Although no official word has come out yet, the new Tata Safari Merlin, going by the reports doing the rounds on the web, is just about to be launched. Test mules of the car have been spotted on earlier occasions too, a few times totally undisguised. This time, our Pune team member Yatharth Chauhan manage to click an image of the car. Here we have some of the the undisguised images of the car clicked on earlier occassions.
The new Safari will maintain the proportions of the current gen car, although it is expected to run on an entirely new chassis that derives its DNA from the Aria. Cosmetic changes will be made to the exterior to make the new Safari more appealing. At the front, a new bonnet, grille, headlamps and bumper complete the new look for the Safari. Thereon, as you proceed towards the sides, the Safari is very similar to current gen model. At the rear two chrome tipped rear exhausts, and a chrome slat running across the tail gate are novelties. The spare wheel in the new model has gone below the chassis leaving behind a clean tail-gate. The door handles and ORVMs are finished in silver, but don’t look very classy. The loading lip is positioned niether too high, nor too low, and there is a stepping flap below the bumper too to allow easy ingress for the rear passengers. What this suggests is that there will be two facing benches after the third row of seats, rather than a single third row.
The Safari Merlin is expected to get a new 2.2-liter DICOR engine with 140 PS and 320Nm of torque. A 3.0 liter V6 diesel in also said to be in the works, but it wont probably make it at the launch of the new car and will be added later. The Merlin will share its underpinnings with the Aria to a great extent and will also get the dual mass flywheel from the crossover.
Both 4×2 and 4×4 variants will be available. Aria’s tech wizardry including Traction Control, Airbags and all the rest of the zing is expected to make it to the Safari as well, although lower spec variants should also be available.
If the trends of the Indian auto industry are something to go by, the new Safari should sell alongside the current gen model. The present model would have its prices slashed further, with the new gen model selling at a slightly lesser price than the Aria for a corresponding spec variant.
The car may be launched anytime now. What do you think should be the MSRP for the new Safari Merlin?