Tata Motors has started road-testing its future flagship SUV, known by its codename 'Tata Q501', on Indian roads. The top-of-the-line SUV will be positioned above the recently launched Hexa crossover and will directly rival the Hyundai Tucson.
As we had reported earlier, the Q501 will be the first Tata product to share components with Land Rover. Key underpinnings like the basic platform and some suspension components are common with the Discovery Sport, and many of the underlying structural elements will be shared too.
Take a look at the test mule and this becomes clear. At first glance, it could easily pass off as a Land Rover Discovery Sport, but look closer and the spy pictures reveal that this is the Q501. This is clear because many of the underpinnings are different. There’s a single exhaust pipe, which clearly is a misfit in the Discovery Sport's dual-exhaust enclosure, and the other dead giveaway is the Tata alloy wheels, also used on lower variants of the Safari Storme and the Hexa. This test mule could be doing development work, either with regards to the new engine or even more affordable suspension aggregates.
Tata’s new flagship SUV, however, won’t look like a Discovery Sport. The styling will be unique to the Tata and the interior is said to follow the carmaker's new 'Impact Design' styling language quite closely. Under the hood will be a version of Fiat’s new 2.0-litre Multijet diesel engine good for 172hp. This motor will make its India debut in the upcoming Jeep Compass SUV and will be locally assembled here, which will also help reduce costs.
When it hits showrooms in 2018, the Tata Q501 SUV will rival the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and the upcoming Mahindra's flagship SUV which will sit above the popular XUV500.
Tata Motors' future platform strategy revealed