Tata decided to take a stab at the heavy duty segment and has come up with the Prima truck which will compete in the 40 tonnes segment with famous names like Scania, Volvo, Iveco and even Mercedes.
Tata plans to sell its heavy duty truck globally and not only in India and this is why it paid maximum attention in the developing process. The Tata Prima’s main objective is to combine strong performances with lower prices featuring strong engines and a generous load capacity. Tata claims that the Prima can cover 600 km with a single driver and 900 km with two drivers in a day.
The Tata Prima has a pretty modern design with a cab over engine configuration. Though, the exterior build quality is far from being on the same line with the Europeans models and it’s also inferior to what you’ll find at the Japanese brands.
Despite its vertical front fascia, Tata’s engineers tried to make the truck as aerodynamic as possible and added roof and side air deflectors to keep the drag coefficient to as low as possible.
The front also received a massive black grille which gels great with the rest of the design and underlines the rugged character of the vehicle.
We also like the heavy duty bumper which is fitted with a small air intake and two modern looking headlights which give the truck a touch of dynamism.
The wind screed is almost as vertical as the bonnet, but its fairly big to offers a panoramic view of the road.
Access inside could prove to be a bit difficult as the scab sits pretty high from the ground. However, you can rely on the convenient footsteps with confidence and the grab handles are also smartly placed to ease you access inside.
Once on board, you’ll be welcomed by a nice and airy cabin which offers plenty of head- and leg-room for both the driver and passenger.
The dashboard design is pretty rudimentary and betrays the utilitarian character of the truck. Though, despite the relatively cheap plastics, the fittings are well done and everything seems ready to endure the punishment of heavy working conditions without whining.
We also like the instrument cluster, as it’s pretty modern and its huge gauges can be seen even form a mile away.
The seats however, aren’t the best you’ll find around and despite their wide range of adjustments it will be pretty hard to find a proper driving position. Luckily the steering wheel can be also adjusted for both reach and rake and will make your life easier.
Needles to say that the all around visibility is nothing short of excellent and you’ll be glad to notice that the A pillars are pretty thin without affecting the visibility. The gargantuan door mirrors are also up to the task and will keep you well informed of what’s going on behind you.
Storage isn’t a problem either and the cabin is fitted with all sorts of useful consoles and cubby holes. Moreover, a separate storage found outside is reserved for cleaning the equipment, while another storage place has been earmarked for footwear which the driver can wear away from the cabin.
The sleeper cab is fitted with a pretty basic bunk which isn’t as comfortable as the ones from the European manufacturer but it’s able to offer a proper night sleep.
Engines and performance
The Tata Prima is equipped with a wide range if Cummins ISBe engines which develop up to 300 hp.
The Cummins ISBe engines have a pretty good reputation among truckers hence they offer proper performances and plenty of torque available at low rpms. ISBe engines have been developed to meet stringent emissions regulations around the world and all of the use SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology.
The 4 cylinder Cummins engine is available up to 210ps while the 6 cylinder engine up to 300ps, giving it the highest power to weight ratio in its class. The 4 cylinder engine has up to 760Nm and the 6 cylinder engine has up to 1100Nm offering strong town abilities in any conditions.
The Tata prima is also available with a Rear Engine Power Take-Off (REPTO) with a drive capability of 400Nm being suitable for different applications.
ISBe 4 cylinder specifications
|Emissions||Power range hp||Peak Torque Nm|
ISBe 6 Cylinder specifications
|Emissions||Power Range hp||Rated Speed||Peak Torque - Nm|
Ride and handling
The Tata Prima is fitted with semi elliptic multi spring and antiroll bars at both front and rear, while the cab has a 4 point suspension so the ride is pretty forgivable.
Though, the truck has a pretty big body roll when cornering, but there isn’t something to be worry about. The steering is also a bit light for or tastes and could’ve come with a better road feedback.
The stopping power is average, but the brake pedal has a healthy feel and inspires confidence. There is also a very capable engine break available which if fairly strong and offers adequate retarding power. The service brakes are combined with ABS brakes and ASR anti-slip offering maximum performances in any situations.
The Tata Prima is a pretty good product. It’s true that it’s not as reliable as a Japanese truck but it has a satisfactory build quality and the cabin offers acres of space and a pretty good ergonomy.
The Cummins engines are also up to the task and you can rely on them with confidence in any situation; On the other hand the road manners aren’t as refined as its more upscale rivals and the ride comfort could’ve been better as well.
However, given its relatively small price, the Tata Prima is an interesting option and has anything it needs to make a compelling case for itself.