In a way Tata, the cynics were right. In 1991, Telco had launched the Tata Sierra and the Estate the next year. Its first shot at the passenger car segment was fraught with problems as both products reeked of Telco’s truck ethos. The crude and flawed ‘bridge products’, the transitional products between trucks and cars, severally dented the company’s reputation. Yet, a little more than 15 years later, Tata Motors is defining the shape of cars to come.
The Sierra was the first passenger car, ”if it can be called that” from Telco, better known for commercial vehicles. The Sierra was a good concept and well suited to Indian conditions of driving. This was the first diesel vehicle to be accepted as a personal car without derogatory connotations associated with diesel cars. The design, though not classy, is decent and the body and chassis very sturdy. The car is known for being durable and in spite of having a diesel engine, the noise factor is managed well. Its noise is remarkably suppressed and while cruising in high gear it is difficult to tell what’s under the bonnet.
The short wheel-base chassis gives the Sierra a dynamic and squat look. Its top-heavy appearance is accentuated by the near-vertical windscreen, which gives it the aerodynamics of a bus. The fixed side glasses, which curve upwards, look great and characterise the Sierra.
The main change to the Sierra Turbo 4×4 is the front suspension, which has been changed from the original coil spring set-up to a torsion bar layout to accommodate the front-drive shafts. The rear uses the regular Sierra’s five-link set-up (see a picture below).
The Merc-like steering wheel can be adjusted for height. The instruments are well laid-out and easy to read. The Sierra 4×4 uses the identical 1948cc, 90bhp turbo-diesel engine as the Safari. Even the transmission and four-wheel-drive system is the same. The Sierra 4×4 is distinctly quicker. The dash to 100 kmph takes only 22.75 seconds while it can go up to a top speed of 144 kmph.
Positioned as a vehicle for both of-road as well as city driving, the Sierra is powered by a 2.0-litre, 4 cylinders, in line 483 DL Turbo (Diesel) engine, which generates a maximum power of 90 PS @ 4300 rpm, and a maximum torque of 19 kgm @ 2500 rpm.
The suspensions are double wishbone type with coil springs, anti-roll bar and hydraulic double-acting telescopic shock absorbers in the front and – coil spring type, 5-link suspension with anti-roll bar and gas filled telescopic shock absorbers in the rear. The brakes are vacuum assisted, hydraulic, dual circuit with tandem master cylinder – disc (in the front) and drum (in the rear) with ‘G’ conscious pressure reducing valve.
Mohammed Asrar is a auto enthusiast, blogger, author, and business person. In addition to being the founder of this website, Asrar is also a MBA graduate, holds a degree from Bangalore University. His personal interests beyond the automotive world lie in the travelling and photography.