This is now a unique model in the local light commercial vehicle market following the withdrawal of the Daihatsu brand and its similar Gran Max forward control pick-up from SA last year. The Super Ace EX2 has no fewer than 60 specification changes compared to its predecessor.
“Many of these changes are under the skin, but they all contribute to an ever better product with markedly higher quality levels,” said Kyri Michael, the new CEO of Accordian Investments, the company in the the Associated Motor Holdings division of the Imperial Group responsible for Tata cars and light commercials. “Many of these changes and quality improvements have resulted from feedback from our customers and dealers in SA, indicating the importance with which Tata Motors rates its market needs.
“Importantly, we have managed to keep the pricing very competitive despite the unfavourable exchange rate. There are two trim and equipment levels, with the base DLS model priced at R139 995 (including VAT) and the higher specified premium DLE derivative costing another R10 000,” added Michael.
The Super Ace has the longest load bed among one-ton pick-ups in SA at 2.63m and the drop side body has a deck height of only 60cm, which makes for ease of loading and unloading. The load body is 1.5m wide, giving a total load area of 3.8m2. It is also unimpeded by wheel wells, as is the case with conventional pick-ups. It has a turning circle of only 10.2m, which provides easy manoeuvrability in congested traffic conditions.
These features make the Tata Super Ace ideal for a host of urban applications from couriers to nurseries, gardening services, plumbers, building suppliers, handymen and furniture stores. There are already a number of different canopies and a rack for carrying ladders and the like available from Tata dealers to suit various usage applications.
Among the technical changes in the Super Ace EX2 are: a four-layer insulation package to reduce the transmission of heat to the occupants in the cab, a change in the position of the engine oil dipstick, which has resulted in an alteration to the seat design, an updated cooling system with a larger radiator, chrome-plated pads on the gearbox forks to make gear shifting even smoother, while a water separator has been added to the fuel system and the seatbelt length has been increased by 300mm to suit the wider girths of some South Africans.
There are also a number of cosmetic changes, of which the most noticeable is change in the colour of the interior from grey to black. Others include the incorporation of cup holders and an oddments tray on top of the engine cover, washable floor covering, a “Turbo” mascot on the left hand door, a one-ton sticker on the tailgate, wheel covers on the LE model, a chrome lip on the front grille of the DLE variant and EX2 badging.
Both models are well equipped, with standard power steering, remote central locking and engine immobiliser, heater/demister, fabric seat covering, adjustable bucket seats for the driver and passenger, digital clock, lockable glovebox, 12V DC power outlet, height-adjustable headlights, lockable fuel flap, rear protection bat, battery guard, collapsible steering column, load sensitive brake equaliser and side impact beams.
The more expensive DLE model adds airconditioning, wheel covers, power windows, fog lamps, remote adjustment for the exterior rear-view mirrors, grab handles and colour-coded bumpers. The engine and transmission are all designed in-house by Tata Motors. The four-cylinder turbo intercooled diesel power unit of 1.4 litres develops 52kW of power at 4 500rpm and peak torque is 135Nm at 2 500rpm. The engine drives the rear axle through a five-speed manual transmission.
Claimed fuel economy is 7.2 litres/100km on the combined cycle. Maximum gradeability is 39% and the claimed top speed is 125km/h. The independent front suspension and leaf sprung rear axle provide a comfortable ride. Braking is by a disc/drum combination, with a valve to balance hydraulic pressure according to the load.
Tata cars and light commercials in SA are sold and serviced by 42 outlets in SA, with 16 of them in Gauteng, six in the Western Cape and seven in KwaZulu-Natal. The Super Ace is covered by a three-year/100 000km warranty, with a three-year/60 000km service plan and three-year roadside assistance ensuring peace of mind for the owner.
“Now that we have the only compact one-ton forward control pick-up in the local market and with the raft of improvements we believe we can grow our market share substantially,” says Michael.