The Tata SFC is a highly versatile LCV built for light commercial applications. Designed as a pickup, the vehicle is available with GVWs (gross vehicle weights) between 3800 kg and 9050 kg.
In its home market the Tata SFC is very successful and it’s specially appreciated for its generous payload capacity, small fuel consumption and the low costs of ownership.
The Tata SFC is offered to a very competitive price ($10.200 starting price) and comes with a service interval of 20,000 kms and a 3 year warranty. The truck is available with a choice of three engines which develop 75 hp, 90 hp and 102 hp.
The Tata SFC is far from looking modern, as it comes with a basic and rudimentary design. Its conventional cab configuration makes it look like a typical LCV and features a short nose combined with a tall cab and a massive windscreen.
The front gets a simple radiator grille flanked by two rectangular headlights which don’t do anything to improve the dated look of the truck. The TATA name is embossed directly on the bonnet, which is slightly raked to improve the straight road visibility.
The side view reveals two parallel cresses which run along the sides adding a bit of dynamism to an otherwise very monotone design.
The bumper continues the rudimentary style initiated by the grille and hasn’t received any line to make it stand out from the crowd.
The exterior build quality is third class and looks pretty close with what you’ll find in a Chinese LCV. On the other hand, the load bed has a generous size and can soak big payloads without problems.
Once inside, you’ll get the same dated look found at the exterior. As it was expected, the dashboard looks ancient and the plastics are rock hard. The fittings aren’t great either and anything looks like it will start to rattle after a few hundred kilometers.
The good part is that you get decent amount of space. Both the driver and passenger are rewarded with plenty of head-, shoulder- and leg-room, but the driver’s seat isn’t very comfortable and useful only for short durations.
On the other hand, once you climb on the driver’s seat, you’ll be rewarded with a commanding view of the road ahead. The driving position is high and we also like the generous lateral windows which do their job just fine keeping you well informed of what’s going on behind. The bonnet is completely visible which makes it easier to drive in heavy traffic conditions. The passenger seats are decent but could do with more side support and lower back support.
The steering wheel looks as ancient as the rest of the cab, but its dimensions were wisely selected and it feels fairly easy to hold. The instrument cluster may not be the most modern unit ever seen, but at least its big gauges are easy to read on both night and day. Though, during sunny days it could catch a few reflections which will spoil the fun.
As it was expected the truck isn’t offered with any high tech equipment, so the center console is fitted only with basic controls and all of them are placed intuitively and within easy reach. The safety department is also very poor represented, as there are offered only seatbelts without ABS or airbags.
Engines and transmissions
The Tata Sumo is available with three water-cooled direct injection diesel powerplants. The engines develop 75 hp, 90 hp and 102 hp with 225 Nm, 325 Nm and 300 Nm of torque respectively. All come with a five-speed manual gearbox which feels vague and takes some getting used to.
All, but the 102 hp unit feel underpowered for a vehicle of this size. The engines are also far from being smooth and will start to show their raspy voice if you push them harder.
However, all engines manage to deal pretty well with the city traffic and even if they could feel a bit sluggish when the vehicle is fully loaded, in the end they’ll get the job done.
Tata SFC Engines Specifications
|Engine capacity||Hp@rpm||Nm@rpm||Emission standards||Top Speed - kmph|
|2956||102 @ 2800||300 @ 1400-1500||Erup III||101|
Ride and handling
The truck is fitted with hard semielliptical springs at both front and rear that were design to be able to deal with big payloads without breaking a sweat. Tata also added hydraulic double acting telescopic shock absorbers and the truck has a ladder on frame chassis construction which further helps to keep the cab isolated from different vibrations. Though, some bumps still make their way into the cab and the ride is far from being comfortable.
The good part is that the steering and handling are pretty good and thanks to its relatively small dimensions, the Tata SFC is pretty easy to drive around town. It also worth to be mentioned that the truck has a turning circle diameter of only 12.3 meters which permits you to negotiate with narrow streets and tight working conditions.
There are drums at both front and rear which means the stopping power isn’t something to rave about, as it lacks that bite found at the disc brakes.
The Tata SFC is starting to show its age. Apart from its ancient exterior design, the interior is also highly rudimentary and after a longer journey the seats will start to punish you with annoying back pains. On the other hand, you’ll like the all-round visibility and the commanding driving position.
The engines are a bit weak for today’s standards, but they are pretty efficient scoring average fuel consumption between 11-13 kmpl. The ride is far from being soft, but you won’t have major complains about the handling and steering.
The Tata SFC is also pretty cheap to maintain and can be easy repaired in any service. Despite its rudimentary nature, the truck is a trusted work horse and it’s able to do its job even if it comes without all the bells and whistles of its more upscale counterparts.