2017 Mahindra Scorpio Facelift: Road Test Review
- Dec 14, 2017
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SUVs are a big market in India. And this was something Tata realised early on back in 1998. When they launched the Safari, it became the first SUV to be completely made in India. But somewhere they lost their first movers advantage when they failed to give it timely upgrades, the first major one only coming in the form of the Safari Storme 14 years later in 2012. And it still didn't bring the Safari on par with the competition. By bringing in a facelifted version of the Safari Storme, Tata wants to cover up on what they’ve lost. Are the changes to the 2015 Safari Storme in the right places to help them achieve that?
A single glance at the 2015 Safari Storme and you won't quite be able to figure out the new one from the old. And that isn't quite a good thing. The changes on the facelifted Safari Storme are few. It gets a Land Rover inspired black honeycomb grille up front and a Varicor badge on the sides near the wheel arch. The silhouette remains unchanged as does the tail section. We would have liked it had Tata given a little more visual differentiation to the facelifted Safari Storme in the form of LED Daytime Running Lamps, LED tail lights and the likes.
Interior and Space:
This is one area where Tata has been smart. The outgoing Safari Storme lacked visual charm when compared to its younger competition. In this avatar, Tata has clearly put in more efforts on the interiors. First the positives. The dual tone black-silver dashboard looks a lot neater now and the overall quality has also improved significantly. The steering wheel that has been borrowed from the Zest, is a good addition. The buttons and knobs on the centre console are nice to operate but look rather dated. The Safari Storme continues to be generous with regards to space. Comfort levels have improved with better cushioning and fabrics.
Although the dashboard is significantly better than what we saw on the outgoing model, in terms of design it doesn't look contemporary. The jumps seats at the back can only seat kids, two adults at the back would struggle for knee room and head space.
Features and Equipment:
The list of features remains more or less the same. The facelifted Safari Storme continues to be installed with projector headlamps and disc brakes on all four corners. For a car is close to 5metres in length, the Safari Storme unfortunately has to make do with parking sensors instead of a reversing camera. In this age of touchscreen infotainment systems, the Safari Storme makes do with a single DIN unit. Tata could have plunked the Multimedia System from the Zest/Bolt into this one too. That said, it does come with Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity. As opposed to the stalk controls on the earlier model, the Safari Storme now gets steering mounted controls. Other features include, height adjustable seats, electronically adjustable ORVMs, two air con vents at the back and an economy mode for better efficiency.
Engine and Performance:
Aside from the cosmetic upgrades, the Tata Safari Storme also gets a new powerplant. Tata has plunked the Aria’s 2.2-litre unit into the Safari Storme and it now makes 148 horses. The torque rating though remains at 320Nm, all of which comes as low as 1,500rpm. For a car that weighs more than 2 tons, you won't quite feel the close to 10PS rise in power, at least as far as outright performance is concerned. What it does though is make the engine feel a lot more responsive to inputs. Yes, the turbo lag is still evident, and it makes the Safari Storme that much more difficult to manage in the city. The 5-speed gearbox is notchy and you still have to struggle to slot it into gear. And the tall gearing doesn't help either. But the same attribute makes it quite an impressive mile muncher.
Ride and Ease of Driving:
In this regard, the facelifted Tata Safari Storme has improved quit a bit. A lot of it an be credited to the new steering wheel. It is now nice hold and has been positioned a lot better too thanks to which you don't really have to be Mr. Fantastic to negotiate a u-turn. And then the tall seating, that ensures absolute visibility on all four corners, further aids ease of driving. Clutch effort is easy too which makes it that much easier to drive in traffic.
There is no change in the suspension setup and we don't really mind that as the outgoing model too had a great ride quality. The car glides over potholes and broken roads with ease, but the kickback from on the steering wheel can still be felt. And then the high ground clearance comes of good use when negotiating such surfaces too.
Handling and Braking:
Handling was never the Safari Storme’s strongest points and that is mainly considering its height and high centre of gravity. Show it a series of bends and the weight of the car is evident. Moreover, there is ample of body roll due to which you don't feel amply confident. However, grip levels from the 16-inch 235/70 section tyres is good. As far as braking is concerned, the four disc brakes work well enough especially for a car this big and heavy. It might not be the sharpest, but it is reliable nonetheless.
Price and Fuel Efficiency:
Our Safari Storme long term consistently gave us an efficiency of around 12kmpl in real world conditions, and we expect this new one to return a somewhat similar figure. While Tata hasn't launched this new Safari Storme as yet, we expect it to be priced slightly higher than the Rs 13 lakh price tag for the current gen top end trim.
So, is the facelifted Tata Safari Storme worth buying? Tata has taken steps in the right direction with this offering. Like all the other offerings, they have addressed the quality issues on the inside, bumped up the power and made it much more car-like to drive thanks to improved ergonomics. And in the process of doing all of this, they haven't lost out its true values like the ride quality and space either. But with the price and market in mind, Tata could have added a few more features and visual differentiations to give the buyer that much more car.
Recommended Variant : Safari STORME VX 4x2 Varicor 400
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