The Tata Sumo turns 20 years old this year, and while the current car will soldier on for a few more years still, the company has big plans for the next-gen version. The next Sumo that is expected in 2018, will use an all-new platform codenamed ‘Raptor’ that will also underpin a new range of budget SUVs and MUVs.
What’s most interesting about this new Raptor platform is that it will break with convention and will not be built on ladder-on-frame architecture, nor it will use a car-like pure monocoque setup. Instead, it will use a new technology known as the ‘Body Integrated Frame’ where, as the name suggests, the frame is integrated or welded into the chassis. This allows the company flexibility with the cars it builds on this platform – for example, choosing a stiff, heavy frame for vehicles that are likely to go off road, versus a lighter one for SUVs which are more car-like. So the new Sumo could have the correct level of stiffness, while still being much lighter and more efficient than its rivals.
A source in Tata Motors said “we feel that the conventional body-on-frame architecture is too heavy to meet future CO2 and fuel efficiency norms and that a move to lighter monocoque chassis’ will be inevitable” Tata Motors seems to have taken a leaf out of Land Rover which has ditched body-on-frame chassis altogether for all its SUVs in the future.
With the next Sumo, core traits like big passenger and luggage space, and the value-for-money proposition are expected to remain, but with improved performance and fuel economy thanks to the lower weight. And thanks to the new Raptor platform, we could even see a sub-family of new, affordable MUVs and SUVs from Tata Motors in the same ilk.