Finally got my Safari on 6th July 2014! Urban Bronze color –being Sunday started with my first ride on NICE highway.
##The selection Process, Ok I will not repeat that selecting a Safari is more of a heart over mind decision, let’s get to other criteria:
1.> Budget not more than 13 Lacs
2.> I needed a 7 seater –so only options were: Storme, Scorpio and Innova
a.> Scorpio : Took a test drive of–must admit that steering, clutch etc are far smoother that Safari. Felt like I am driving a hatchback in city!
b.> Innova –need not be mentioned that’s it gives you ease of a Sedan while utility of SUV. Perfect ride, perfect handling.
c.> Safari Storme – hmm the real “dream SUV”, may be because of all the ads TATA had created or simply because when we grew up, it was the only SUV around, whatever be the reason. Always wanted to own one. As you get on to the car.. you feel elevated literally ;) –its high seating position gives you a commanding view. Kids and wife were in the middle row and their immediate reaction – wow so much space. Took it for a drive – the power can be felt easily, may be more so because it’s cabin is noisier than Scorpio and Innova ;). On the flip side, Steering and clutch was much harder than the Scorpio. The sales person was able to convince me that it was due to old and a TEST drive vehicle and the newer one are much easier to handle. Body roll was far less than Scorpio but more than Innova. Being driven wagonR , it wasn't new to me
So the decision –Kids out rightly voted for Safari. so almost decision was made. For them, being on high platform, they were getting more panoramic view than other ones. Plus the SPACE, SPACE. I guess this is one USP for SAFARI. I knew I wanted safari but was not vocal in front of my wife – for the risk of being branded as “non-rational”
After a couple of more rides and talking to some friends about their firsthand experience I was “able” to convince my better half about Safari. wow !!
We settled for EX model as I wanted the hand rest, rear wiper and the rear AC. Just added a audio system as I was hardly left off with any money. My kids are small so will wait for a couple of years to put on leather seat covers. let them ruin the company fitted one
It’s almost 10 months now and 7K on the odometer –must say that I am not regretting (on lighter note, after spending 13 lacs do I have option to regret
##Some trips we made:
Bangalore to Pune -1 round trip and finally one way Bangalore to Pune (We moved to Pune)
Bangalore to coorg, Mysore, shivasamudram , Pune to Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala, Mumbai and Diveagarh
##What I liked the most
1.> Drive quality, Awesome
2.> Comfort, I think its best part we drove from bang to pune almost non-stop barring 2 tea break of may be 30 minutes each. Hardly felt exhausted after a 14 hr of night driving . I drove alone and to add to the fun it was night drive. We started at 5 PM from bangalore and reached Pune @ 7 AM. Some urgent issue we had to attend and instead of taking a bus, I decided to give my family their first looong drive
3.> Drove at 100-110, occasional testing at 130-140 may be some 15-20 minutes, but not more. Fuel efficiency ~14 with AC 100%
4.> Even at speed of 140, the vehicle is in perfect control and brakes can be applied with confidence.
5.> The view is real panoramic, feels like in commanding position ;). Kids just love it and they can literally jump around in middle row.
6.> Elevated position also gives an advantage while driving. you have a view of more meters ahead and can react more easily
7.> No doubt it’s a driver car. with hand rest, lumbar support and stiff seat but comfortable material –back gets a perfect support. No back pains or fatigues even after 7-8 hrs of continuous drive, yes you can do so!
8.> crossing 2K rpm , you will feel the power. feels like it will just take off
9.> Ditches, it handles well, suspension is really really good
10.> Speed, cannot comment, not a fast driver. I go slow, enjoy the ride. do not go beyond 100/110
11.> Solid body , yes you feel like sitting in a TANK!!
##Things which you can dislike
1.> Not really a perfect city car. in a back to back traffic you will feel the pinch of a bit stiff steering and clutch, especially if you are upgrading from a hatch like Wagon R
2.> Mileage -city mileage is 10-11 with AC ON. A little bit of rash driving and it can easily dip to 8. Never ask to a safari owner “Kitna deti hai”
3.> Parking: you need a big one. I love my waggy for that. perfect city car. will park in narrowest of space
4.> On steep elevation, need to downshift till 2nd gear. In fact if slowed down due to sudden break need to change to 1st gear. it would not pull in higher gear, wagon-r use to pull up. On flat road, it feels like it will just zoop
##Service Experience , So far service experience have not been bad. guys at Tata have attended it well
1.> First service (Done at Bangalore, concord, dairy circle, 1 month, 200 KM on ODO) :
1.a> Some noise from cabin
1.b> Hard steering and clutch. I felt that its too hard even by tata standard
1.c> Alignment of head rest
1.d> Vehicle pulling left
All issues resolved except hard steering and clutch. TASS told that running is just 200 km .. it will ease eventually
2.> Second service (Done at Pune, Concord, Wakad, 5K on ODO) -
2.a> Noise had come back (and as per feedback it will be coming back –so no big deal)
2.b> Clutch was still very hard
2.c> Steering was hard at ~ stationary speed like 20km/hr
After service. it seemed that all issues gone –clutch was also smooth and steering as well. But after a week, clutch started feeling tough again and steering as well. I followed up with concord and they send a mechanic at home to look into the issue. They offered pick up drop but somehow I am not comfortable giving my vehicle to unknown people so I dropped my self. Parts almost work 10k was replaced, especially related to clutch and power steering was refitted at least as per the JOB card. The clutch is now much smoother but again not as smooth compared to sedan or hatch or may be even scorpio. But at least now I can drive off in city easily. Steering is also smoother. At stationary speed, it still a bit tough but then I saw the reviews that its that way in Safari
1.> I feel the need of cruise control. This should have been there, especially on straight highways like Bangalore to Pune you will love it to apply!
2.> Why tata cannot provide steering/clutch like Hyundai/Maruti or is it the sheer wait which makes the difference ? I wonder if the weight plays a role even when steering is power one!
3.> Finishing: gaps, many a times people passing by on two wheelers flash a sign that door is open, yes such is the gaps!!
4.> Option of front facing third row, I am not comfortable sitting my 3 & 4 yr old kid in Jump sits
1.> Except for Steering and clutch –which again is in reference to the Wagon R and may not be an issue at. I do not see any issues.
2.> Awesome ride I can drive it continuously and have done so many time by now.
3.> Kids and parent love the middle row space and seat size. Parents can stretch their legs, kids can jump a bit and if needed one can sleep full length as well!!
4.> Luggage space: we almost relocated with safari. fold up the last row and stuff up your things
Above all POWER..POWER. It easily handles the load, even with 7 people on board, you will not feel any lag. AC is also good to chill the whole cabin!
I am just lovi’n it. waiting for monsoon and my beast will be back touring whole of Maharashtra and Karnataka for now and did I told taht we fondly call our friend “Chill BABA” (Shortened from Chillum wale Baba –bina chillum ke chill kahan ;)