The Tata Xenon – real value for money
The Tata Xenon is already well-established as an affordable, dual-purpose hard-working lifestyle vehicle in the SA and Namibian market. The Xenon has surprised many local customers with its blend of contemporary handsomeness, rugged construction and torquey diesel engine at affordable pricing levels.
Now this Indian-born manufacturing powerhouse, which has over many decades become a leading global brand, is surpassing the expectations established by the original Xenon with this latest offering, the Xenon 2.2L DLE. Fitted with a new-generation of turbo-diesel powerplant, this smaller engine delivers tangible improvements in every facet of its performance, developing more power and torque than the 3.0-litre motor Xenon owners are familiar with as well as improved fuel economy in all usage conditions.
More rugged and muscular than ever before, the updated Xenon offers new comfort and convenience features as well as a more refined and useable cabin architecture. It is a vehicle which is evolving to become even more relevant in the dual-purpose vehicle segment than ever before, bringing supreme versatility to the SA market at a peerless value point.
The new 2.2L Direct Injection Common Rail (DICOR) turbocharged and intercooled diesel four-cylinder delivers both the power and refinement expected of new-generation diesel powerplants, developing 103kW at 4000 rpm and a muscular 320 Nm of pure pulling-power spread liberally between 1700 – 2700 rpm engine speeds. The substantial torque on tap makes even the hardest-working Xenon loaded up to its impressive 1200 kg payload maximum easily capable of hauling its cargo wherever you may need it to go.
As well as the additional power, the new engine technology brings with it improved fuel consumption, and the Xenon now combines an appealing list-price with convincing longer-term running costs thanks to a dramatically reduced fuel bill. It is also a more refined unit, so when it’s time to relax and cruise with your family as the passengers, the Xenon will impress everyone.
I was invited by AMH on a fishing trip to Mile 108 and had the opportunity to drive the Xenon 2.2 4 x 4 D/C through all kinds of terrain, tar, dirt road, rocky area and thick sea sand. I drove the Xenon along the Gamsberg road to Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, and all the way to mile 108. The Xenon is much more powerful and economic and could definitely be used for any purpose the average bakkie owner would want it for. I was pleasantly surprised with the Xenon`s low down torque, this made driving, especially in deeper sand, comfortable and easy, and with the 210 mm ground clearance, one can drive almost anywhere. The 2.2 diesel engine had more than enough power to take on any obstacle, and the ride was pleasant.
Mated to a 5-speed all-synchromesh manual transmission this powerplant can drive 4X2 and 4X4 variants, depending on your needs, all-wheel-drive models featuring electronic, on-the-fly switching as well as a low-range transfer case and self-locking hubs at the front, with a Limited Slip Differential to further improve traction on the rear wheels in all conditions. Well-spaced ratios make for an ideal combination of excellent low-down shove, with an overdrive top to deliver ultimate fuel-economy for highway cruising.
In order to deliver both a comfortable, composed drive and superior carrying capacity, the Xenon features independent double-wishbone front suspension with a torsion bar, matched to a sturdy parabolic leaf-spring arrangement at the rear. This set-up provides owners with excellent feel and control from behind the wheel without any compromises when the going gets tough, or if the load is particularly weighty.
Braking is taken care of by a vacuum-assisted hydraulic set-up which operates independently on the front and rear braking systems. Large, 281mm ventilated discs at the front are clamped strongly by two-piston callipers, the rear kept in check by 282mm drums featuring automatic adjustment for optimal braking performance through a load-conscious pressure-reducing valve, ensuring that the vehicle is brought to a halt as efficiently as possible regardless of the weight it might be carrying. A 65-litre fuel tank, combined with the excellent economy of the new 2.2L DICOR engine, provides excellent range between visits to the fuel pump.
In addition to the upgraded engine technology, the new Xenon also features exterior styling enhancements which meld expertly into an overall shape which is beefier, sturdier, and more appealing all together. Significantly blistered wheel arches gift the Xenon with a more purposeful stance than ever before, while the cabin outline continues to be elegant and refined. This artful combination of style and strength make the Xenon more desirable than ever as a dual-purpose vehicle.