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Thread: Tata Xenon XT: The Official Backup Vehicle for the Mobiking India Trip

  1. #1
    MotoGrapher Sunny's Avatar
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    Default Tata Xenon XT: The Official Backup Vehicle for the Mobiking India Trip

    In The Great Indian Roadtrip (2006), we took a Tata 207 with us. It served us well, even though it was barebones loader vehicle which took on all kinds of terrain across India.

    Fast forward 4 years we are riding some of the best bikes in the world - the Ducato Monsters, 1198S and the Ninja 250 on the Videocon Mobiking Tour. We definitely required a backup vehicle which not only cold match up to the Italian's looks but also deliver in performance. The relatively unknown Tata Xenon XT was the answer. I had seen lots of pickups in Australia (The Toyota Hilux being one of them and Holdens too). We thank Tata Motors for supporting us with the Xenon XT.

    Having very less experience in four wheelers I leave this to Old Fox to oen down how well this vehicle blends in the urban environment and also as a beautiful work horse and companion to adventure rides and tours.



    I managed to squeeze in a couple of sessions with the Xenon XT during the ride between Mumbai and Delhi and came away pretty impressed with it. Here's a brief of what I saw, felt and liked/disliked about this vehicle.


    Review by Old Fox

    Looks
    The Xenon has presence. You cannot ignore a vehicle this size which is well finished and is so poised, both at stand still and on the move. Its big but not humongous. Imposing and yet approachable. The lights, the grille, the long bonnet and the raked wind-screen with those side-mirrors make it look purposeful and attention catching, both in real and when seen catching up with you in your RVM's. Which it did quite a few times while I was cruising merrily on my 796 Monster. A flash of those bright head-lights would tell me that the XT had caught up with the 796 yet again.

    Inside

    The interiors are at par with most SUV's being sold here in this price-bracket. Plastics are omnipresent and thats how it is here too. In vehicles as large as the Xenon, it does seem that the interiors are dominated by plastics but then thats a natural consequence of their size and internal volume. To me the dash looks good, it pretty functional and quite ergonomic. The seat feels firm to the point of being hard at first but a couple of hours on the road and the firmness starts making sense. Leg-space is great up front though a trifle cramped at the rear if the front two seats are pushed back to their limits. The instrument console is well presented and easy to read. The switches etc feel Tata-like and not disappointing as I wasn't expecting a Merc-like feel anyways. The rear seat can accommodate 4 people in a pinch and three in easy comfort though its steeply upright backrest doesn't allow much of the relaxation. The front passenger wallows in luxury though.

    As a driver's vehicle

    The steering and controls fall in place well though the pedals appear a trifle offset to the right. And there's quite a gap between the dead-pedal and the clutch pedal. The gear shift stalk is spindly and feels kind-of rubbery. The engine, a 138 bhp 320 Nm DiCOR VTT(variable turbine tech) unit, starts with a subdued hum and soft rattle, the latter dies out gradually as the engine warms up. Revv it and it responds like a diesel. Vision from inside is quite commanding and the A-pillar, though quite thick, is far enough from the driver's eye not to be intrusive. Slot the 'spindly' gear lever into first and a first timer can easily manage a well co-ordinated launch, such is the feel and gradation in the clutch bite. A quick up-shift to second is needed as the first gear is a low ratio and pushes the engine into turbo territory pretty quickly. 2nd onwards, the acceleration is spirited, the 300kg or so less to lug around compared to the Safari (which has the same engine) shows itself loud and clear. The XT picks up speed well and gets past the 100 kph mark in around 15secs or so. Not bad at all.

    There is a decided turbo lag in this engine though, the kind that I've experienced all through in the Indigo Marina that I've used quite extensively. Not much happens till about 1800 rpm and then all of a sudden there's a surge of power. Quite a chore being smooth in the first two gears due to that. The taller gearing later on makes things somewhat easier though. But this also entails a lot of gear shifts when in town and if you're caught at a road speed that straddles the turbo cut-in rpm, then its almost like riding a bucking bronco while you get in and out of the power band with an uncomfortable suddenness.

    Steering is well weighted and responsive. This is a big car with a long wheelbase and high C of G which makes form some drama to accompany sudden direction changes. Body roll to sharp steering inputs is pronounced and I feel its good feedback as a vehicle this large and heavy is not meant to be poled around like a sedan. Turn-in is precise though and long sweeping turns as on the GQ when taken at high speeds were not uncomfortable at all. The XT tracked true and consistent.

    The rear tends to bounce around a little when the loading bay is empty. Quite a natural consequence of the parabolic leaf spring and solid axle set-up. But put in a couple of hundred kilos back there at it settles down. Maintaining speed is not a problem in this car though.

    The brakes
    Not up to the mark. Twin ventilated discs with two pot calipers and rear drums may look adequate on the spec sheet but are not so in the real world. You need something more to haul this two-tonne metal hulk down from speed. Not really confidence inspiring braking.

    The farkles
    Two. Limited Slip Differential and 'Shift-on-the-fly' 4x4. The former would be of great use in low traction conditions, especially slush and ice while the latter of course is a great value addition, making stopping and engaging manual differential locks a thing of the past.

    The comforts
    The stereo was good, power steering quite light and the AC pretty effective. The blower is noisy only at top speed but not intrusively so. In fact, the inside NVH when on the move and cruising around the ton with windows up is comparable to any good diesel sedan. Which is saying a lot for a supposed 'load' carrier . I liked it. The extensive glass area made using the heater during our drive into cold Rajasthan redundant.

    Average kitna hai?

    Anywhere between 8-12 kpl was what we got. This is primarily an open-road vehicle and is really at home stretching its long legs. And with a 65 ltr tank capacity, 650 kms between refills is easily achievable. Not bad at all.





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  2. #2
    Rusted superbikez's Avatar
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    Lovly shot sunny!
    >> Speed has a Soul >>

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    CommuTOURer satyenpoojary's Avatar
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    Oye! its not relatively unknown!!! Its pretty popular in a lot of countries....

    and just a tidbit...If I remember it right, this was first showcased in the birth place of ducati itself sometime back!

    It is indeed hot! Waiting for OF sir to pen down about it!

    Edit:The ducati seems to have the words 848 on it!
    Last edited by satyenpoojary; 12-21-2010 at 01:10 AM.
    Super CommuTOURer - Talk less, Ride more

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    Satyen Poojary

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    nice... i like what the truck looks like...

    but wasn't very happy with the overall fit n finish of the car up close.

    very "moddable" tho.
    .
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    awesome shot sunny bhai Tata Xenon XT with ducati s whah kya scene hai

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by satyenpoojary View Post
    Edit:The ducati seems to have the words 848 on it!
    i think thats a 1198 S

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    its got some amazing pulling power, and loads of space in the rear loading bay. I had done a mini review on it sometime back when it was launched ->

    Tata Xenon XT driven


    My offerings to the gods of speed -

    - KTM Duke 200
    - Yamaha RXZ 5 speed



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    Thumbs up Nice

    Awesome shot sunny bhai. Tata's are good indeed.
    your RIDE, your PRIDE .@lways RIDE SAFE
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    tats a wonderful association from TATA... gr8 going...
    http://picasaweb.google.com/tilkusoni
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    Super Moderator Old Fox's Avatar
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    I managed to squeeze in a couple of sessions with the Xenon XT during the ride between Mumbai and Delhi and came away pretty impressed with it. Here's a brief of what I saw, felt and liked/disliked about this vehicle.

    Looks
    The Xenon has presence. You cannot ignore a vehicle this size which is well finished and is so poised, both at stand still and on the move. Its big but not humongous. Imposing and yet approachable. The lights, the grille, the long bonnet and the raked wind-screen with those side-mirrors make it look purposeful and attention catching, both in real and when seen catching up with you in your RVM's. Which it did quite a few times while I was cruising merrily on my 796 Monster. A flash of those bright head-lights would tell me that the XT had caught up with the 796 yet again.

    Inside

    The interiors are at par with most SUV's being sold here in this price-bracket. Plastics are omnipresent and thats how it is here too. In vehicles as large as the Xenon, it does seem that the interiors are dominated by plastics but then thats a natural consequence of their size and internal volume. To me the dash looks good, it pretty functional and quite ergonomic. The seat feels firm to the point of being hard at first but a couple of hours on the road and the firmness starts making sense. Leg-space is great up front though a trifle cramped at the rear if the front two seats are pushed back to their limits. The instrument console is well presented and easy to read. The switches etc feel Tata-like and not disappointing as I wasn't expecting a Merc-like feel anyways. The rear seat can accommodate 4 people in a pinch and three in easy comfort though its steeply upright backrest doesn't allow much of the relaxation. The front passenger wallows in luxury though.

    As a driver's vehicle

    The steering and controls fall in place well though the pedals appear a trifle offset to the right. And there's quite a gap between the dead-pedal and the clutch pedal. The gear shift stalk is spindly and feels kind-of rubbery. The engine, a 138 bhp 320 Nm DiCOR VTT(variable turbine tech) unit, starts with a subdued hum and soft rattle, the latter dies out gradually as the engine warms up. Revv it and it responds like a diesel. Vision from inside is quite commanding and the A-pillar, though quite thick, is far enough from the driver's eye not to be intrusive. Slot the 'spindly' gear lever into first and a first timer can easily manage a well co-ordinated launch, such is the feel and gradation in the clutch bite. A quick up-shift to second is needed as the first gear is a low ratio and pushes the engine into turbo territory pretty quickly. 2nd onwards, the acceleration is spirited, the 300kg or so less to lug around compared to the Safari (which has the same engine) shows itself loud and clear. The XT picks up speed well and gets past the 100 kph mark in around 15secs or so. Not bad at all.

    There is a decided turbo lag in this engine though, the kind that I've experienced all through in the Indigo Marina that I've used quite extensively. Not much happens till about 1800 rpm and then all of a sudden there's a surge of power. Quite a chore being smooth in the first two gears due to that. The taller gearing later on makes things somewhat easier though. But this also entails a lot of gear shifts when in town and if you're caught at a road speed that straddles the turbo cut-in rpm, then its almost like riding a bucking bronco while you get in and out of the power band with an uncomfortable suddenness.

    Steering is well weighted and responsive. This is a big car with a long wheelbase and high C of G which makes form some drama to accompany sudden direction changes. Body roll to sharp steering inputs is pronounced and I feel its good feedback as a vehicle this large and heavy is not meant to be poled around like a sedan. Turn-in is precise though and long sweeping turns as on the GQ when taken at high speeds were not uncomfortable at all. The XT tracked true and consistent.

    The rear tends to bounce around a little when the loading bay is empty. Quite a natural consequence of the parabolic leaf spring and solid axle set-up. But put in a couple of hundred kilos back there at it settles down. Maintaining speed is not a problem in this car though.

    The brakes
    Not up to the mark. Twin ventilated discs with two pot calipers and rear drums may look adequate on the spec sheet but are not so in the real world. You need something more to haul this two-tonne metal hulk down from speed. Not really confidence inspiring braking.

    The farkles
    Two. Limited Slip Differential and 'Shift-on-the-fly' 4x4. The former would be of great use in low traction conditions, especially slush and ice while the latter of course is a great value addition, making stopping and engaging manual differential locks a thing of the past.

    The comforts
    The stereo was good, power steering quite light and the AC pretty effective. The blower is noisy only at top speed but not intrusively so. In fact, the inside NVH when on the move and cruising around the ton with windows up is comparable to any good diesel sedan. Which is saying a lot for a supposed 'load' carrier . I liked it. The extensive glass area made using the heater during our drive into cold Rajasthan redundant.

    Average kitna hai?

    Anywhere between 8-12 kpl was what we got. This is primarily an open-road vehicle and is really at home stretching its long legs. And with a 65 ltr tank capacity, 650 kms between refills is easily achievable. Not bad at all.

    'Drive' long and safe...
    OF
    I don't let my motorcycles interfere with my motorcycling...

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