2004 Tata LPT

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The Tata LPT was designed to provide solutions to a wide range of urban and regional transportation. The LPT is the bigger brother of the SFC and it has a highly versatile character being available with various wheelbases and engines.

The main advantage of the Tata LPT is its cheap price and the strong workhorse character being also easy to repair and cheap to maintain.

With GVWs (gross vehicle weights) of 5500 kg, 7200 kg, 7500 kg, 8720 kg and 9600 kg and a 3 years warranty, the Tata LPT is a good option if you are searching for a basic and cheap LCV.

Design

Tata LPT

The Tata LPT has a classical cab over engine configuration with a tall cab and a vertical front end. The truck has a rugged character and Tata haven’t even struggled to hide it.

There is no secret that Tata was never an innovator when it comes to design, but the LPT looks way too dated for a 21 century truck. The good part is that recently, the company revealed the new generation LPT which looks fairly good and will replace the old model in 2013.

Coming back to the outgoing model, it has a pretty solid build quality which looks ready to endure the punishment of the hardest working conditions without backing down.

The grille looks ancient but bares with dignity the company logo in its center. The headlights look also like they’ve come back from time and feature a basic rectangular design. The truck was also fitted with huge wheels and a generous ground clearance which enhance its utilitarian character.

Interior

Tata LPT

Open the door and you’ll be punished with a bare bones interior. Everything inside looks dated and the materials are probably the hardest you’ll ever see in a LCV. The dashboard has a robust design combined with a third class build quality which enhances the dated look of the cab.

The two spoke steering wheel is another piece of ancient history, as it looks borrowed from a 30 years old truck. Though it’s not intrusive and despite its relatively big dimensions it’s pretty easy to use.

There are also a few controls spread around the driver and everything is within easy reach. However, the floor mounted gear knob feels strange to use due to its awkward position.

The seats are of course part of the hard class without offering proper side support, and don’t even dare to ask about comfort.

At least the seats are placed pretty high which translates into a commanding view of the road. The wide windscreen is also up to the task and keeps you well informed of what’s going on in front. The lateral windows however, are a bit small and could’ve offered a better side visibility. Fortunately, the mirrors are fairly big and you won’t have any complains about them.

The storage department is pretty poor represented and it’s a shame as we are talking about a commercial vehicle which should be as practical as possible.

Engines

Tata LPT

The Tata LPT is powered by a range of water cooled direct injection diesel engines which develop 75 hp, 90, 125 hp and 130 hp.

Except for the 75 hp unit, the rest of the engines offers a proper amount of power dealing good with the city traffic. Moreover, the engines also provide a satisfactory amount of torque which will deal with big payloads without too much fuss. Though, the diesels don’t like to be hurried around and the maximum speed scored is 90 -112 kmph, depending on the engine. With a full load on board, it gets worse because overtaking needs serious planning.

Also, don’t expect to any smooth performances, as when they are pushed hard, Tata’s units will start to show their raspy voice and fill the cabin with an annoying metallic growl. There is also a pretty big turbo lag, but there is a strong mid range available so you won’t need to downshift much.

The engines are bolted on a five synchromesh gearbox which offers a rubbery feel with huge gaps between the gear slots.

Tata LPT engines specifications

Engine ccHp @ rpmNm @ rpmTop Speed - kmph
295675@ 2800225 @ 1500-1800106
378390@2400325@ 1300-160090
3783125@ 2400400@1300-160095
5675130@2400416@1400-1700112

Ride and handling

Tata LPT

The Tata LPT received semi elliptical leaf springs at front and rear which are combined with double acting telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers.

As the truck’s suspensions were designed especially to deal with big loads, don’t expect to a comfortable ride. You’ll feel every bump of the road and the truck has also a pretty accentuated body roll.
At high speeds tends it to be unsettled, but if it’s fully loaded things will start to get a bit better. The steering is satisfactory with a proper road feedback. Though at low speeds it feels a bit hard, but as you’ll see the speedometer needle going up you’ll be rewarded with a better response.

Verdict

Tata LPT

Without a doubt, the old Tata LPT it’s like a dinosaur walking among today’s trucks and we’re not saying that in a good way. Everything at this truck is dated and we’re happy to find out that Tata will replace it at the end of this year.

The cabin is highly rudimentary as well and looks like Tata’s engineers never took into consideration the driver’s comfort. The build quality is also third class but the hard plastics will manage to deal without problems with the harshest working conditions.

The engines are old, but the top of the range models offer a satisfactory amount of power and even if they aren’t as quick as other units in this class, they are able to get the job done with dignity. The ride will broke a few bones, but at least the handling isn’t as worse as expected.

The main advantage offered by the Tata LPT is its low cost of ownership and despite its spartan character it’s also pretty reliable and easy to repair.


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