Since its launch in 1998 the company never came up with any major upgrades and only minor changes were brought time to time. Reason being that Tata had been planning on a premium model of the Safari SUV known as the ‘Tata Safari Merlin’, which is now all ready to hit the market early next year. The most pronounced change in the Merlin SUV is the new platform upon which it is built. A smaller X2 platform of Tata Aria 4×2 is shared by the new SUV to improve the overall driveability, performance and handling of the car.
According to us the most important car in terms of brand recognition, for Tata has been the Tata Safari. The car was an immediate hit and because of its not so high price tag, became the ultimate choice for big car lovers. However, one should not dare to forget the complete deviation of the new model from the original Tata Safari. With more upmarket looks on cards, the Tata Merlin price is expected to range around Rs 11 lakh to sit in direct competition with Mahindra XUV500.
New projector headlights, a squarish grille that looks more imposing than before, and a pronounced chin with a lip under the bonnet are major front-end revisions. In the rear there is change in the tail lamps, no spare wheel and an oversized chrome bar over the number plate. Lots of chrome in the front and rear are the major highlights. As seen in the spy pictures, the new Safari gets up-market looking interiors with an all-new dash and fascia. There’s plenty of plastic ‘wood’ all over the dash.
The changes in the interiors of the car are decked with wooden inserts, the lack of the much-in-demand steering mounted audio controls will pinch the consumers. The spruced up interiors are laid out neatly covering all the bare essentials in the SUV. However, Tata India has retained the age old side seating arrangement in the rear of the car again in the lines of the Tata Safari. Similar kind of AC vents and the tachometer arrangement on the instrument cluster is expected in the new SUV.
Powering the Safari ‘Merlin’ will be the same 2.2L DICOR engine, which produce some impressive power of 140 Bhp and 350 Nm of peak torque. The overall built of the SUV now looks more muscular. There is not a single feature on the new SUV to make us relate to the older Safari by any measure. Right from the grille in the front to the delicately shaped headlamps, Tata Merlin sits in a different league altogether. Like the Aria, the ‘Merlin’ too gets dual exhausts. To cap it all, the rear end matches up well with the extended makeover along the fascia.
Also see – Spied – 2011 Tata Safari Merlin in Pune
See more spied pictures of 2012 Tata Safari Merlin SUV –
Source Credit – Autocarindia