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Tata Telcoline 2.0 TD 4x4

Broadcast dates : 6th March 2005
10th March 2005

Tata Africa was formed late last year, and has a tie up with the Imperial Motor Group to distribute this new range of bakkies.

The first Tata LCV was built in 1977, so Tata is no new kid on the block. The new Telcoline comes in single and double-cab configurations, in two- and four-wheel-drive.

The Peugeot-derived four-cylinder diesel motor produces 64 kiloWatts at 4300 rpm, and 190 Newton metres of torque at 2000 rpm. Itís an indirect injection engine, rather long-in-the-tooth, noisy, but stone-reliable.

The five-speed gearbox on the 4X4 is augmented by a transfer case with electronic actuation for low ratio and four-wheel-drive, but hi-tech is otherwise at a minimum. No frills, no fuss seems to be the approach.

The Tata was built to handle some of the worst roads in the world, in extreme temperatures. Its ladder frame chassis with simple box-section members is rugged in the extreme, as is the suspension, built to take a pounding.

The torsion bar front suspension and semi-eliptic springs at the rear are simply there to do a job, keep the body above the road, no matter the load.

The steering is power-assisted on this model, but it could do with a dash of accuracy, especially on the freeway.

This is the kind of vehicle you would buy for a company, where you arenít out to pamper the person whoís going to drive it all day.

It wonít win any fashion contests with those wheel trims, and as far as ride comfort is concerned, that too is an optional extra, depending if you have a load in the back or not.

Off the beaten track once again, thereís good suspension articulation and traction. The lazy unstressed power delivery from the motor makes steady progress easy.

The limiting aspect of the Tata for extreme off-road work is that itís not fitted with a diff lock. However, a limited-slip differential is installed in the rear axle, and this will keep wheel spin under control in most utility usage.

Dodgy finish levels on the bumpers, the plastic used on the mudguard protectors and hubcaps, and the basic construction and location of the load bay may put some people off.

The plastics on the dashboard, door- handles and console have a sort of stone-washed look, and trim panel alignment is incidental.

But there is a refreshing lack of pretension to what is basically, and we mean BASICally a utility vehicle.

You get a very efficient aircon, a by-product of sweltering Indian conditions no doubt, as well as a CD player, for the not unreasonable price of R149 900.

TataTelcoline 2,0 TDi 4X4 PS
  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbodiesel, 1 948 cc
  • Power: 64 kW @ 4 300 rpm
  • Torque: 190 Nm @ 2 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, low-range transfer case, four wheel drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 16,9 seconds
  • Top speed: 123 km/h (claimed) 
  • Fuel consumption: 11, 5 (Car Magazine estimate)
  • Price: R149 995

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