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Old 8th April 2009, 14:50   #1
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Post Hardcore SUV for conversion

Hi all

I work for a non-profit organization operating in higher Himalayas (8000 ft and above). For one of our projects, we need to buy and convert 5 SUVs to be used as a Mobile Educational Unit. We have settled on the need on a pick-up truck rather than a passenger carrier since it will give more freedom in fabricating the rear end.

Following are the requirements:
  1. BS3 compliant. Extremely important.
  2. Need to have large storage area for books and toys.
  3. Need to go to worst possible areas so must have superior off-roading capabilities.
  4. Must be able to handle temperature ranges from -30 to +30, heavy snow, sleet, rain, dust, storms, etc. etc.
  5. The fabricated car will house an electronic display to play educational videos so the suspension should be sturdy enough to not create too much vibration (will this be an issue?)
  6. Seating for three people (one can sit in the back if need be)
  7. Overall budget (incl. car & mods) is 7 lacs with a max of 8 lacs for something really nice. (I know its a little short but that's part of our life)
We have considered the following vehicles:
  1. Tata 207 (2 seater version)
  2. Manindra Bolero Camper
  3. Mahindra Maxx Pick-Up
  4. Force Motors Tempo Trax
I would really appreciate if you guys could help me choose between the above vehicles based on the requirements given.

Any other information you think I should know will be also greatly appreciated.

And too much to ask, but some quick help will be really appreciated.

PS. I am based in Gurgaon.
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Old 8th April 2009, 19:08   #2
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So you want a pickup that's an extreme offroader, a large storage area, can handle temperatures right from -30 to +30, not vibrate and within 7 - 8 lakhs!

Options (though each has its pros and cons):

1. Regular Bolero 4x4 (not a pickup, but you can utilise the rear space after removing seats). Rugged as hell and you will appreciate the metal body (versus a soft-top) when it gets cold. Get a heater installed as well.

2. Maruti Gypsy (will kill you in fuel though)

3. Scorpio Getaway / Tata 207 4x4 (do they make one in 4x4? The xenon is out of your budget).

What I'd really suggest is buying 4 - 5 different 4x4's, each custom-built to a specific purpose (carrying books, LCDs, people etc.). Then, we're really talking. You'd be hard pressed to find a particular model under 8 lakhs that meets all your needs in one.
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Old 8th April 2009, 19:39   #3
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When you say extreme off roading, do you really mean 4X4 kind?
Where in the himalayas is your area of operation?

I think you should take a serious look at the Tempo Traveller.
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Old 8th April 2009, 20:44   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
When you say extreme off roading, do you really mean 4X4 kind?
Where in the himalayas is your area of operation?

I think you should take a serious look at the Tempo Traveller.
Extreme off-roading means going to villages that even bike tourers dont go to and to roadworker camps all over the mountains in all kinds of conditions. Our working area is all across the Himalayas above 8000 ft - Ladakh, Spiti, Lahaul, Chamba, Pithoragarh, Uttarkashi, Sikkim, Tawang ..... and often the most far flung areas.

Tempo Traveller I rejected because I thought the higher centre of gravity will be a problem when the road ends.
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Old 9th April 2009, 09:19   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Iceman View Post
Tempo Traveller I rejected because I thought the higher centre of gravity will be a problem when the road ends.
Point taken, but have you noticed the number of TTs doing the Manali-Leh route? And all across Spiti. And what about buses? They go where most SUVs dread to tread! TT is a great VFM mini-bus!

Well, I guess you'd know best whether TTs have gone to the places you work in. You could hire one as a taxi and put it through those routes.
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Old 9th April 2009, 10:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Iceman View Post
Hi all

I work for a non-profit organization operating in higher Himalayas (8000 ft and above). For one of our projects, we need to buy and convert 5 SUVs to be used as a Mobile Educational Unit. We have settled on the need on a pick-up truck rather than a passenger carrier since it will give more freedom in fabricating the rear end.

Following are the requirements:
  1. BS3 compliant. Extremely important.
  2. Need to have large storage area for books and toys.
  3. Need to go to worst possible areas so must have superior off-roading capabilities.
  4. Must be able to handle temperature ranges from -30 to +30, heavy snow, sleet, rain, dust, storms, etc. etc.
  5. The fabricated car will house an electronic display to play educational videos so the suspension should be sturdy enough to not create too much vibration (will this be an issue?)
  6. Seating for three people (one can sit in the back if need be)
  7. Overall budget (incl. car & mods) is 7 lacs with a max of 8 lacs for something really nice. (I know its a little short but that's part of our life)
We have considered the following vehicles:
  1. Tata 207 (2 seater version)
  2. Manindra Bolero Camper
  3. Mahindra Maxx Pick-Up
  4. Force Motors Tempo Trax
I would really appreciate if you guys could help me choose between the above vehicles based on the requirements given.

Any other information you think I should know will be also greatly appreciated.

And too much to ask, but some quick help will be really appreciated.

PS. I am based in Gurgaon.


Looking at your requirement I would suggest a TATA TL 4X4 within your budget, has 4wd, the 2liter trubo ,90 bhp engine has decent power and engine is pretty easy to maintain. And since it a turbo engine the altitiutde won't effect the engine performance much,it comes in single cab version also [at least it use to, even in India around two years back], you may have to confirm this. The same engine is used in sumo 4x4, used by the army in the himalayan region.
If you buy 4-5 vehicles at a time TATA will give you a decent discount on them , if you do not have any issue with getting yellow plate registration. the cost will come down more and with this you can get the mod done within your price of 8 lac and will be left with change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
So you want a pickup that's an extreme offroader, a large storage area, can handle temperatures right from -30 to +30, not vibrate and within 7 - 8 lakhs!

Options (though each has its pros and cons):

1. Regular Bolero 4x4 (not a pickup, but you can utilise the rear space after removing seats). Rugged as hell and you will appreciate the metal body (versus a soft-top) when it gets cold. Get a heater installed as well.

2. Maruti Gypsy (will kill you in fuel though)

3. Scorpio Getaway / Tata 207 4x4 (do they make one in 4x4? The xenon is out of your budget).

What I'd really suggest is buying 4 - 5 different 4x4's, each custom-built to a specific purpose (carrying books, LCDs, people etc.). Then, we're really talking. You'd be hard pressed to find a particular model under 8 lakhs that meets all your needs in one.
207 DI is not made with 4x4.And gypsy is to small for the need.
I agree with GTO on the last one, you should get different vehcile to carrying diferent things.
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Old 9th April 2009, 10:50   #7
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I am surprised nobody suggested the Mahindra Pick Up series?

It is available in 4X4, has option for single or double cabin and even different cargo bay sizes.
Fits the budget, is a rugged machine and can be fixed almost anywhere in Himachal.
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:03   #8
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Iceman, since you are part of an NGO and the vehicle needs to be used for an education campaign up in the mountains, I suggest you contact both the Institutional Sales Dept and Corporate Communications of both M&M and TATA. As both these giants keep donating vehicles for social causes (we at TAFE gave 100 tractors for free to certain villages in TN), I suggest you hard sell your concept to them.

Even if the full free thing doesn't work out, I'm definite you will be able to get substantial discounts. Also I thought that NGO's get certain tax benefits. All these might help to bring the over all cost down.
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:09   #9
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I don't know if its still available and if its 4*4.

But it had amazing ground clearance.

The Mahindra RTV. Not the Voyager but the RTV.
Rural Transport Vehicle

Just to remind anyone who might have more info on this.
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:16   #10
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bblost,
The RTV is made by Hindustan Motors, not Mahindra, and is not available in 4WD.
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:19   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotzuk View Post
bblost,
The RTV is made by Hindustan Motors, not Mahindra, and is not available in 4WD.
Thanks.

Found the website as well.
RTV
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:28   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotzuk View Post
I am surprised nobody suggested the Mahindra Pick Up series?

It is available in 4X4, has option for single or double cabin and even different cargo bay sizes.
gotzuk, agree on all this. I kinda like the vehicle but is it available in BS III version. It is important for us since our reporting is to Europe and US who are sticklers for emissions norms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinar View Post
Looking at your requirement I would suggest a TATA TL 4X4 within your budget, has 4wd, the 2liter trubo ,90 bhp engine has decent power and engine is pretty easy to maintain. And since it a turbo engine the altitiutde won't effect the engine performance much,it comes in single cab version also [at least it use to, even in India around two years back], you may have to confirm this. The same engine is used in sumo 4x4, used by the army in the himalayan region.
dinar, isn't the TL a glorified version of the 207? And are you sure the 207 doesn't come in 4x4? The Tata website doesn't let me open links to the 207 microsite to check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
I don't know if its still available and if its 4*4.

But it had amazing ground clearance.

The Mahindra RTV. Not the Voyager but the RTV.
Rural Transport Vehicle

Just to remind anyone who might have more info on this.
The RTV is not the most stable thing on the road. Rural / bad roads is one thing and having the torque to climb mountains is another. Have never seen one in the mountains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
What I'd really suggest is buying 4 - 5 different 4x4's, each custom-built to a specific purpose (carrying books, LCDs, people etc.). Then, we're really talking. You'd be hard pressed to find a particular model under 8 lakhs that meets all your needs in one.
GTO, our problem is each of these 5 vehicles need to go to 5 different areas - Ladakh, Lahaul & Spiti, Kinnaur, Uttarakhand & Tawang. So they ALL need to carry ALL the stuff. So different vehicles for different things is not an options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
Iceman, since you are part of an NGO and the vehicle needs to be used for an education campaign up in the mountains, I suggest you contact both the Institutional Sales Dept and Corporate Communications of both M&M and TATA. As both these giants keep donating vehicles for social causes (we at TAFE gave 100 tractors for free to certain villages in TN), I suggest you hard sell your concept to them.
MileCruncher, we are exploring that option. Thats one of the reasons why we want all vehicles to be of the same make. But before going to either, we need to firm up our decision. Hence, the request at Team BHP. Where else to go but to the experts


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Old 9th April 2009, 12:40   #13
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I feel Bolero would be best suited for this.
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:40   #14
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I agree with Dinar for TATA TL 4x4 but just a quick thought on the turning radius, its around 13+(correct me if i am wrong). Wont it be a bit tough when it comes with extreme offroading.
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Old 9th April 2009, 12:45   #15
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how about Force Motors Judo 4x4, i have seen many of them being used in Manali to take tourists to solang and rohtang pass!

these vehicles are 4x4 and are pretty big enough to convert them into educational mobile units!
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