The all-new Tata Safari is a three-row derivative of Harrier and competes against the likes of MG Hector Plus and Mahindra XUV500
After a long and arduous wait, Tata Motors finally launched its flagship seven-seat SUV- the all-new Safari last month. First showcased in India at last year’s AutoExpo and formerly named Gravitas, the SUV has since then continuously spotted testing.
In fact, even weeks after its launch, the company has continued to test its latest model on the streets which comes as a surprise to many. While on road testing after launch is not an uncommon practice, it certainly reveals that the manufacturer has more in its mind with regards to the product.
Possibility of a new variant
Manufacturers usually test an already launched vehicle they feel there is some room for improvement by replacing some components with new ones or some update that requires testing of the car’s dynamics. It also could be the case if the carmaker is planning to introduce a new variant or a whole new powertrain or transmission option to the car. In recent times, we have witnessed the new Hyundai i20 and Mahindra Thar being tested days after their official launch.
In case of Safari, the test mule spotted was wrapped under heavy camouflage which puts us in confusion since usually, vehicles spotted after their launch are not seen in such a heavy camouflage.
The most likely possibility, in this case, is the addition of a new variant with slightly different aesthetics. While it already has an Adventure Persona trim at the top of its line, the company is known to introduce special variants to the list to lend exclusivity. Just like in Harrier, where there is the Dark Edition and CAMO Edition along with the regular lineup.
Possibility of a new engine option
Another possibility is the inclusion of a new powertrain. For long, Harrier- Safari’s 5-seater sibling, has been found wanting for not providing a petrol engine option. There were rumours until a while back that Harrier at some point will be available with a petrol mill as well.
Maybe that powertrain is also being tested on the larger Safari and the company evaluating the probability of this engine being offered in its SUV lineup. Reports suggest that this new engine could be an in-house developed 1.5-litre turbo petrol unit.
Currently, Safari is offered with a single Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre four-cylinder Kryotec diesel unit which is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. This unit is tuned to return an output of 168 bhp and 350 Nm of peak torque. It is retailed in six trims: XE, XM, XT, XT+, XZ, and XZ+ and is currently priced from Rs 14.69 lakh to Rs 21.45 lakh (ex-showroom).