Published on July 12th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Tata Xenon Pickup Truck, Designed For Extreme Work & Less Play
Tata have declared their intention to become a serious player in the Malaysian commercial pick up market. With so many new lifestyle pickups being launched, pickup buyers are spoilt for choice when it comes for lifestyle trucks but not for the workhorse/farm/factory users. Certainly the spartan workhorse pickup of yesteryear was not very desirable and have been reduced to fading memories, as some of the world’s major motor manufacturers are turning their attention away from this market segment.
Businessmen, construction workers and farmers are now looking to invest in hardy, tough, designed-for-the-rough pickup trucks and less lifestyle pickups as they know that these vehicles are going to be used by foreign workers who have no mercy when it comes to handling their company vehicles.
Here comes the Tata Xenon pickup. This is a truck that deals with the owner as a working vehicle which is not designed for supermarket runs and day to day traffic crawls in a major city. Designed to just about go anywhere, Tata sells this truck in huge numbers in more than 30 countries worldwide and this Xenon enjoys a rock solid reputation as a rugged off-road vehicle, so you can be sure the Xenon will take anything and everything you can throw at it.
Our test unit runs a 2.2-litre common-rail direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, this 2200cc powerplant produces 320Nm of torque from 1700rpm. Safety is car-like with ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution where the latter being particularly important on a pick-up because it has to cope with wider variations between laden and unladen weight.
Climbing aboard the high-riding Xenon is easy thanks to wide-opening doors and the practical non-slip side-steps. The grab-type style outer door handles have a quality feel and action and the doors open and shut with a reassuring thud.
The cabin is spacious and the deep fascia looks smart; the centre stack gets a silver-effect finish. Cabin equipment is good and includes A/C, quality upholstery, four electric windows located in-between the front seats (one-shot auto feature on driver’s window), power steering, large powered door mirrors, height-adjustable front seats and trip computer. There’s also a rear-view parking camera which displays on a colour screen.
All major controls are to hand and the instrumentation is straightforward with clear graphics that, on the central speedometer, are highlighted by a blue outer band. The standard air-conditioner has easy-to-use rotary controls and there’s a good deal of storage space. Useful ‘cubbies’ include a fair-sized lockable glovebox, ample cupholders and even a slot for your mobile.
Road presence is a given but for all it’s hard-hat image, the Xenon turns out to be an ‘easy driver’. By default the Xenon is two-wheel driven but you have the option of engaging the selectable 4WD at the front wheels.
On everyday roads the Xenon’s ride is agreeable and with none of the ‘workhorse’ choppiness you’d expect. You’re always aware that you’re driving something big, of course, but in no way does that stop the Xenon being enjoyable to drive. A day behind the wheel and you’ll be parking and manoeuvring as if you’ve never driven anything else. The rack-and-pinion steering helps; it is weighted and corners are taken level.
I was able to drive the all new Tata Xenon pickup for several hours over an extensive route, covering what we felt was likely to be the range of working environments for this type of vehicle. We headed to Rawang and took the Sungei Buaya exit and found the first turn off to be a farm. With no hesitation we made our way into the farm bouncing the Xenon on the rough red earth. The Xenon took the rough with ease and our only complain was the lack of soft padding in the drivers seat as we pounded the track.
There were tracks ranging from good flat, hard cored surfaces to muddy rutted rides, steep grassy banks and a couple of interesting sections that involved clambering across some high grass. These routes required some careful negotiation to maneuver the Tata Xenon around.
Back on the highway home, we found confidence in the pickup’s handling and performance and was able to drive comfortably up to the legal limit, overtaking a number of slower moving vehicles.
All in all we were impressed with the new Tata Xenon. The update has given improvement in many areas but particularly in build quality and driving performance, which applies across the range.
Tata Xenon Pickup Specifications
Engine: Common-Rail Diesel
Gearbox: 5-speed Manual
Max Power: [email protected]
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