The Tata Sierra EV concept at the expo is a feasibility study
The SUV craze may be relatively new, but Tata has strong roots in the utility vehicle segment. At one point, the brand had three important Ss in its SUV lineup: Safari, Sumo and Sierra. All three have since been discontinued, most recently, the Safari. Of the three, the Sierra was the most aspirational Tata model of that era and the first SUV that was made-in-India and came with premium features. It makes sense that Tata chose to build and showcase the Sierra concept to commemorate the brand’s 75th anniversary at Auto Expo 2020.
While the Sierra EV concept at the expo is getting plenty of attention from new fans and fans of the original, Tata is simultaneously evaluating if it is simply a sentimental favourite or if it has commercial viability.
Talking on the sidelines of Auto Expo 2020, Vivek Srivastava, Head - Marketing, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, said, “In terms of feasibility, yes, we can actually make the Sierra and it sits very well within our lineup.”
The Sierra concept is built on the same ALFA ARC platform that underpins the Altroz and HBX, the former has been launched and the latter is heading towards production. The Sierra concept is the biggest car on this platform yet, at 4.1m as opposed to the sub-4m Altroz and HBX. The Nexon is also a sub-4m offering in Tata’s lineup. The production-spec Sierra would then sit in between the Nexon and the bigger Harrier in the Tata SUV lineup. It is safe to assume that the production-spec model could be around 4.2m in length, taking full potential of the ALFA ARC platform, which can spawn cars up to 4.3m in length.
This platform is also compatible with multiple powertrain options - internal combustion engines as well as full-electric powertrains like the concept. As a result, Tata confirms that if the Sierra goes into production it will be offered in both ICE and EV forms. EVs based on the ALFA ARC can deliver over 300km range.
In terms of design, the Sierra EV featured many of the original SUV’s iconic design elements but updated for the modern era. It has wrap-around glass for the large and curved window panes around the rear, which is a reference to the design of the original Sierra. When asked if a new production-spec Sierra would still get alpine windows, Srivastava simply replied, “If it was possible in the Sierra (original one), it should also be possible now.”
The concept also gets LED headlamps mounted in the front bumper with slim LED DRLs along the bonnet line -- traits of Tata’s Impact Design 2.0 for SUVs. It has blacked-out A-pillars and a prominent black cladding on all sides. The rear has a wrap-around LED light strip running across the tailgate with tail lamps housed in the muscular rear wheel arches. Its rear door slides open for access to its futuristic cabin with front seats that can swivel around. The interior won’t make it to production of course, but its minimalistic nature would certainly be the guiding motto for the production model.
A new Sierra, if put into production with a design similar to the concept, would be a refreshing change in the compact SUV segment with prices beginning from Rs 10 lakh. It would be great to see something with such character and rich history on the road once again, for a fresh chapter in the Indian automotive story.