The Tata Safari is back. In what will come as a pleasant surprise to fans of the brand, Tata Motors has decided to resurrect the iconic Safari nameplate with its upcoming flagship SUV. Introduced at the Auto Expo 2020 as the Gravitas, the 7-seat SUV will be launched as the new Tata Safari, and will arrive in showrooms soon. Here’s all you need to know about this latest development.

Tata to launch Gravitas as the new Safari

Bookings to open in January

To borrow powertrain from the Tata Harrier

New Tata Safari details

Speaking to Autocar India, Shailesh Chandra, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, confirmed the company will revive the Safari, bringing back a popular name that India was first introduced to all the way back in 1998.

“The Safari glamourised the whole lifestyle segment. For two decades, the Safari stood for prestige, power, performance, and strong presence, and in its new avatar, it will carry forward this strong legacy as it combines the award-winning IMPACT 2.0 design language and the architecture capability of the Omegaarchitecture”, said Chandra.

Compared to the 5-seat Harrier, the new Tata Safari will be aimed at a different set of buyers. Chandra said the new Safari is geared towards “those who are socially active, fun-loving, travel in groups seeking out unique experiences and adventures”.

Tata’s 7-seat SUV made its global debut at the Geneva motor show in 2019 as the Buzzard, and then showcased at the Auto Expo 2020 as the Gravitas. However, Chandra says this new SUV was originally conceived as the new Safari, and has a few subtle elements that are a nod to the original.

“This SUV was conceptualised as the next-generation Safari. We did not name the Harrier thenew Safari for the simple reason that it was not a 7-seater. However, the new Safari will be the best 7-seater, as it does not have apology third-row seating. Like the original, it hasa strong face, a high bonnet,the stepped roof, therear three-quarter glass and stadium seating. All these elements were designed at the start to take care of the Safari legacy going forward”, says Chandra.

The new Safari will arrive in showrooms in January itself, and bookings for it will also commence later this month, Chandra confirmed during the interaction.

New Tata Safari could get 4×4 in the future

In more encouraging news for Safari loyalists, Chandra also stated the company’s Land Rover-derived Omega architecture – which the new Tata Safari is based on –is designed to incorporate a four-wheel-drive system, hinting at a possible 4×4 variant of the new Safarithat may be launched at a later date.

“Omega architecture will allow us further enhancements such as 4WD and also possibilities of electrification in the future. There are 2-3 options and routes that we’re exploring for this. We’ll do some consumer research before kicking off that kind of project”, said Chandra, when asked about a potential 4×4 version of the new Safari.

New Tata Safari dimensions and powertrain

In order to make space for a third row of seats, Tata has made the new Safari 63mm longer than the Harrier, as well as 80mm taller. However, to provide greater visual distinction between the two, Tata Motors is expected to offer new colour options as well as new wheel designs for the Safari.

As for powertrains, the new Tata Safari will borrow the 170hp, 2.0-litre Kryotec turbo-diesel engine from the Harrier, as well as its six-speed manual and six-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox options.

New Tata Safari price and rivals

Sitting at the top of the Tata Motors PV line-up, the new Safari will cost a fair bit more than the Harrier, which is priced from Rs 13.84-20.30 lakh (ex-showroom).

When it is launched in the coming weeks, the new Tata Safari will face competition from other 7-seat models such as the MG Hector Plus and the current-gen Mahindra XUV500. Later in the year, it will also have to battle the next-gen Mahindra XUV500, as well as Hyundai’s new 7-seat Creta-based SUV.

What do you think of Tata’s decision to launch the Gravitas as the new Safari? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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