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8th-Dec-2011: Tata Merlin, the long awaited SUV of Tata Motors, has been caught so many times doing test rounds, that now car pundits doubtlessly say that the upcoming car will break cover in the Auto Expo, 2012. Tata Motors are readying this SUV so extensively, that once it arrives in Indian market, it will meet head-on with Mahindra’s star SUV-XUV 500 and steal a considerable market share of this much popular SUV in India. Tata Merlin will be priced somewhere between Rs 12 lakh-Rs 15 lakh so as to snatch XUV 500’s glories sales which it has attained through a competitive price tag attached to it. It is certain that Tata will be selling both Tata Safari and Merlin as these have different features and pricing. Although engine could be same as that of Safari, Tata Merlin can sport a four wheel drive option will a low ratio gearbox-a miss out on XUV500 SUV.
Tata Motors, a renowned name in Indian automobile market has geared up to launch Tata Merlin. Tata Merlin will be a full grown SUV in the D segment manufactured at Tata’s facility near Pune. Tata Merlin is based on the platform of Tata Aria which itself is based on Tata Safari’s platform, a stalwart SUV spreading its glory on Indian roads since 10 years. The 2011 Tata Merlin would be second Tata vehicle to be based on the 4X2 platform apart from the Tata Aria Crossover SUV. Tata Merlin SUV will be sold besides Tata Safari which itself will get a makeover in a few months.
The SUV will derive most of its features from Tata Safari and Tata Aria. Tata Motors has religiously been working on its cars and always met with customer’s expectations. Tata cars have seen new cars entering and leaving Indian market. However, these tough built SUVs from Tata’s hood are here to stay. It’s been a tradition with Tata Motors that they come out with a new car with revamped changes that is inspired by an extant Tata car. Tata Motors started off by refreshing the Indica and Indigo and then launched the two-wheel drive version of the Aria crossover. The company then upgraded the Vista and Manza and recently made some changes to the Grande as well. Even Sumo got its fair share of upgrades, leaving the Safari as the only vehicle in their line-up untouched. Thus, it is indeed the Safari, which will soon get its due in the form of the Merlin. Both the Safari and Merlin will be sold separately, with the Merlin filling the void between the Safari and Aria.
It is speculated that Tata Safari Merlin simply called as Tata Merlin SUV, shedding its Safari status, will be priced just above Tata Safari between Rs 12 lakh-Rs 15 Lakh. It is believed that Tata Motors is launching a SUV to counter its rival Mahindra and Mahindra. M&M launched its SUV Mahindra XUV 500 on 27th September 2011. Mahindra XUV 500 priced at Rs 10.88 lakh won a million hearts and is a huge hit in Indian market. Tata Motors will definitely face challenge as it will aim for generating volumes by keeping the Tata Merlin price competitive.
The design of Tata Merlin SUV is greatly inspired by Land Rover. It seems that Tata and Jaguar Land Rover are synchronizing a lot as is evident from the design of the new Tata Merlin. However, the overall shape of the new Tata SUV Merlin is expected to remain more like Tata Safari with lots of cosmetic changes inside out. In order to make it look different from Tata Safari, Tata Merlin will have new headlights, tail lights and all-new fog lamps. The rear and front bumpers are also new on Tata Merlin and has no resemblance with Safari bumpers. Not just the exteriors but Tata Merlin has all-new interiors as well. Furthermore, the new Tata SUV has improved handling and safety features than the Tata Safari. Steering mounted controls are expected to lure Tata Merlin buyers. Clean dashboard with minimalistic appearance and wooden inserts look classy from the spy shot available.
On the engine part, Tata Merlin will be powered by 2179cc DiCOR diesel engine that currently powers Tata Safari. It is expected that this engine will be tuned to give more power and torque. Tata Merlin engine will be a 140 bhp, 320 Nm as expected. This engine will be able to output a maximum power of 140bhp at 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 320 Nm at 1700rpm. A five-speed manual gearbox will be mated to the engine. However it is a remote possibility that Tata may bring in a six-speed gearbox in Tata Merlin. A four wheel drive option with a low ratio gearbox can be expected with Merlin, as Tata could want to position the Merlin as an alternate to the XUV500 SUV, which lacks a low ratio 4X4 option.
It will also be a seven-seater (2+3+2) car just like Tata Safari. So it can be gathered that the last two rows would be facing each other in the boot. As per reports, Tata is going to make this car fully loaded with features at an attractive price. On the inside Merlin is expected to have adjustable motorized driver seat, adjustable steering and leather upholstery. Besides standard features of SUVs, Tata Merlin is also expected to have advanced safety features such as ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ABS (Anti-lock braking System) and traction control. Tata might turn out to be generous enough by giving Tata Merlin 4 airbags as safety feature.
A reskinned exterior is performed for Tata Merlin SUV. The front of Tata Merlin looks clean, neat & non-pretentious from all the spy-work done by photographers. The heavily worked out front-end view is clearly reminiscent of the current generation model. The neat looking projector head lamps are L-Shaped with flat proportions are and a bit boxy. Xenon is still unsure of powering them. Range Rover has influenced Tata Motors a bit too much in terms of styling. New body color bumper makes way for Tata Merlin. Elevated fog lights lurking on the bumpers are surely the add-on features. 5 spoke alloy wheels dress the base of Tata Merlin.
Coming to the side, body color door handles can be seen on the elongated body. Like the Safari ORVMs will have indicator lights. Both side electric windows are part of Tata Merlin. Tata Motors has spent a good amount to give tinted glass. Remote fuel filler and keyless entry are some of the exteriors which give the SUV an edgy look. Adding to the luxury feature is a panoramic roof.
Re-designed square Tail-lamps in coherence with the body design are the attractive part of the flattish looking rear again inspired from Land Rover. Tail lamp seems to be adopted from Force traveller. The spare wheel on the new model has gone below the chassis leaving behind a clean tail-gate just like Tata Aria. Two dual chrome plated exhaust pipes add aggression to Tata Merlin. Rear wiper and rear defogger might be given for unfavorable weather.
The length of the car is 4650 mm while its width is of 1918 mm and height is of 1925 mm. The ground clearance of the car is 195 mm and kerb weight is of 2040 kg. Tata Merlin would be lighter than Tata Safari. The capacity of its fuel tank is 65 litre.
Tata Merlin’s interiors are expected to be as good as the Tata Aria’s and they will definitely be better than Tata Safari’s. Tata Merlin SUV is essentially a 7 seater. Inside, the car will have all-new Electronic Switches, New Meter Dials, Tachometre, Two trip meter and white back-light dial while the driver’s seat will have an arm rest. On the dash there will be an AC with climate control having two AC vents. AC controls have white illumination around them. An MP3 player is equipped on the dashboard. Power windows help in easy and effortless ride in Tata Merlin. Their will be exotic looking leather upholstery in the cabin. Footrest for the 3rd row passengers is foldable. However folding rear seats are absent.
The driver’s seat adjustment will be manual. The cabin, in most likelihood, will be less noisy during acceleration and cruising. The gearbox likewise could be a reformed 5 speed manual one. Steering wheel mounted electric control buttons will make driving a pleasurable experience. The steering could provide a bit more feedback and the clutch, likewise, will take less effort to operate. Overall, the interiors will give a sense of improvised designing and comfort.
Tata Merlin price being speculated at Rs 10 lakh couples it with an expectation of being a very comfortable car. Standing firm on everyone’s expectation, Tata Merlin seems to be a very spacious car. It is expected to provide enhanced comfort with the supports of AC with climate control, foldable leather seats, remote central locking, power windows, and remote fuel filler. However, remote boot is still an option. MP3 DVD Player musical environment is also available. As additional features, tinted glass, Panoramic sun roof, ORVM indicator and button control on steering, rear defogger, rear wiper and electric door sided mirrors are there in Tata Merlin. It is reported that the AC in Tata Merlin will be better than the Tata Safari.
All Tata SUVs come with enhanced space in the cabin. The legroom and headroom at front, rear and third row seats is believed to be descent. The wheelbase is also expected to increase thus hinting towards more rear legroom. The boot space of the car is 981 litre but Tata Merlin may lack remote boot.
The upcoming Tata Merlin is expected to be housed with 2179cc DiCOR diesel engine which will enable it to attain highest possible speed. If we talk about diesel engine, it always gives a better acceleration for long distances and Tata Merlin is no exception. The engine is likely to offer descent acceleration and pick up. The cabin will be less noisy during acceleration and cruising. The engine is expected to be mated with 5 speed manual gear box.
The new Tata Merlin will come packed with a 2.2 litre DiCOR diesel engine. The engine will operate with lesser noise and vibration on the new Tata Merlin. This DiCOR engine is expected to deliver high performance with excellent acceleration and better fuel efficiency. The engine will come with a displacement of 2179 cc that will produce a maximum power of 140 Bhp at 4000 rpm peak torque of 320 Nm at 1700 rpm. The new Tata Merlin will break the barrier of 100 kmph in a short span of time. The all new Tata Merlin SUV is speculated to deliver high performance and handling at competitive price and will give tough fight to the upcoming Mahindra XUV 500.
Tata Merlin is powered by a 2.2 litre DOHC DiCOR engine which generates the maximum power of 140 bhp at 4000 rpm along with the maximum torque of 320 nm at 1700 rpm. Speculative figures about the mileage of Tata Merlin are 11 km / litre in city while it is 15 km / litre on highways.
The upcoming Tata Merlin is expected to bear 2179cc DiCOR diesel engine same as equipped in Tata Safari. It is hoped that this engine will be designed to produce more output and power. Well, the all new Tata Merlin is likely to yield a power of 140 bhp at 4000 rpm and a peak torque of 320 Nm at 1700 rpm. It is said that the engine will have dual mass fly-wheel in order to ensure minimum noise, harshness and vibration. Added to it, the engine is likely to be mated with low friction bearings and five speed manual gearbox for smooth driving experience. Although six speed gearbox might be possible in future.
The all new Tata Merlin is likely to be integrated with music system resonating the expected quality of sound by an SUV. The music system will be inclusive of an impressive and classy MP3 DVD Player which is expected to offer a complete musical environment. If we talk about other accessories the all new Tata Merlin is likely to be integrated with a in built Satellite-Navigation system which will enable driver to accumulate position data to locate on the road in the unit's map database. Apart from this, other accessories like panoramic sun roof, side ORVM indicator and button control on steering are also present in Tata Merlin.
The new Tata Merlin is expected to come adorned with an amazing braking system to ensure passenger safety. The front wheels of the new Tata Safari will be packed with Ventilated brakes whereas the rear wheels are controlled with Disk brakes to decelerate the SUV in quick time during emergency. The new SUV is likely to have four airbags to prevent the occupants in case of any mishap. The other advanced features that are likely to be adorned in the new Tata Merlin are ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) coupled with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) to ensures that the vehicle will never skid in case of emergency braking.
The homegrown car manufacturer Tata Motors has intricately put its best effort to produce new Tata Merlin. Despite being a 140 bhp SUV, the new Tata Merlin is speculated to have an excellent control over power. The power will be distributed to the wheels with the help of a 5 speed manual gearbox. The new Tata Merlin wheels are packed with Ind double wishbone with torsion bar suspension at the front and rear to avoid bumps and ensure a comfortable drive. Under the wrapper of safety measures, the car will offer a remote central locking system to ensure security against thefts. The car will be endowed with Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) technology that ensures to prevent the wheel from locking up in case of hard braking on wet surface. Other passive safety features that are likely to come in new Tata Merlin SUV are parking sensors to assist the parking of vehicle at right space. Fog Lamps to provide enough lights on the road in poor light or weather conditions are believed to be added along with Traction Control.
The all new Tata Merlin is likely to be equipped with 5 spoke alloy wheels inspired by Tata Aria. It is hoped that disc brakes will be applied to rear wheels whereas front wheels will be controlled through ventilated breaks. Additionally ABS feature will join the wheels, so as to reduce friction and prevent wearing and tearing of wheels. The tyre size measures up to 235/70 R16 105S and Ground Clearance of wheels of Tata Merlin is expected to be of 195 mm. Most probably, the spare wheel will go below the chassis.
New stunning looks, premium SUV features and brand value
Looks like Tata Motors might use the name Safari Storm for the Tata Merlin we are used to until now. It is the same Tata Merlin we are talking about which the auto major has decided to launch in India giving it another name and complete makeover from inside out. A possibility of adopting a new name for the SUV came when the new Tata SUV is being shooted for a commercial in Pune. A major part of the deviation lies with the exteriors and the interiors of the Tata Safari Storm in favour of classier and more upmarket look against the slightly outdated and shabby looks of the Tata’s flagship, Safari SUV.
The Indian consumers are waiting with bubbling enthusiasm for the upcoming launch of Tata Merlin SUV. The Merlin in other words is based on Tata’s Safari SUV. The most pronounced change in the Merlin SUV is the new platform upon which it is built. A smaller X2 platform of Tata Aria 4x2 is shared by the new SUV to improve the overall driveability, performance and handling of the car. 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.
The much hyped SUV from Tata Motors, Tata Safari Merlin is spotted once again in Pune. From what we see, the exteriors of the car appear a lot more different from the Tata Safari we usually see. Right from the headlamps, the grille and overall presence share no resemblance with Tata Safari, though the basic structuring remains to be the same. The headlamps look different with slanting look. The spare wheel which is usually carried in the rear end of the car is now placed under the car to give a spruced up look. A few components from the Tata Aria have also made into the upcoming new SUV. The bets are high that the Merlin SUV might be showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo to be held in January.