We had previously reported that an all-new premium SUV, codenamed the Q501/02 would be introduced in the Indian market and would sit above the Hexa. This vehicle is expected to take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour. Here it is!
Now we believe that these are the first images of that particular vehicle, being tested using the exterior skin of the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Give away factors?
The vehicle is running test plates similar to what is found on other Tata test vehicles. It is also running steel rims instead of alloy wheels. Not just any steel rims, ones found on the Hexa’s base XE trim. In addition to this, there is a single exhaust pipe which is hanging as opposed to the dual pipes that come on the Discovery Sport.
People with a keen eye will notice that the SUV also has a spare wheel which is clearly visible below the bumper, which is not the case on the Discovery Sport. The SUV sports no badging or any chrome elements anywhere. This does make us believe that it is an early prototype of the Q501 SUV.
What is it?
The Q501 will be a premium SUV from the brand that will sit above the Hexa. It will share its underpinnings with the Discovery Sport and will borrow a lot of technical expertise from JLR. It will come in both 5 and 7 seat options. Tata did export a few units of this vehicle to the US for testing sometime last year. While the mule looks like the Discovery Sport, the new vehicle will not borrow styling cues from the Land Rover brand and will not look like the Discovery Sport.
We expect Tata to use Fiat’s 2.0 liter Multijet unit for this SUV. The same can be had in 2wd, 4wd options as well as with an automatic and manual gearbox. Power output is expected to be around the 170 Bhp mark.
When is it expected?
The SUV is expected to reach our shores in 2018, post the launch of the Nexon. Tata’s MD, Mr Gunter Butschek, in an interview to ET Auto said that there are a lot more UVs coming from their side and a lot more can be expected. The Hexa marked the return of the brand into the UV segment.
He goes on to say that customers are now requiring more utility lifestyle products and that is the segment they want to cater to in the future as well. While the vehicle is still in its early stages of testing, we expect it to be showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo in Delhi post which we expect the launch to take place.
Why’s all this happening?
Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that Tata Motors has bought over Jaguar-Land Rover. Since the take over, we knew that information and technology from the JLR brand will also make it into mainstream Tata products. Take the Hexa’s driving mode options for example and the fact that a lot of the suspension tuning work was done in sync with Land Rover engineers.