and clutch checked as it was pointed out by the TATA Assured Cars Expert.
(c) Front Bull Bar
(d) High Intensity Discharge Headlamps (HELLA RALLYE)
(e) Component Speakers (2+2)
(f) Reverse Camera/Sensors
(g) Amplifier & Woofer
Well the above list is what I like to have in my ride. Lets see when I can get all these done.!
I am looking for a full frontal guard. Have checked MTEK and CLASSIQUE. Liked a model from MTEK which I am attaching as a thumbnail but its out of stock in Pune. I mainly want it to guard my front bumper from scratching here and there. Trips covered:
(a) Pune -> Bhimashankar -> pune (twice)
(b) Pune -> Bhuleshwar -> Pune
(c) Various temples around pune
(d) Pune -> Mahabaleshwar -> Pune
(e) Pune -> Shiridi -> Pune
(f) Lonavala -> Lavasa -> Lonavala Upcoming Trips:
1. Pune -> Shiridi -> Hyderabad (July)
2. Hyderabad -> Paradip (July) Problems occurred:
(a) AC not working
: Gas low, Heater coil and duct for rear roof Amount: Rs 11500/-
Cabin was not getting cooled which I found out during the test run itself. The owner did not get it repaired as he was already having plans to sell it. So got it repaired at T.A.S.S where the entire AC duct was cleaned after removing the dashboard, AC gas filled, The heater knob was broken from inside due to which only cooling of the cabin was possible and not heating. I felt the heating option is very important to got the entire knob assembly changed which costed Rs 6400/-.
(b) Battery not charging status being displayed in the main display
: Amount Rs 2900/-
There was a continuous ‘Check Batter’ lamp glowing while driving. Got it checked at a local mechanic and he claimed that the alternator motor could have gone bad. The coil was burnt and it was replaced. The battery was charged up with distilled water and charged.
Apart from these niggles, Dyret is just roaring and gulping down miles.!