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2009 Tata Xenon

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The Tata Xenon is based on a heavily modified TL chassis. The vehicle uses a body on a ladder frame chassis combined with a live axle at the back, leaf springs and a pretty high ground clearance announcing us that it’s build to tackle the harshest terrains. The Tata Xenon is available in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations, but it’ not quite in the same league as its strong Japanese rivals.

Due to its serene character it can be considered more like a lifestyle vehicle that a genuine work horse. The Xenon is powered by a 2.2 VTT DICOR engine that develops a maximum output of 140 hp. The load body is 1518 long, 1414 mm tall and 405 wide, the pickup being able to carry 260 kg.

Design

Tata Xenon

With a total length of 5.20 meters, the Xenon is a pretty big vehicle, being longer than the Audi Q7. The Tata Xenon isn’t the most charming pickup in its class, but it has a few lines which help it look pretty modern. The vehicle was designed by the same team which has drawn the Tata Sumo Grande, namely the Concept Group UK.

The overall design is pretty dull with clean body panels and a shy front fascia. However, we like the black “V” shaped grille and the dynamic creases sculpted into the hood as they give the vehicle a touch of sportiness.

The headlights aren’t great, but they gel well with the grille, while the bumper features rounded edges and a big hexagonal air intake.

To give the vehicle a more aggressive stance, Tata oversized both the front and rear wheel arches and the result is pretty good as they make the Xenon look slightly bolder.

At the back you’ll find a wide opening tailgate with the TATA logo embossed in its center, a set of vertical taillights and a practical bumper which can be also used as a step to climb up easier to the load bed.

The modern look of the vehicle us also enhanced by the upswept window line and the blacked out B pillars.

Interior

Tata Xenon

The cockpit is typically Tata , with a good overall ergonomy, but poor build quality and cheap, hard textured plastics. The dashboard’s design is pretty simple and rudimentary, reminding you about the utilitarian character of the vehicle.

Luckily, the controls are placed intuitively and every button and switch can be easy reached. The gear knob falls also easy into the hand and next to it you’ll find two convenient cup holders.

We don’t have any complains about the instrument panel, as it’s not distracting and its main gauges are fairly easy to read.

The four spoke steering wheel has a pretty contemporary design and offers a decent grab, being also available with standard tilt adjustments.

The front seats are decent, offering adequate support for both long and short journeys. Though, the interior space is a bit smaller than expected.

The rear seats are surprisingly spacious, but you’ll find the back rest a bit too upright and the doors armrests can’t be used as they are too small.

The road visibility is nothing short of excellent and you won’t have any complains bout the lateral windows and mirrors either.

Standard features include front power windows, power steering and electrically adjustable mirrors.

Engines and performance

Tata Xenon

The Tata Xenon is powered by a 2.2 VTT DICOR engine that was borrowed from the Safari and Sumo Grande models. The unit delivers 140 hp at 4000 rpm with a peak torque of 320 Nm available between 1700 – 2700 rpm.

The engine is anything but fast, being able to hit 100 kmph in merely 17 seconds, while the top speed is rated at a modest 167 kmph.

When heavy loaded the Xenon will perform a bit more sluggish and the turbo lag is felt until you hit the 1700 rpm mark, once above this limit however, it will start to roll on without problems. The engine could’ve been more refined, as it will start to show its noisy nature every time it’s pushed harder. At least, the fuel consumption is pretty reasonable being rated at 13,49 kmpl.

Power is sent to all four wheels by means of a five speed manual gearbox with tall gearing. The transmission isn’t as good as other units found in this segment, as it comes with an annoying rubbery feel and needs constant gear changes.

Tata Xenon Engine Specifications

Enginehp@rpmNm@rpm
2.2 VTT DICOR140 @ 4000320 @ 1700-2700

Ride and handling

Tata Xenon

The Tata Xenon uses a ladder frame chassis construction which is a perfect match for its utilitarian character. The vehicle is also fitted with front torsion bar suspension and a live axle at the rear with leaf springs.

The ride quality isn’t the best you’ll find around and most of the potholes can be felt into the cab without too much restriction. Luckily with some load at the back things will improve.

The all wheel drive versions offer a strong grip and the vehicle handles reasonably with a controlled body lean and adequate on and off road manners.

Unfortunately we can’t say the same things about the steering as it’s devoid of any decent road feedback and it’s overly light.

Verdict

Tata Xenon

With the Xenon, Tata shows that us that it’s determined to improve its pickups skills, but the vehicle is still far behind its Japanese and American rivals.

There isn’t much to be criticized about the exterior design, as we like the conventional approach taken by Tata. The cabin however, feels basic and cheap with third class plastics and fittings. Yet the ergonomics are well sorted and the front seats are pretty comfortable offering a proper driving position.

The engine however is sluggish, noisy and unrefined, its only strong point being the reasonable fuel consumption. The overall handling and ride quality are average, but the vehicle drives pretty well off-road and you can rely with confidence on its all wheel drive system.

Though, the main fault of the Xenon remains its price tag, which is too high for what the vehicle has to offer.



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