TATA-LAND ROVER SUVS

Evo India - - Radar -

RRUMOURS OF A Free­lander 2-based Tata SUV have been float­ing around since early this year and now Tata has de­cided to co-de­velop two new SUVs along with its sub­sidiary, Land Rover. Code-named the Q501 and Q502, the co-de­vel­oped SUVs will go up against the likes of the Ford En­deav­our, SsangY­ong Rex­ton, and Toy­ota's For­tuner. If priced in the ` 15 lakh to ` 25 lakh range, the SUVs will keep the com­pe­ti­tion on their toes.

Both SUVs will be based on the now discontinued Land Rover Free­lander 2 plat­form (ef­fec­tively re­placed by the re­cently launched Dis­cov­ery Sport) though to keep costs low, over 50 per cent of parts used will be in­di­genised. Hope­fully Land Rover's in­puts should help Tata up over­all qual­ity, in­clud­ing the in­te­ri­ors.

At least one of the SUVs will come with both five-seater and sev­enseater con­fig­u­ra­tions, while the smaller (and cheaper) of the new SUVs will re­place the ag­ing Sa­fari Storme.

The jointly-de­vel­oped SUVs are be­ing made for the de­vel­op­ing mar­kets in­clud­ing South East Asia and the Mid­dle East and should be avail­able for launch in 2017. Tata hopes to sell around 80,000 units a year of both its new mod­els, in all mar­kets.

Be­sides the un­der­pin­nings, it is prob­a­ble that JLR's new In­ge­nium fam­ily of en­gines may find a place in the new SUVs. The 2.0-litre diesel (code-named AJ200D) pro­duces 161bhp and 380Nm of peak torque, and is claimed to de­liver an im­pres­sive fuel ef­fi­ciency of 27.61kmpl.

THE TWO SUVS, CODE-NAMED Q501 AND Q502, WILL TAR­GET SOUTH EAST ASIA AND THE MID­DLE EAST MAR­KETS

How­ever, for a lower-spec vari­ant, Tata may in­stall the Aria's 2.2L Vari­cor diesel mo­tor de­vel­op­ing 148bhp and 320Nm of torque.

The part­ner­ship will be a cru­cial el­e­ment of Tata Mo­tors' re­vival - pro­vid­ing a so­phis­ti­cated plat­form and pow­er­train. The Zest has al­ready been well re­cieved, which will soon be fol­lowed by the Bolt hatch­back and Nexon com­pact SUV so things are get­ting bet­ter on the car front. The JLR part­ner­ship will re­sult in a new fam­ily to re­place the Sa­fari and Aria, both of which are long in the tooth and quite clearly lack­ing the chops to take on the likes of the Duster, XUV et all.

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