Tata, one of the largest industrial groups in India, this month began receiving reservations for its exclusive new SUV, which is the long-awaited second generation of the Safari, a model that has some history. Tata has always had strengths in trucks and off-road vehicles, as has Mahindra, which is its local competitor. Both have tried to seek alliances to improve their products, taking advantage of the great capital they have. Mahindra did not do so well with SsangYong, as the Koreans are struggling financially. But Tata got hold of the Jaguar Land Rover group, from whom they have learned a few tricks to remodel the Safari.
We know little about Safari in our region. In Chile, the closest we were to Tata was when for a few years they marketed the Xenon truck, successor to the venerable Telcoline, in which the Indians supported their fortunes a lot.
This old Telcoline, generated an SUV model, called Sierra (or Telcosport), which was not very successful. Tata replaced it in 1998 with the Safari, a seven-seater SUV built on a modified platform from the Telcoline.
El Safari original.
The Safari was very recognizable for its curious proportions, very typical of Indian models, with very tall cabins. In addition, the roof featured a curious design for the load bars, more integrated into the body design, giving a visual sensation of “high ceiling” and reminiscent, from a distance, of the effect achieved by the Land Rover Discovery with its upper windows.
But everything changed
Tata, in 2019, introduced a new compact crossover called the Harrier. This is built on the brand’s new OmegaArc platform, which is an economical version of the Jaguar Land Rover D8 platform (the basis of the Evoque or the Jaguar E-Pace). It is economical in the sense that it was adapted to be manufactured at a lower cost, with less high-strength steels and a semi-independent rear suspension scheme, rather than multilink.
That same year, they presented the Buzzard Concept at the Geneva Motor Show, based on the Harrier, but larger. In 2020, this model was renamed at the Indian Show as Gravitas and had a lot of media coverage, even more than the Harrier. This 2021, this same model, known as Buzzard and as Gravitas, receives its definitive name as Safari, becoming the second generation of the SUV that we mentioned earlier, although now in a modern crossover format.
The new Safari
The Safari is practically the Harrier up to the C-pillar (or up to the back doors). But the roof, the rear quarters and the rear are all new, in order to accommodate the rear seats. It has a very interesting and playful design, reminiscent in part of the original Safari, especially due to the stepped design of the bars on the roof.
To appeal to a younger audience, Tata has used some current clichés such as the front with two-level headlights and the very slim rear lights, joined by a glossy black application. Anyway, the result is quite attractive.
Only the most equipped versions can be ordered with an option for six passengers instead of seven.
- Length: 4.66 meters
- Width: 1.89 meters
- Height: 1.78 meters
- Wheelbase: 2.74 meters
- Luggage compartment: between 440 and 750 liters behind the second row of seats
In total, it is 63mm longer and 80mm taller than the Harrier on which it is based.
The era of Dicor, Varicor and annealed Peugeot or Mercedes Benz engines is over. Like the Harrier, the Safari is powered by a 2-liter Kryotec Turbo Diesel engine with 170 Hp and 350 Nm of torque.
This is not a Tata engine, but it is the well-known FIAT MultiJet II, created together with General Motors (Ecotec B). This engine was used in models from Alfa Romeo, FIAT, Jeep, Suzuki, Lancia, Chevrolet, Opel and even SAAB.
This unit is associated with a manual or automatic transmission, both six-speed. For now, there is no four-wheel drive option, but Tata is known to introduce it later.
Equipment and Interior
Tata will offer the Safari in four trim levels. The brand has not pointed out many specifications, beyond the highlights, which as we know, are only found in the most equipped versions. This includes premium materials such as a nappa leather top console, white leatherette upholstery, panoramic rain-sensing roof, multi-function steering wheel, three drive modes, digital climate control, analog / digital cluster, multimedia system with display 9 “and IRA interface with connectivity, JBL audio system with nine speakers, ambient lighting and photosensitive central mirror.
In terms of safety, we should find from two to six airbags, ABS, ESP, descent control and others such as traction control, cornering stability control, passive torque vectoring (with use of brakes), hydraulic assistant for emergency braking, etc. We will also surely see sensors and a reversing camera, xenon lights, among others.