An MPV launched by Tata Motors in 1994, Sumo was based on their earlier pick-up trucks platform and it shared its mechanicals with other utility vehicles such as the Sierra and Estate. Ten years later in 2004, Tata Sumo received a major facelift and was renamed Sumo Victa. Competition had also started swelling around that time.
Sumo was originally launched with 1948 cc diesel engine and later a turbocharged version of the same motor was also offered with this UV. Tata launched Sumo Grande in January 2008 and it had a 2200 cc direct injection common rail (DICOR) engine with 120 bhp. This model had very different bodywork as compared to the original Sumo and was positioned below the Safari in Tata Motors’ product portfolio.
Tata again refreshed its range by bringing another Sumo avatar in 2011 and this was the Gold. The latest facelifted version of Sumo Gold was exhibited at Tata’s Horizonext event in June 2013 and the production model got launched in the festive season of the same year. This BS4 compliant Tata Sumo Gold comes with a 3.0 litre CR4 engine that churns 83 bhp and has 25.4 kgm of peak torque. This is mated to 5 speed manual transmission. There is a BS3 version powered by 3.0 litre 4SP TCIC engine and its specs include 69.7 bhp and 22.7 kgm torque. Currently, Mahindra Bolero is the biggest competitor for Sumo Gold.
Sporting a rugged and commanding stance, Sumo Gold looks strong with its solid build quality. The latest facelift has added a host of new design elements that enhanced its domineering persona. Chrome lining on the radiator grille and large, clear lens headlamps give a slight cosmetic upgrade to the front design. Air dams still have a split pattern on the chunky front bumper. Round fog lamps are standard with the top end GX trim.
Wheel arches display a prominent bulge and wheel wells have a large gap. Sumo Gold uses 215/75 R 15 tubeless tyres but even the top end variant does not get alloy wheels. Decorative decals on the door panels including the hatch door are standard. B and C pillars have been blacked out. Running boards are provided for ease of ingress and egress. A small stepping board is also given at back and Tata crest is right in the centre of the rear door to distinguish it from the competition. Tail lamps are long, rectangular and placed vertically. Although Sumo Gold still looks slabby and block like, the latest facelifted model has improved in terms of aesthetics. Tata has also brought two new colours for it – Blazing Red and Twilight Grey – besides the usual Artic White, Artic Silver, Porcelain White and Light Gold.
Built on a wheelbase of 2425 mm, the cabin of this car is roomy and in new model it is equipped with a few more features. Dashboard design gets little updates with wooden finish for the centre console and a mobile phone holder. While the audio system is standard only with the top end version, it has been upgraded with Bluetooth connectivity besides the usual CD, MP3 players and Aux input. Seats of this UV have fabric upholstery and with three rows of seats, it comes in 7 and 9 seater variants. The base is only a 5 seater. Manual air conditioner with demister and heater is a standard feature. Thanks to roof mounted air con vents for second row in GX and FX trims, there is now more comfort for passengers at back.
The rear glass can be defogged, washed and wiped. On safety front, there are only the elementary set-ups in form of side intrusion beams on all doors and a high mount stop lamp at the rear. Front and rear fog lamps as also the door ajar and seat belt warning are given only with Sumo Gold GX.
With its double wishbone type front suspension and parabolic leafsprings & anti-roll bar at rear, Sumo Gold does not mind going on any kind of road with a cabin full of passengers. This is what makes it popular in the commercial sector and also in semi-urban areas of India. But Tata’s MPV does have a tough competitor in Mahindra Bolero.
Sumo Gold BS4 line-up is priced between Rs 6.19 and 7.48 lakhs (ex showroom price Delhi). The BS3 versions cost between Rs 5.87 and 6.71 lakhs (ex showroom price Delhi).
This UV may not be very good looking and Tata’s service network is a deterrent for many buyers. However, the extra features, a better ride quality and lower NVH levels make new Tata Sumo Gold a good budget option for large families who expect cabin space and that ‘ability to go anywhere’ from their vehicle.