For the first time, the undisguised images of the new Tata Safari Merlin are out in the open. While the earlier picture which revealed the rear three quarters’ view of the car suggested a striking similarity with design and body of the current generation car, the front view too is clearly reminiscent of the current gen model. Tata Motors seem to be playing it safe with their old workhorse.
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. We expect a late September or early October launch. The Merling may be positioned slightly below the Aria in terms of pricing.
So what do you think? Does the new Safari Merlin cut the mustard for you? Does it look like an appealing package to you going by the first look? Do let us know!