The iconic car of all time they call, the car which acts the predecessor for modern suvs. Today let’s go back in time and talk about the heroic car in the Indian Automotive history, the Tata Safari.
In the year 1998 Tata Motors already had two offerings in the utility car segment, Tata Sierra and Tata Sumo which were considered somewhat of a legend themselves. It was around this time when Tata Motors brought in another tremendous car and the trio went on to coin the popular term, Si-Su-Sa, ‘Si’ being the Sierra, ‘Su’ being the Sumo and new ‘Sa’ being the all-new Safari.
For many of them the true essence of 4WD was bought by Tata Safari. In fact, it was the first made-in-India 4WD SUV and has evolved to garner tremendous popularity amongst the auto enthusiasts in the country.
Evolution of Tata Safari
Tata Safari First Gen
Tata Safari first paved their debut at the 1998 Auto Expo. Its humongous proportions and those manly looks made it an instant hit. The first-gen Safari came with a 2.0 Litre turbocharged diesel engine derived from Peugeot XD88 unit earlier used in the Sierra. It produced 90Bhp mated to a five-speed manual. Having a 4WD option, Safari was widely recognised for its off-road capabilities. The massive amount of ground clearance further adding to that go anywhere factor.
Safari’s aroused character was one of its kind back in the day. The road presence of the car was so strong that it made the traffic around it look petite and insignificant. It was the first time that the Indian market got familiar with the concept of climbing into the car as opposed to the conventional way of sitting in the car. All these factors made it very popular amongst the Suv fans around the country. It was used by politicians as well as used by PM for convoy for a long time.
Its capabilities made it very popular amongst the auto enthusiasts of that time. Tata Motors sold a great number of Safari cars during its initial run despite a huge price tag of Rs.8.25 lakhs which was a hefty amount back in the day. In 2003, Safari was also introduced with a 2.1 Litre straight-4 petrol engine producing 135hp.
Tata Safari Dicor
The Safari had a great initial run with its popularity increasing along the way. But now the rival Mahindra Scorpio is also gaining popularity amongst the Indian market. So Tata Motors in 2005 gave an upgrage to the existing Safari and they brought the new Safari Dicor. Dicor came with few cosmetic changes and the interiors were crafted newly.
Under the hood, they added a massive 3.0 Litre turbo-diesel Dicor engine derived from the Tata 407 commercial vehicle. It produced 116bhp and 300nm of torque and was mated to a 5-speed manual. It was priced competitively at Rs.6.40 lakhs to take the fight against the Mahindra Scorpio.
In 2007, Tata further updated the Dicor with even pleasing looks, new headlamp cluster, new front grille and interior updates. The high-end trim even came with a host of features. These included dual airbags, ABS with EBD and rear AC vents. That’s not all, there was a DVD player with LCD screens at the front headrests for entertainment. It came with an all-new 2.2 Litre version of the Dicor tech engine producing 140hp and 320nm of torque. This version was on sale from 2007 to 2012.
The biggest revamp that the Safari got was showcased at the Auto Expo in 2012 namely the Safari Storme. The Safari Storme had sharper looks, sporty front and rear profile and the design language based on Tata’s X2 platform was very appealing to the enthusiasts. With the Storme, the Safari got another engine update, a new 2.2 Litre Varicor engine producing 150hp and 320nm torque.
2015, witnessed the Storme getting a more powerful 2.2 Litre Varicor 400 engine, producing 156bhp and a massive 400nm of torque. This variant also got new styling cues inspired by
the Land Rovers. The Safari Storme came in both 2WD and 4WD options.
Tata Safari Storme GS800 (Army Edition). After running successfully in the commercial segment and creating a great impact, The Safari Storme went on to prove its metal and served the Indian Army.
Tata Motors was commissioned by the Indian Army to produce special versions of the Safari Storme as the official vehicle for the Army. Named the GS800, it came with bullet-proofing and offered additional payload capacity, power and torque figures to conquer the rough trials and high-altitude roads for the Army.
Why Safari left the industry?
With the emergence of various modern-age mid-size SUVs and transition of the market and after the emergence of BS6 norms, Tata Motors gradually faded out the Moniker somewhere around 2019. Tata Gravitas which was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo is expected to take Safari’s place in the Indian car market.
Originally launched in 1998, the mid-sized SUV Safari has received numerous updates and was last sold with the ‘Storme’ moniker. Tata had earlier confirmed that the Safari Storme would no longer be on sale after BS6 deadline of April 1, 2020, since upgrading its engine to meet the emission standards does not justify its numbers on the sales charts.
Tata dealerships have stopped accepting orders for the mighty SUV, and are clearing the remaining stock. A few dealerships have also stopped offering test drives for the car.
And the iconic Safari remains in our hearts and with many on the roads.