Most of the current trucks in Tata’s lineup are rugged and solid vehicles build to deal with the harshest working conditions without breaking down. Besides their proven reliability, the Tata trucks are also pretty cheap and easy to repair which makes them the favorite choice in rural zones or isolated areas.
The SE 1613 is a medium duty truck built for short or regional haul operations and it’s equipped with a Cummins 6BTAA 5.9 liter engine that churns out 125 hp.
Unlike most of the Tata’s trucks which are using a cab over engine construction the SE 1613 features a conventional cab configuration which makes it look significantly different from its siblings.
The exterior design of the Tata SE 1613 is far from being charming. It’s robust and rugged shape looks certainly dated if it’s put next to any other truck from today’s market.
The good part is that despite its old age which seems light years behind the current trucks from the streets, the SE 1613 design is pretty functional and it’s fitted with a massive radiator grille that keeps the engine temperature to a proper level and wide opening doors that offer easy access inside.
The rectangular headlights are placed above the chunky bumper and they feature an old school construction with huge lenses that offer an adequate road visibility during night trips.
The big ground clearance is a solid proof about the utilitarian nature of the truck, while the massive wheels further enhance the rugged look of the truck.
The Tata SE 1613 uses a ladder frame design, with riveted multiple cross member. This design was tried and tested over a very long period of time and Tata has never considered changing it.
If the exterior design coped well with the utilitarian nature of the truck, the interior is where everything falls apart. Firstly access inside would be a bit arduous as the footsteps sit pretty high from the ground and the grab handles aren’t exactly wisely placed.
After you’ll climb inside you are “welcomed” by a very rudimentary environment which makes you feel like going back in time. There are huge panel gaps everywhere and we can’t even talk about refinement, as the interior lacks any common sense comfort.
The chunky dashboard houses a small center stack and a rudimentary instrument cluster which looks like it belongs to a museum.
The material used for the dash and doors is hard, cheap-feeling textured plastic that sounds hollow when tapped with a finger, and wind noise enters the cabin like it owns the place.
The floor mounted gear knob is oddly placed and we can’t even talk about ergonomy.
The steering wheel continues the simple design initiated by the dull dashboard and comes without any kind of adjustments, so you’re limited on a basic and cramped driving position.
The seats are hard as a rock and offer a third class support. They do have a few adjustments but they won’t be of too much help.
At least you have a good view of the road and the lateral visibility is also good. You won’t need to worry about the rear visibility either as the gargantuan exterior mirrors keep you well informed at any time.
The storage department isn’t as good as expected from a truck of this type, but there are a few cubby holes and consoles to keep your things.
Engines and performance
The truck comes with an old 6 liter Cummins which is bolted on a very dependable GBS40 gear box with 5 forward and 1 reverse gears. The turbo diesel engine meets the Euro II emission norms and offers a maximum power of 130 hp at 2500 rpm with a massive torque of 410 Nm achieved between 1400 and 1700 rpm.
The engine can deal effortless with anything you’ll ask of it and thanks to its generous torque it can haul in excess of 30 tons with ease, which is illegal on this by the way.
Needless to say that the engine is anything but smooth and will show its raucous nature every time you push it harder.
Tata SE 163 Engine Specifications
|Cummins||130 @ 2500||410 @ 1400 – 1700|
Ride and handling
The Tata SE 163 uses semi elliptical leaf springs, at both front and rear with hydraulic double acting shock absorbers available only for the front axle. The ride is very uncomfortable, as the suspension will send every road bump directly in your spine. It’s true that the ride will get slightly better if the truck is fully loaded, but don’t expect to any miracles, as the overall fell is still harsh.
The truck is offered with both mechanical and power steering depending on the model. The mechanical steering is a bit hard and you’ll build some nice muscles if you’ll drive the truck on a daily basis, but at least is fairly precise and lets you know exactly what the wheels are planning. The power steering is slightly better and it’s naturally the preferred option over mechanical one.
The truck’s handling is unsettled and there is also a big amount of body roll present every time you get into a corner, but given its age it’s nothing out of ordinary.
The Tata SE 163 it’s a rugged and capable workhorse which does exactly what it was engineered to do. It’s able to carry massive loads from point A to point B with minimum costs. The truck doesn’t have the pretention to offer a comfortable driving experience and it doesn’t even wants to hide it. Though, we like its honest character, as you’ll get exactly what you’d expect from its cheap price and nothing more.
The Tata SE 163 offers a fair business and would appeal to those that seek a rugged and affordable truck that it’s able to get the job done without all those bells and whistles found at its more upscale rivals.