Despite the manufacturer’s tradition as a supercar manufacturer, the 1977 domestic market price of CHF 39,000 was only CHF 5,000 higher than that of the less well-appointed Range Rover. There were relatively few luxury SUVs offered in Europe at this time, and while the Safari’s sales volumes were dwarfed by those of the Range Rover, they were high compared to the company’s other models targeted at the higher end of the Maserati/Ferrari class.
The driving experience was enhanced by automatic transmission, switchable all-wheel drive, electric windows and a well chosen selection of instruments behind the steering wheel. Despite the upright look of the body, the angle of the driver seat was relatively sporty, even though the overall height of the vehicle meant that the Safari driver was still well positioned to look down on conventional sedans/saloons.
Standard equipment was a Chrysler 5.2 litre V-8 engine delivering a claimed 152 PS (112 kW) at only 4,000 rpm along with a useful 35.3 mkg of torque. This gave it a significant power and performance advantage over the 3.5 litre engined Range Rover of the time. A 5.7 152 PS (112 kW) International Harvester engine was also offered, and the manufacturers maintained that the drive train components were also engineered to be able to accommodate Chrysler’s 7.2 litre 300 PS (221 kW) unit. In its 5.2 litre form, the vehicle achieved a maximum speed of 165.1 km/h (103 mph) and took 13.1 seconds to reach 100 km/h (63 mph) from a standing start. The price of this level of performance in such a substantial vehicle showed up in the overall fuel consumption figure of 25.1 L/100 km (11.3 mpg-imp; 9.37 mpg-US) achieved during the 1977 road test from which these performance figures are taken.