The Tata brand may not sound familiar to many of you, but the company is the biggest player in the Indian automotive industry and builds car, commercial vehicles and even trucks.
The company has interest in over 100 countries and its vehicles are starting to be sold in more and more countries with every year that passes.
The TL model is a pretty basic pickup, designed to get the job done without all the bells and whistles that can be seen its Japanese or American rivals. The TL it’s also among the cheapest pickups you’ll ever find in this segment and comes in both 4x2 and 4 x4 configurations.
The 4x4 model bares the TL4 badge and is priced from $14,000, while the 4x2 version is known as the TL2 and cost from $11,670. The single cab TL models can deal with a maximum payload of 1,280kg, while the five-seater double cabs can hold up to 1,030kg.
The Tata TL comes with a pretty agricultural design which copes great with its utilitarian nature. Though, despite its simple lines, the TL is pretty handsome and we like its spartan lines.
It measures 16.5 feet long, 6 feet wide and about 6 feet tall. It also comes with a huge ground clearance (200 mm) which gives it a pretty aggressive stance. The Tata TL rides on 5.5Jx16” steel wheels with 205/80 R16 tyres.
Up front there is a rectangular grille fitted with the company’s badge in its center. Underneath it, you’ll find a pretty robust bumper which isn’t fitted with any lights or big air vents.
The headlights feature a pretty basic design and enhance the rugged look of the vehicle, while along the sides the body received a few horizontal creases to break up the monotony.
To give the truck even a more purposeful appearance, Tata offers optional front bull bars, roll bars, rear aluminium foot rests and a loading bay guard made of steel. The truck is also fitted with a set of protective mouldings which guard the vulnerable wheel arches.
The exterior mirrors were borrowed from the Sumo model and are fairly big, to offer a proper rearward visibility.
The inside story is a boring one with grey plastics and third class materials. The build quality is far from being great and the overall design is already starting to look dated. The dash is however is pretty practical and it’s fitted with a four rectangular air vents, a spacious glove box and a set of well placed controls.
The overall ergonomy is well sorted and the gear lever is small, stubby and well placed. In front of the gearlever there are a two convenient storage places which can host various items.
The four spoke steering wheel is fitted with some chunky controls and looks a bit dated. Yet it offers a good grab and its dimensions have been well chosen.
Moving on to the instrument cluster, it comes with three white faced gauges that are big and clear, hence you won’t have any problems reading them.
The seats are on the basic side of things, with poor back and lumbar support. Yet the driving position isn’t as painful as expected and there are also enough adjustments to make your life behind the steering wheel easier.
Visibility from the driver’s perch is first class thanks to the panoramic windscreen and the generous lateral mirrors.
Needless to say that equipment levels are basic, but there is a large selection of optional add-ons including tow bars, load liners and canopies, which come to a pretty affordable cost.
Engines and performance
The Tata TL pickup is equipped with the same 2.0 liter diesel engine as the Safari SUV. Though the TL’s unit has been better isolated and sends fewer vibrations into the cab, feeling very close to a refined petrol unit. The TL is equipped with a 5 forward one reverse gearbox which is less rubbery than other units found in Tata’s vehicles.
On road, the 2.0 liter engine is a decent performer without being too sporty, but not too lazy either. The engine is perfectly suited for utilitarian jobs and off road duties, and its 89 hp are enough to keep you satisfied. The torque is pretty generous and it’s rated at 190 @ 2500 rpm offering brisk low speed towing performances.
On the other hand, the TL’s top speed is rated at only 77 mph, so highway driving isn’t its favorite sport.
Luckily the fuel consumption won’t break the bank and you should achieve between 25 and 35 mpg during everyday driving regardless of what load you’ll carry at the back.
Tata TL Engines Specifications
|2.0 liter||89 @ 4300||190 @ 2500|
Ride and handling
The Tata TL shares the same chassis with the Safari 4x4, so it offers healthy off road performances. On the other hand, on road ride quality isn’t too great, but this is a common issue found in this segment.
Up front, the TL received a double wishbone suspension, beefed-up with torsion and anti-roll bars, while the rear gets leaf springs and hydraulic dampers stiffened by anti-roll bars.
The power steering is overly light, but it gains some weight as the speed increases. The stopping power is also pretty reasonable, even if it’s not as sharp as other trucks in the segment.
The Tata TL is a no nonsense pickup truck which despite its spartan nature it has anything it needs to get the job done without whining. Its simple mechanics have been tried and tested for a long period of time so reliability won’t be an issue either.
Its 4x4 system it’s also decent and helps the truck to tackle the harshest off road terrains with poise. The cabin is far from being a charming place, but it offers all the basic comfort needed in a utility vehicle. The best part however it’s the low price tag.