When Tata announced that the updated Safari would arrive soon in the Indian market, we did not expect to see such a heavily updated product. The Safari came to the Indian market in 2021 and in only a short span of two years, Tata has added a long list of changes. We drove the car around for a few hours and this is how the new and updated Safari looks and drives like now.
Tata Safari looks bolder
Just like the Harrier, the Safari has gone through several changes that add a touch of modernity to the vehicle. And the best part is that the designers at Tata Motors have ensured that Safari simply does not look like an elongated version of the Harrier. There are changes to the front including the Safari monikers on the headlamp cluster.
The rear also gets similar updates to the Harrier but there are a few changes like the bumper and the ends of the tail lamp that make it look different compared to the five-seater. Safari, however, gets some super-looking alloy wheels. The 19-inch wheels are the production form of the same alloys that we saw on the Sierra concept.
Overall, the Safari looks the most futuristic among its competitors at the moment. But just like the Harrier, there are a lot of parts finished in gloss that might lose their shine over time. One of the solutions though is to apply PPF on such parts.
Since the Harrier will have a younger target customer audience and is designed to be youthful, the Safari is likely to be the car for families. The cabin exudes premium abience with a thick wooden finish on the dashboard and a lighter-coloured cabin.
Then comes the tech-load. The Safari gets a massive 12.2-inch infotainment system in the middle and a 10.25-inch instrument cluster. These work the same as the Harrier and get the same features. You can watch the video or read the Harrier review to know more. There is a 10-speaker system from JBL and it does sound very premium. There are various modes as well that change the whole sound output.
Tata has updated the steering wheel with a four-spoke set-up and a digital logo just like the Harrier. All other updates like the capacitive climate control system and centre console are similarly designed as the Harrier. Tata has now added the new gear shifter with ride-by-wire tech, which we saw on the Nexon. It does feel very premium to use and there is a dedicated parking button that you can press to park the car without touching the gear shifter.
We only got the 6-seater pilot seat version of the Safari for the review. The rear seats also get a ventilation option like the front two seats and it is very useful. The pilot seats for the middle row ensure supreme comfort and also opens up a lot of space, which otherwise feels cluttered in the 7-seater version of the car. Also, the bench seat of the 7-seater version of the Safari is likely to feel cramped as there is a big transmission tunnel going through. The cabin does not feel claustrophobic though. There is a massive panoramic sunroof and even the light-coloured cabin makes sure that the space feels airy.
The last row of seats offers ample space too. There is enough space and there are climate control vents, a knob to control fan speed and also glass holders for the rear passengers. The adjustable headrests make it a little more comfortable for the last-row seat passengers as well.
The Safari is made for youngsters who want to keep their gadgets fully charged up all the time. There are as many as 10 charging points in the vehicle including a Type-C port for the last row passengers. Tata Safari also gets the 45W USB Type-C charging port that will be able to charge many laptops as well.
Driving around the Tata Safari
While nothing changed in the vehicle mechanically, Tata has updated the steering wheel of the vehicle. It now comes with Electric Power Steering, which means the outdated hydraulic system is not there anymore. The steering is light and nimble and allows you to move around the car with ease.
Everything else though remains the same. The suspension has been retuned according to the new weight. The bouncy ride of the Safari is now more controlled but it has not been eliminated. Yet, it feels very stable at high speeds. It is only when you take sharp turns, you may notice the body roll. It is not out of place though, all SUVs of this size face some amount of body roll.
The 2.0-litre engine generates a maximum power of 170 PS and a peak torque of 350 Nm. It is available with both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmission. We only drove the automatic transmission, for the manual transmission, you can read our Tata Harrier review.
Overall, the engine is quite powerful and suits the masculine outlook of the Safari. You can overtake easily and use cruise control to easily maintain the speed on the highways. The automatic transmission gets paddle shifters too. But they are not very quick to respond.
Safer than before
The platform of the Safari has not changed. But Tata has made the Safari safer than before with standard airbags across the variants. Even the base variant gets six airbags as standard while the top-end version gets 7 airbags.
There are ADAS features as well. But we could not test them in the heavy traffic situation of Pune. It did apply the autonomous emergency brake though. But that’s about it.
Should you buy it then?
The updated Safari is loaded to the brim when it comes to features. It also looks more futuristic compared to the Mahindra XUV700 and the Hector Plus. Other than that, there are a few typical Tata quality issues but in the past, Tata customers have overlooked such things and we believe that they will continue to do so in the future if it gets the right price tag. Tata will announce the prices of the new Safari on 17th October and we believe that as always, we will see an aggressive sticker price on the new Safari.