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Old 2nd March 2009, 01:31   #1
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Arrow Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive by a Fiat driver

I got this by email today from a friend of mine in Delhi who went to TD the vehicle. Quoted verbatim, including spelling mistakes, SMS lingo, et al - the review is NOT mine and I take no responsibility for the language or the views expressed.

Please note that this is the driver's first Tata vehicle driving impression.

FIRST IMPRESSION .....

Reached the dealer and walked in to the showroom ..... before I entered the show room i saw thishe mean looking machine standing right there ( i almost missed it ) -- and it lived up to my expectation as well as that of my wife and friends ! It was a collective WOWWWWWWW ..

First impression made me say AWESOME , I WANT IT NOWWWWWWw !!!

After a quick under and from the rear , it was time to take a look inside !! And thats where it FAILED MISERABLY :-( -- cheap plastic looking , nothing fancy in the odo or on the dash -- a straught line dashboard with the AC dials as if they were borrowed from a 1990 model ( a sierra was far sexier looking ) . The rear seat is where I sat with the passenger seat pushed all the way back and even with my height , I was OK - not super comfortable but way better than expected . The back I wish had a slight recline but nevertheless gud brownie points as I never wud b in the back seat so really doesnt matter . The drivers seat was also just about ok -- nowhere near being called a plush seat and I expected more support under my butt specially when on long drives but here again it was OK !! .

Positives - obviously the looks , the way it stands out in a crowd , the nice lined bed at the rear and the sexy TATA on the rear !! Rear leg space was better than I expected .
negatives - Obviously the cheap plastic , nothing to write about dashboarboard and the fact that the front passenger door refused to open from the outside . Interiors overall SUCK BIG TIME and definitely not justified when u launching a vehicle with that price tag and wanting people to look at it as a luxury lifestyle machine . the steering wheel too gives it a cheap look .

Rating -- 4/10 ( saved by the exterior ) ..else wud have given it a frigging 0/10


THE DRIVE

Now this impressed me ... I sat in the back while my friend drove and it wasnt too bad over the small broken road and we had 5 ppl in all sitting in the car !! Leg space as mentioned earlier was also fine , obviously not enough for a 250 km marathon but then Im tall -- shorter people shudnt have too much trouble . The engine noise somehow was real loud and I havnt been in the safaro so dunno if that is normal or was it coz of it being a new engine or something . The gear shift was decent but could have felt a bit more slicker . Soon it was for me to take over the wheel and I OBVIOUSLY FLOORED it and WHOA , IT MOVED AND THAT WAS IMPRESSIVE.


Now the way she moved wanted me to go get the machine ... but then the higher u revved , the louder was the engine scream which has me cinfused as Im sure it cant be making such a loud nnoise as it wud need a full on sound system to keep it out . Im sure something wrong on that front . i went flying over a few big pot holes and that got me a few shrieks from the rear but not that it stopped me till I hot a rough ( very rough ) dirt patch and thats when the rear passengers digested their food . As a driver it still was fine with me , and it did a neat lil tail out when I flicked the wheel and the guy who from the agency almost JUMPED OUT ;-) !! He was SHOCKED to experience a slide ... maybe he will retire from his job soon .

Positives --- The engine makes the machine fly . The steering wheel gives a gud respponse back and it handles well even at high speeds !!
negatives -- Engine noise , not so slick gear shift ( might get better with usage ) . A few rattles heard when we were in the dirt stage .

Rating 8/10 --

So after a lengthy test drive .,. I got her back and then did the thinking !! After all I am looking for a big SUV as I have a kid so loads of his stuff need to be ferried when travelliing between delhi and the hills . I also have 2 small dogs who need to travel with me and a wife who we all know will always have a lot of luggage . So far I had kind of resigned myself to getting meself the Innova as it was big , quick , confortable , rich interiors , excellent suspension and even better braking but what went against it is that it didnt exude ATTITUDE and I need my machine to refkect ATTITUDE even from a mile . So after having waited for so long for the Xenon , I was kinda dissapointed -- I made the following observations --

1. The design team have gotten it wrong .... Someone needs to explain to them what LUXURY means !! They have flopped the entire project with the super bland interiors and no way wud one shell out 9+ lakhs for this . An on road price of 7.5 lakhs wud have been better for the 4x4 version .

2. The team again lost out as they don't really understand the consumer ... in a pick up truck they needed to offer more mettalic colors , brighter colors than the 4 drab colors they have offered ( Red is not Red but Marroon ) . would have loved it to sport colors like yellow , mettalic blue and smoked grey etc etc !! Just a yellow color would have me buy it and i wud have over looked the interiors .

3. Bigger tyres are needed .. the present tyres look much thinner than they do in the brochures and pictures online !!

4. For me to buy it ... and d it the way it should have been wud cost me another 1.5-2 lakhs and thats not counting the ICE setup !!


The big question being ... will I buy it ?? I can't say it as of today as overall Im dissapointed as I waited religiously for it for so long and they let me down . But then -- it drives well , bigger tyres , a lift kit , a few tweaks to the dashboard , and a few other bolt ons wud make it one a heck of a machine . It may take some getting used to ( the interiors ) initially but after a while might not even notice the blandness as long as it performs well . BUT THE BIG HURDLE is my wife as she loved it from the outside and all but she too hates the interiors and also the colors its available in , so as of now I have 2 months till April end for either TATA to drop the price or then upgrade the interiors and launch a few more colors OR then for me to convince my wife that I can still make it sexy over a period of time -- and only time will tell who convinces who in this case !!!

Also forgot to mention that I drove the 4x2 ... as the 4x4 version hadnt come in yet so didnt really get to test the 4x4 capability !!!


Any questions , let me know --- and post it on TBHP so that it may help a few others who I konw may be interested in this .
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Old 2nd March 2009, 02:02   #2
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I still feel that those of you looking for a refined SUV in the Xenon will be disappointed. Me, on the other hand is looking for a more refined pick up than what I have. So I guess I can live with the interiors.

I do agree that they are pushing the price a little bit. I think the 4x4 should have been about 7.5 and the 4x2 about 7. But then again, Tata's are not running a charity, they might rationalize the price based on market feedback, but I fear it may be too late for me, since I am going to snatch one of these...
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Old 2nd March 2009, 02:07   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
I do agree that they are pushing the price a little bit. I think the 4x4 should have been about 7.5 and the 4x2 about 7. But then again, Tata's are not running a charity.
Exactly. What other 4x4 (vehicle, not seats fixed to a tub on a chassis) do you get at that price? The last time I checked even the Trax Gurkha you had booked and put up on sale cost more than the benchmark you mentioned, and thats WITHOUT things like an a/c or even a proper dash.

Here the plastics may be basic, but at least you get a proper vehicle if not a luxurious one.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 02:42   #4
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Has the gent got his hands on a scorpio get away? Or a scorp 2.2 for comparison?

Should be an interesting read.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 03:26   #5
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Ha ha ha!
That was a kewl review!

As far as the pricing goes, world likes anything with a smaller price tag. I'm also expecting (and hope) it to drop a bit.
But there're not much good lifestyle 4X4 vehicles available at the current price levels. Maybe a drive in Getaway would help. From what I remember, Xenon is bigger than Getaway.

Plastic levels! Aah, come on! It's a Tata vehicle. There should be something they want to always to keep improving upon.

I'll be very interested to take a Test Drive as soon as I land back home.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 08:53   #6
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Nice review. I wasn't surprised about the interiors having seen the insides of the Sumo Victa and Sumo Grande this past week. TATA doesn't seem to believe in spoiling its customers, so it manages their expectations with the interiors

The Xenon does seem pricy - about 9.5L on-road for the 4x4 version, would have had a lot more appeal if it were around 8L. But then I have been looking at the other 4x4 options in the market and they all seem to be equally expensive.....
Trax Gama 4WD ~ 7L (no Ac or PS)
Trax Gurkha 4WD ~ 9L
Bolero SLX 4WD ~ 8L
Safari EX 4WD ~ 10L
(Hmm.. wonder why TATA doesn't offer 4WD on its Sumo line of vehicles.)
Xylo 4WD - yet to be launched, but I guess it too will be around 10L on-road.

Seeing the competition, I guess TATA priced the Xenon on par - I would have liked if they included atleast ABS & EBD in that price, throw in a couple of airbags and it will start looking like a VFM proposition.

Cheers
Teja
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Old 2nd March 2009, 10:20   #7
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Nice review. I am very much interested in this vehicle and more such reviews will help me decide whether to go for this vehicle or not.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 10:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
I got this by email today from a friend of mine in Delhi who went to TD the vehicle. Quoted verbatim, including spelling mistakes, SMS lingo, et al - the review is NOT mine and I take no responsibility for the language or the views expressed.

Please note that this is the driver's first Tata vehicle driving impression.
Heh-heh, so you put it up! He was pretty disappointed & I can't blame him. Sounds like they've done a very poor job in the cabin damping department too.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 12:17   #9
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I can probably vouch for the atrocious cabin. We recently bought a Sumo Grande and exterior finish and looks apart, tbe interiors are a major let down. Panel gaps, unfinished knobs and AC vents, crude plastic, etc. are indeed an eye-sore. the concept is good, but as usual, the execution really pathetic. I guess the same holds true for the Xenon.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 14:29   #10
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Steeroid, why would you not consider the scorpio getaway the pickup version of the scorpio. its a decent looker and surely has a much better sorted out interior than the xenon. i think its priced at about the same as the xenon.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 14:39   #11
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One more thread going a Scorpio Getaway v/s Xenon way

Seen the Xenon getting ready for delivery at Prerna Motors Bangalore last week, You need to see the vehicle in person to decide how good it is, as much as i can say, it scores well above the Scorpio getaway.

What i noticed , i could not drive it, since it was their first high priority delivery.

1) Very well designed vehicle, the most good looking in that segment.(Head turner)
2) Fit and finish was average, All the accessories (rear hatch cover for loading area, side steps, Alloys)looked too good
3) Engine was actually silent, once started and i also revved it a bit, not much of engine noise in the cabin.
4) Great ground clearence.
5) Neat leg and head room.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 18:29   #12
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Hi Guys,

As Steeroid's friend mentioned, The Xenon is an amazing looking vehicle with loads of attitude. With Tata's one needs to wait for at least 6 months and then make a decision as thats when they test and review there vehicles performance, not to mention "On the customers expense".

Here are a few pics.

Cheers !!!!!!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-dscn8335.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_3.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_6.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_10.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_11.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_14.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_15.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_16.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_19.jpg  

Tata Xenon (4x2) Test Drive  by a Fiat driver-tata_xenon_y_grand_safari_3706_20.jpg  

Attached Images
        
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Old 2nd March 2009, 18:37   #13
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Top view(Silver) is looking huge, but still lacks the appeal of say Ford pickups.

The rear tyre well has enormous space, though its for load carrying, but enthusiasts won't find favour with it.

Sumo Grande is essentially the covered version of this! Offcourse maybe with a shorter wheelbase.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 18:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharanramesh View Post
Steeroid, why would you not consider the scorpio getaway the pickup version of the scorpio. its a decent looker and surely has a much better sorted out interior than the xenon.
Have you seen the interiors of the Xenon (or indeed the Scorpio Getaway) yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharanramesh View Post
i think its priced at about the same as the xenon.
Pricing isnt everything. Have you seen this getaway thing? It doesnt look like something I might want to recommend to a friend - it looks like it is meant for your hate-list.

As for this cliche about the Scorpio - I have always believed that the Tata vehicles, despite their niggles, are more complete vehicles than the Mahindra equivalent. The Scorpio gained prominence because of its 2.6 Turbo Diesel which was a gem of an engine when compared to the 2.0 TCIC Safari available at that time.

That era is long past, the Tata vehicles today are more powerful than their equivalent Mahindras, they handle better, do speeds more confidently, have better ground clearance, are available in 4x4 without waiting for months and feel more confident on uneven surfaces. The plastic quality on both are equally pathetic, but I do agree that the Mahindra versions LOOK better (but break away as easily).

In short the Tata vehicles have moved on from their TCIC days, its time for us to move on too.

Reliability wise both are equally good or bad depending on how you look at it - one gives you a lot of irritating niggles, the other has critical components going kaput once in a while.

This is purely my personal opinion. Meanwhile may I request that the discussion go back to the Xenon?

I would've picked this up if I had a good test-drive experience as it seems more than sufficient for my kind of usage. I have no issues picking up a first-lot Tata vehicle - I did it once before and know how to handle them now. Furthermore we are given to understand that this vehicle is already being sold in markets abroad, so hopefully the customers there have done the road-tests and we'll get all the retrofits that resulted from the same.

Last edited by Steeroid : 2nd March 2009 at 18:58.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 20:41   #15
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The report on the ride quality doesnt seem very promising.
And those fenders can take tyres atleast 2 or 3 sizes bigger. but the engine sounds delicious and the handling seems decent.
Still waiting for TD cars in cochin.
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