Tata Motors literally created the small commercial vehicle space with the Tata Ace in 2005 and since then the Ace, also known as 'Chhota haathi' has recorded over two million sales by 2018. Through these years Tata Motors gave the Ace updates to stay competitive but the market dynamics have changed quite a lot in the last few years. As a result, there are customers demanding for something more powerful and bigger than the Ace but don't want to buy a mid-size truck. This is where the new Tata Intra comes in and as its name suggests, it tries to provide the best possible benefits to customers looking at intracity applications.
The Intra is also an attempt by Tata Motors to bring an air of freshness in this segment by offering a combination of a pleasing design, well-thought comfort features and capabilities that offer a competitive TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) for operators or drivers.
The Tata Intra is powered by a 1.4-litre Direct Injection (DI) diesel engine. This 1,396 cc oil-burner can produce 69 bhp of power along with 140 Nm of peak torque. This is a big bump in power if we compare the Intra with Tata's very own Ace, which gets an 800cc engine in its Mega XL trim that is good for 40 bhp of power. Not only this but in comparison to the Ace which has a carrying capacity of 1000 kg, the Intra can bear a load of 1,100 kg. The superior power figures, as well as greater carrying capacity, makes the Tata Intra a better alternative than the Ace. Furthermore, with a payload bay which measures 4316 mm in length, 1639 mm in width and 1919 mm in height, the Intra can carry more goods per trip in comparison to a Tata Ace and hence increase profitability. The additional load-bearing capacity in the Tata Intra is facilitated with the help of semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension. This set-up comes with 6 leaves at the front and 7 leaves at the back.
When we talk about features, the Tata Intra comes across as a very potent offering. The front of this truck looks very smart and elegant thanks to the substantial use of chrome elements. The dual-tone, black and silver wheel covers, add a touch of flair to exteriors of this truck. On the inside, the Tata Intra looks quite modern thanks to the contrasting colour elements. Features such as a fully digital instrument cluster which offers read-outs such as speedometer, odometer, fuel-gauge as well as a gear-shift indicator and circular air-con vents make the cabin look swanky.
The dashboard layout is neat and with the gear-leaver mounted on it, frees up space on the floor which increases usability. The central console comes with a standard music system which offers AUX-In and USB connectivity, hence ensuring that the driver remains 'well-entertained' while hauling goods. The driver and the passenger seat are flat and since there is no central tunnel as the gear lever is mounted on the dashboard, the seat can be transformed into a seamless bench which can be used as a bed by the driver in between commutes. Other features onboard the Tata Intra include a lockable glovebox and charging socket. Overall, we found the cabin to be impressive and the seats and controls to be good for offering appreciable amounts of comfort to drivers on a daily basis.
In a nutshell, Tata Motors has done a good job with the Intra and the product is a reflection of how the small commercial vehicle is evolving in India. Tata Motors presently rules this segment and the Intra clearly shows that the company is no mood of giving up the steering wheel position to its competitors and only plans to extend its lead further. At a starting price of Rs 5.35 lakh, it's not hard to believe that Tata Motors will further strengthen its position in this space.