An XUV 500 owner buys the 2023 Safari XZA+(O): His honest observations

With the new infotainment and instrument cluster, Safari/Harrier has gone above a notch and almost close to the XUV7OO.

BHPian fusionbang recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I would like to start this thread with a big thanks to almighty, for fulfilling most of my needs especially when it comes to cars. I have been lucky enough to experience, in fact own most of the cars I would have dreamt of.

Below are the list of cars I have owned so far in my 13 years of driving experience:

1. 2010 Hyundai Santro GLS

2. 2015 Mahindra XUV5OO W8

3. 2016 Tata Tiago XZ (Still own this for city errands & office run)

4. 2018 BMW 330i

5. 2019 Toyota Highlander LE variant

6. 2022 BMW X3 M40i – White Wolf

To be honest, all the cars I have bought only to my liking, be it the XUV5OO, BMW 330i and the X3 M40i, they never stayed with me for more than 1.5 years. All the other cars which was bought with family approval has been with me for long time. I still own the Tata Tiago XZ for the city runs and it has been serving me well.

Also, I would like thank the Team-Bhp community and the members for all the content, which has helped during all my car buying decisions. I have made some good friends from this community as well.

I have tried my best to put together this ownership thread with my average writing skills and intend to keep it active with regular updates. Please excuse me if something is not up to the mark.

Before we actually get into the details, I would like to mention a quick discussion with my son on naming this beast. My son is 7 years old and he is into Dinosaurs and he can name them by just looking at the pictures. He developed a habit after watching the Godzilla movie and from then I have had some hard time to stop him seeing videos on Dinosaurs and Godzillas. However, after booking the car I was telling him about the car and showing pictures of the car, while doing so he asked me if we can name the car Indominus, based on the Indominus Rex from the movie Jurassic World. I was a little skeptical, but when I actually researched a bit more on the word Indominus, it turned out to be well suited for the Safari and it means “Untamed” or “Not able to be ruled over”. I am sure some of them will be against the meaning, but at least I felt it to be apt and hence decided to name the car as “INDOMINUS”.

Let’s get into some finer details now:

1. Why Tata Safari? What other Options considered?

2. Booking Process & Dealer Experience

3. Delivery

4. Highlights of the car – Likes & Dislikes

5. Initial Drive Review

6. Exterior

7. Interior

8. Infotainment

9. New Digital Instrument Cluster

10. Accessories Installed

11. Changes compared to pre-facelift models

Why Tata Safari? What other Options considered?

I am a big fan of the Land Rover designs when it comes to SUVs for their boxy classic design (especially the Classic Range Rover and Discovery Sport). I was excited when I got to know that Tata has built the Harrier/Safari using Omega-Arc platform derived from the Land Rover D8 platform. Hats off to Tata for producing these cars, which will be a poor man’s Land Rover Discovery and easily affordable for upper middle class citizens.

With that in my mind and with a mandatory requirement of a 7 seater, shortlisted the below cars:

  • MG Hector
  • KIA Carens
  • Hyundai Alcazar
  • Mahindra XUV7OO
  • Toyota Innova Hycross
  • Tata Safari

MG Hector:

This car was shortlisted just because it was a 7 seater and I never liked the side design of this car from day 1. The proportions of this car is a little whacky to me and somehow never impressed me. Apart from the reviews on Teambhp & some youtube videos, I never looked at this car in person and removed from the list. Another sore point was the big infotainment screen.

KIA Carens:

Same with Kia Carens as well, it was shortlisted for the 7 seats and the puny engine on this car was a big downer for me. The car looks handsome and the interiors are notch above compared to the Indian cars, but it looked smaller than a Ertiga and also felt like an elongated version of the Kia SOUL in the US market. Also, the long waiting period of 6-8 months(I am not patient enough to wait for that long) made me remove this car from the list.

Hyundai Alcazar:

This is also a similar story as the Carens, it was off the list because of the smaller 1.5l engine and another factor was the 3rd row was too cramped and felt claustrophobic.

Mahindra XUV7OO:

Family loved this car especially for the airiness it provides in the middle row, with the sunroof adding to it. Even I loved driving the well refined mHawk engine compared to my XUV5OO. During my first visit to the dealership, I was given a first iteration manual diesel car which was very smooth given that it has been doing the test drive duty since a while. We liked the dual screen as well, along with the light steering, powered seats, ADAS and so on. However, the 10-12 months of waiting period was a big downer for me and tried to check with the dealer if they can provide me with a car, if a deal falls through for a different customer, the SA was not confident enough and did not entertain that.

We wanted to test drive the automatic version, as we were planning for the AT and not the MT, however the Sales guy was so negligent that irrespective of multiple follow-ups and connect through some contacts higher ups from the dealership, he never called nor came home with the test drive car. I stopped following up and was playing a waiting game with the SA, if he ever calls back. Till date there is no clue where he is and nobody from the dealer called up asking if I am still interested in booking the car.

Another point which we were against the XUV7OO was the inability to slide the middle row to make some space for the 3rd row occupants. My wife and kid were also not happy with the 3rd row experience they had in the XUV. Also, there are some basic features which is missing even compared to the XUV5OO like storage spaces, bottle holders, AC vents on B pillar. So out goes the XUV 7OO. I still admire this car, especially in white color. May be I might go with a petrol version, when I decide to change.

Toyota Innova Hycross:

First Impression when you see the car from the front is amazing and I love the SUVish looks, but as soon as you start looking from the side, MUV design stands out. However, barring the MUV looks wanted to check out the car mainly for the Toyota’s reliability and also not to forget I have used a Toyota Highlander for 3 years in the US and it was a trouble free ownership for me. It is one of the best selling cars in the US. With this in mind visited Viva Toyota showroom on Mysore road.

I remember somebody mentioning on this forum about the negligent attitude of the dealers when asked for a test drive. But we had a good experience with Viva Toyota and there was a VX Hybrid for display in the showroom. We checked it out and the car felt very old school compared to the XUV7OO. The infotainment, instrument cluster, seats were all pretty basic.

However, wanted to test drive the Hycross for all the hype and we were offered a test drive on the ZX(O) immediately. Was happy to jump on the car and liked how silent the car was, especially in the engine mode. Overall, it was a nice experience with the drive apart from the not so eager eCVT gearbox, even in Sports mode it was very lethargic to lunge forward. Also, I didn’t like the position of the gear lever and it gave me a feeling of a minivan, especially Toyota Sienna back in US.

With this average and not so impressive test drive experience, we left the showroom with the price list. It was knocked off the list on the way back from the showroom mainly for an year long waiting period for the ZX(O) and the basic features for the VX(O) variant. We were told the VX(O) can be delivered within 2 months, but couldn’t make up my mind to spend 33 lakhs on that particular variant.

Tata Safari 2023:

After the Toyota test drive, visited Key Motorrs, Mysore road on the way back home to check out the facelifted Tata Safari. We were welcomed by one of the executive and was assigned with a SA immediately. We checked out a white Tata safari which was on display in the showroom and also a Red dark edition in the parking lot. We were really impressed by the interior quality compared to our earlier XUV5OO and even the Tata Tiago. I think Tata has done a good job here with the quality of the plastics used, practical & useable features in the car.

With the new infotainment and instrument cluster, Safari/Harrier has gone above a notch and almost close to the XUV7OO. We were impressed with the car and we wanted to checkout a 7 seater to make sure the middle row space is comfortable for the family. I think Safari makes a practical SUV with the 3rd row very much usable and comfortable for smaller adults to children’s and especially the sliding 2nd row, helps in a great way.

Now, it was our turn to do a test drive and we were provided with a 6 seater car. The SA assigned to us was not really a smooth operator and they have to come a long way in treating a customer and catering to their needs. I think it is not the SA alone, the overall showroom experience is very mediocre and not a pleasant one.

In my opinion, if you are buying a Tata car, you will have to buy it for what the car offers and not for the showroom experience. So being a T-bhpian, I was not really expecting a good showroom experience and I was not wrong

Coming back to the test drive, I liked how smooth the BS6.2 feels and drives. It was pretty smooth and there was not too much cabin noise as well. But, I could hear the noise once I tried to pick up speed and the gear holds on a little longer compared to the XUV7OO. Engine noise was audible in the cabin and was not really happy. I also accounted for how the test drive cars are handled and decided to do check out the noise later when I ask them for a home test drive.

After the test drive, we left with the price list and was informed that 1 month was the waiting period for the new Safari. We took couple of days to discuss and finalize the car. Everybody were okay with the Tata Safari considering the utilities, comfort and features it provides, especially for the passengers. We loved the stadium seating and all the utility spaces provided, which comes handy during long drives which was missing in the XUV7OO.

So requested the SA to get the car home to check the parking space and do another test drive to check more details on the car. The SA came home promptly and everything went as planned and the engine felt smoother this time, except for the Sports mode and manual mode. Having said that, I loved the mHawk engine, how well it has been tuned and feels great to drive. Wish Tata had sourced the mHawk engine with Aisin gearbox, rather than the Fiat engine and Hyundai 6AT.

Overall, it was a family decision to go with the Safari, unlike all my last cars where I was the sole decision maker and went with the cars I liked So we decided to go with the Tata Safari XZA+ (O) Adventure Persona in Orcus White.

Booking Process & Dealer Experience

The booking process has become pretty simple nowadays especially after UPI coming into picture. This has reduced the number of visits to the showroom and everything happens over a call or WhatsApp. I reached out to the SA and got confirmation on the below, before I can proceed with the booking.

  • No cancellation charges
  • PDI before Invoicing the car
  • Own Insurance, if they are unable to match the quote

SA was completely okay with these conditions and sent me a QR code to make the payment via UPI. I went ahead and paid the booking amount of 31000₹. SA messaged me the next day with the booking receipt and confirmed that they have punched in the order with Tata Motors and now waiting for the car to be allotted.

I was happy with Key Motors thinking how quick it was and I should be allotted a car soon and get the car delivered within 15 days. Boy, I was wrong and it took ages for them to allot the car, even though I had some information that around 3000 Safari’s were ready to be dispatched in the warehouse through a friend, who has some contacts with Tata.

In the meanwhile, I was talking to my friends about my booking and Avinash (abirnale) helped with a Contact at Prerana Motors Lalbagh Road, with a hope that he will be able to help source a car at the earliest. My contact number was shared with them, and I received a call within a day and discussed all the points I was expecting, the Team Lead assigned was very accommodative. `It was a one to one interaction with the team lead, rather than the sales advisor. Post this, all my discussions was on Whatsapp and Mr. Chandran was really helpful and answered all my queries while tolerating my impatient behavior 😛

Below is the chain of events with dates:

3rd April, 2023: Discussion with Prerana Motors, Lalbagh Road and Booking Amount paid

4th April, 2023: Received the receipt for booking made and ordered was placed with Tata Motors from the dealer

5th April, 2023: Car allotted and ready to be dispatched. With Estimated Delivery Date showing as 14th April, 2023

10th April, 2023: VIN number and Engine number shared. Decoded the VIN and figured out that it is April 2023 manufactured car, fresh from the oven. Scheduled the PDI for 12th April, 2023. Also, I had requested for a home test drive and it was coordinated so that we can go in the test drive car to do the PDI, which was approx. 30kms away from my home.

12th April, 2023: With an exhaustive list of items for the PDI, was all set to do the PDI. My dad and one of my friend accompanied me for the PDI, and the car passed with flying colors. Everything was as per my expectations and was really happy. Only thing Tata needs to improve upon is the consistency & quality of the paint job. Also, got to experience the TD car on NICE Road and the experience was really brilliant. The only grouse I had was with how the autonomous emergency braking worked, car made a weird sound while braking, similar to how a car makes when you try to move the car when handbrake is applied. I wish it was made smoother, unsure how it is with other cars having ADAS. Later, figured that it is the ABS actuator working at full capacity which makes this noise. May be in the next iteration, it is well insulated.

Thankfully, it did not have inconsistencies with this rubber beading near the door, like earlier versions

Continue reading BHPian fusionbang’s review of his Tata Safari for more insights and information.

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