Tata Xenon – the lean, mean, rugged pick-up machine

10 September 2012: Way back in 1932, the wife of a farmer in Victoria, Australia wrote to Ford Australia asking them to make “a vehicle to go to church on a Sunday and carry the pigs to the market on Mondays”. The result was the Ford Ute (short for utility coupe) which was the first of its kind to debut in Australia.Although India is largely an agricultural economy, ‘smart farming families’ with such demands are far and few. Back in Assam, our extended family has an 18 acre farm in the outskirts of Guwahati – complete with hatchery, piggery, fishery and all. It is managed by my Dad’s cousin, who was the first one from the city to come all the way to Delhi to buy a Toyota Qualis and drive it back 2000 kms, over three days. This was way back in the 90s and the Qualis still remains in the farm garage. But perhaps it would be worthwhile to now look at the option of the new Tata Xenon Pick-up which was launched by Tata Motors this week.

The Xenon seems to be an extremely versatile and capable vehicle, with payload options to suit varied business requirements. Available in both single cab & dual cab versions, the Xenon is suitable for a wide range of commercial applications with best-in-class looks, operating economics and fuel efficiency. With engine options of 3.0 Litre Common Rail and Turbo Direct-Injection, it delivers a top speed of 120 kmph with peak power of 72HP in the single cab and 115HP in the dual cab, with a peak torque of 223nm and 300nm respectively. It claims to deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency attributed to its scientifically engineered drive train. According to company officials, the engines with their flat torque characteristics, the overdrive gearbox, radial tyres and the aerodynamic shape, contribute to high fuel efficiency. With a gradeability of 32%, the vehicle will also prove reliable in hilly terrains. The Tata Xenon Pick-up comes with a warranty of 3 lakh kms or 3 years, whichever is earlier, and this affirms Tata Motors’ confidence in the abilities of its commercial range of vehicles.

The single cab variant offers the longest-in-class body length of 8’4“. Additional utility features like convenient loading height, 3-side drop load body make day-to-day operations easy. The vehicle comes with 2-stage semi elliptical leaf in the rear suspension, which ensures good load carrying ability, with better ride comfort and handling.

The single cab also comes equipped with power steering, adjustable steering column, cushioned bucket seats in the front with adjustable lumbar support. There are conveniently placed utility spaces, clutch foot rest, and a mobile charging point. The dual cab variant comes with fully-loaded features like HVAC, power windows, central locking, seats with lumber support, high-end cab trims as standard fitment. It is equipped with limited slip differential, which resists wheel spin on gravel or muddy roads, thereby offering better control and making the vehicle ideal for off-track usage. The stylized load body further enhances the design appeal.

The vehicle is targeted for applications involving both crew and cargo movement and meets global safety standards. Variants offer safety features like the unique 3-layered body construction, crumple zones, a collapsible steering column, central locking, retractable seatbelts and side intrusion beams which will protect passengers in the event of a side impact collision. The Tata Xenon Pick-up prices (ex-showroom Thane) start at Rs. 5.44 Lakhs for the single cab and Rs. 6.34 Lakhs for the dual cab variant, with 4 colour options – Arizona Blue, Mineral Red, Arctic Silver, Arctic White.

I first had a look at this vehicle at the Auto Expo early this year, and was quite impressed. So all you serious farming types, here’s something for you to enjoy driving down the winding countryside roads into town, when you want to mix a bit of business with pleasure!

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