According to Autocar India’s sources, Tata Motors is working on a 1.5-litre petrol engine for its Safari and Harrier SUV. The new engine will also be doing duty on the upcoming mid-size SUV that will rival the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq, Volkswagen Taigun and MG Astor.
The 1.5-litre engine is essentially the same 1.2-litre engine that we have seen on the Nexon but with an extra cylinder. The new engine will also be turbocharged but it will have four cylinders instead of three.
The power output from the engine is expected to be around 160 bhp. The torque output is still not revealed but we expect it to be around 250 Nm. Tata Motors might also use direct injection for the new engine. However, this is not confirmed as of now.
The gearbox options are also not known currently. But we are expecting that there will be a 6-speed manual gearbox on offer. There could also be an automatic gearbox on offer. It could be a torque converter or a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The automatic gearbox could either be a 6-speed unit or a 7-speed unit.
The new engine will go in the Safari and the Harrier. We have already spotted camouflaged versions of both the SUVs which led us to believe that they were equipped with the new turbocharged petrol engine because both the vehicles are already on sale.
New SUV under development
Tata Motors is also working on a new mid-size SUV that would measure 4.3-metres in length and would compete against other mid-size SUVs. Internally, it is being called Blackbird and it is still a few years away. The news about Tata Blackbird broke in 2019 but because of the coronavirus, the SUV must have gotten delayed.
The 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine will also be used for the upcoming SUV. It will be based on ALFA platform which is already being used for the Punch micro SUV and Altroz premium hatchback.
The length of the upcoming SUV is being said to be 4.3-metres and it is the max length that the ALFA platform can go. Interestingly, Sierra EV Concept that we saw at the Auto Expo 2020 was also based on ALFA platform and measured 4.3-metres. So, Tata Motors might take some design inspiration from the concept.
Earlier, Tata Motors tried to build the mid-size SUV on Harrier and Safari’s OMEGARC platform but that was increasing the cost too much, considering the platform is derived from Land Rover’s D8 platform. It was codenamed H4 but then the name was changed to Blackbird when the platform was changed to ALFA.
Gap in line-up
As of now, there is quite a big gap between Tata Motor’s lineup. They have a sub-4-metre compact SUV, Nexon and then they have the Harrier that measures almost 4.6 metres. In terms of pricing as well, the starting price of Nexon is Rs. 7.29 lakhs whereas Harrier starts at Rs. 14.39 lakhs and is a much larger and powerful SUV.
The Blackbird, which would get a different name when it launches would slot right in between the Nexon and the Harrier. Eventually, there could be an electric version of the Blackbird also.