By on May 27, 2012


Ever heard about the Tata Safari? It is the first SUV that was designed and developed entirely in India. The Safari went on sale in 1998, since then there haven’t been many changes to the styling of the vehicle.Tata Motors changed the engines, bringing in better powertrains over a period of time. The Safari has managed to create a cult following and still sells in-spite of its dated styling. The first generation Safari used the engine from Tata’s truck line-up (Tata 407 truck). 


The Tata Safari is an SUV, which is based on a body-on-frame layout. The first generation model was too heavy and suffered from high body-roll. The second generation model has been revealed in India (not yet on sale though), and has drastic improvements. The design remains more or less the same but some styling cues have been borrowed from Land Rover. Called the Safari Storme, it borrows its elder sibling’s, the Aria’s X2 platform, which is made of hydro-formed chassis sections. The vehicle also features dual-mass fly-wheel and has been made to comply with EuroNCAP norms, so you can expect to buy one in the near future.


The Tata Safari has good amount of interior room. The vehicle will seat 5 in comfort, but the last row of seats are best for children. The interiors have vastly improved too (in terms of quality) but the dashboard layout is not to everyone’s taste. Power comes in from a 2.2-litre DiCOR diesel engine which is equipped with VTT (Variable Turbine Technology). This engine has been developed in collaboration with engine experts AVL and produces 140 BHP of power output at 4000 RPM, along with 320 Nm of torque at 1700 RPM. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.


The Tata Safari competes with the Mahindra XUV500 (a vehicle which we reviewed earlier, you can find the story here). It costs around $20,000 (at today’s exchange rates,) its standard features include alloy wheels, reversing camera, ABS, front airbags, DVD system, LCD screen, climate control, leather seats, electronic shift on the fly 4-wheel drive, etc. The Safari has a tremendous fan following in India and the brand name itself is strong enough to attract many to buy one.

Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of, a website covering the auto industry of India.

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13 Comments on “Tata Safari – Is It The Indian Land Rover?...”

  • avatar

    Diesel, MT, 4×4… What’s not to like?

  • avatar

    I fondly remember the TATA Safari growing up in the desert of Western Rajasthan. Our neighbor was a TATA dealer and had a Safari. I used to envy their kid, as he got a chance to drive the super desirable TATA SUV (at the time, I didn’t know what an SUV was. I still don’t understand the S in the acronym), while all I could drive was a Maruti 800. Looking back, I should be glad my mom let me drive at all. I was 12, and had no license :-)

    This vehicle filled a gap left by the Toyota Land Cruiser (look at that price tag!!). Given how immensely popular the Land Cruiser is in the Middle East, I’m not surprised this vehicle did well in India. All the status, without the eye popping bill of a Toyota. But that was back in early 2000s in a small(er) town (Bikaner) in a (comparatively) backward state of a country that was just beginning to open its arms to the vices of effective marketing and was beginning to embrace pure Capitalism.

    I don’t know how the brand is perceived today, but I know all my friends hate the Nano (sounds like an Auto Rickshaw, spontaneous combustion etc. Besides, they’d rather have a Rs. 1lakh + motorcycle, than a Rs. 1lakh car ), and all Indians know that the Indica is a Taxi. The Indigo doesn’t sell as well as some other cars in its class (Suzuki Swift Dzire). But, its still a “BIG CAR”, so it gives automatic snobbery and bragging rights :-)

  • avatar

    I belive due to India’s rough roads, many SUVs are more popular than sedans.

  • avatar

    Uh, since Tata owns it, I believe that Land Rover is the Indian Land Rover …

  • avatar

    Nice-looking, if a bit tall for its width. Amazing value, too. But those colors. 1990s flashbacks!

  • avatar

    “Tata Safari – Is It The Indian Land Rover?”

    I see what you did there.

  • avatar

    The steering wheel is on the wrong side.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t standard leather seats be a detriment to sales in a country with a large population of hindus?

    • 0 avatar

      LOL.. Nice observation. But, most Hindus in India are not extremists and Hindus, in general tend not to be as anal about religion as the 3 major book religions.

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