Old is Gold: History of Tata Sumo

by Kshitij Rawat | 21/04/2020
139 0
The first car to be designed in India, and the first car to be specifically designed for India, Tata Sumo was introduced to the Indian market as an off-road-capable, nine-seater Utility Vehicle. That made it ideal for commercial uses, military, as well as for joint families. A diverse portfolio, wouldn’t you say?

Sumant Moolgaokar, the former MD of Telco (Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company, currently known as Tata Motors) was a zealous man. Legend has it that he used to sometimes have his lunch at roadside dhabas, specifically those ones where truck drivers would be resting. He would then discuss the shortcomings of Tata Trucks with his new buddies and go back to his office with all the relevant feedback.

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo

Tata Sumo - The first UV to be designed in India

In 1990, Mr Moolgaokar was honoured with the Padma Bhushan award, the third-highest civilian award in India. In 1994, Tata Motors honoured him in another way, by naming their most significant vehicle (at that time) after him. Thus, the Tata Sumo (Su- Sumant, Mo- Moolgaokar) was born.

Here, we present you a brief yet detailed history of the Tata Sumo, right from its inception in1994 till the day its production ended in 2016.

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First Generation Tata Sumo

Tata only had two generations of the Sumo during the car’s entire production run, and the first-generation was surprisingly popular even after that, prompting Tata Motors to sell both of them alongside each other for some time. There were several iterations of the first-gen Sumo, each an improvement over the last one.

Sumo (1994 to 1996)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo original

Tata Sumo

The first Tata Sumo to ever grace the Indian car market was a nine-seater MPV, underpinned by the company’s ‘X2’ platform from the Telcoline pickup truck. The car was offered with a rear-wheel-drive as well as a part-time all-wheel-drive system. While the front suspension was a sophisticated multi-link system, the rear featured archaic leaf springs, which made the ride quality quite harsh.

Tata Sumo (2.0) Specs

Engine Size

1,948 cc

Engine Type

Indirect Injection, inline, naturally aspirated (XD88)

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

63 PS

Max. Torque

118 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

 

Sumo Deluxe (1996 to 2002)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo Deluxe

Tata Sumo Deluxe

In 1993, Tata updated the Sumo with a minor facelift, dubbed the ‘Deluxe’ version. Then in 2001, the engine was upgraded with the addition of a turbocharger. The power output was consequently increased, and the emissions were reduced.

Tata Sumo Deluxe (2.0 TDI) Specs

Engine Size

1,948 cc

Engine Type

Direct Injection, inline, turbocharged (XD88 TDI)

Fuel Type

Diesel

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

92 PS

Max. Torque

190 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

 

Sumo Spacio (2000 to 2011)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo Spacio

Tata Sumo Spacio

Tata Sumo Spacio was essentially just the facelift version of the Sumo /Sumo Deluxe. This model offered more creature comforts than the previous one, and had a better interior quality as well. There was no other noticeable change though. This model was kept in production even after the introduction of the newer model in 2004. A new 3.0-litre naturally aspirated diesel engine was introduced to the range in 2007.

Tata Sumo Spacio (3.0) Specs

Engine Size

2,956 cc

Engine Type

Direct Injection, inline, naturally aspirated (4SP)

Fuel Type

Diesel

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

65 PS

Max. Torque

173 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

 

Tata Sumo Victa (2004 to 2011)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo Victa

Tata Sumo Victa

In 2004, the Sumo received another facelift, this time dubbed as the’ Victa’. This version offered a significant upgrade in terms of equipment. It offered power steering, power windows on all four doors, and a tachometer. It was initially available with the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated diesel, with the 3.0 turbocharged direct-injection (TDI) motor later joining the lineup in 2007.

Tata Sumo Victa (3.0 TDI) Specs

Engine Size

2,956 cc

Engine Type

Direct Injection, inline, turbocharged (4SP TDI)

Fuel Type

Diesel

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

75 PS

Max. Torque

223 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

 

Tata Sumo Gold (2011 to 2019)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo Gold

Tata Sumo Gold

Near the end of 2011, Tata Motors introduced another facelift for the Sumo, naming it the ‘Gold’. This version was an improved version of the Victa, with minor styling changes for the exterior and major improvements for the interior. The upholstery was new, as was the HVAC system and the suspension. The latter improved ride quality by a fair margin, which was the primary complaint people had with the Sumo.

While the 3.0 TDI continued to serve the Sumo, Tata motors offered a new 3.0 ‘Dicor’ engine. This motor employed common rail technology, direct-injection, and turbocharging.

Tata Sumo Gold (3.0 DICOR) Specs

Engine Size

2,956 cc

Engine Type

Direct Injection, inline, turbocharged, common rail (DICOR)

Fuel Type

Diesel

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

85 PS

Max. Torque

250 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

 

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Second Generation Tata Sumo

The second-generation Tata Sumo was not as big a success as the company had hoped. As the sales of the older model were going strong, stronger than the newer one, Tata decided to sell both of them side-by-side.

Grande (2008 to 2010)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo Grande

Tata Sumo Grande

Tata Sumo Grande was introduced to the Indian car market in 2008, and it was a complete departure from the older Tata UV. It looked sharper and modern, like an SUV rather than an MPV. It was built on a modified version of the ‘X2’ platform of the previous generation. The car received a brand new powerplant, a 2.2 ‘Dicor’ engine from the Tata Safari SUV.

Tata Sumo Gold (3.0 DICOR) Specs

Engine Size

2,179 cc

Engine Type

Direct Injection, inline, turbocharged, common rail (DICOR)

Fuel Type

Diesel

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

120 PS

Max. Torque

250 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

 

Tata Motors placed the Sumo Grande above the Sumo Victa and Gold, but below the Safari. To prevent the Sumo from cannibalising on the Safari’s sales, the power output was detuned and there were no safety features on offer, like ABS, ESP and airbags.

Grande Mk II (2010 to 2014)

Old is Gold - Tata Sumo Grande Mk2

Tata Sumo Grande Mk II

Tata Sumo Grande received a facelift in 2014, which was simply referred to as the ‘Mk II’. Tata Motors decided not to play with the nameplate, as the previous generation models were also in the market. The company’s strategy was to offer the Grande as the premium variant of the Sumo line.

Movus (2014 to 2016)

Tata Movus

Tata Movus (Tata Sumo Grande Mk III)

In 2014, Tata Motors decided to ditch the Sumo moniker for the second-generation model, as consumers hadn’t shown the same interest in this model as in the ‘regular’ Sumo, i.e., Tata Sumo Gold. Instead, the Sumo Grande was now offered as the Tata Movus. Sadly, sales remained slow for the car, and Tata discontinued the Movus in 2016.

 

In 2019, due to updated safety and emission norms, Tata Motors discontinued a lot of cars from its lineup in India. Tata Sumo was one of them, along with the Bolt, Zest, and Safari.

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Fun Trivia

  • Tata Sumo was the first passenger vehicle ever to be designed in India.

  • Tata Sumo is one of the few vehicles in the world of which the previous generation model outlived the succeeding generation. The first-gen Sumo was sold from 1994 to 2019, while the second-gen only lived from 2008 to 2016.

  • During its entire production run, Tata Sumo was only available with a diesel engine. A petrol engine was never on offer in either the Sumo or the Safari.

 

Image Source: Wikipedia, auto-database.com

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