The Safari has been iconic, the muscled design, the powerful engine and the robust body. The new one however has not met the same aplomb that one would expect with the relaunch of the car due to the hasty decision by Tata.

The Safari name is known amongst Indians as one of the true icons of the Indian automotive industry, the car was introduced by Tata Motors all the way back in 1998 and can be called the first SUV to be made here. The car rose to fame by offering power, size and durability in its long career but then got stunted due to tough competition from Mahindra and other foreign makers and Tata’s failure to reignite the flame to capture the market.

However Tata has decided that it will reincarnate the name by re-badging the Gravitas, which is the 7-Seat version of the Harrier SUV, but the reception by the fans of the car is mixed because the Safari as a vehicle maintained a more conventional SUV/Off-roader design with bolstered haunches based on longitudinal design approach but the new one is based on the Impact 2.0 design language which is based on the Omega platform derived from the D8 platform- Land Rover’s proven design. This does mean that the engineers at Tata can do a variety of changes to the car like adding a 4X4 drivetrain or even electrifying it without much hassles.

The car is longer and taller than the Harrier, 4661 mm long and 1786 mm tall to make the room inside to comfortably fit the three rows of seating. But as such there is not a lot of information regarding the interiors or the features, but it should be assumed that most of it will be carried over from the Harrier. And that includes the 2 litre turbo unit that makes 170 horsepower with a possibility for a more powerful unit if Tata launches an AWD version.

The criticism that the decision by Tata has received is mainly due to the fact that the Safari is not a new vehicle, the car debuted at the Buzzard in 2019 and later given the name Gravitas and there was no indication that this car would be rebadged, because it essentially has been. No changes are possibly going to take effect in the mechanics or the features in the car after it being named the Safari, and for loyalists the name means something-when they urged Tata to make a new Safari, they expected the engineers to start from scratch and give them something truly special.

The new Safari is loaded with features and has one of the best designs out there, but this does not change the fact that Tata took a shortcut to cash in some of the market by using the legacy of the Safari name. The new car bears close to no resemblance to the old one, which is somewhat important as a name of the car means its identity, and cars like the Mahindra Scorpio, Bolero or even the Toyota Fortuner have made it a point to not stray away from the formula that works, and the old Safari formula worked.

The car will cost around the same as its competitor Mahindra XUV500 and above the Harrier i.e. INR 16 to 24 Lakhs. A lot of fans have rejoiced this decision by Tata, and expect the car to fill all the gaps that the former one did, and this time around we have seen the Indian automakers commitment to quality, performance and safety to expect nothing but the best.

Anagh Bhaskar

Anagh Bhaskar

I am a journalism grad who has always had a passion towards machines, especially cars and war machines, the sheer competitiveness of the industry which works with the same enthusiasm everyday without fail is what fascinates me. Favourie Car: Nissan GT-R R35 Quote: What you do in life echoes in eternity- Russell Crowe, Maximus, Gladiator