Long term ownership review- 2013, Tata Safari Storme
Date: 19 Feb 2021 | By: Vikram Joshi | Approx 10-15 minute read
Our family owned, Tata Indigo was the first sedan that I have driven, I was impressed with the space and the comfort the car offered. The car served us till 2014, clocking close to 1.54 Lakhs KM on ODO.
I was sold out on the space and comfort the Tata cars offer. Right from childhood I had loved the Tata Sierra and then later came up with Safari. I was a dream car for me.
In 2008, I then, got my self a WagonR which I used extensively for 5 years. after paying of the loam, the new car itch began to grow. I wanted a bigger and a spacious car. I had looked at Manza, Vista and yeah DZire.
In the mean time TATA came up with Aria. I truly liked the features but the shape was a bit of a let down. then came XUV, it just blew me away with its aggressive looks. Tatas then launched the Storme which seemed to have borrowed the Range rover kind of design elements. And I loved that beast as well. I got a chance to ride in the XUV, it was a wonderful car but did not appeal me much as I felt that space was not much to my liking.
You may call me biased, but then ended up with zeroing down on TATA SUV. Aria liked for better 3rd row seating and safari pulled my heart. Finally I zeroed down on Safari. Heart won for me.
First Impression and Buying Experience
Buying experience was very good with Concorde motors (now its closed), for me I would rate them 4/5. Very Cooperative, getting test drive vehicles for 5 times. (yes 5 time before i signed the dotted line) On sunny day in July 2013,
I went to the showroom for the delivery and it was parked on the inclined, the greyish black tinge that the Astern Black colour has, really was shining and gave it more of an Rover type of appeal. I was completely floored by he look. ( BTW, this was first time I had seen a Black Storme from Close quarters.) Interiors were really refereshing. Crisp black and beige dual tone dashboard. Elegant feel inside the cabin, I loved the instrument cluster. Plain and Black with white numbers no fuss at all. The Plastics are much much better and TATAs have improved SIGNIFICANTLY on the quality of the plastics. The Door handles and knobs were sturdy.
The interior lights are shade between white ( like the LED) and typical yellow emitted from bulbs. It gives a nice rich feel. Rear view mirrors on the either sides work very well and provide good view of the traffic behind.
First drive back home was an amazing feeling. Felt like I was a king riding on a majestic elephant, my beast behaved well on the inclines, traffic and gave me good confidence and feeling that I have wisely spent my money.
Power windows work very beautifully then and are working well even as of today (we have had issues in the power windows of our indigo sedan- 2006 model). This version of TATA car was sign that TATA were making serious attempts in changing themselves and bringing competitive and quality products in market. Such beauty elegance, power and space all for under Rs 12L (on-Road) was simply best that one could get.
That is 8 year old beast. Feel it still look pristine. ;)
However, those negative thoughts dont go easily and felt that, there could be price for it (the rather infamous TASS)
Some key specification of Safari Storme (just a referesher...)
||2179 CC Varicor, Diesel, 140HP@4000rpm, 330Nm@1700-2700rpm
||5+2 (Side facing Jump seats at 3rd row)
||4x2, 5 Speed Manual
|Other Notable Features
||All 4 powered windows, Power OVRM adjustment, One press window down for all windows, ABS and all 4 Disc brakes, Power Steering and stylised Steel wheels, reading lights for all 3 rows, Company fitted Alpine Nusic system with Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB support for playing songs. 4 speakers Plus 2 tweeters, dual Barrel headlamps with Halogen Project for Low beam. AC blower for second row
So Basically the base variant had all the necessary features for making it a great highway cruiser. I have been in awe of the power and its go anywhere attitude, the Ground clearance was just 200mm however, never has the car scrapped any where.
I have been a quite few off roading adventures and the car just goes over the terrain like charm. Yes never did any rock climbing with this car ;). No city speed breakers, concrete mounds have ever been a problem to me, in fact i have once crossed the road divider as if they were speed breakers. Thankfully the road was empty and there were no untoward incident.
Cost of Ownership and after sales and service:
This one area where Safari is pretty infamous. People told me that you will have to spend a lot of money and car likes to spend its time in the service center. For me the story is bit, no infact very very different. Though, I have not driven the car as much as any other Safari owner would drive, in 8 years the car has run for only 59000 KMs which is less than 8000 KM per year. (You will have to discount one year since covid had put me under house arrest for close to one year now.) But in these 8 years, there have been no breakdowns, or the car has never left me stranded any where on highway. These 60-ood-K KMs have been long drives between Hyderabad and Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and innumerable trips on trails in close vicinity. City driving was major constituent of my car travels. This car has been great companion and I was at ease and whatever driving condition and terrain.
Below is the chart (thanks to TMSC App which keeps tab of all expenses and give nice graphs) which showed my spend history. My recorded service history is close to 70000 (schedule services, Changing of Suspensions, Brake pad changes, Clutch replacement, bumper replacement). Above that, I had spent around Rs. 20000 I had spent at an outside trusted mechanic.
So simple maths, 8 years Rs. 90000 spent which equates to around 11-12K per year which is pretty reasonable for size of vehicle. With regards to famous Kitna deti hai, my last tank to tank full gave me calculated mileage of 11.57 KMPL of diesel. This was all city driving for short distances.
So, hope, I have been able to debunk all the myths of how Safari are expensive to maintain. No, Sorry I have not calculated fuel costs.
Coming to the service center. I personally have availed services of 2 service centers in Hyderabad and 2 in Chennai, over the span of close to 8 years. My experience with all of them have been satisfactory to very good. Never have they done some unwarranted extrawork or billed unfairly. there were times when I had to follow up but that has been in acceptable limit. Overall I have felt that if you are proactive, and very alert you have no worries working with Tata ASS. Infact they have been pretty accomodating as well. It has been mentioned all over the internet, about Hit or Miss for Tata after sales service, which I feel is pretty harsh. But again that is my personal opinion.
Aging of car
As time passes, things deteoriate, however that is not the case with my Safari.
The Astern Black colour after 8 years of Hyderabad summer has not faded. In 2 years of Chennai Humidity I still donot see any rusting on body panel, Underbody I havent checked but no visible rusting. The Dashboard, plastics are still like they were 8 years ago. The Stocks, switches, Music system, bluetooth capability, Power Window switches, Door knobs, lock panel, Seat adjustment knobs, seat fixures are working like they were on day one. No electrical failure at all. The car is really aging very very well indeed. I feel that car can last for another half a decade with out any fuss.
This car will be with more for another 5-6 years, but if I were to buy another car it will always be Safari (sadly Storme is not being made any more). With the fantastic ride/handling, powerful engine, robust build quality and very good quality of plastics at a very affordable price makes this car truly Value for money. The Tata Service too has been a good to very good experience for me. And theres not only me there are scores of Storme owners I know who have this car for similar time and are having fuss free ownership. Even today as I park my car in my basement and glance back at it for a minute or two and then go home. Thats the effect it has got on me.