Making utility vehicles is a forte of Tata Motors. Much before entering the passenger car space, they were already an established name in the Truck segment.
Heavy duty, all terrain drivability and great performance were some of the traits that Tata trucks have always possessed. This was also backed by a good service network. However, in an attempt of increasing their market presence, they forayed in the passenger car space.
A trend started with rugged SUVs like the Sumo and the Sierra, till date, apart from the Indica and the Indigo series of cars, the utility segment of Tata vehicles occupies the main attention.
One such proponent of Tata Motors is the Tata Venture. Launched in 2011, Venture is pitched as the safest and most cost effective van ever.
The van segment in India has been ruled by Maruti's Omni, and the Eeco was also well accepted. To verify if Tata’s version of a small van really gives the van segment a new benchmark, we review the Tata Venture GX.
If one thinks that Vans can’t be better looking than a bread box, the Venture may be a surprise for them.Tata Venture can be described as a cute looking van. It looks very much in line with Tata’s bus range. Scaling down proportions in all extent, the Venture looks very balanced.
Large front windshield with the trademark radiator grille won’t mistake you for any other manufacturer’s vehicle. The front windshield also gets the Aria inspired butterfly wipers.Tata Super Ace also shares the same front face with the Venture. Headlights are placed comparatively lower and the dainty fog lamps also find themselves a good housing on the front bumper.
A-Pillar is aerodynamic and helps in increasing the visibility of the driver. Side profile looks divided into two parts; first half is till the B-pillar and the second half is from the B-pillar till the end of the vehicle.The black glasses camouflage a majority portion of the car and give it a very nice profile to the usually very boring van looks. A wedge line runs throughout on the side profile.
Body coloured ORVMs and door handles come on the top end variant, while the CX and EX get black colored ones.Tall and slender tail lamps occupy the rear end of the car. Rear profile remains clean with no unnecessary lines but just the name and a centrally placed logo.
To conclude, the Venture’s exterior looks really impressed me. I would rate the Tata Venture higher than the Japanese brothers Omni-Eeco.
The driving position can be something one could take time to get accustomed to especially if one is not used to driving a van type of vehicle.
Climb yourself to the driving cabin with the help of an internal door handle on the A-pillar. Once seated inside, it’s a mini bus.
The 3-spoke collapsible steering wheel gives a good feeling about the control of the vehicle. Instrumental panel remains simple with a tachometer, Speedometer and a Fuel leve/engine temperature gauge.Front dashboard is not a chunky one with great spacings as vans don’t have an elaborate dashboard. The central zone starts with a digital watch followed by the AC vents. This is continued by a music system console and Air-Con controls.
The music system console, if had been the integrated types would have looked better. Presently, it looks more of an aftermarket fitment. We got a good taste of the quality of the console, when its external frame kept on peeling out from the console till we finally decided to shove it somewhere. The same happened with the rear speaker covers too.
Light leveling, Front power window switches and the rear zone AC controls also feature here. The power window switches are occupied in the middle because the doors are very slim.A short transmission stick and an oil chamber are next in line on the central console.
Front row seating in the Tata Venture is very uncomfortable. There is headroom but legroom is something you won’t find at all. The driver would feel too cramped especially if he is 6’1. Check out the images of the pedals. The miniscule accelerator pedal makes you think about its design. The pedals are too closely placed to each other.However, if you are a passenger, you would not experience any discomfort. There is generous legroom and headroom for both the rear rows.
One big issue for the rear half of the vehicle is getting inside the cabin. Even though, it’s a small van, the ride height is comparatively high. You have to climb up the rear cabin and unlike the internal handle on the A-pillar for the driver/co-driver, there is no support handle for the rear passengers to help get inside. This can be a big issue if you have someone elderly in the family.
Second issue is the passenger door. The Venture has a left only door and is not a breeze to operate. Opening the door is more of a task for the middle row passenger. The door is also equipped with Child lock safety feature. The Tata Venture GX, we were reviewing, was a 6-months old vehicle but still it was plagued with a jammed passenger door. It was surprising for a new vehicle to illustrate such issues in such a short tenure.
Venture GX has dual AC with different speed controls for the front half and the rear half of the cabin. The rear half gets roof mounted louvers.Storage options in the Tata Venture included 2 glove box arrangements on the front dashboard, which were not of any great utility and popped out on irregular terrain. The front doors have pockets, which would get crowded if you shove some documents in it.
To conclude, Interiors of the Tata Venture earn appreciation only if you are a passenger and not a driver.
The Tata Venture comes with a 1.4L 475 IDI Turbo- Diesel Engine. The unit on the GX and EX variants produces a power of 71 PS at 4500 rpm and a torque of 135Nm at 2500 rpm while the unit on the CX variant produces 50 PS at 4500 rpm and a torque of 85 Nm at 4500 rpm. The unit also comes with a 5 speed GBS 65-5/4.19 gearbox. The present gearbox is a new gearbox compared to the one with which the Venture was launched and claims to have fixed all the issues of its earlier generation.
Crank up the engine and you will be made to realize that it is not a cute but sturdy ride. The suspensions are soft and that’s the reason the venture cradles its way when started or stopped.
The gearbox still lacks refinement, even though it has been changed to a newer version and shifting it to and fro is not a very smooth experience. Handling the vehicle needs some good judgment and is not for the first-timers considering the overall dimensions of the vehicle. The view while reversing the vehicle is blocked by the head restraints of the last row.
A short turning radius of 4.5m is a good support while maneuvering the vehicle through city traffic conditions. The vacuum assisted brakes halt the car very effectively.Rear passengers are the ones who have all the fun in the Venture. The generous legroom and headroom makes you super comfortable even in long journeys.
On highways, it handles decently except for some body roll occasions on Ghats. We got the best fuel efficiency of 12 kmpl. The Venture reached a max speed of 120 km/h. After attaining max speed, the vehicle gets unstable so one is compelled to relax on accelerator.One issue that we experienced during driving the Venture is, the oil chamber gets heated excessively and due to its positioning under the arm rest area, the driver and co driver feel the heat too especially around the elbow region.
The Venture won’t earn accolades for its drive as the engine lacks refinement. Its not just the engine also the drive quality is not too appealing due to the redundant rattling noises in the cabin. I started experiencing the same in my Tata Nano too exactly a month after I bought it.
|Engine||475IDI Turbo Diesel|
|Power in BHP||71PS@4500 RPM|
|Torque in NM||135NM@2500 RPM|
|Dimesions in MM|
|Tyre rating||165 R14 LT PR|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||33|
|Average Mileage in KMPL||15.42|
|Gross Weight (Kg)||1990|
|Turning circle radius||4.5M|
|Music system with 4 speakers||No||No||Yes|
|Front Power window||No||No||Yes|
|Third row seats flat folding||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear utility cover||No||No||Yes|
|Door Open Roof light ON||No||No||Yes|
|Inner grab handle||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Two Glove box||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Reverse Guide System||No||No||Yes|
|Front crash reinforcement||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|SideImpact protection beam||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|High Mount Stop Lamp||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front Fog Lamp||No||No||Yes|
|Dual tone Grey and Lenin Interiors||Yes||Yes||No|
|Injection moulded passenger cabin trim||No||Yes||Yes|
|Body colour bumper||No||No||Yes|
|Body coloured door handle,outer mirror||No||No||Yes|
|Price in Bangalore|
|Ex showroom Price||NA||484992||535195|
|On road Price||NA||581920||647035|
Competition All Specs
|Engine||475IDI Turbo Diesel||-||-||-|
|Power in BHP||71PS@ 4500 RPM||35PS/ 5000 RPM||73/ 6000 RPM||91.3/ 4300|
|Torque in NM||135NM@ 2500 RPM||60NM/ 3000 RPM||101/ 3000 RPM||190/ 2000|
|Dimesions in MM|
|Tyre rating||165 R14 LT PR||145 R12 LT PR||155 R13 LT||185 R 14, 8PR Radial Tubeless|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||33||36||40||60|
|Average Mileage in KMPL||15.42||19||18||-|
|Gross Weight (Kg)||1990||-||1540||-|
|Turning circle radius||4.5M||4.1M||4.5M||5.65M|
|Music system with 4 speakers||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Front Power window||Yes||No||No||Yes|
The verdict of our review on Tata Venture is very clear for me. I would definitely shy away from putting my hard earned money in this vehicle. There were a series of issues that we experienced starting from the jammed rear passenger door. It took some odd hours for the Tata showroom guys to fix this issue before delivering the car to us.
Later on our journey, the door seemed to have its own mind and eventually jammed again locking all the passengers inside, which we managed to open using our own engineering.
The sloppy plastic quality is terribly disappointing, be it the speaker cover mesh, the glove box cover or the Wire frame of the music console. All were popping out time and again.
As if the above mentioned issues were not sufficient for us to make our minds, the electricals of the vehicle failed. It all started with a failing music system and ended with a failed Air-Conditioning. We drove a Tata Venture top of the line GX model without an Air-Conditioner for 200+ kms giving us a good taste of hot dusty afternoon. We tried getting in touch with the service guys who conveniently tagged it as a general issue at first and later failed to communicate anything on the issue leaving us helpless.
So the answer to does the van segment get a new benchmark is very evident. Backed by a large dealer network, Tata Motors still lag behind in quality and refinement compared to their Japanese rivals. We hope the scene changes in the coming times as many players are entering the MUV space.