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All-New Tata Safari First Drive Review: India's Favourite and Iconic SUV is Back in Modern Avatar

All-new Tata Safari. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

All-new Tata Safari. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

We recently got a chance to test drive the upcoming all-new Tata Safari and tried to find if the new model can carry the burden of the iconic name plate like safari and what new does it offer.

For the longest of time, Tata Safari was associated with masculinity and power, something which the SUV lovers craved for. However, with the changing times Indian SUV market evolved and Tata motors decided to discontinue the old Safari only to revive the brand once again in less than an year's time. The all-new Safari, is a representation of modern SUVs, which hasn't gone well with loyalists. But that's a conversation for some other day. What we are to find out is whether the new model can carry the burden of the iconic name plate like safari and what new does it offer. Here's our all-new Tata Safari first drive review-

Design

If you found it hard to differentiate between the Harrier and the all-new Safari, as soon it was unveiled, I won't blame you. The new Safari is actually an extended Harrier and apart from increase in height and over-all length, nothing has changed much. But that’s good in a way as the Harrier is already a good looking car and this makes Safari a good looking car at a go.

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Other design elements that gives the Safari its personality includes a nicely crafted grille with tri-arrow chrome elements and humanity line, stepped roof with roof rails, large wheel arches with 18-inch alloy wheels, Sleek DRLs with Xenon headlights and twin LED tail lamps. Interestingly, like the other Tata SUVs, there are Easter Eggs to be found, like the one on the rear glass depicting a lion family you can spot during a Safari.

Tata Safari, Tata Motors, Safari
All-new Tata Safari front profile. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

Cabin

Like the exterior, the cabin also carries forward Harrier styling, but gets a distinctive touch making it the most premium Tata yet in the market. The very first thing you notice as soon as you enter the cabin is how airy and spacious it is thanks to the Oyster White leather seats and panoramic sunroof which Tata is calling Majestic Skydome. Also Tata will be offering the Safari in 2 seating configurations – a 6- and a 7-seater cabin.

Also, it’s not that Tata has just added the third row seat to differentiate the product, but the third row seats actually serve a purpose. They get USB ports, AC vents, air control knob, cupholders and the legroom is sufficient for average sized adult, while headroom is marginal. The rear seats don’t feel claustrophobic at all. The seats can be flat folded to accommodate additional luggage in the boot which is otherwise strictly ok for vertically placed small bags. However there’s enough cabin space all throughout and so are there ample storage spaces neatly tucked here and there.

Tata Safari, Tata Motors, Safari
All-new Tata Safari cabin(Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

Feature wise the new Safari gets Floating 8.8-inch Touch Screen Infotainment System with 9-speaker JBL Audio system Android Auto & Apple CarPlay and IRA Connected car technology. IRA can perform functions like geo fencing, GPS tracking among others. There’s also a 7-inchColoured TFT Instrument Cluster Display.

Then there are features like ambient mood lighting, powered driver seat, auto AC and unique boss mode to adjust front seat from second row itself. While Tata has significantly improved the overall cabin quality, design and fit and finish, I didn’t like the touch response of the infotainment screen. But that’s just me nit-picking among a bunch of positives.

Tata Safari, Tata Motors, Safari
All-new Tata Safari third-row seats. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

Engine

Tata will be offering the Safari with one engine option only, the same as Harrier, a 2.0-litre turbo diesel with 170 PS and 350 NM of output. There's both 6-speed manual and auto gearbox options to choose from. while there's no 4-wheel drive as of now, Tata is offering Terrain Response modes including Normal, Wet and Rough conditions. There are also drive modes options like Eco, City and Sport.

Talking about the driving experience, I really liked the way the new SUV behaved during our first drive. The engine was amply powerful and refined, while I loved the automatic gearbox, which behaved in sync with the engine. I have my share of disappointed with the manual gearbox, but that’s just a result of overtly good auto gearbox.

Tata Safari, Tata Motors, Safari
All-new Tata Safari 6-speed Auto gearbox. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

Safari can be a new vehicle, but it is actually made on the trusted OMEGARC platform giving it plush and balanced ride quality. The Safari soaks in most of the bumps and the soft suspension adds to the cabin comfort. Tata has done wonders with NVH levels and hardly any engine or external noise creeps inside the cabin. The steering was too light for my liking and I felt Tata tuned it to have a light feeling for a more city friendly approach. It tends to oversteer some times. Otherwise, the leather wrapped steering feels chunky to hold.

Lastly, the safety bit, for which Tata cars are already renowned for. With safety tech like Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold, All Disc Brakes, Tyre Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), 6 Airbags, ABS with EBD, Hill Descent Control among many, I am pretty sure Tata Safari will soon out to be safest India made 7 seater SUV.

Tata Safari, Tata Motors, Safari
All-new Tata Safari rear profile. (Photo: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

Verdict

Truth be told, I really like the way Tata Motors has evolved in the past couple of years and the Safari is an extension of the Tata's new product offensive. It's both good looking and feature packed. Going by the history of Tata, it will be the safest and also value for money offering in its class. Should you buy one? Yes if you are looking for a modern 7 seater SUV, and no if you are the one who loved the old Safari.

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