Tata’s range of light commercial vehicles was definitely starting to show its age, but the company was fully aware of this fact and decided to take some action. As a result, it presented a new truck named Ultra at this year’s New Delhi Auto Expo.
The new Tata Ultra was designed to replace the existing SFC range and features a modern design and contemporary technologies.
The LCV will be offered with in a wide range of models with GVW (gross vehicle weights) ranging from 5 tonnes to 14 tonnes. The new Ultra represents a big step forward for Tata, as it has anything it needs to compete with success against the best models in LCV the segment.
The new Tata Ultra features a surprisingly modern design, keeping in trend with today’s LCV standards.
The truck’s exterior dimensions are kept to a minimum thanks to a cab over engine configuration which also offers plenty of interior space.
In order to be more practical and to offer easy aces inside, the cab is placed pretty low to the ground and it’s fitted with wide opening doors and three convenient steps.
The vertical front fascia features two dynamic cresses which start from the bottom of the windscreen and flow towards the bumper forming a nice “V” pattern.
The company logo is mounted in the center of the bonnet and it’s flanked by two oversized headlights which are fitted with clear lens headlamps and underline the dynamic look of the truck.
The bumper is also nicely integrated into the overall design and features an aerodynamic style with deep mounted fog lamps and a central air intake.
Tata has added maximum attention to the functionality aspect, hence the cabin tilts forward offering easy access to the engine. The Tata Ultra is built on a flexible High Strength Domex 650 Steel rolled chassis frame with high tensile strength and straight long member construction.
On the inside, the Tata Ultra looks pretty modern with an ergonomic dashboard and a nice four spoke steering wheel. The plastics and materials are a big improvement compared to the old LCVs from Tata, but they are still behind the European competitors.
The central console is fitted with an audio system and a few useful controls which are placed intuitively and can be easy reached from the driver’s seat.
The Tata Ultra it’s equipped with a new generation instrument cluster which displays live and trip fuel mileage and offers clutch and brake wear indicators, seat and door ajar warnings, water in fuel indicator, neutral position, economy assistance, single key operation and host of other delighters.
The seats aren’t as comfortable as the ones from the European manufacturers which are currently the segment leaders when it comes to interior comfort, but they offer a proper back support and also come with a wide range of adjustments permitting you to get cozy behind the steering wheel. Talking about the steering wheel, it offers a confident grab and can be also adjusted for both reach and rake.
Needless to say, that the road visibility is nothing short of excellent thanks to the panoramic windshield, the big door windows and the plate size exterior mirrors.
Unlike the previous models, the gearlever is now mounted into the dash, being easier to use and leaving the floor clean which permits you to move easier through the cabin.
Keeping the pace with today’s requirements, Tata has also fitted the Ultra cab with plenty of useful storage places so you’ll have plenty of space to put your things.
The truck is available with a long list of features which include a roof hatch, 12V utility socket, music system, cruise control, power window, electrical mirrors, centralized locking digital clock, GPS, cab tilt lock indicator, door ajar lamp and leather finish dashboard.
Engines and technology
The new Tata Ultra LCV range is offered in various shapes ranging between 5 and 14 tonnes and is powered by a new generation 3.0 liter and 5.0 liter DiCOR engines which develop 138 hp with 360 Nm and 168 hp with 590 Nm, respectively. The DiCOR units use common-rail technology and we can expect them to be also pretty efficient and deliver superior performances.
All engines are mated on six speed gearboxes which should be at par with the other vehicles in the segment.
The truck also gets hydraulic assisted power steering to improve the maneuverability around the narrow city streets.
The stopping power is assured by all-round Disc brakes which are combined with ABS for better performances.
It seems like Tata has a new winner in its hands, as the Ultra is able make a compelling case for itself. It features a modern and sleek design, with a good build quality and generous payload capacities.
The cabin is also constructed after the requirements of today’s standards and it’s very nicely kitted offering a comfortable working environment. The engines are part of the latest DiCOR generation which should make them fairly strong and efficient. The only question remained is the price, which wasn’t revealed yet.