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Old 30th July 2010, 09:21   #46
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Congrats on your car purchase Jessie. Thanks for putting a very detailed review.

I saw the Grande at the showroom and really liked it, nothing beats it in the value for money factor. As for the panel gaps, I think it's something that can be easily lived with.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 19:27   #47
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Latest update:
Dad has bought some serious kit for his planned trip to Leh.
1) Tyre inflator
2) Electric jack
3) Portable 12V wrench

Will give details soon. A mini fridge also planned.
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Old 4th June 2011, 22:33   #48
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HI Jessie,

COngrats on your latest acquisition and Thanks for a very detailed and critical review of the GRande. I am an avid TATA fan and have an Indica, a CS (CR4 version) and a Nano. Although the quality of plastics need improvement, the sticker price and the replacement costs more than make up for it ! The general commenters about TATA cars eventually land up with this, presumably as they get floored with the other features-to-price ratios ! My humble suggestion to them - Do try replacing simple things like wiper blades, headlight unit, even front windshield .. with the likes of Ford, VW, etc and you will get what I mean. I have replaced my Indigo CS front windshield (cracked due to recent World cup frenzy !!) at the dealer for about 6800/- (with a Saint-Gobain one as before) .. try the same for a Honda City (ZX or new shape) .. and you will think twice for a replacement.

The reliability, robustness and space - along with great fuel averages have been the hallmark of TATA.
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Old 30th May 2012, 17:17   #49
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My father has really been munching miles in the Sumo Grande. One of the main instigators for going in for the new Sumo was his planned trip to Ladakh. The trip happened in Sep-Oct 2010 and there were two other couples in addition to my parents. No real complaints from the six passengers for the whole trip and the Sumo Grande really lived up to its name. Even though people go to Ladakh in their Altos/Santros and motorbikes, the trip in the Grande was still commendable considering six adults travelling with 10 days worth of luggage and supplies.
With all three rows up there is not much space to keep luggage behind the third row though it is slightly better than in the Xylo or the Tavera* – the solution was a roof carrier by Bhimbra that my father purchased earlier. Other kit purchased for the trip was an electric jack, wheel nut gun and tyre inflator. Thankfully the Bridgestone Duellers were up to the task and there were no punctures during the whole trip. In fact there has only been one small puncture so far in 40k kms. Other places my dad has visited (more than 200 kms one-way) in the Grande are Udaipur, Lansdowne (twice), Barog (twice), Agra-Fatehpur Sikri, Dehradun-Mussorie, Alwar, Chandigarh.

*I’ll be comparing the Grande with the competition Xylo & Innova and to an extent the Tavera and the Ertiga. I have been a passenger in all, except the Ertiga – have done long-distance travel in the second and third row of both the Innova and the Tavera as well have driven both of them for considerable distance on the highway. Have only had a short ride in the Xylo.

Continuing with the space aspect. The Grande is surprising spacious considering its comparatively short wheelbase (2550mm vs an average of 2700mm for the competition viz. Xylo, Tavera, Innova and even the Ertiga for that matter). The first two rows are fairly spacious and comfortable, especially due to the lumber support on the two front seats and the recline adjustment on the middle row seats. The middle row is quite comfortable and spacious, but comparing it with the competition the Xylo & Innova have slightly more legroom. The armrest in the middle row is quite comfortable, though absence of cupholders is felt. I would also like to mention that the armrest on the door is quite wide and can easily accommodate a disposable cup, if one wants to use it as a small table to mix sugar in coffee – like I did while returning from Amritsar recently as it was drizzling a bit outside. For reference you can check the 3rd image in 3rd post on the first page.

Coming to the third row, one doesn’t feel any shortage of space if except if less than 5’6” in height. I’m 5’7” and on a recent trip to Amritsar did manage about 200 kms including sleeping for a while (with my head on the luggage kept on the seat or on the side window with a pillow) for atleast 45 minutes at a stretch. The ride was fairly comfortable and didn’t feel claustrophobic or uncomfortable in terms of legspace. Since there was only one person on the third row at any one time, no one really felt uncomfortable, though two hefty people will be a little cosy sitting next to each other. Considering the average Indian like me and I’m the tallest in the family, the Grande serves quite alright as a 6/7 seater for long journeys – short in-city runs shouldn’t be much of a problem for even slightly taller people on the third row.

The upside to a short wheelbase is good maneuverability and tight turning circle which at just 10.5m puts my Punto (2011 model with larger turning circle of 10.8m) to shame. Even the old Sumo was very maneuverable and I figured out later that the short wheelbase allowed me to park in a space that was just about sufficient for my Indigo. The tight turning circle is a boon in the city, even though the vehicle itself is 4.4 metres long and 1.8 m wide. We had planned on parking sensors earlier but my Dad never felt the need – only if there is something right behind the vehicle and you are reversing then it can be a problem – but thankfully no two wheeler has been reversed into so far. Another thing is that since there is no rear door mounted spare wheel visibility is quite decent out of the fairly O.K. sized rear window. I had once inadvertently reversed into a scooter parked right behind our old Sumo, but thankfully the rear door mounted tyre first hit the scooter and it didn’t fall.

I can go on to say that the 2.2 DiCor is almost as refined as the Multijet in my Punto. There is a perceptible difference at higher speeds – the Multijet is quite audible above 100 kmph whereas the DiCor is comparatively less boomy as the bigger cubic capacity allows it to make good progress even with load and is helped by the engine running at a slightly lower RPM vis-à-vis the Multijet. Cruising at 100-110 kmph is fairly relaxed and the engine noise is not intrusive at all, thanks to generous sound deadening under the bonnet and firewall. RPM comparison at 100 kmph:
Grande Punto: 2500 RPM
Sumo Grande Mk II: 2100-2200 RPM

Since the peak torque of 250 Nm is delivered across a pretty versatile band of 1500-3000 RPM, the drivability in the city as well as the highway is quite good and there is always a reserve of power. The engine is actually limited by the vehicle’s dynamic ability due to its high centre of gravity and almost 2 tonnes (1940 kgs) tonnes of dead weight it has to lug. I would say the Innova has a slightly better drivability in the city due to a slightly better torque band (1400-3400 RPM) though it is less than the DiCor at 200 Nm. But on the highway it is quite even-stevens. In outright acceleration and in-gear acceleration both are equally matched (tested on highway) but the Xylo (even the 2.5 CRDe mEagle) has slightly better acceleration but is limited by its suspension which makes it a little unnerving when changing lanes or turning at highway speeds. Felt the same in my friend’s 2005 pre-CRDe Scorpio.

The gearshift is nothing to write home about but does the job and there hasn’t been any problem in engaging any particular gear. The ample torque allows the car to pick up in second gear from less than 10 kmph and even standstill (though not really done often). The clutch pedal though is offset a bit to the left and coupled with a missing dead pedal can get a bit tiring on two-lane highways that require frequent gear change. The clutch itself is O.K. – I wouldn’t say light but considering it’s a mini-truck its fine as it needs to be beefy enough to handle all the torque. Clutch has never been a strong point of Tata S/MUVs, it is on the harder side, though does last atleast 50k kms. Feel the other desi manufacturer – M&M is also on the same boat. However, the Innova’s clutch in comparison is slightly softer to depress and the recoil is less harsh.

Coming to high-speed manners, one wouldn’t really drive at the limit of the engine’s power band but rather find it comfortable to cruise at say 120 kmph without feeling jittery or anxious, though lack of any safety features can be a deterrent. It is very easy and effortless to reach 100 kmph and this is a boon for highway runs as one doesn’t feel exhausted after a long journey with high average speed as the engine is quite relaxed and doesn’t fell breathless even at 100 kmph. I have driven at almost 140 kmph on a clean stretch of the Kishangarh/Ajmer-Udaipur highway and in a straight-line the Grande is quite composed and I was fairly confident about the brakes. The only thing that is in the back of the mind is the high centre of gravity which will be felt if any sudden lane changes are made (our old Sumo did topple due to some extraneous circumstances on a trip to Punjab – though we did complete the 200kms left in the journey after helping the veritable Sumo back on its wheels and just changing a punctured oil filter).

Coming to the ride, Tata’s tune all their vehicles for comfort – from the lowly Indica to the premium Aria. In our family we have experienced the same in three Tata vehicles (’96 Sumo, ’06 Indigo & ’10 Grande). No complaints as such in the city even with the pretty basic leaf-spring arrangement at the rear. On the highway though, there is considerable bobbing over undulating roads and this can get a little disconcerting over a long stretch especially on the third row. But the bobbing I believe is common for all MUVs and one can only reduce it by reducing the speed a bit on such a patch of road.

The average/mileage on highway trips varies between 11 (with hilly stretches) and 13 (flat highways) kmpl and all fully loaded (i.e. minimum of five adults – usually six – with full luggage). In the city, frankly no one has tested it in quite a while – but it hovers around the 10-11 kmpl mark. Can’t really get more from a two tonne beast. It is in the city that I feel private MUV/SUVs are a waste, as almost 90% of the time there is only one or at max two people. The utility of these vehicles is exploited fully as taxi cabs in the city. But then since my father makes atleast one outstation trip every four months or so, the utility of the Grande is fully justified and the savings from not hiring a taxi have been enormous. Plus my father really really loves to drive – even in congested city roads (which I loathe). He in fact is a true automobile lover, traveller and a more fitting BHPian than me.
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Old 30th May 2012, 17:38   #50
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Mini Adventures

Leh

On way to Leh from Manali, while crossing Rohtang Pass my Dad encountered a lot of slush. The vehicle could not clear the slushy road in the first attempt and their vehicle was fully loaded and it got stuck in the middle of slush, so nobody could get out to give a push. Then my Dad reversed the Grande and again attempted to cross that slushy portion in the first gear, exploiting maximum torque from the 2.2 Dicor engine. The attempt was successful and the fully loaded Sumo Grande was able to cross Rohtang Pass eventually onto reach Leh and return via Drass-Srinagar.

You can see a flag on the left hand side of the bonnet – this is there as a guide and even without the flag the holding mechanism acts as a guide while parking/maneuvering the vehicle. The flag is of a charitable institution of which my father and his friends are a member and they had presented a cheque to the army commander in Leh towards relief/procurement of supplies post the aftermath of the horrific flashfloods few months before their trip.

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture14.jpg

Here are some misc pictures from the trip - including a couple of postcard ones which are a de riguer in a trip to Leh

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Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture15.jpg

Srinagar

In Srinagar a curfew was imposed and there were some threats as well from around Sonmarg, so my Dad had to tag along with an army convoy and drive through the night. He had been driving for six hours (plus 3 hours wait because of a landslide near Zozilla pass) from Drass and after an one and half hours of rest/sleep had to push along with the army convoy from Sonmarg for another four hours of tense and rather slow drive to Srinangar. In Srinagar they decided to push on to Banihal and this was without any convoy. A dog was a casualty of the rather speedy push from Srinagar – as the Grande approached the crest of a hill, a dog lay on the other side in the middle of the road which smashed against fog lamp and bumper on the driver’s side. The fog lamp’s outer lens was shattered (though the bulb was still working) and the plastic chin guard had a 3-4 inch long crack. The brunt of the impact was borne by the dog but they kept on going along as even though they were not in the convoy now, still they were suggested by the army to not stop till they were closer to Banihal and by then there would be some amount of daylight as well. The fog lamp was replaced during the next service and the chin guard was patched up as the damage wasn’t extensive and the spare wasn’t readily available.

Uttarakhand

All the torque wasn’t able to get us out of a tricky situation during landslides on a trip to Uttarakand. This time I had taken the Grande along with four other friends. The third row was folded and all the luggage was kept there. Other than our personal belongings (one medium sized bag, three soft bags) the boot swallowed a portable gas cylinder & stove, two 20L empty water bottles, a camper/cooling box, food items & utensils, fruits, bat & ball, etc. We were to stay one night in Chakrata and one night in a hill-top forest lodge in a desolate place called Devban where food and water were scare – so had planned in advance.

After driving through the night we were near our destination in the mountains and it was raining. We approached a landslide and were able to clear it after some maneuvering. Then less than a kilometer away there was another landslide and this was a bigger one – the entire width of the road was covered in mud, gravel and rocks which was 5 feet deep at the highest point and about 2 feet deep at the lowest point near the edge of the road from where we tried to cross over. Midway the vehicle got stuck with the right rear wheel spinning without any traction. The Grande had tilted at an angle of about 30 degrees and the edge of the road leading to a very deep drop below was only a couple of feet away. We started clearing the gravel from around that tyre and filled in stones to give some traction to the wheel but more than 2 tonnes of weight just bogged down the vehicle.

After about 15-20 minutes I was able to reverse the Grande with great difficulty. The whole time there was danger of a fresh landslide as it was raining continuously, though not very heavily. We decided to return to the closest town and wait for the landslide to be cleared. Then we again had to clear the first landslide we had crossed earlier, which by now had grown bigger/deeper. But somehow we were able to clear it and all of us sighed in relief. Now we went about 2 kilometres away from the landslide and parked the vehicle on the side of the road. It was around 7 a.m. by then and we were told by locals that bulldozers were coming to clear the landslides and there were atleast four landslides – even if we had cleared the second one we would have had to encounter two more and there was a danger of getting stuck in or between the landslides. The road that we were on is important for the army and there is a commando training area also (which we later passed on the way to Devban).

A sort of funny sub-story about this landslide incident is that we met four people in a Maruti 800 who had crossed three landslides, only to learn that there were more – so they decided to come back. We met them when we were stuck in the second landslide and the funny thing is that three people got down from the car and pushed it and the little Maruti just merrily skipped over all the rubble owing to its bantam weight. That’s one benefit of having a light car.

Picture of first mini-landslide (my friend has a video of the second landslide in which we got stuck – will try and upload when I’m able to get it from him)
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While waiting for the landslide to be cleared we made full use of the Grande’s solid steel roof. There were all five of us plus food items on the roof. Seen in this picture is one of my friends reaching down for some beverages in an innovative way. You can also see all the luggage and the empty 20L water bottles in the boot.

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Niggles
As reported in the previous post, there was some noise coming from the steering column. My father had traced the problem to the base of A-Pillar where he himself placed a rubber block near the windscreen from outside. The windscreen is set a little inside and there is some packing over and around it. But before this diagnosis was made by my father, the steering column had to be changed as oil seal leaked due to hammering by Autolinks service personal.

Other minor issues that have cropped up are as follows:
1) Melting of the inner lens cover of the taillights (quite strange considering everything is stock) – replaced under warranty. Check image below – I’m talking about the round parking lights.
2) The ignition keyhole plunger not working smoothly and resulting in the “Check Engine” light coming on once. A spray (probably WD40) did the job.
3) Tailgate door lock and child lock getting stuck, plus the door opening assist piston also started leaking and was changed under warranty.

There were no charges for all the above mentioned job – but it did involve a couple of visits to the service station apart from the normal service.
In general the quality of parts is I would say is just average. I t is nowhere in the league of the Innova – but then Toyota charges a premium and that also a hefty one for quality and reliability only. For some the Rs.3 lakhs approx* difference would be worth it and for others (like my Dad) it is not that compelling a proposition, considering he has the time and commitment to go out of the way to maintain his vehicle (his previous two vehicles are a testament of the same – 1988 Maruti Suzuki Van 8 years & 2 lakh + kms, 1996 Tata Sumo 14 years & 3 lakh + kms)

*Grande GX vs Innova GX – Among major feature, both have rear A/C, plus Innova has driver airbag & ABS

Haven’t uploaded picturess of the foglamps which was retrofitted and is the stock fitting including the switch on the dashboard from the top-end GX variant.

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture16.jpg

The rear foglamps lower down on the bumper are standard fitment.

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture21.jpg
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Old 30th May 2012, 19:32   #51
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Excellent pics. Really glad to know that you enjoying with your Grande.
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Old 31st May 2012, 11:10   #52
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Excellent trip and looking at this, I can clearly see that I am not doing any justice to my 4X4 Safari ! Good and its inspiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by jessie007 View Post
*Grande GX vs Innova GX – Among major feature, both have rear A/C, plus Innova has driver airbag & ABS
Btw, this doesnt sound right. Innova GX neither has ABS nor Airbag as far as I know unless changed/updated in recent 2012 facelift.

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Old 31st May 2012, 11:26   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaviprem View Post

Btw, this doesnt sound right. Innova GX neither has ABS nor Airbag as far as I know unless changed/updated in recent 2012 facelift.

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@Kaviprem - I have recently been doing some features comparisons for hatchbacks and sedans and have downloaded brochures of most of the cars including S/MUVs (that comparison is still in progress 70% complete). Here is a snapshot of Innova's brochure - according to it there is driver side airbag and ABS in the GX variant.
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Old 11th June 2012, 00:33   #54
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Service History & Cost

I have not been able to get hold of all the service invoices as they are with Dad’s accountant - @Happy Roadie had also enquired about the Grande way back and I had told him that will update once have been able to get hold of them. Anyways, so far the total distance covered in the Grande stands 42,000 kms with three services at 5k (top-up service), 10k (after Ladakh trip), 15k (oil change), & 28k (oil change) kms. The next major service is due at 45k kms. So far the total expenses stand at about Rs 15k per oil change service – in total it is around Rs.35,000 approx. The car was bought in May 2010 and it has covered 40k kms in two years. Effective cost per km comes to less than 80 paise approx, which is credible considering that a significant amount of distance has been covered when loaded with 6 people and luggage and the rest in fairly grueling city traffic. I don’t have all the service invoices, that’s why the per km cost approximation.

Following is a comparative excel sheet of service expenditure of four cars owned by our family (Indigo was sold when Punto was bought). Punto’s cost/km is high because it hasn’t been driven much. The Indigo was driven the most and owned for the longest duration and has the lowest running cost after 5 years and 68k kms.

Consolidated Service History.xls

One point I missed earlier is the range, which with 65 litre fuel tank is quite formidable. We have managed a 700 kms plus run to Udaipur on a single tank of diesel and I think this is quite a good range. The average on that trip was between 12-13kmpl, which could have been better had I driven more sedately (80-100 instead of 100-120 kmph).

Coming Soon: Space management project. Transformation from a 7/8 seater into a 6 seater with luggage carrying capacity inside the vehicle.

Last edited by jessie007 : 11th June 2012 at 00:37. Reason: formatting
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Old 14th June 2012, 20:29   #55
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My father is been trying to work around the problem of luggage space with the third row of seats up. After talking with the service centre, he finally decided to procure a single seat which could be used in place of the bench on the third row. We discussed the options and narrowed down to the single tumbling and reclining seat of the middle row and the other was the front passenger seat.

A little insight into my engineer father’s passion with seating comfort can be found in our 96 Tata Sumo. It was a 10 seater with fixed bench seat to accommodate two passengers. First of all he procured a reclining mechanism from a Gypsy and got it retrofitted into the fixed bench seat which made the seat reclinable and enhanced the seating comfort for my mother. Next he set his sight on the middle row bench which was not reclined at a very comfortable angle. He got new holes drilled in the ‘L’-shaped bracket at either end of the seat and bolted them anew at a comfortable angle, but at the same time allow the side-facing rear bench seats to fold without being hampered by the reclined backrest of the middle row seat.

Continuing with the Grande, my father finally ordered for the front passenger seat after confirming about the mounting mechanism with the head service person at Autolinks with whom he has quite good relations. We had decided on the front seat as against the tumbling single seat from the middle row because, firstly the front passenger seat was larger and more comfortable and, secondly, even though the tumbling seat could have been more useful, but the entire recline, fold and tumbling mechanism was a bit complicated and not very easy to operate / user friendly, so we decided against it. The seat finally arrived at the service centre after about 15 days and it was for around Rs 10k.

I believe Tata Motors should offer the option of third row split folding seats and even Captain seats in the middle row. Considering the cost of a seat, the third row split folding seats shouldn’t cost more than Rs.20k more, keeping in mind that they are already offering a bench seat which also might be costing atleast Rs 5k. Dad finally set about designing a mechanism for mounting the seat in such a manner that there wasn’t any requirement of drilling any holes in the vehicle’s metal body. This required fabricating metal parts and the whole idea was to fix the seat at two main points:
  1. At the mounting notch on the side/wheel hump, where the front part of the bench seat rests. It is to be noted that the bench seat itself has been cleverly designed and the notch mounting allows one to fold and remove the bench completely without having to undo any bolts

    Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture3.jpg
  2. The second mount point is the ‘U’-shaped metal clamp welded on the vehicle’s floor. Another U-clamp (bull-dog clip) was used to secure the seat at this point, thereby having an inter-locking mechanism with the two ‘U’ clamps. The bull-dog clip was bolted on to a metal strip that was welded to the seat’s base metal frame.

    Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture6.jpg
This was a brilliant and innovative way of mounting the seat that Dad had thought about intelligently. I was specially pleased as no holes were drilled and no messy / half baked job was done.

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture1.jpg

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture4.jpg

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture10.jpg

Advantages:
  • Extra space for luggage
  • More contoured & comfortable seating with lumbar adjustment
  • Better under-thigh support
  • Built-in armrest
  • Adjustable head rest (can’t really use, due to visibility issues for the driver)
  • Seat can slide forward & backward (pictures with seat pushed furthest back)
  • Seat back pocket
Disadvantages:
  • Less headroom – I’m 5’7”, but with my turban I’m 5’9” and cannot sit comfortably as my turban hits the roof if I move my head.
  • Slightly less space/room to keep stuff as compared to a full bench. I’ll try to explain - even when luggage is kept on half the bench, we could keep cushions, food items on the bench, next to the luggage and there for still place for one person to sit. With the single seat, a person completely occupies that seat and the odd and ends may will need to be kept securely on the luggage – still have to try out that scenario, which shouldn’t be a long-time coming, as he goes on an outstation trip with friends / family every 3-4 months or so.
This new arrangement has been tested successfully recently. The entire family (parents, sister, grand-mother, myself, my wife and our 7 month old son) went to a club for an outing. We were easily able to fit in the full-sized pram/stroller in the empty space next to the newly installed seat on the third row. There was comfortable seating for 6 adults and 1 infant along with a pram (kept open, no need to fold it now). Excuse the camera phone picture:

Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4-picture11.jpg
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Old 19th June 2012, 13:23   #56
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jessie007 - Thats an innovative mechanism your dad has thought about and implemented.

I have always wondered why the last row bench cant have 50-50 split? I have not seen it on any of the SUVs/MUVs that I've tested or driven.
Would not that liberate us with more seating and luggage options? If only designers and manufacturers can think more out of the box.
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Old 29th November 2012, 12:21   #57
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A quick update. Dad recently embarked on an India tour. Main destination is Chennai but the entire route covers a lot of places. He is currently travelling from Mangalore to Goa. Itinerary as planned is given below. Will post more details soon including the 45k kms service done just before the trip.
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Old 16th January 2013, 14:41   #58
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Default Re: Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4

Quote:
Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
I have always wondered why the last row bench cant have 50-50 split? I have not seen it on any of the SUVs/MUVs that I've tested or driven.
With a 50:50 split, you can have 1.5 - or 3 seats, depending on your need.

With 40:60 split, the available seat combinations you can have are:
1. plus size person
2. 2 seats
3. 3 full seats

So which option would you prefer ? 1.5 seats ?
or a choice of 1 or 2 seats ?

the 40:60 split is the nrom accepted /followed internationally.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 21:35   #59
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Default Re: Grande MkII 2.2 DiCor EX BS4

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Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
jessie007 - Thats an innovative mechanism your dad has thought about and implemented.

I have always wondered why the last row bench cant have 50-50 split? I have not seen it on any of the SUVs/MUVs that I've tested or driven.
Would not that liberate us with more seating and luggage options? If only designers and manufacturers can think more out of the box.
The ARIA has the last bench in 50:50 split config.
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