A new multi purpose vehicle that ushered out of Tata Motor’s gates in 2014 is the Movus. It was first shown at the Auto Expo in February and later launched in May 2014. Powered by 2.2 litre Varicor diesel engine mated to 5 speed manual transmission, this new utility vehicle is basically a toned down edition of the Sumo Grande that first came in 2008 and then as Sumo Grande MK II two years later. While the Grande did not sell in high numbers, Tata Motors has tried to give it a fresh lease of life after changing some design features and creating a new name.
The 2179 cc 4 cylinder diesel engine of Movus churns out 118 bhp and 25.4 kgm of torque. It is available in two variants – CX and LX. Tata Motors is offering a warranty of three years or 150000 kms (whichever is earlier) on the engine.
Targeted mainly at the commercial sector, the Movus looks hefty and its wheelbase measures 2250 mm. There are 7, 8, 9 seater versions with flexibility to accommodate people and luggage.
How different is it from the predecessor Sumo Grande in terms of design and features? Will the performance, ride, handling and fuel economy make it a practical choice for a utility vehicle? Ecardlr tests Tata Movus on Indian roads:
The Design and Engineering
Movus is only a re-branded form of Sumo Grande and is therefore built on the same platform with replicating design attributes. Cost cutting can be seen in the blackened plastic front bumper that replaces the body coloured element of the preceding vehicle. The radiator grille continues to have three chrome slats with the Tata logo in between. Also carried over from the Sumo Grande MK II are the trapezoidal, large clear-lens headlamps.
With its beefy and flared wheel arches, the Movus looks muscular when viewed from the sides. It stands on 15 inch wheels with 215/75 R15 LT tubeless tyres. The outside rear view mirrors (ORVMs) remain black as against the body coloured units that were seen on the Sumo Grande. The detailing on the door panels comes only with stickers. There is no metal side strip that was used earlier to reduce the slab-like look of the profile. On the LX version, Movus has aluminium running boards to make ingress and egress easier.
Move over to the rear and again you will observe only subtle differences from the old Sumo Grande. Of course the name ‘Movus’ embossed on the left of the tailgate gives away the identity of this new utility vehicle. The chrome garnish has been supplanted by a simple plastic band that runs across the hatch door. The wrap-around tail lamps sport the same design but with their elongated form, they look tad better on the Movus.
This vehicle has independent, double Wishbone with softer coil springs suspension setup for front and a Parabolic Leaf Spring at the rear. Its braking system comprises single pot caliper discs for front, and drum brakes at the rear.
There are only two colour choices available that include Artic Silver and Artic White.
Getting into the spacious cabin you will again have the déjà vu feel with its layout but being a low cost version, the Movus gets very simple styling for its interiors. Even the faux wood treatment that was given to the centre console of the Grande MK II is missing here. It gets a mobile phone holder where you can stack your device to listen to music stored therein but there is no standard audio system or speaker fitment. An HVAC unit is provided for cooling in the upper end LX trim. You can adjust the illumination intensity of the instrument cluster and being a simple unit it comes without a tachometer. A digital tripmeter is provided.
The steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and door wing mirrors are tip-tap kinds. Windows even the front ones in Movus LX trim, are not powered. Door panels have map pockets to keep a small bottle or other little items.
As in other Tata cars, there is adequate legroom for occupants in front and second rows. Besides, there are different seat layouts as per the choice of variant. These are categorised as:
Movus CX 6+1 Captain (Front Facing)
Movus CX 6+1 (Side Facing)
Movus CX 7+1 (Front Facing)
Movus CX 8+1 (Side Facing)
Movus LX 6+1 (Side Facing)
Movus LX 6+1 Captain (Front Facing)
Movus LX 7+1 (Front Facing)
Movus LX 8+1 (Side Facing)
The minimum stowage space for luggage is 150 litres and this can be increased as per the split fold configurations of the seats. Not to forget, the Movus also has that good, old roof top carrier where you can strap in extra baggage.
The elementary safety features in this utility vehicle include height adjustable seat belts, only-driver door ajar warning, anti-glare cabin rear view mirror, and child locks on rear doors. Headlamps have motorised adjustment feature and there is a high mount stop lamp for vehicles following the Movus.
It lacks modern equipment and falls somewhat short on the material refinement scale but with adequate cabin space and ease of carrying luggage, the Movus fits well in the people mover vehicles category.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
So the cabin utility looks fine but how well does the Sumo Grande successor perform on the roads? Ecardlr gets behind the wheel to check out its dynamic abilities
As on paper, the 2.2 litre Varicor diesel engine is good for 118 bhp at 4000 rpm and 25.4 kgm torque at 1500 -3000 rpm. It is mated to 5 speed manual gearbox. While the 118 bhp looks like a good spec for the diesel engine, the hefty build of Movus makes it little tardy as it moves ahead from standstill. The acceleration is perceptibly better than what was seen in first avatar of Sumo Grande but this aspect was already worked upon when Grande was facelifted. And so in comparison to rival Mahindra Xylo, the Movus feels rather slow. Another thing is that its gearing is on the shorter side and you need to change gears more frequently in city traffic rush. The gearshifts in turn are vague with a rubbery feel.
The torque spread is wide and power delivery is linear but Movus does not have a mid-range punch. In 3rd gear it can go from 20 to 80 km/hour in 15.13 seconds and in 4th from 40 to 100 km/hour in 19 seconds. The 0-100 km/hour dash timing is 17.05 seconds.
Tata’s engineers have worked harder on NVH factor that shows improvement and the engine noise is better controlled than in the older Sumo Grande.
Ride and Handling
Tata Movus has independent, double wishbone with soft soil springs suspension for front and parabolic leaf springs at the rear. There was no complaint against the ride quality in the previous Grande versions and the Movus feels even better. It is not bothered by bumps and ridges on the road – the ride is comfortable at city and highway driving speeds. The wallow and pitching is also lesser than before.
With anti roll bars, new linkages (that were worked upon for Grande Mk II), and new stub axle, the handling feels good. The new linkages have also made the hydraulic rank & pinion steering wheel more precise and so the UV responds nicely to your turning inputs. The turning radius of this unit is 5.35 meters. There is some body roll around the corners for this 1940 mm tall UV but it stays under control.
Braking action by the single pot caliper discs at front, and drum brakes at the rear still needs to be improved.
The ARAI rated fuel economy for Tata Movus is 13.5 km/litre. It does consume more fuel because of the shorter gearing and consequently the frequent shifting. In our test the fuel economy figures were 8.4 km/litre in the city and up to 12.5 k,/litre on the highways.
The capacity of the fuel tank is 65 litres.
Movus is priced between Rs 7.14 lakhs and 7.41 lakhs (ex showroom, Delhi). There are hardly any features in terms of conventional bells & whistles but with 7 to 9 seats alongside luggage room capacity, it is a pragmatic utility vehicle. Its driveability and comfortable ride on bad tarmac are also the strengths that make it practical for commercial use in India. So if you are looking for just a basic people mover, Movus is a good option and is also more affordable than Mahindra Xylo.
Value for Money: 3.5/5