What comes across as the biggest news of the day, the production-spec Tata Gravitas will be sold as the Safari in India. Yes, you read that right. The iconic Tata Safari nameplate will be making a comeback in India as Tata's new flagship SUV. The model that was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo was only codenamed as the Gravitas. In fact, it was first called the Buzzard when it was showcased at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Tata Motors have been playing around with the name for quite some time but Tata says that this upcoming 7-seater SUV was always conceived as the Tata Safari.
The Tata Safari is an iconic nameplate in India, one that has been around since 1998. It glamourized the lifestyle segment for about two decades before being discontinued in 2020 as we adopted the BS6 norms. Tata Motors have now revealed that this upcoming 7-seat SUV was always conceptualized as the next-generation Safari. The only reason why they did not name the Harrier as the Safari is because it was not a 7-seater. The Safari always had to be a genuine 7-seater and Tata say that the upcoming SUV will not have an apologetic third row of seats. In fact, there are several elements in the design that nod to the original.
Just like the original, the new Tata Safari has a strong face, a high bonnet, the stepped roof, the rear three-quarter glass and stadium seating. The new Tata Safari sure looks very similar to the Harrier but it looks quite distinct from the rear to set it apart from its 5-seater sibling. They could also be offering different colors to further set it apart. Tata have also added 63mm to the Harrier’s length and 80mm to the height to make way for a decent third row. Just like the Harrier, the Safari too will be based on the Land Rover-derived Omega architecture.
But here's the thing. While the original Safari was a proper 4x4, the new Safari will be front-wheel driven, at least initially. And that has already put down a lot of fans of the original Safari nameplate. Tata Motors have however assured that the Land Rover Discovery-derived D8 platform can be adapted to incorporate a four-wheel-drive system. Tata have said that based on customer feedback and research, they could actually explore the possibility of a 4x4 Safari sometime in the future. The platform also allows for electrification and some sort of electric propulsion too could be on the cards.
The Tata Safari will be powered by the Harrier's Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine that produces 168 bhp and 350 Nm of peak torque. The engine will come mated to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. The new Safari will arrive in showrooms in January itself, and bookings for it will also commence later this month. It will come at a decent premium over the Harrier which is priced between INR 13.84-20.30 lakh and will rival the likes of the MG Hector Plus and upcoming next-gen Mahindra XUV500. We surely are excited to see the Tata Safari nameplate make a comeback, and in what style!