Monday, September 12, 2011

Tata Sumo Grande Facelift Scooped: Oncars

Tata built the Sumo "Grande Mark I" in 2008 to take on the Toyota Innova and the Mahindra Xylo. After a tough time at the hustings, they went back to the drawing board to effect a few changes and a year and a half later, the Sumo Grande Mark II was born. The MPV still couldn’t do much to dislodge either of the Innova-Xylo duo. Never the one to give up easily, Tata Motors is at it again, this time with the facelifted Grande Mark II.

Our friends at OnCars have managed to snap up a facelifted Grande Mark II testing. That said, the big changes on the exteriors of the Grande are the Mark II and Sumo badges missing apart from new graphics on the flanks of the Grande.

While it is still a little early o confirm whether the Grande will indeed lose the Sumo moniker along with the Mark II badge, thereis a fat chance that it could. We’ve seen this happen in a plethora of Tata products, ranging from the Tata Indica Vista which now sells as the Tata Vista and the Tata Indigo Manza which now sells as the Tata Manza. Tata products, value for money and spacousness being their strong points often times sell very well in the taxi market.

While this brings brisk sales to Tata as a manufacturer, more often than not, family car buyers are dissuaded by the Taxi images that many of the Tata cars come tagged with. The Tata Sumo has been around for the better part of a decade and a half now. The able MUV has had its days of glory and Tata might finally have decided that the Sumo brand is what that has been slowing down the Grande’s sales.

Hence, the Sumo(Incidentally the Sumo was named after Suman Moolgaonkar, TELCO’s late ex-chairman) name could go out of the window for the MPV to now be rechristened as only the Grande. Tata Motors will hope that this name change could change the fortunes of the Grande MUV, which for starters is quite a capable vehicle. This apart, the changes in the Grande will mainly be on the interiors and perhaps also on the suspension.

The Tata Grande’s interiors had many rough edges which Tata Motors will probably have ironed out during the course of the facelift. Another change expected is in the suspension department as the Tata Grande’s suspension was quite bumpy for the rear occupants due to the leaf spring layout at the rear as opposed to the independent coil springs on both the Toyota Innova and the Mahindra Xylo.

The engine however will remain the same, tried and tested 2.2 Liter DICOR mill, tuned to produce about 120 Bhp and 250 Nm, making it the class leader when it comes to engine output. So, the Grande does have reasonable ammo to turn out to be a winner in the segment, if and only if, the stodgy taxi image associated with the Sumo is eliminated. For a start, Tata seems to be on the right direction. The coming days will reveal much more. Watch this space!

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