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Old 24th February 2011, 23:40   #1
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Default Grande Mkii Test Driven!

Hello All,

Alas I tested the grande mkII!

This one was on my mind for long. I will start with experiences with the local Tata dealer, MARVELLOUS MOTORS.

I had called them regarding an advertise of 1 lac discount about a week ago. I was connected to the concerned executive immediately. He provided in detail the information I wanted and I already knew except one annoying statement that ABS is required only if speed is in excess of 180-200kmph. Overall I felt I was answered very nicely.
Without me asking for a TD, I was offered one. I asked for one couple of days later. I got a call exactly 2 days later. Incidentally I had conveniently forgotten about it. Then I realised that had it been other way round I would have had a different tone. Anyways.
I was then at some other place and told the concerned caller that I would be back in an hour. I was back in one and half hour. However no one turned up that day.
Today when BIL dropped in and we discussed this car I called up again. The concerned person was apologetic and promised a TD today.
I was told they would call up home by 330 noon. They reached home by 430 noon. But I can understand that so much of road construction is happening that it is absoloutely chaotic on remaining roads.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

I somehow always liked that bodyshell of Grande. The TD vehicle was GX model in what Tata Motors refers as CAsstle Grey. In these clothes the vehicle was looking great. It was not a customer car for sure. I was impressed.
The TD vehicle was new with plastic on seat on. ODO was reading 852km.

TEST DRIVE:
The gentleman who got the vehicle home, honestly told that he is not knowing features in details as he only handles a specific model. However he was clarifying my doubts with someone spot on.

INSIDE THE VEHICLE:

Ingress was very easy. I think would be so for my mom too who was operated on spine previous year. No knee straining experience.

The door opened and I saw captains seats in.
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I was surprised as I was always made to believe that this was not an option. It was a nice feel. I peeped at the 3rd row seat and it was a flat bench seat for 3 adults.

I took the 3rd row seat and friend cum BIL in driver's seat. I found bottles holder in 3rd row quite a nice feature.
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Leg room was adequate for my 5'6" frame. The road chosen was in fact a no road. THe BIL was ramming the car at 30-40 kmph. I did not feel it way uncomfortable in 3rd row. Overall acceptable.

Then I moved in the captains seat with vehicle moving. Nice leg room, reclines almost flat, faux wood and fabric insert on the doors feel upmarket.
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Seat themselves are very comfortable compared to my Estilo.
Ride quality even better that 3rd row. No bottle holders though.Nor were any cup holders.

After about 4km, BIL stopped and I took over the helm for next 10 odd km.

IN DRIVER'S SEAT:

For the first time I was going to drive a vehicle of this size. Car key position was very easy to find. Clutch pedal I believe is now placed properly as against earlier reviews of very very skewed placement. Dash board controls easy to operate but not so easy to reach while in motion.
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I think I need to adjust to bigger sizes first.
Instrument console failed to impress me. The fit and finish of panels on dash and around instrument console still pathetic inspite of so many reviews floating around.
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I had heard that Tata vehicles can have varying quality of fit and finish of panels. However after reading previous reports and what I saw myself, there is an uniformity in the unacceptably poor fit.

Console not very visible.
I was expecting that console would sort of shout about itself. On the contrary it was rather tiny.
Then I jerk the key. Smooth start. NVH? well what's that? Absoloutely silent. I rolled down windshield still the same. I was really impressed on this count.
Then handbrake released AND i was searching for the gear lever and searching and searching.
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Good god I had to stretch my hand miles like a typical truck driiver to reach gear lever. Lever itslef feels upmarket. Gear shifting very very smooth. Unbelievably short gear throw. In Estilo in first I always managed to knock co passengers knees. I was impressed with gear and gear box smoothness too.
I managed roll the car (uff truck) quite easily. Within no time did hit 80kmph on a patch of good road. Eased immediately. Kept the vehicle around 30-40 and shifted to 4th. No knocking. Happy I was. Tried a U-turn and found it a brisk. I did not find many blind spots while turning unlike Estilo where the A pillar almost blinds you.
I tried hard braking at 80 and I believe vehicle stopped composed. I did not try higher speeds as I was in city. However the TD man promised to take us to the banglore highway if we wanted. Unfortunately we had a cricket match to play hence we thought some other day.
Reversing her was easy. Though i wasn't very confident due to her length.

OTHER FEATURES

I wanted to see how we can fold third row seat. But oops... the seat unlatching mechanism spring is broken (in less than 1k km?)
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There is a false opening between the middle seats on the floor under the pocket of cable for ipod. No one knows what is in and why we cant open it.
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Height Adjustable Seat Belt I was banking on for wife. However IMO the fix point can only be taken higher than that for Estilo and hence here also seat belt would be around her neck level. Not impressed at all.

The dash is pretty ordinary. No curves no storing but hey we are talking top end model at 8.3 lac on-road. I can live with it. ICE was good if not great. Really did not try a lot as I rather chat with wife usually.

Right wiper has some projection under it attached which is not on the left side wiper. PLS EDUCATE ME ON WHAT IT IS?
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Rims look impressive. The alloys on scorpio I hate them. These look way better.

The hind door has some sort of telecopic attachments. What is it for? I think it would obstruct loading / emptying the cargo space.

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VERDICT

I found Grande a very good vehicle which surpisingly is bashed up a lot. Is it because of our Tata phobia? Or is it really that bad?
Moment friends came to know that i was TDing Grande, calls started poring in. Tone was from don't buy to don't even TD as life is at risk. I honelstly did laugh off. I didn't feel unsafe even for a second. Also man wow bonet looks so nice from inside. I mean seeing corners is a great relief.

BIL has been driving Bolero over a decade and he wasn't happy. For him Bolero felt too powerful and smoother. He said he is going for Innova.

HOWEVER IT WAS TATA SALES THAT GAVE ME PLEASANT SURPRISES. IT WAS FIRST TIME I WAS TD ING A TATA CAR AND I FOUND THEM ABSOULOUTELY RESPONSIVE.

WILL I BUY HER

Well after so much of negative publicity I am skeptical.
I really loved the way it handled, i found her way too smooth and obedient. I think gx model is adequaltely loaded for the price tag. Still I would think n number of times before risking my hard earned money.
But one thing for sure .. this vehicle stays high in my wishist even after TD.


Regads,
APOLOGIES FOR THE CRUDE PHOT QUALITY. HOWEVER THIS WAS ALSO A TD FOR MAXX MOBILES MX475 CAMERA. APOLOGIES AGAIN.
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Old 26th February 2011, 12:29   #2
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Default Re: Grande Mkii Test Driven!

A nicely crisp report.
The Tata Sume Grande is criticized for having an aged chassis (from the old Sumo), I believe.
This vehicle was quite a looker when it was launched in 2006. But please note that the positives of the vehicle were that it was much better in comparison with the old Sumo/Spacio.
Having said that, a lot was, or rather is still lacking in terms of quality, fit and finish.
The fact that its a TATA in this vehicle segment works more in its favour than against it, as the vehicle is robust having still got strong ties with its predecessor.
It would probably not be a very nice buy, even for its price.
The base variant of the Scorpio, which might be considered more spartan in terms of its interiors, would still be a better buy IMO.
Although I understand that you would automatically compare a car you TD to the one you own, I feel that if you must compare in this case, compare the car to the Scorpio. NOM.

Cheers and drive safe.
Sam
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Old 26th February 2011, 21:58   #3
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Default Re: Grande Mkii Test Driven!

Hey there, nice review. Thanks for that.

The Grande has always been a throbbing wish in my mind. I hope I some day save enough to get one in my parking. Its definitely a very capable and well packaged SUV. Yes, I say its an SUV, not much of a people carrier really. There are many shoot-outs on the internet between GrandeMKii - Scorpio - Innova, and most of them rate Grande top.

The capability + feature list to price ratio is amazing. Its a capable vehicle which also serves as an example of horrible marketing and sales. They could have removed the Sumo name from it (though I like it) to keep it away from the "taxi" category. TATA! Are you listening??

As for the attachment to the wiper you are referring - its a Wiper Spoiler. Its a feature generally common to premium automobiles See? These are the little bits that Tata always fails to advertise. You can see them on some European cars added as accessory.
It is useful to improve the wiper performance especially at a high car speed. They direct the airflow such that the resistance to the wiper is minimum and thus the arm movement is to its full extreme ends and not incomplete.

The telescopic arrangement on the rear door has 2 purposes. It makes handling the door easier with less force (while opening). Secondly, it works as a bit of safety device, so that the door doesn't accidentally close without anyone pushing it, while someone is standing (say putting baggage inside). That would send someone to a wheelchair when the door is so heavy.
Again - how many other SUVs have normal opening rear door (instead of hatch) and this little care taken?

I hope that removes your doubts?

Last edited by Reinhard : 26th February 2011 at 22:08.
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Old 4th March 2011, 13:17   #4
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Default Re: Grande Mkii Test Driven!

Quote:
The Grande has always been a throbbing wish in my mind. I hope I some day save enough to get one in my parking. Its definitely a very capable and well packaged SUV. Yes, I say its an SUV, not much of a people carrier really.
I absoloutely agree with the point.
Quote:
There are many shoot-outs on the internet between GrandeMKii - Scorpio - Innova, and most of them rate Grande top.
I have gone through many such shoot outs. Many are based on older Grande. Though I think rating grande better than Innova would be an overstatement. I find appeal in Grande more for its VFM tag and for the fact that there are fewer on the road than innova and alike giving its owners more exclusivity.
Quote:
The capability + feature list to price ratio is amazing. Its a capable vehicle which also serves as an example of horrible marketing and sales. They could have removed the Sumo name from it (though I like it) to keep it away from the "taxi" category. TATA! Are you listening??
Sometimes I too wonder about the list of features it has. And wonder why ABS even optional is not in the list? Is it because that would dent in Safari lower end models? I hope not.
I really do not worry about a particular vehicles taxi image. All the Toyota vehicles are indeed taxis. In fact a taxi brand is lkely to be low on running and maintenance cost. It rather should give owner a peace of mind.
Also if I am buying a vehicle after TD and liking it then whether it is Sumo or not I really shouldn't be worrying unless I am buying it for status symbol. And I am sure no one would buy Grande for status symbol.

For me it is a different Safari at lesser price.

Quote:
As for the attachment to the wiper you are referring - its a Wiper Spoiler. Its a feature generally common to premium automobiles See? These are the little bits that Tata always fails to advertise. You can see them on some European cars added as accessory.
It is useful to improve the wiper performance especially at a high car speed. They direct the airflow such that the resistance to the wiper is minimum and thus the arm movement is to its full extreme ends and not incomplete.

The telescopic arrangement on the rear door has 2 purposes. It makes handling the door easier with less force (while opening). Secondly, it works as a bit of safety device, so that the door doesn't accidentally close without anyone pushing it, while someone is standing (say putting baggage inside). That would send someone to a wheelchair when the door is so heavy.
Again - how many other SUVs have normal opening rear door (instead of hatch) and this little care taken?

I hope that removes your doubts?
Thanks for enlightening me. This makes me even more inclined towards Grande. So another two really additions in the features list over and above those printed in the leaflet. I wonder if TML has considered repositioning wipers to hide them when seen from driver's seat. It would give more upmarket look.
Thanks a lot.
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