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Review: Safari Storme Explorer edition
Driven September 2013
The term 'upgrade' is quite frequently lightly tossed around. Take the Safari Storme Explorer edition for example. The only upgrade here is a bit of stickering job and a couple of added features.
Unfortunately, the added features are not a good news here. What Tata has done with the Safari is that it has tried to put a double-din touchscreen media system in a single-din slot. As a result, the touchscreen juts out at a weird angle. At an angle which reflects light making it almost impossible to read what the display is trying to show you during the day, which actually is just a minuscule peeve compared to its other issues. Slot the knob into first gear and it smacks your finger right into the screen, and this repeats with the third and fifth gear too. And every time you hold the knob to change the gear from third, your finger invariably touches the screen, changing some setting or increasing the volume. It’s probably the most ill-planned in-car entertainment head we've seen in any car till date.
The Explorer edition gets leather seats along with the rest of the features of the regular Storme, including dual AC and reverse parking sensors. Overall the plastic quality is good and looks premium, but the finish quality isn’t great. It doesn’t feel as if it’s built to withstand the test of time.
On the outside, the Explorer edition gets stickers that look like a compass and an Explorer badging. It also gets chrome-garnished headlamps and a crash guard at the front to help it distinguish itself from the regular Storme. Distinguish it does, but doesn't exactly add the 'special edition' flair that you'd expect for the extra buck.
The Storme is a well-riding SUV, but has excessive body roll and it pitches a lot too. That aside, it’s a really good handler. It can bloody well stick to its line on a tight bend - something that you wouldn’t expect from a car this big. Steering too gives good feedback around bends, although it isn’t too light at low speeds to aid city driving.
The 2.2-litre VariCOR engine under its stickered hood is powerful and punchy, and puts out 138bhp and 320Nm of torque. That power is available at decently low revs and in a linear way. It’s mated to a five-speed gearbox that sends power to all four wheels through a shift-on-the-fly mechanism. It also gets a low-range transfer case to tackle off-road adventures.
The Storme manages to hit 100kph from standstill in 15.13 seconds, which isn’t bad for a SUV that weighs two tonnes. But at the same time, it’s not too fuel efficient. It runs 11km on the highway and 8.9km in the city for every litre of diesel.
You can add the Explorer edition kit to any variant of the Safari Storme at an extra Rs 56,800. That makes the top-end version asking for Rs 17.44 lakh out of your bank.
That sort of money will open up a lot more options in the SUV segment – the Skoda Yeti, Renault Duster, Mahindra XUV, to name a few. But if you’re fond of the Storme’s styling or like its riding and handling manners, we reckon you’re better with a regular Storme without the Explorer package. Not all special editions are really... well, special.
4 cylinder, 2,179cc, 138bhp, 320Nm, turbo diesel, 4WD, 5M, 0-100kph: 15.13sec, 80-0kph: 28.63m, 2.99sec, city kpl: 8.9, highway kpl: 11, Rs 17.44 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
A special edition that isn’t very special. It’s a better deal to just stick to the regular Storme without the kit.