')">Tata Motors India Limited are at the helm of making MUVs in India. The point is that they actually started out with this very business. The Tata Sumo and the Tata Sierra Estate were the well known MUVs of those times. However with the Safari and also the Aria now, Tata Motors have shown the world that they can do their bit even in the SUV field. For the time being, it felt to the automotive world that they have actually forgotten the smaller utility vehicle segment. Bang then comes in the Tata Winger Platinum in India. It is a bigger size Tata Venture. But why the need for the Platinum Winger. Tata Motors say that the Venture is more for the economy minded person who would like to carry around 5 or 7 at a pinch whereas the Tata Winger Platinum in India would carry around 7 people in utter comfort. Time now for the real test and whether this claim holds true or not. So a test drive of the Tata Winger was done and this is the test drive report for the same. Unfortunately the Tata Winger Platinum review wasn’t possible since the car was available with us for only a short duration.
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As far as its looks go, the Tata Winger Platinum is an evolution of the same boxy lines which were penned for the Venture. However where the Venture goes one step ahead in softening some of its lines, the Winger is all about boxes. The wing mirrors are not body colored but black plastic ones. The multi layered bumper however has wind recesses in it. The fog lamps are very minute ones and to be frank a very cute design element. A steep layer of slits on the car’s what can be called as bonnet, is present. It looks more like the air scoops found on the Scorpio. The grille has chrome on it while the Tata logo is a very small unit. The 185 R14 LT, 8PR Radial Tubeless tyres with wheel caps are strictly okay though one size above would have further enhanced the vehicle’s looks. The side profile with the large glass area is a bit disappointing but then for the very purpose that Tata Motors have introduced this car, the looks are fine. As far as the rear portion goes, the build quality seems pretty much crude with the protruding tail lamp pieces and also the uneven panel gaps. The twin sided doors look crude as well.
This car has been built upon the Renault Traffic van, which is actually in its third generation. This seven seater car has got individual captain chairs with an arm rest for each and every passenger. Opening the driver’s door reveals a very spacious cabin with a big steering wheel with only two spokes in it a la Omni style. The meter dials are flamboyant with chrome rings surrounding them. The steering wheel however is of the non adjustable kinds. The driver’s as also front passenger’s seat is comfortable with adequate padding for caressing the butts. For taller drivers however the gear lever would foul with their legs. The AC vents look like spider’s webs. The airconditioner is like the one from the earlier Marutis. There is a standard audio system given however which has 4 speakers for company. Sound quality is crisp. However given its nature, the lack of storage spaces around the cabin is something which cannot be ignored. There is also a rotary knob which manages to control the AC temperature for the second and third row passengers. The best part is the music system comes with USB and AUX input system. The gear lever is also a utilitarian unit. For the front passenger, there is also a vanity mirror provided. The middle row of seats or rather captain chairs are comfortable but over long drives, there are reservations about the under thigh support. For the rear seat passengers, there is ample of space and even for 6 footers, stretching their leg isn’t a problem. What Tata Motors can do with space utilization, all of us has seen with the miniscule Nano and for a vehicle as long as the Winger, this is more amplified. Behind the rear seats, there is ample of storage space too. However the seats for the middle and third row don’t actually slide and this may be a hindrance for some. The driver’s seat gets 3 way adjustment and also height adjustment. The airconditioner seemed to work fine however its long term performance is to be seen in an appropriate review section. However interior quality is still not upto the mark and some panels gap were huge and very inconsistent.
Like all the Tata cars, the Tata Winger Platinum in India has got a suspension which caters more to the comfort part of the dynamics section. Most of the road’s undulations, imperfections and jolts are handled aptly by this Winger. Infact for the short run, highway stability was also tremendous. The Winger turn with a confidence and the steering also inspires some amount of confidence. However it is sure that going fast around a corner isn’t the Winger’s cup of coffee since this large vehicle would have lots of body roll to contend with. Visibility all around is generally good but then the wing mirrors don’t do justice to the large dimensions of the car. For its size, Tata Motors should have also provided this car with rear parking sensors. NVH is on the lower however on the short drive, it was noticed that this car or rather its gear lever can transmit enough of vibes. Its short turning radius of 5.65 meters not withstanding, the car does feel huge to pilot in traffic and especially so when taking short hand turns.
The Tata Winger Platinum in India is available with a single BS4 engine option and this 2.0 liter diesel engine gets a turbocharger for company. Power output is 90 Bhp at 4300 rpm while the maximum torque of 190 Nm is available from as low or high as 2000 rpm. A 5 speed transmission is made available to handle the cog shifting duties. The gearbox is one notchy unit and much like the Fiat units used in the Fiat Palio. But the clutch is on the lighter side of the things and hence shifting duties are pretty much easy. However the power of 90 Bhp is very low for a vehicle which weighs nearly 1.5 tonnes. That reflects in the power to weight ratio of only 35 Bhp/tonne. Since it was test drive, the 0-100 kmph speed couldn’t be measured however expect it to be somewhere close to 18 seconds. There is another non BS4 variant which makes only 68 Bhp. Just wondering as to what its performance figures would be. However driveability is the forte of this engine and it does that in dollops. As far as braking goes, Tata have put in a Load Sensing Portion Valve which actually checks around with the load on each wheel and accordingly applies brakes to minimize the chances of the vehicle going out of control. The combination of discs and drums however isn’t upto the mark. The brake pedal feels too squishy. As far as safety goes, except for the 3 point seat belts for all the passengers and the side impact beams, rest all features are just superficial. No air bags are on offer. It can be duly noted that Tata usually skimp on safety features as their cars in India are concerned.
As far as fuel efficiency goes, Tata claims an overall fuel efficiency of 16 kmpl for this vehicle. Combined with the diesel prices being on the lower side, expect the Winger to have lower running costs.
Now whom does the Winger aim to satisfy in its quest for achieving sales? That’s a hard question to answer especially when Tata Motors themselves aren’t sure of the bearings of this car. An expected answer would be that this would be going against the Mahindra Voyager. However are there any takers for the Voyager? Frankly speaking, there aren’t too many. It can act as a vanity van for the TV actors or for the struggling ones. It has got oodles of space and lot more of customization options available as well. The warranty option runs as 1.50 lakh kms or 18 months, whichever is earlier. The Tata Winger Platinum price in India is Rs 7.4 lakhs. This is for the BS4 variant. Expect the BS3 variant to cost a bit less.