Tata to pick up the pace
In today’s fast world, businesses need reliable vehicles that are right for the application. JACO DE KLERK attended the launch of TATA Motors’ new Super Ace one-tonne diesel mini-truck to see if it has what it takes.
It’s clear the Super Ace, launched by TATA Motors South Africa in Johannesburg on October 18, has been designed to navigate busy, narrow roads with ease – its length/width dimensions of 4,34 m x 1,56 m, and 5,1 m turning radius making it ideal for intra-city applications.
It has a healthy load body capacity of 3,8 m2, a loading height of just under 60 cm, and the longest load bed in the one-tonne market, at 2,63 m. The standard three-way drop-side body and additional multiple body options provided by TATA-accredited bodybuilders are sure to heighten the appeal of the Super Ace among small- and medium-sized business owners.
However, load capacity without the necessary power could see prospective customers putting their votes behind another contender …
The Super Ace has a Euro 2-rated four-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled, 1 405 cc diesel engine that delivers 52 kW (70 hp) at 4 500 r/min and a peak torque of 135 Nm at 2 500 r/min. It has a top speed of 125 km/h, which it reaches fairly easily thanks to the short gears of the five-speed full-synchromesh gearbox, with surprisingly smooth shifts.
However, overtaking other vehicles is hindered as the oomph reduces once you pass the torque peak. That said, the power is more impressive than one would expect from an engine of this size, with the Super Ace making light work of steep hills. (Though, we did test the vehicles unladen.)
It consumes a reported 7,2 litres of fuel per 100 km, adding to its appeal – although I doubt these figures would be matched in actual operation as you are “invited” to use the available power.
Safety features include front disc brakes and rear drum brakes assisted by a load-conscious valve to ensure consistent brake performance whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded.
The Super Ace has load guards that protect the cabin if cargo shifts, hook ties on the loading deck, side-locking gate handles on the tailgate, and 14” tyres.
The collapsible steering column, semi-monocoque structure with multiple crumple zones, and side impact beams ensure driver protection during a collision, while the fairly big laminated windscreen provides good visibility and prevents glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces in the event of impact.
The Super Ace’s interior features hardy plastic that’s unlikely to disintegrate. However, a cup holder and radio would have been good, with the dashboard having space for the latter. The bucket seats weren’t too buckety but a lot more comfortable than I anticipated.
Appealing features that come standard include a lockable glove box, central locking with an engine immobiliser and audible alarm, and power steering. The front independent suspension ensures a comfortable ride.
The Super Ace is available in two derivatives – the base model at R109 995 and the top end variant at R116 995. The extra R7 000 will get you an air-conditioner, power windows, fog lamps, a body coloured bumper, internally adjustable outside rear-view mirrors and grab handles. However, these prices are a special introductory offer and will be revised once market reaction has been gauged.
One super perk of the Super Ace is that you get a three-year/60 000 km complimentary maintenance plan, three-year/100 000 km warranty and three-year/unlimited km roadside assistance – providing greater peace of mind in today’s fast paced world.