New Tata Safari Review — Better Than Harrier Or Hector Plus?

The new Tata Safari is basically a longer Harrier and is the three-row version that was first displayed at the 2020 Auto Expo. In the Tata range, Safari is the flagship SUV being sold over the Harrier at a premium; thus, for the extra money, you get an updated design plus a longer car along with a more luxurious interior plus the three-row seating, of course. New Tata Safari 2021 ReviewHow does it look? Images: FossbytesThe new Safari looks brilliant and has lots of road presence when seen for the first time and also looks longer than the Harrier, which it is. The extra length of nearly 65mm over the Harrier gives it a more elegant design, which adds to the looks, no doubt. Compared to the Harrier, the Safari has been designed to look more premium; hence you get the grille, which is finished in chrome and the same goes for the headlamp surrounds below. However, the side and the rear styling have more differences, and it is where you can see the new look. Unlike the Harrier, the roofline has been increased, and there is now a rear quarter glass being added for the third row. Also, notice the nice way the roof-rails look somewhat like the previous Safari, and the “Safari” badge looks well done. Safari also wears bigger shoes as it gets 18-inch alloy wheels. There is not much choice in terms of colors as you get only three options: Royale Blue, Orcus White, and Daytona Grey. What about the interiors?The interiors impressed us more than the exteriors; here, the differentiation is more evident, and the execution of the design is amongst the best we have seen from any Tata Motors car. It feels tough — from the solid doors to the big steering wheel, along with chunky switchgear. It feels big and sturdy — something which owners will like. The old Safari was outdated, and here we are glad Tata Motors did not see the past. The new Safari cabin looks really premium with a white interior and seats and the classy ashwood used, plus there is leather used on the door pads. The dashboard has soft-touch materials and also has an anti-reflective top-layer that looks/feels classy. This is one of the top-tier cabins for the price.Some crucial changes make life easier when compared to living with a Harrier. There is an electronic handbrake for one, and the USP port location is also easier to access. The steering wheel has buttons that are easy to use, while the part digital instrument cluster is also nice, even if not quite as tech-focused as its rivals with a full digital cluster. The touch screen at 8.8-inches could have been bigger too as all other SUVs in this segment have vastly bigger screens. We also think the quality of the touch display along with rearview camera graphics could be better. That said, the Safari does quite well in the overall features count with equipment like a panoramic sunroof (one of the largest that we have seen in this class), 6-way Powered Driver Seat with adjustable lumbar support, captain seats, auto headlamps, drive modes, electronic parking brake, 9-speaker JBL audio system, Android Auto and Apple Car Play Connectivity plus connected tech, 6 airbags and more. However, wireless charging is missing from the features list.Is Safari 2021 spacious? Absolutely! Since one of the biggest reasons to buy Safari is the space and comfort on offer. The white color looks inviting, and once inside, the middle row is the best place to be with the Captain Seating layout. The standard is a 7-seater bench, but the 6-seater Captain’s Seats is the better option. The seats are superb and are very comfortable while having the right cushioning. Legroom and headroom are also fantastic in the second row. There are also special features include a boss mode to create even more space by moving the front seats ahead, while the 2nd row also gets a 60:40 Split along with auto climate control, ambient mood lighting, and plenty of storage space. The third row is surprisingly good, and access to it is best via the space between the captain’s seats; once in, even tall passengers will not complain. Yes, thigh support is less, but headroom is good and you also get a separate blower control and USB ports.What’s the technology on offer?The Safari is the second Tata Motors car to get connected technology and it gets various features like location-based services, vehicle diagnostics, remote features (remote lock/unlock etc.), over-the-air updates, and vehicle security services. It also gets Terrain response modes connected to the ESP along with offroad ABS, traction control, hill-hold, electronic stability control, hill-descent control and more.How is new Safari to drive?The Safari gets the same 2.0 turbo diesel present in the Harrier along with the same 6-speed manual and automatic gearbox. It is a monocoque chassis-based SUV (For instance, Fortuner is a ladder-frame) and based on the same Land Rover platform. Controversially, it does not get a 4×4, unlike the last Safari. While Tata Safari is heavier than Harrier, performance is the same as the diesel engine plus automatic being the best combination rather than manual, requiring more effort. The engine starts with a typical diesel noise but soon settles into a smooth idle. On the go, the automatic gearbox is nice and smooth for city traffic. The steering requires more effort though, since it is a bit heavy but gets better at higher speeds. Speaking of which, the Harrier is pretty responsive and cruises very well. It gets drive modes, and Sport mode is very quick and does enough for all those highway overtakes. It is also brilliant in its stability. Unlike the previous Safari, the new one is much better and does not have too much body roll. Braking for such a heavy car is decent but could have been more confidence-inspiring. Superb ground clearance and terrain response modes are also enough to offer off-road capability for most situations other than hardcore off-roading.Should you buy Tata Safari 2021?Prices for the Safari start at Rs 14.6 lakh while the fully loaded version is Rs 21.4 lakh. That makes it good value on the basis of its design, space and the excellent suspension which makes for a comfortable family SUV. Getting one over the Harrier is a bit of a no-brainer due to the extra space, features and the added road presence. It is also a better packaged product. Over its immediate rivals, the Hector Plus has more features and a petrol engine while the Safari has the looks and the capability.Overall, if you want a big SUV with comfort, features and the ability to go over any road surface with ease, then you should look at the Tata Safari. It is a lot better than the earlier Safari too, we might add!