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    Living with the Tata Safari

    Authors Image

    Aditya Nadkarni

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    Introduction

    Right Front Three Quarter

    SUVs are the rage, be it the smaller sub-four-metre or (arguably) micro-SUV kind or the full-sized, three-row kind, some even with their off-road credentials. The updated Harrier and Safari have returned to this bandwagon and brought along more than just a few new tricks up their sleeves. We recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the 2024 Safari, and here’s what we learned about it in its stint at the CarWale garage.

    How practical is it?

    Front Seat Headrest

    On the practicality front, the Safari packs a Punch (no pun intended). It is spacious and has space for numerous nitty gritties, water bottles, and then some more. Climb into the driving seat and you have the electrically adjustable seat that eases the process of finding the right position. Additionally, the memory functions aid the convenience factor, and you won’t have to sit and search for the right position whenever shuffling with another driver. The front passenger seat even gets a Boss mode that allows it to be adjusted from the second row with the help of the buttons on the right side.

    Driver Side Front Door Pocket

    An underrated element in the second row is the mobile holder, positioned above the bottle holders on both sides, which keeps the phone lying flat, thus removing any anxiety of it falling, moving, or scratching. The occupants are also pampered with soft foam cushions sitting ahead of the standard headrests, reminiscent of a certain luxury sedan more than three times its price tag.

    Front Driver Power Window Switches

    Then there are sun blinds in the second row that came to our much-needed rescue in the 40-degree heat on the day we were shooting. Legroom in the second row too is plenty, although the same can’t be said about the third row. The third row is best suited for short runs or intra-city trips.

    Rear Row AC Controls

    A few things that work against the Safari include the smaller rear windshield that limits rear visibility and the AC vents for the third row positioned in front of the small windows, which make it marginally more claustrophobic. The white seat upholstery, while looking luxurious, tends to get soiled pretty fast and cleaning it isn’t an easy job either.

    What’s on the feature list?

    Sunroof/Moonroof

    The Safari boasts a long feature list, like the panoramic sunroof that adds to the roomy feeling, complementing the white upholstery which also aids the feel of a spacious cabin. One of the party pieces is the new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which has a smooth UI and feels tactile to use. The front seats are also ventilated, but even at full chatter, they barely managed to give any respite from the terrible Mumbai heat. The fan noise in both units is fairly audible too, unless you have loud music or passengers talking.

    USB Port/AUX/Power Socket/Wireless Charging

    The front row and second row both get USB and Type-C ports, something that is a sigh of relief for a select few like me who don’t have a Type-C to Type-C cable at our disposal. That said, you’ll never fall short of these ports as there is a set in the front armrest as well as in the second row. And if you manage to fill up all these slots, then there’s a wireless charger in the centre console of the dashboard.

    AC Controls

    The latter also houses the new touch-based unit for AC controls, which, although feels good to use, attracts a lot of scratches and dirt due to the Piano Black finish. Tata has made generous use of soft-touch elements, and the hard plastics on certain parts of the door certainly dampen the otherwise good feel.

    Infotainment System

    The fit and finish, especially concerning quality, left us wanting for more. Certain panels were misaligned, one of which happened to be the point where the door and dashboard meet, visible in the photo above. One fact we noticed, weirdly enough, is that the second row doesn’t get its set of blower controls while the third row does.

    What’s the fuel efficiency like?

    Front View

    The Safari has a claimed mileage of 14.08kmpl, thus translating into a range of approximately 704km, courtesy of the 50-litre diesel tank. We tested the fuel efficiency of the car, and it returned 10.97kmpl in the city and 13.94kmpl on the highway, hence resulting in an average of 12.40kmpl and a real-world range of 620km.

    How does it perform on a daily commute?

    Front View

    Moving from a mid-size SUV (or, arguably a hatchback on stilts, as some would agree) as my daily driver to the Safari gave me a far more commanding seating position and a better view of the bonnet in all its glory, while the 360-degree camera made parking a breeze.

    Dashboard

    The steering of the Safari is fairly light to begin with, and builds up a little weight as you go faster, not as much to make it feel involving, and neither too light to make it feel dead. The ride quality is one of the best attributes of the SUV, as it glides over potholes, unpaved roads, and a lot more, all despite running on a set of 19-inch wheels.

    Left Side View

    Coming to the NVH, it can be a bit harsh on sudden acceleration but is overall on the quieter side at city speeds. The oodles of torque available from the lower range of rpm help the cause and ensure you have a smooth ride for the most part.

    What’s the deal with the warranty?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The Tata Safari is offered with a standard warranty of three years or 1 lakh kilometres, whichever is earlier. Further, customers can choose from extended warranty packages of 3+1 years and 1.3 lakh kilometres or 3+2 years or 1.25 lakh kilometres.

    Can you live with one?

    Right Side View

    The Safari then, comes up as an able SUV that can complete most of the jobs assigned to it. The diesel engine is frugal too, and will be the ideal companion on a road trip where it will effortlessly much miles and keep all the occupants happy with its ride quality, comfort, and an array of features. Yes, it does have its share of flaws as well, but then if we can make do with the flaws of other humans, I’m sure a few small issues with Safari won’t matter in the bigger picture as well.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Did I mention that the top-spec Safari (Accomplished Plus AT dual-tone), selling at Rs. 26.89 lakh commands a premium of just Rs.1 lakh over the top-spec Harrier (Fearless Plus AT dual-tone), as the latter has an asking price of Rs. 25.89 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom). Need I say more?

    Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi

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