The buzz in the market is that the Tata Safari Storme is just weeks away from launch. According to our sources, the company is looking to offer the second iteration of the Safari by the end of June or early July.
First shown at the 2012 Auto Expo, the Safari Storme is larger and even lighter than the current avatar. In fact, Tata Motors will not just build the Safari Storme, but it will continue to offer the existing Safari as a cheaper option. Some of the top-end variants of the Safari Storme could be priced in parallel to the lower variants of the Aria, ensuring that Tata Motors has an offering at every step from Rs 7-7.5 lakh all the way to Rs 16-17 lakh.
Production of the Safari Storme, as pictured here has already begun. Built on the same platform as the Aria, which itself uses a hydroformed body-on-ladder chassis, the Safari Storme has the same length as the current vehicle and even the same wheelbase. What the Safari is touted to have is a smaller turning radius – of 5.4 metres instead of the current car's 6 metres making it rather useful in tight spaces and during off-roading.
The Safari Storme, like the current model should come in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive guises, with the latter being fitted with a Borg Warner, shift-on-the-fly system. With a wider track at the front and double wishbones instead of a torsion beam, the Safari Storme should handle better than before.
On the inside, quality levels have been upped to quite an extent, with better plastic trim, more plush fittings and panel gaps with smaller tolerances. The Safari Storme continues to remain a seven-seater, with jump seats at the rear, though the spare wheel is now placed under the rear tail gate instead of on it.
Powering the Safari Storme is a 2.2-litre, DiCOR motor that is similar to the one found on the Aria. This motor is more refined and torquier than the regular 2.2 and also has a newer iteration of the G-76 gearbox that is slicker shifting. Rated at 140 bhp@4000 rpm and 32.6 kgm@1700-2700 rpm, the Safari Storme stacks up well, when compared to traditional rivals like the Mahindra Scorpio 2.2 mHawk.
Pricing for the Safari Storme is expected to hover in the Rs 9 to 12 lakh bracket, with the current Safari being pushed into the Rs 7 to 9 lakh range. While the Safari Storme doesn't break much ground in terms of design, one does hope that it is a better car on the whole, what with competition like the Renault Duster too around the corner. Keep watching this space as we get you more on the Safari Storme, including our first impressions on it.