Tata Sumo Drive Report
The Sumo as we all know started the SUV trend in India. It was indeed one of the first vehicles of this body type. It has been hauling passengers in the country for quite some time now.
We decided to have one with us for a brief time and find out how does it feel to own one. Throughout our review, we drove the Sumo on all possible terrains and also used it for mundane activities. The Sumo doesn’t offer features like many modern SUVs but then how much of a hindrance is it to drive around in one. After all, it has the potential to go where some of the modern SUVs might not dare.
Our drive report on the Sumo covers different aspects of this iconic SUV
From the time, the Sumo has not got under the designer’s hand for any major modification in the way it looks except for mild makeovers. I might not get everyone’s vote here but I actually like the no-non-sense styling of the Sumo. It has an old school design with mainly straights and flats.
Our red 8731 Sumo was a GX variant and thus it came with all the goodies Tata offers in its top end variant which included body coloured ORVMs. These ORVMs are internally adjustable. The squarish headlights with a straight cut radiator grille along with a plain no frill bumper constitutes the front look. This look has been retained for many years perhaps to make everyone connect with the design.
Body coloured mirrors, vinyls and a side step board is what comes standard in this trim. The roof line progresses upwards before ending at the rear section. In order to make it look contemporary, they shunned the spare wheel from the tail gate and got it repositioned under the floor. We guess the previous one on the tail door made it look more rugged as presently in order to fill the void, there are vinyls pasted on the tail door but then it does not compensate for the missing spare wheel.
It is not one of those cars which will sweep you away with modern machinery and features to make your life easy but then it won’t make you complain either. Why?
Step inside the cabin and it feels really roomy with its large proportions of room. The headroom and legroom is really comforting for the front row passengers. It remains the same for the second row except for the legroom which gets uncomfortable. No one dared to seat on the third row facing benches for long as the knees of the passengers kept hurting and the roll experienced while driving made them throw up.
This one gets a new Kenwood music system with Bluetooth. It doesn’t look as impressive but then it functions impressively. It actually pairs phones easily and the same can also be used for Bluetooth telephony with a Mic embedded on the roof. The music system also offers multiple music adjustments which are effective as well. The speaker quality is not the best in the segment but compared to the below average units of the earlier model, this one feels nice.
Get the Sumo started and the 3.0L Diesel engine is at its loud best. If anyone has driven earlier generation models, the experience of driving the Sumo was not very memorable considering the vibrations and discomfort. Not that the vibrations have gone off completely but then the new CR4 engine feels comparatively refined.
We decided to be adventurous with this one and thus got the vehicle dropped just the Gateway of India in Mumbai. The traffic scene in peak hours is very chaotic with visitors flocking it to see the iconic landmark of Mumbai. In city traffic, steering the Sumo was very easy.
The clutch is surprisingly smooth and the shifts too were decent. At lower engine speeds, the engine gets evidently audible because of its large displacement but then once the windows are rolled up; it gets cancelled with the good level of insulation inside the cabin.
And now how the Sumo feels on highways. Firstly, it has a tall design and thus the body roll around corners at high speeds is evident. The tyres start screeching thus limiting acceleration. It does not come with fancy safety bits like ABS and traction but even then the Sumo manages its way.
The 3.0L unit gets the Sumo to reach speeds of 110 km/h but then post that it needs a really long stretch of road to push the speedo further. Obviously, the Sumo is not a high speed car it is for rugged applications. The external ORVMs which jet out obstruct the wind flow creating an irritating noise. This happens as the speed goes on increasing.
The Sumo has a lot of takers for real time users who want a rugged solution to their normal commute. During both the driving conditions, the Sumo performed really well without any complaints or issues.
|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|
|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
|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|
We agree it is a practical SUV and also can drive almost everywhere with its tall ride height and sturdy suspensions but then it also demand great number of updates which Tata Motors should seriously consider. They should begin by giving it a new modern design which will make the urban consumers connect with the brand enthusiastically.
Spacious and roomy cabin in the Sumo is great but then why not give it a complete makeover instead of just adding a music system which was not a great addition as the aftermarket is filled with such options. Perhaps the Horizonnext initiative will eventually bless the Sumo with modern changes.
We would like to mention that during its stay of 2000Kms with us it did not report any problem not even of minor nature and did duty perfectly. We got a mileage of 11 Kmpl during our test runs. Even though it is 2 decades old now still it has a strong following of its own who swear by its performance. This number can increase if only the company takes the Sumo seriously.