2013 Tata Sumo Review
There is no doubt that Tata Motors have witnessed and experienced both the highs and lows of the automobile industry. Throughout, they have been active in different segments. After playing a strong role as a truck manufacturer, it was a brave move for this Indian company to venture into the mass vehicle category.
The Sumo was intended to combine the ruggedness of an off-roader with great space and amazing durability. The Sumo which was an instant hit as the first multi utility vehicle in the early nineties has not been successful in gathering enough momentum against its competition, especially the Bolero.
Many believe that the outdated looks, absence of features and lack of safety are the prime reasons behind the Sumo not doing well. With an intention to address this image and build a stronger customer connect; Tata motors have launched a refurbished version of the Sumo called Sumo Gold with exterior and interior additions. Let’s find out more about it in our analysis.
The looks of the Sumo have been retained and there is no significant change in it other than new alloy wheel covers, new designer decals and two new colors. The flat straight cut design now indeed looks dated.
The radiator grille gets a mild chrome finish with GOLD etched on it which was also seen in the earlier version. The two slit design gets a chrome logo on it. The round fog lamps look a tad smaller compared to the wide eye open headlight design.
The side view now gets better decals and redesigned alloy wheel covers. It also has 2mm more ground clearance than Bolero which does not make any considerable difference. The BS 4 variant also comes with tubeless tyres. It also has a foot support for the passengers to climb inside the cabin.
On the rear profile, there is no spare tyre mounted on the tail door making it look contemporary. The changes that have been done on the exteriors are not sufficient to make this one look like a new car. Unfortunately, the brand is taking a terrible beating because of its outdated looks. Tata Motors should now redesign the next generation Sumo as it is a very popular segment. It should make use of its international design facilities paired with its long experience.
The feel inside the cabin is very basic but not crude as nothing beats the Gurkha when it comes to crude cabin feel. The interiors have been re-visited with wooden finish as well as a mobile holder.
Instrument panel has the speedometer and the tachometer also it displays the trip distance. On the central panel lies the AC control and the music system. The AC is very effective and does not take long to cool the cabin. The new Sumo also gets an additional roof mounted AC which is a first in its segment. The unit does its work efficiently.
Build quality seems weak and also the switch gear quality is not upto the mark. The new Sumo also offers a Bluetooth and USB enabled music system. The playback quality is still very poor and the connectivity is also weak. When music is streamed using Bluetooth, there were many occasions when the phone got disconnected automatically.
The seats are not very comfortable but then still manage to hold the passengers safely. There is a cushion support arrangement as well. Even for the second row passengers the cabin is very spacious and the same feeling remains for the third row occupants.
It scores very high when it comes to in-cabin space as nothing beats the Sumo. However, even with the new additions the cabin fails to be any close to premium or plush and is definitely a big letdown.
Mechanically the new Sumo does not get any change and still offers a 2956cc CR4 engine which produces a power output of 85PS at 3000 rpm and a torque of 250Nm at 1000 to 2000 rpm. The engine is mated with a G-76-5/4.1 gearbox which is claimed to be a smooth gearbox.
The joys and complains of the earlier version is maintained in this one too. The engine may not sound smooth at the beginning but then as the revs go higher the 3L beast matures and gets subtle. It offers enough pull to reach speeds of 120Km/h.
The body roll is tremendous and on the twisted sections of road it gets very evident. In Safety aspect, it’s just the seatbelts and side intrusion beams on all doors to protect you from the aftermath of an impact.
The Suspension setup is also not too comfortable and will time and again remind you that the vehicle comes from the same company which manufactures truck. The NVH levels also are not low and are considerably high. There are a series of noises and sound one can hear inside the cabin.
One of the highs of the Sumo Gold is the CR4 engine which offers superb torque. Till 2200 rpm, the engine seems fully charged up and is very confident on take on any terrain thrown to it. Even while driving on off road terrain, the engine performed very well. So even though the suspensions could not work in tandem, the engine did its best to keep us afloat on all types of terrain. The engine also returned a best mileage of 13 kmpl which is impressive.
|Engine Type||3.0 CR4|
|Power in PS/RPM||62/3000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||250/1600-2000|
|Tyre Rating||215/75 R15|
|Dimensions in MM|
|Price Ex-showroom Mumbai in Rs.||722676||653732|
|CD MP3 With AUX input||Yes||No|
|Door Ajar Warning||Yes||No|
|Front and Rear Fog Lamps||Yes||No|
|Exterior Body Graphics||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Wiper and De fogger||Yes||No|
|Seating Option 7 &9||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Price Ex-showroom Mumbai in Rs.||722676||678845||725727|
|Engine Type||3.0 CR4||M2DiCR||CRDFI|
|Power in PS/RPM||62/3000||46/3200||120/4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||250/1600-2000||195/1400-22000||285/1750-2500|
|Tyre Rating||215/75 R15||215/75 R15||205/65 R15|
|Dimensions in MM|
|CD MP3 With AUX input||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Door Ajar Warning||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front and Rear Fog Lamps||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Exterior Body Graphics||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear Wiper and De fogger||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Seating Option 7 &9||7 & 9||7||9|
Tata Motors are primarily a utility vehicle manufacturer and they should use the expertise on their smaller vehicles too. The Sumo should have been a market leader in the current scenario had it been correctly updated taking consumer feedback in serious consideration.
These small changes are not sufficient to revive the brand. It needs the engineers to go back on the drawing board and start from scratch. The new age Sumo should pack in exciting features and a rugged design to compliments its core character. Unfortunately, it feels a great product has fallen prey to a stubborn attitude.
Mahindra on the other hand has come a very long way from its Willy inspired days. All its products have been very nicely accepted in the Indian market. Even Mahindra has often faced criticism regarding quality issues but then their counter moves have also been appreciated. The best example of this has to be the revamped brakes in XUV500.
Let’s hope that Tata Motors pulls a surprise by getting a more seriously revamped version of the Sumo. We would like to know the number of people who would prefer the existing Sumo versus the number of people opting for an all new generation Tata Sumo.