No matter how advanced and luring the exported multinational companies’ vehicles seem, there will always be those customers, which would incline towards home built models. India being a huge country with countless opportunities for automobile manufacturers to experiment, it is fair to say that the customer expects innovation and appeal from domestic products. Taking into light these dreams and expectations, some Indian automobile manufacturers like Tata really walked that extra mile in setting up new standards, building new products, which connect better with the Indian demographic and also match their demands of an economical and a fully featured vehicle. Tata has undoubtedly been the center of innovation in automobiles with its iconic vehicles ruling Indian terrains. With trend setting vehicles such as Indica to technically and manufacturing wise innovative automobiles like Tata Nano, the company really played its part in shaping the Indian automobile industry towards unexplored territories. From the same manufacturer came one more vehicle, which would turn out to be one of the first passenger vehicles solely designed in India, Tata Sumo. Though the initial versions of Tata Sumo were offered with a refreshing 1948cc naturally aspirated diesel engine, further developments paved way to include an option for having a turbo charged variant of the same 2.0-litre engine. Designed for the Indian customers, who have a specific set of requirements, when it comes to automobiles such as mileage, comfort, performance and other high level specifications, while considering the economical parameter as well. Before Tata Sumo was first launched in the Indian market in 1994, the automobile industry for multi utility vehicles more or less remained dull. The modern innovation was largely a product of original Willys Jeep models, which were modified for Indian customers by Mahindra and Mahindra. This actually created a window of opportunity for Tata Motors as the local innovation was something the SUV and MUV segment lacked. This was probably the main reason Tata Sumo was able to catch hold of the unstable and vague MUV market with such grace that it was able to sell around one lakh Tata Sumos in the first three years of the launch. That itself is an indication to the response Indian automobile customers welcomed the Tata Sumo with. The five door body on frame body style and its simple yet sturdy design was an immediate success. Being launched in 1994, it offered five speed manual transmission as the Indian automobile customers back then found solace in manual transmission over automatic transmission and the automobile transmission as such too was not as advanced as it is now which caused a slight lag or delay in transmission. The front engine rear wheel drive was another distinct feature of the Tata Sumo. Taking into account the growing urban expectation over the automobiles and the ever increasing national and international players in the Indian automobile industry, Tata Motors launched a facelift of Tata Sumo after a decade of ruling the streets in 2004. The decade marked a facelift, which did not just offer safety features such as key less entry and other comforts but also added a tech perspective to the vehicle with a multifunctional instrument panel, power steering and power windows on all four doors. The tachometer too gave a contemporary interior appeal to the dynamic Tata Sumo.
Tata Motors, over the years, launched several variants of this hit model. With models such as Tata Spacio in 2005, the company offered a different perspective of the already powerful vehicle by providing a 2956cc direct injection diesel engine, which was technically dubbed as 4SP 3L DI. The three litre capacity offered a better mileage and improved the performance as a whole too. The name implied its interiors and exteriors as the engine was also subjected to some major changes with a longer wheelbase than earlier versions. With a different rear axle and tyres, Tata Spacio also came with a different transmission system and engine, which all together were a genuine attempt to improve the fuel economy of the vehicle. The Tata Motors further launched the Spacio Gold Plus in 2007 with an increased torque of 223Nm at 2200rpm. Tata Motors also updated its Tata Sumo range to the Spacio Gold Plus variant which was renamed as Sumo Victa DI, which has the similar engine from the earlier Spacio. The minor detailing which are prominently evident in the exteriors such as the spare wheel position and the interior seating arrangement of seven as well as nine seater. The fuel economy of this variant too is highly improved and gradually the Tata Sumo became the best commercially affordable and technically advanced vehicle which served perfectly for private transporters and contract taxi vendors, who require the parameters of mileage and cost to be best in class. Right now, Tata Sumo is offered in two main variants, which were divided based on the emission standards; Tata Sumo Gold BS-IV, which further has two variants Tata Sumo Gold BS IV GX and Tata Sumo BS-IV EX, while the other key variant Tata Sumo Gold BS III too has two sub variants Tata Sumo Gold BS III LX and Tata Sumo Gold BS III CX. The main difference in the two key variants is evident in their different engine specifications though the engine displacement in both the variants is the same. The torque offered, output power produced and the emission standards vary in these models. The sub divisions are based upon the interior and exterior features which are offered across different segments such as comfort, safety to sheer luxury. All these variants however offer a choice of seven seater interior arrangement and nine seater interior arrangement.
Tata Sumo Mileage
Being a diesel engine operated and designed to satisfy Indian automobile customers, Tata Motors created all its Tata Sumo variants to have an amazing mileage and a decent fuel economy. The best in class mileage delivered by Tata Sumo is a reflection of its customer oriented design ethics which Tata Motors developed over years. Following the recent update from Government to follow a better emission standard so that the growing environmental pollution can be kept in check. All the vehicles in the Tata Sumo range either come with BS III standard or BS IV standard. The better emission standard also ensures an improved mileage. BS IV standard offers an amazing mileage of 14.7 kmpl. The tried and tested DI turbo engine offers a massive power to the Tata Sumo. With a 2956cc displacement, the engine also offers a similar mileage of 14.7 kmpl.
Power of Tata Sumo
Tata Sumo comes in two key variants, Sumo Gold BS IV which has a 2956cc CR4 engine and the Sumo Gold BS III which has an equal 2956cc, 4 SP TCIC engine. The CR4 turbo engine in the Tata Sumo Gold offers a powerful run, which reflects efficiency and robustness. With a maximum power of 81.8bhp at 3000rpm in Sumo Gold BS IV and 68.4bhp at 3000rpm in the BS III variant. The torque offered by the Sumo Gold BS IV is a promising 250Nm at 1000-2000rpm, while the same for Tata Sumo Gold BS III is 223Nm at 1600-2200rpm. As evident, Tata Sumo Gold is complaint with the BS IV standard has a better power output and torque produced than its BS III counterpart. Tata really improved the mileage while improving the emission levels too.
Tata Sumo Colours
These colors are available with all variants of Tata Sumo
Acceleration & Pick-Up
When Tata Motors launches a vehicle, speculations about its performance match the epitome of automobiles. Expected to perform extremely well on Indian roads in terms of mileage while maintaining a very decent and satisfactory pick up along with top speeds, which help cruising on highways, an experience which could never get any better. Tata Sumo came with a bang and offered all these parameters much better than expected. The MUV is doubtlessly miles ahead of its then contemporaries in offering acceleration and pick up, which were not available by native Indian manufacturers back then. The seamless five speed manual transmission offers an amazing driving pleasure. With its fine acceleration and thirst filling power supply, Tata Sumo goes on and scores aces in terms of pick up and torque offered. Apparently different tests noted the top speed to be around 103 Kmph but Tata Motors is certainly offering an improved performance graph thanks to its dedicated and resourceful research team.
Tata Sumo Exteriors
Tata Motors stuck to the basics when it came to Tata Sumo. The exterior design of Tata Sumo is not unbelievably aerodynamic or flamboyant, but it maintains a subtle statement through out. It never ceases to go bold in turning curves or detailing the edges but rather offers an accurate proportion set for exterior framework. The no nonsense design also helps the Tata Sumo in offering the best in class performance and safety at an unmatched price. The broad posture and an authoritative profile on road are just a few additions to the ultimate Tata Sumo, which was also embellished with its graphic details and subtle design. The front fascia of the Tata Sumo, in all its variants, features an appealing design that reflects its command on road. The front fascia has the air intake grille on the bumper but instead of going curvy and extremely bevel like other usual designs, Tata Sumo features its traditional classic standard design. The front grille features a basic structure and it has a comparatively slightly large headlamps appending it either sides. The front fascia also offers the front bonnet appearing firm over the front grille. The headlamp cluster completes the front design with fog lamps positions in sync with them. The wheel arches have a simple and subtle detailing, so that the vehicle would not be subjected to passengers obstructing unintentionally. The large wheels decorate the side profile. The side profile features a side step, so that passengers can easily enter and exit. Though Tata Sumo may not have the best available exteriors in the market filled with curvy crossovers, the earlier version of the Tata Sumo was slightly less appropriate. Moreover the class where the automobile manufacturer is planning to compete offers high performance and demands such rigid structures to withstand any type of environment and terrain with ease. The front fascia and rear however do offer a stylish chrome detailing to match. The front grille has the Tata logo complementing this design statement. The rear fascia is rather straight and up tight with a long boot door that almost extends all across the rear, so that the nine seater seating can be facilitated. The rear windshield has a wiper so that rear view can be more accurate. The windows in the side profile are adjusted based on the inner customer choice. The mid seat row offers a regular slide down windows, while the rear seat has dual sliding windows. The words GOLD embossed on the chrome surface above the front grille offer a decent authoritative appeal to the vehicle which is reminiscent of the Land Rover style. The body color bumpers clearly offer a beautiful design character to the Tata Sumo Gold, hence it never seems to be classified as a crippled design and always remains to be a trusted and sought after choice. The aggressive yet steady structure is just sheer pleasure to watch passing the roads.
Tata Sumo also has a high ground clearance of 190mm. The overall height of the Tata Sumo too is tall even for its segment. With a height of 1925mm, the vehicle sure makes an impression even between a jungle of vehicles. With a width of 1700mm, Tata Sumo maneuvers through most of the streets on the Indian automobile scene with ease. With a length of 4258mm, the Tata Sumo offers a decent maneuverability in Indian streets.
Tata Sumo Interior
With refined interiors, Tata Sumo has its muscular exteriors in sync with the interior comfort. The steering wheel is fitted with soft leather, which gives class to the vehicle. The hydraulic power assistance which the driver is bestowed with gives absolute control over the vehicle. The silver console is stylishly sculpted and it is complemented by the appealingly situated dashboard, which is easily accessible to the front passengers, so that they would not have to loose control over the road, while trying to control the vehicle’s parameters. The center console also has a 12V socket, so that mobile phones and other gadgets can be charged. The door trims of Tata Sumo are made with fabric in two variants, while the other two variants have the same with vinyl. The door ajar warning facility in this MUV actually helps in avoiding some of the dangerous consequences due to negligence. The power windows are tinted as an option. The hand brake is positioned between the front two seats so that it would not obstruct any additional functioning o f the vehicle. The cup holders are placed above the glove box and the anti glare rear view mirror is provided to offer better driving experience.
The interiors of Tata Sumo are designed to accommodate seven or nine passengers as per requirement. The spacious interiors and the ample leg and headroom allow all the passengers to commute in a comfortable manner. The interiors are also equipped with a modern heater and ventilator which keep the internal temperature in check. The controls for these features too are placed aptly in appropriate positions., The latest music system with AUX-in, MP3 system and power windows along with an engine immobilizer with a key take the interior comfort and luxury Tata Sumo to an entirely new level.
With the exteriors measuring so enormously the interiors are also equally huge with large space. The overall length of 4258mm ensures in offering a decent measurement for the seven or nine passengers, who fit surprisingly in the same structure by adjusting the seating arrangement. The fuel tank can handle 65 litres.
Tata Sumo Engine and Performance
The amazing engine in this beast offers an astounding 2956cc displacement and the two variants of Tata Sumo Gold BS IV and Tata Sumo Gold BS-III feature a 3.0-litre CR4 engine and a 4SP TCIC engine respectively. The performance is evident in the 81.8bhp at 3000rpm offered in the BS-IV variants and the 68.4bhp at 3000rpm in BS-III variants.
Being an MUV, Tata Sumo was destined to have large wheels, which complement its sturdy chassis and massive framework. The wide wheels are aptly places decently outside the chassis structure. The suspensions are given sufficient space as the rear wheels are placed sufficiently away from framework to allow the rear wheel drive to work effectively. The large 15 inch or 16 inch wheels, which are 215mm or 185mm wide and are tubeless radial tyres.
Braking & Handling
Tata Sumo comes with disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear. The 240mm hydraulic clutch ensures a smooth transmission. The front double wishbone type suspension with coil springs and anti roll bar type suspension in front and rear offers a superior ride quality. The 4.9 meter turning radius is an indication at its handling control and operating efficiency.
Handling & Safety
Just like any other MUV, Tata Sumo too needed to face the challenge of safety. No matter how efficient the vehicle is and no matter how superior its performance is, without proper safety parameters, an MUV falls short in its competition. With advanced safety parameters such as ABS, EBD Tata Motors excluded the airbags in Tata Sumo, The defogger is provided to clear the fog in uncomfortable environments. The front and rear fog lamps, seat belts fit with warning and door ajar warning along with side intrusion beams complete the safety features of the Tata Sumo. Key less entry and engine immobilizer further improve the safety parameters of the vehicle.
Stereo & Accessories in Tata Sumo
Though no extensive accessories are included in the Tata Sumo like its luxury counterparts, it does offer basic features such as a single MP3 CD player, which comes with AUX input system. Considering the price it is offered at, Tata Motors seems to have done a decent job with those silver center console, power steering and tachometer.
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Pros & Cons
Tata Sumo Pros :
Decent pricing, good mileage and a powerful engine
Tata Sumo Cons :
Interiors can be made more luxurious and safety parameters can be improved.
Tata Sumo Price
Tata Sumo Variants Price
Tata Sumo prices were updated on 17 Jun 2013