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TATA Super Ace Motoring Review

EVER since Daihatsu pulled out of the South African market last year, there has been a gap left behind that was filled by its one-ton workhorse, the Gran-Max. Tata Motors has realized that there is a need for a small, efficient, light commercial bakkie and it has therefore enhanced its market offering, the Tata Super Ace.

The compact Tata Super Ace one-ton cab-over pick-up - which was launched in South Africa in 2012 - has undergone a host of improvements and updates with the introduction of the latest EX2 model. This is now a unique model in the local light commercial vehicle market.

Many of these changes to the Super Ace are under the skin, but Tata says that it all contributes to an even better product with markedly higher quality levels. Many of these changes and quality improvements have resulted from feedback from Tata customers and dealers in South Africa.

The Super Ace has the longest load-bed among one-ton pick-ups in SA at 2.63 metres and the dropside body has a deck height of only 60cm, which makes for ease of loading and unloading. The load body, which is 1.5 metres wide, giving a total load area of 3.8m2. It is also unimpeded by wheel-wells as is the case with conventional pick-ups. It has a turning circle of only 10.2 metres, which provides easy manoeuvrability in congested traffic conditions.

These features make the Tata Super Ace ideal for a host of urban applications from couriers to nurseries, gardening services, plumbers, building suppliers, handymen and furniture stores. There are already anumber of different canopies and a rack for carrying ladders and the like available from Tata dealers to suit various usage applications.

There are also a number of cosmetic changes, of which the most noticeable is change in the colour of the interior from grey to black. The more expensive DLE model adds air conditioning, wheel covers, power windows, fog lamps, remote adjustment for the exterior rear-view mirrors, grab handles and colour-coded bumpers. Both the DLE and entry level DLS models are well equipped with features such as power steering, remote central locking and engine immobiliser, heater/demister, fabric seat covering, adjustable bucket seats for the driver and passenger, digital clock, lockable glove box, 12V DC power outlet, height-adjustable headlights, lockable fuel flap, battery guard, collapsible steering column, load-sensitive brake equaliser and side impact beams.

The engine and transmission are all designed in-house by Tata Motors. The four-cylinder turbo intercooled diesel power unit of 1.4 litres develops 52kW of power and peak torque is 135Nm. The engine drives the rear axle through a five-speed manual transmission. Claimed fuel economy is 7.2 litres/100km on the combined cycle.

Importantly, Tata has managed to keep the pricing very competitive, despite the unfavourable exchange rate. The Super Ace is covered by a three-year/100 000km warranty, with a three-year/60 000km service plan and three-year roadside assistance ensuring peace of mind for the owner.

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