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Tata Sumo Gold GX: 3500km Long Term Review


The Tata Sumo Gold has completed 3,500km. Here's more about its performance, ride and handling. And, the fact that it can actually go sideways!

Tata Sumo Gold GX slide


Yes, the Tata Sumo Gold can drift! Okay, drift might be too over-optimistic a word here, but the Sumo can certainly slide, and slide on power. But, more on that later. First, let us talk performance, high-speed ride and handling; stuff we promised we would cover, in our last long term report.

The Tata Sumo in Gold GX guise we have here is powered by a 3-litre common rail diesel motor. It is the same engine that came on the Safari once upon a time, and when it did, we didn't like it. Reason? It just had too narrow a power band. On the Sumo, that power band is slightly wider. And it lends the utility vehicle decent driveability both within city confines and out on the highway; just don't demand quick overtakes or quick speed build up off a traffic light. Because in both cases, the engine performance will seem inadequate and even lethargic.

The Tata Sumo also isn't happy to cruise at very high speeds. 100-110kmph is fine. But, push it beyond that and it is a long wait before the Sumo can hit 130kmph, also its top speed. Plus, there's loads of road, wind and engine noise to be dealt with when driven this hard. And if you were to come up to corner, well, it's best to cut speed drastically.

The body roll around bends is dramatic - more from the outside than it feels when seated inside -but it is there. And quite a bit of it. The tyre grip isn't great either, and the Sumo doesn't enjoy hard or sudden braking. It doesn't return a settled ride at high speeds either. The side to side movement isn't too pronounced but the pitching, the wallowing and the jumping can get a bit too much, especially for passengers. 

But, if you are traveling alone, the Sumo almost feels invincible. Bad roads, roads less travelled (or ones not travelled at all), pot holes, bumps you name it, and you can go hard over them without a worry. Of course, there is some bouncing around, but the Sumo gets through; it also feels unbreakable, this Tata. Wish it was better built on the inside though. In just 3,500km it has developed rattles and noises inside the cabin, especially in the dashboard.

And, now, to the picture. The Tata Sumo Gold is rear wheel drive, and no it's doesn't have the firepower to break traction at will on the road, but on dirt, it sure can. Yes, it does need a bit of coaxing, but get it right, and it will slide. Surprisingly, it doesn't feel scary going all sideways. In fact, it is fun. Just remember not to pile on too much speed before chucking it in. 

So then, the Sumo Gold might not be a great handler, it isn't very composed under severe braking, and it can get a touch uncomfortable (for the passengers mainly) at speed and over undulating roads. But, on a Sunday morning, if you are in the mood for it, it does let you indulge in some hooliganism and some trail driving. And without the fear of breaking it. Now, that's worth something... at least for some.
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