Tata has started to be known worldwide after they’ve announced the production of the Nano which is the cheapest passenger car in the world. However, besides passenger cars the company is also building LCVs and trucks and some models are even sold globally.
The Tata Super Ace is a versatile LCV build for short distribution applications and is available with a practical chassis cab configuration. Launched in 2005 the Tata Ace was India’s first four-wheel mini truck. At that time the sub 1-tonne mini truck was a major step ahead for the company, as it received a very good feedback from the market.
The Tata Super Ace has a cab over engine configuration and its design looks pretty close with what we get from the Asian manufacturers. The build quality however, is far behind the Japanese trucks, as there are big panel gaps everywhere you look and the truck doesn’t inspire the same amount of confidence as its European rivals.
The overall design is pretty rudimentary and can even be considered dated. At the front we find a simple “V” shaped grille which bares the company logo in its center while the bumper gels seamlessly with the rest of the cab and is fitted with two small fog lamps.
Fortunately, the triangular headlights add a dose of dynamism to the entire truck and offer proper road visibility during night.
The Tata Super Ace features a full 1-ton cargo capacity and the longest loading deck in its class, being able to deal with a wide range of commercial applications. The load area has a length of 2630 mm and 1460 mm width which is more than enough to be able to soak voluminous cargos with ease. Moreover, the three side drop-side load body and optimum loading height ensures ease of loading and unloading.
The Super Ace’s interior is pretty spacious and features a wing shaped dashboard which received a two tone treatment. Tata’s materials used for the interiors never impressed anyone, and the Super Ace’s cab makes no exception being fitted with third class plastics. The fittings are cheap and the overall build quality is pretty poor as well. The switches are also cheaply built, but at least they are placed pretty intuitively and are easy to reach.
The cabin borrowed many lines from the Indica Vista and there are numerous common elements like the gear lever, the steering wheel and the central console.
As most vehicles in this segment, the Ace’s cabin is fitted with a bunch of useful storage places. Unfortunately, main twin glove-box and the door pockets are too small to be considered useful.
The instrument cluster is one of the simplest units ever seen, but at least it’s easy to read. On the other hand, its glass screen catches too many reflections during sunny days which could affect the clear visibility of gauges.
You sit high from the ground hence you’ll have a good road visibility. The door windows however, are a bit small and don’t offer a proper view of the sides. As it was expected, the seats are part of the high class and offer a limited comfort with zero side bolstering. They also have limited adjustments and are devoid of a proper thigh support.
Engines and transmissions
The Tata Super Ace is powered by a turbocharged, intercooled engine which is married to a rubbery 5-speed fully synchromesh gearbox. The 4 cylinder unit develops a maximum output of 70 hp and a peak torque of 135 Nm.
As most trucks in the segment, the engine is placed under the front seats, and you can replace the engine liquids using a small access point located near the handbrake.
The engine has to deal with a 1.5 tones vehicle, and as you’ve probably guessed, the power is too small to offer any sort of a fast ride. Keep your foot planted on the go pedal and you’ll hit a top speed of 125 kmph. These numbers are far from being impressive but you’ll like the average fuel consumption which is rated around 15.5 kmpl.
On the road, the Tata Super Ace feels most comfortable in the 70-90 km/h speed range and it is better to keep it there. If you’ll put some serious weight at the back, the engine will punish you with a sluggish response and a raspy voice but in the end will be able to get the job done.
Tata Super Ace Engines Specifications
Ride and handling
The Tata Super Ace rear leaf spring suspensions were designed to cope with heavy payloads, hence don’t expect to any kind of soft ride or comfortable driving experience. On the other hand, the body roll is surprisingly small, and the Super Ace has a good road stability.
The hydraulic power steering is also up to the task and copes well with the city driving, rewarding you with a proper feel of the road. Sadly, the NVH levels are worse than expected and the cabin is filled with wind and engine noise even when it’s riding around the city.
Maximum gradeability of 39% allows the Super Ace to climb steep slopes and negotiate difficult terrains. Moreover, at only 4.34 m length and 1.56 m width, the truck has a turning radius of 5.1 m which allows a higher degree of maneuverability around the narrow city streets.
The Tata Super Ace is a cheap solution for those looking for a small LCV which can deal with arduous working conditions and payloads of up to 1 tonne.
The vehicle isn’t as refined as the European LCVs and won’t keep up with the reliability of its Japanese rivals. Though, its cheap price is worth to be taken into consideration and despite its weak engine, in the end will get the job done just fine.
On the other hand the build quality is poor and you’ll need to be prepared for a bumpy ride. Luckily the handling is pretty good and the vehicle is fairly easy to drive around city.