What are the things that typical Indian SUV buyers look for in a vehicle? Let's say, a commanding street presence, some rugged appeal, a potent engine, good mile-munching abilities, good ride quality and lots of space and practicality, right? The new Tata Safari has all this in plenty and then some more. But apart from the SUV itself, one of the other big highlights is its pricing. With introductory prices ranging between INR 14.69 - 21.45 lakh (ex-showroom), it seems to be an extremely good value for money for a proper 3-row SUV. I think the 2021 Tata Safari is truly all the SUV most of you'll ever need. Allow me to elaborate.
With the coming of the 2021 Tata Safari, the full-size SUV segment of the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavor could potentially be at a threat. If we were to take the Toyota Fortuner as the benchmark of the segment - which it is, at least in terms of sales - the new Safari isn't much smaller than the former in terms of dimensions. The new Safari measures 4,661 mm in length and 1,894 in width. Meanwhile, the Fortuner measures 4,795mm in length and 1,855 mm in width. While the Fortuner is longer than the Safari, the latter is actually wider. Even their wheelbase differs by just 4mm, the Fortuner's being longer.
The 2021 Tata Safari even rides on large 18-inch wheels, just like the bigger SUVs. Opt for the top-spec Safari Adventure Persona and you benefit from a great street presence. So, in terms of a commanding street presence, the new Safari has that in plenty - a huge matter of consideration for an Indian SUV buyer. The next most important thing for a 3-row SUV is the space in the third row. The Safari fares quite decently in terms of space in its third row. You can squeeze two adults in the third row with just about enough room for short journeys.
Okay, it's sure not as spacious as some of the full-size SUVs but it is definitely not far behind. Features like AC vents for the third row and USB charging ports make it all the more livable. As for engine specifications and performance, the new Tata Safari is powered by a 2.0L turbo-diesel engine that produces 168hp of maximum power and 350Nm of peak torque. Now, even the Ford Endeavor is also powered by a 2.0L diesel engine that produces 168hp and 420Nm of peak torque. What this means is that the Safari isn't really underpowered in comparison to the costlier models.
As for Tata not offering an all-wheel-drive system with the new Safari, the fact of the matter is that very few people actually pay the premium for an all-wheel-drive system. A majority of people buying full-size SUVs often opt for the 4x2 variants, with only a few opting for the top-spec 4x4 variants. Also, these SUVs are mostly used in the city and on highways and are barely taken off-road, thus never requiring a 4x4 system. The 2021 Tata Safari is still more than capable of mild off-roading on trails or broken mountain roads.
Moreover, Tata Motors has said that the Land Rover-derived Omega platform can be adapted to incorporate an all-wheel-drive system and if the market really demands, Tata could go the length to invest in an all-wheel-drive system for the Safari. Until then, we think top-spec variants of the Safari - particularly the Adventure Persona - make for a compelling buy. Moreover, choosing the top-spec Safari over the entry-level trims of large SUVs will even enable you to save a huge deal of money and still have an SUV with all the practicalities and capabilities you'd ever want.
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