Safari’s spacious interiors have always been one of its biggest
strengths. It’s no different on the DICOR where seat comfort
has actually improved, making this one of the most comfortable SUVs
at any price, Ford Endeavour and Honda CRV included. Sitting at the
rear is a treat with the new comfortable armrest, perfect seat height,
spot-on backrest and sufficient legroom. The new leather seats on
this version are well finished, have better padding and are more supportive.
The driver’s seat is adjustable for height, lumbar support and
finding a good ergonomic driving position is easy for tall drivers
as well. Even the steering wheel is adjustable for tilt but the action
is not slick. The lever is buried under the steering column and you
have to grapple with the lever to adjust it. Another ergonomic gripe
is the poorly placed ignition key slot, low down on the steering column.
evolved instrument panel now uses legible circular dials – similar
to the Indigo and Indica – that have inset fuel and temperature
gauges and are prettier than the ‘half-moon’ units they
replace. Betraying the DICOR engine’s agricultural roots is
the tachometer, calibrated only to 4000rpm, in nice large 1000rpm
segments with the redline starting at an incredibly low 3000rpm. The
refreshed central console has a string of buttons presented in typical
Mercedes-Benz style. Rotary controls for the HVAC system still remain
but the gear knob comes with a smart aluminium finish. A sour note
is that neither the buttons, nor the dials, are built with plastic
quality that impresses. This is true of the buttons on the doorpads,
door handles, dashboard as well as the vents. The steering wheel and
gear lever are of better quality though. The new rubberised cupholders
function well and are a useful inclusion but the quality of the other
rubber ‘mats’ placed on the central console could have
The rear jumpseats are unfit for human use over a period exceeding
five minutes. Maybe Tata should look at a solution similar to that
found on the Hyundai Terracan which cleverly uses a sideways folding
but forward- seating split rear bench.
Flipping the rear seats forward releases a huge amount of space, more
than in most estate cars, making the Safari one of the best load-haulers
around. The DICOR’s twin blowers worked admirably, cooling the
cabin in a relatively short period. It, however, wasn’t the
chiller we expected it to be and the roof-mounted vent changed the
hair style of our taller test drivers.
In-car entertainment has scaled new levels with the new Safari, the
introduction of video screens in the headrest being a unique option.
Rear-seated passengers can now relax as they watch a DVD while the
chauffeur battles the traffic around him. This is also a genuinely
useful option that can be used for kids’ computer games on long
trips. Tata has loaded the Safari with other thoughtful details like
puddle lamps and an extra electrical socket for the rear which add
up to give an equipment and feature list as long as some SUVs that
are more than double the price.