The Tavera is the taxi operator’s darling, thanks to its superior fuel efficiency and easy maintenance
The Tavera is one of the oldest MPVs around and it looks it. The recent refresh job notwithstanding, the Tavera’s design looks somewhat stark. The long rectangular headlights straddle a small grille on which the Chevy bow-tie sits. The windscreen is more steeply rakes as compared to the Scorpio and the roof gives it a sleeker look. The rear tailgate opens sideways and the spare tyre is located under the floor.
What you also notice are its relatively smaller dimensions, which compromise the vehicle’s interior space but thanks to the big windows the cabin feels airy. Unlike the C-section of the Qualis, the Tavera's body on ladder-frame chasis is made with a more robust tubular construction.The compact dimensions and good visibility make this car easy to place in traffic. The Tavera is sprung by basic torsion bars in the front and leaf springs at the rear.
Here again, the Tavera shows its age. The dashboard design and quality are not great. The air-con vents are hard to operate. The wiper/ headlight stalks feel like they will snap off if given a good tug. The Tavera loses out on the space and practicality fronts as well. It’s narrow and therefore interior space isn’t great. Storage space is minimal too. The door pockets are small and only in the front. The twin glovebox though is useful.
Middle row passengers get decent legroom but it’s not as generous as in the others, even with the optional captain’s chairs. The seat themselves are quite flat and unsupportive and the high floor compromises your posture. Tall drivers will face quite a task just getting into the driver seat. The side-facing rear seats are for punished kids, otherwise best left folded up. A good thing is the low sill, which makes loading easy.
Performance & Economy
The Tavera comes with a 2.5-litre, direct-injection turbo-diesel, which puts out a modest 80bhp. Performance therefore is just that – modest. It’s no surprise that it is the slowest of the lot. The engine makes up this deficiency with its responsive nature. The ‘soft’ turbo doesn’t give you the kick of its bigger competitors, but the torque spread is seamless and even. Decent in-gear acceleration coupled with almost no turbo lag gives the Tavera decent driveability in the city.
Out on the highway, especially if it’s fully loaded, the Tavera struggles with the lack of horses showing up starkly. The engine is not the most refined and you are constantly aware of the diesel clatter that filters into the cabin. The five-speed gearbox, operated by a long, spindly lever, is light to use but vibrates quite a bit. The light and responsive Tavera is fairly frugal, returning 10.6kpl in the city.
Ride & Handling
The Tavera is the taxi operator’s darling, thanks to its superior fuel efficiency and easy maintenance. However, when it the cosmetic upgrades over the years are not enough to hide what is a dated and utilitarian package.
What it costs
Ex-showroom (Delhi) Rs 7.33 - 11.21 lakh
Warranty 24 months /50,000 km
Installation Front, longitudinal
Compression ratio 18.5:1
Valve gear 2 valves per cyl, SOHC
Power 80bhp at 3900rpm
Torque 19kgm at 1800rpm
Power to weight 48.19bhp per tonne
Gearbox Five-speed manual
Ground clearance 184mm
Chassis & Body
Tyres 205/65 R15, tubeless
Front Independent, double wishbones with torsion bar spring with anti-roll bar
Rear Semi-elliptical leaf spring
Type Power-assisted recirculating ball and nut type
Type of power assist Hydraulic
Front Ventilated discs
City 10.6 kpl
Highway 13.7 kpl
Tank size 55 litres
Range at a glance - Engines
Diesel 2.5 litre