Indian car manufacturer Tata Motors launched the Tata Sumo in India way back in 1995. This was the time when there were not many cars, let alone the MUVs in India. Needless, to say, the Sumo was the need of the hour what with everyone from the ministers to the farmers taking a liking for it. Its been about 15-16 years since the Sumo has been in India and though now its demand has slowed down, it still remains a value for money proposition amongst the MUV lovers. Especially so the call center cab people. The newest iteration of the Sumo is now called the Sumo Grande. Now, that’s some name for a reworked version. Though many Tata Sumo vehicles cannot be found in the used car sector, we have put up a number of buying tips for a used Tata Sumo. A second hand Tata Sumo is the one to go for if one is looking at a low cost MUV and that too with a good service backup.
When the Sumo was launched, at that point of time, it had the Armada to contend with. For buying tips on a used Armada, click here. Most of the Tata Sumos were pressed into cab duties following the advent of the BPO industry in India. Being driven rashly means that most of the Sumos would have met with accidents or scrapes. Earlier Sumos were also prone to rust, big time and especially so if you are looking at a vehicle which hasn’t been maintained well enough. The tail lamp glass tends to be blackened out after some years of use and replacing it wouldn’t be a costly affair either. The head lamps also have the same problem and an overall cost of 1000 bucks is what it would take to fit on new head lamp glasses. The door handles are also flimsy for this MUV and it would require replacement. Do check the second hand Tata Sumo properly before investing your money on it.
In the interiors, the Sumo was sparsely equipped when it was launched. Over the years, this car got its fair share of updates and with more of modern competition joining in; this one also started receiving its updates. If you are looking at a Sumo from the 2000 batch or even lower, it should have all the items, the aftermarket ones rather than original ones. The seat hinges must be carefully checked for any kind of play since Sumo vehicles were notoriously famous for having this problem. The earlier Sumos made do with a manual kind of power steering. Some amount of play in the steering wheel is something which many would actually want to check properly. This can be detected when one sees the vehicle being wandering off its intended path. Fluid levels and oil leaks is something which should be checked for the power steering units, at each and every service.
A second hand Tata Sumo would normally have A-arms for the front suspension along with an I-arm for the rear one. The later iterations of the Sumo got an anti-roll bar fixed into them for improving the vehicle’s dynamics. More pressure by the heavy diesel engine in the front lead to the uneven wear of the front tyres. Tata Motors immediately replaced some of the ball joints which lead to this problem getting solved. Leaf springs which are a part of the rear suspension are the ones which are prone to wear in this vehicle. The wheel bearings should be replaced at every 50k kms wherein the front set would cost only Rs 400 while the rear ones would cost Rs 250. The labor cost would be approximately Rs 250. A steering overhaul is recommended at every 30k kms and it would only cost Rs 500. However, the components are costlier and it would be an approx amount of Rs 3k including the labor. This would include the likes of drag link, tie rods and also an idler arm bush kit.
A used Tata Sumo should come with discs in the front and drums at the rear. Though there is no ABS and EBD provided for, Tata Motors had put in something called as a G-conscious valve which actually regulates the pressure to the wheels. The brakes should last upto 40k kms. An overhaul is something which wouldn’t cost much. Infact, a total cost of Rs 3000 is what one would look at including the labor as also brake oil and liners. A wheel alignment is suggested at every 8k kms.
The Sumo used a very basic diesel engine derived from the earlier Tatamobile and the Sierra. There are however some key differences wherein there are two belts driving the engine of the Sumo. Many earlier Sumos were reported as having an excessive oil consumption problem. Tata Motors put in a new piston ring which eventually solved this problem. If the used Tata Sumo one is eyeing to buy has got this problem, then replacing the piston rings would solve this issue. At every service, the air filter as also the diesel filter need to be examined and cleaned or replaced as per the requirement. A Sumo’s clutch is a diaphragm unit and if used judiciously, then it would last approx 70k kms, before needing a replacement. The slave as also the master cylinder’s rubber parts may need replacement from time to time or else the oil may leak. The gearbox is a 5 speed unit which though a bit rubbery in its approach, does the job fine for a MUV. The gear bushings need to be checked and if possible replace. This is only if the gear feels a bit hard to engage.
In a nutshell, the Sumo is a reliable MUV what with the scores of Sumos running amock on the streets. Its apple cart was upset when the Toyota Qualis came in. Second hand Tata Sumo cars still command a premium primarily due to their being diesel engines. The used Tata Sumo price for a 2000 model would be Rs 1.7 lakhs while for a relatively modern 2004 model, it would be Rs 3.2 lakhs or so about. A low cost of ownership is what would attract many to the Tata Sumo.