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Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3: Test Drive







Tavera Neo 3 and its previous models have one huge difference between them, the engine. Other than that there are a few differences, but nothing can beat the gap in technology which is beneath the bonnet. This happened because the previous models couldn’t comply with the BS IV emission norms, which made the General Motors pull out on the supply from the metropolitan cities where the norms were absolutely strict.  Since then the firm has beenon thelookout for an all-new powertrain that not only could meet the recent emission laws, but also keep low on cost while it is easy to maintain and gives a good performance. This was a very unique combination of requirement and desire that led the firm to the engine which boosts the ICML-Sonalika Rhino. This Rover engine of common-rail 2.0 liter diesel is manufactured at the Hoshiapur plant of ICML in Uttar Pradesh.

The simple motor utilizes two-valves on every single cylinder with a solo overhead camshaft layout. But at the same time it injects fuel in the combustion chamber at a pressure of upto 1600bar, which is only possible because of the piezo injectors that support upto four injections in each cycle without any trouble. Although the body design and utility of Rhino and Tavera is the same, but parking the new engine into the Chevrolet’s engine bay was not at all easy. This new engine was actually made for a transverse layout in a Rover, but not for a longitudinal usage in the Chevrolet’s engine bay. Moreover, the challenge which came with this engine’s parking was also the vibration. This made Chevrolet design mounts for the new engine and beside that the cooling package had to enhance keeping in view the available hurdles of the engine bay in Tavera. There was another more complicated task waiting, the later Isuzu fitted Neo had its air intake from the right side of the engine, but the common-rail diesel has its air intake on the left, this difference made the fitting of the exhaust and turbocharger way too complicated than parking the new engine in the engine bay of Tavera. Even though both the Tavera and Rhino has the same engine, but there is a difference of 14 bhp in their power output.The engine inside Tavera gives less power in comparison to the same engine fitted in the Rhino. This has been done because of the ECU designed by the General Motors in accordance to the emissions requirement of the Tavera.

Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3

There is a manual five speed transmission fitted in the Tavera that has been picked up from the General Motor’s North American subsidiary’s automotive parts collection. Though the engineers never commented from where exactly it came from, but they did let go a valuable piece of information which is nonetheless interesting. Since the Tavera comes along with an option of ten seats, the firm has to design and develop two type of consanguinity in order to suit the different setup of gear-lever locations. One settles a bit ahead on the floor console in the Tavera which has a version of front bench seat while another sets in a manner where it’s easier to reach in the bucket seat versions. The propeller shaft has also been modified by the General Motors and it has been shortened for there is a difference in the wheelbase of Rhino and Tavera.

Power Play

When it comes to the engine, one notices in Tavera Neo 3, the refinement. There is a little shudder when it starts but it settles down quick enough to be smooth and idle.  In the beginning you may have to let go the clutch a little, but then the torque comes in which makes the engine pick up smoothly and the delivery of power is very through. According to the specification sheets the peak torque of 28.88 kgm at a very high 2500 rpm, which is too much for a common-rail diesel engine, but this doesn’t bother the drive at all. Part-throttle responses are this engine’s aptitude, it acknowledges absolutely in an instant manner the gentle touch of your right foot. The first and second gears feel vivacious, but there is an interestingly flat spot in the third gear’s 2000 and 3000 rpm. It’s an entity which does not show up in the fourth and fifth gear where the Tavera cruises smoothly at 120 kph. This is one of the major difference between the Isuzu Motor fitted old Tavera and the new diesel engine of Tavera, where the first was a light turbo which made it very efficient in terms of driving and responsiveness. But it used to run out of breath at nearly 100 kph and never felt relaxed on the highway.

Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3 interior

Our VBOX gives us the exact difference between the previous and the current Tavera when we talk about pick-up. The common-rail diesel engine Tavera reaches 0 to 100 kph in 17 seconds which is 8 seconds quicker than the Isuzu motor Tavera, whereas it is more responsive as well. The additional drivetrain advantages are the positive and light gearshifts while the overall refinement levels make the new Tavera very quieter than the previous ones.

Jounce up

The General Motors never needed to do anything with the front suspension of new Tavera because the common-rail diesel engine weighs as same as the old BS III Isuzu engine. But on the rear there have been a few modifications. With the height in the ride increased, the suspension on the rear is equipped with thicker spring leafs. There are gas charged dampers on all the four corners in this new version.

Now what these new modifications do to the handling is very predictable and there is a lot of body roll which runs out of hold very easily if pushed hard to a corner. In short, it doesn’t admire being driven hard which is good because its usage doesn’t need it to be a dexterous corner cutter. It is very stable when on a straight line with the ability to ferry more people because of an increased ride height and thicker spring leafs. The overall ride is very smooth while the suspension has been refined in a way to even absorb the sudden and heavy bumps. But the actual test of the suspension is still due on the real roads of India.

Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3 interior

Attributes added

Tavera has a stronghold in the taxi market right now, but the General Motors wishes to push this new BS IV version to be utilized as a personal usage vehicle. With this idea in mind the interior of the high end variant of Tavera LT has a two-tone grey and beige in the cabin with power windows all over, audio system is in-built, dead pedal, leather seats for luxurious lumber support and double glove-boxes. As for the quality it falls very short on the chart of customer’s demand, while the overall aura is yet much abecedarian. The few improvised particulars are the fresh dials, gear-leaver and centre console’s carbon-fiber finish but they are a bit overshadowed by the wrongly fitted panels as in the surrounded instrument console. On questioning the firm, General Motors said that they are figuring and sorting out these issues of quality very promptly.

The quality of the switch-gear has improved a lot.The previous flimsy, outsourced by Maruti Suzuki’s 800 has been dumped for more palpable units. The dashboard plastic’s quality isn’t as plush as the one fitted on the Mahindra Xylo as there are a lot of hard surfaces to it. The slim door-pads, eccentric power window switches and the small door pockets constantly remind the previous versions of Tavera.

The seats are pretty comfortable but a little unsupportive when put in comparison to the Mahindra Xylo. The window line is low where big glass area give the passenger an opportunity to have a wide view of the outside; this is one of the biggest strength of Tavera. The captain chairs come in the middle row in the seven seat version. The back and forth slide enable individual seats allow the passengers in the middle and third row to adjust their legroom without any difficulty.

The Indian summer test the best of air conditioning systems fitted in any car and new Tavera is no exception to that. Though it’s not peak of the summer yet but an afternoon drive gave us a very good idea of its cabin cooling efficiency. The cabin remained congealed at all times, when we enquired further the engineers of General Motors claimed that the air-con compressor of the system never switches off, not even when there is a full load on the engine. That raised a good question on fuel efficiency in the time of summer when air-conditioning is required.

Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3 engine

Looks

With the new grille, front bumper and headlights we find the facelift to be at very minimum while there are some stickers which declare the new Tavera to be Neo 3. As per expectations, there is no exorbitant sheet metal modification thus even the new Tavera Neo 3 will be recognized instantly as just a Tavera. When you follow the car you can easily see the underside very clearly since the rear looks very much raised. The new alloy wheels are very good looking though.

Final word

The new Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3 has been improved a lot from its previous models. The four-cylinder inline, common-rail 1994cc turbo-diesel engine settled on the front in a longitudinal manner gives out 106.8 bhp at 4000 rpm while the peak torque is 28.88 kgm at 2500 rpm, the power to weight ratio is 65.12 bhp per tonne. The engine is mated with a manual five-speed rear-wheel drive transmission to move a 4435mm long, 1680mm wide and 1765mm tall body which weights 1640 kgs. The front suspension is of independent wishbone torsion beam kind while the rear suspension is non-independent leaf springs type. The front brakes are of 257mm hydraulic disc and the rear has 254mm self-adjusted drum brakes. The 55 liter diesel fuel tank can take it to a good distance without a refill.

This car has a more powerful, quiet and clean engine with a strengthened suspension which makes it a better passenger-carrier. But as a car for personal usage it fails to attract because of its not-so-appealing interiors in comparison to its competitors. Moreover, the exterior is the same old design which makes it look a bit old.

Chevrolet Tavera Neo 3

Of course, when we choose anything at all the most important thing which we consider is the price. According to our estimation it should come between Rs 9 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, but is General Motors maintains an honest price then you are definitely looking at a much improved, very potent passenger-mover vehicle.

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