Earlier this year, Tata Motors dropped a bomb with ‘Safari’ written on it. Reviving the iconic moniker has certainly worked in the favour of the homegrown carmaker. Last month, the Safari even managed to outsell its own cousin – the Harrier by a small margin. It might have had a dreamy start to its journey but things aren’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows for the Safari in the near future as Hyundai is gearing up to launch the Alcazar and the hotly-anticipated Mahindra XUV700 is also just around the corner.
To take on its upcoming rivals, it seems like Tata is already working towards making the Safari even better than it already is. A test mule of the Safari draped under heavy camouflage was recently spied in Pune and that suggests the same.
AWD in the works?
Ever since Tata officially revealed that the Safari is not going to boast of 4×4 drivetrain, it faced backlash from certain people. Most of them argued that the iconic Safari moniker should come with a 4×4 configuration as an option, even in its latest iteration. Moreover, the company hasn’t ruled out the possibility of AWD Safari altogether as during its launch, Tata Motors kept the doors open if it seems there is enough demand among consumers to send power to all four wheels. Making the Safari an AWD vehicle shouldn’t be that hard for the carmaker as it is based on the same OMEGA platform as the Harrier. The Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced architecture is derived from Land Rover’s D8 and it will be adaptable for a different drive configuration.
Or could it pack a petrol powertrain?
Apart from that, Tata could be testing their all-new in-house 1.6L turbo petrol engine on the Safari for a future launch. In November, a Harrier was spotted testing with a test apparatus that could support the claim that Tata might be testing a new powertrain apparatus. Mechanically, the Safari is powered by the same 2.0L fiat sourced 4 cyl Kyrotec turbo diesel engine which puts out 170PS of peak power and 350Nm of peak torque. It is mated to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox unit. Almost all the 7-seater SUVs available in the country today boast of both, diesel and petrol powerplants. If Tata decides to go ahead with a new petrol powertrain, it will certainly add more appeal to the already impressive Safari’s lineup.
Nothing is official though and all these possibilities are simply nothing but a few educated guesses. Things should get clearer in the coming few months.