The Tata Ace Mega has been launched for a few months now and lets have a look at what’s special about that vehicle vis a vis its competition, the Super Ace and the Ashok Leyland Dost.
To start with, the Mega is the most powerful twin cylinder Ace variant to date and its DNA packs in the legendary reliability of the Ace family. The 800 cc twin pot develops 40 PS of power and 90NM of torque. The vehicle also has a top speed of 80 KMPH making it an able highway cruiser as well.
The Super Ace is a 4 cylinder variant powered by the turbocharged 1.4 liter engine pumping out 71 horses and 140 NM of torque. The Super Ace had been around for over 5 years and had seen duty across India. The vehicle had been popular for transporting perishable commodities like fish primarily due to its higher road speed of 125 kmph. The most recent addition to the lineup is the Super Ace MINT which has a Common rail engine and is marginally more powerful with a torque rating of 140 NM. The vehicle also has a flatter torque curve aiding smooth movement in lower rpms.
Coming to the Ashok Leyland Dost, this is the smallest vehicle from the stables of Ashok Leyland and is based on an earlier generation Nissan LCV fitted with a 1.5 liter 3 cylinder engine. The engine pumps out 55 PS of power and 158 NM of torque. The vehicle has a top speed of 90 kmph which is good enough for Indian highways.
In terms of loading capacity, the Mega is rated at a shade over a Ton and matches the Super Ace and marginally betters it in terms of rated payload. The Dost on the other hand has the highest rated payload of about 1.25 T. Of the three vehicles, the Super Ace requires additional leaves to aid over loading beyond 1.5 Tons and many operators are seen retrofitting the Super Aces with additional leaf springs. The Mega and the Dost are known to carry two times their rated loads without any modifications.
The load body dimensions of all these vehicles also merits a mention. Dost has a load body which is 2500 X 1620 X 380 mm. The Super Ace MINT has dimensions of 2630 X 1460 X 300 mm and the Mega stands at 2140 X 1430 X 300mm.
In terms of fuel efficiency, there isn’t much to differentiate between the Dost and the Super Ace at about 17.6 kmpl and 17.9 kmpl respectively. The Mega is the clear winner here with a fuel efficiency of about 21.5 kmpl.
What differentiates Dost from the other two contenders is the presence of a short stubby ‘snout’ on the front portion which creates a sense of safety for the driver. Even though the nose is present, the front wheels sit behind the driver and does not effectively offer great safety to the occupants and also results in slightly ungainly proportions. The reason is that the Nissan Vanette of the 80s on which the Dost is based is a cab forward design and not an SFC (Semi forward cabin). The nose had been an afterthought for the Indian market after surveys revealed that there is a preference for the same.
The payload and the dimensions pits the Dost smack against the Mahindra Bolero Maxitruck on one side and Super Ace and Mega on the other.
Going back to what you should buy, keep three things in mind.
1. The price
2. Loading and application
3. The city or town you live in
Of the three, the most expensive is the Dost at 5.33 lacs followed by the Super Ace MINT at 5.3 lacs. The Mega is the cheapest of the lot at 4.5 lacs. If buying price is a serious consideration, the Mega merits a second look as it is offers a rigid front axle, 80 kmph top speed and better fuel efficiency with the only drawback being the smaller load body. The Mega is a cheaper and better option than the big two if the application is not arduous.
Coming to the loading pattern, if you have denser and less voluminous loads and commute less than 50 kms one way, the Mega will be the best to buy as the smaller engine can offer a better fuel efficiency in real life conditions.
If you regularly do overloads and is into construction applications, the Dost will be a better choice as it has an engine with the most cubic capacity and torque which will let you traverse any terrain with ease. Also the Dost comes fitted with a transverse leaf front suspension which is relatively maintenance free in terms of wheel alignment issues and tyre wear.
The Super Ace has the most well-appointed cabin of the three and also has an option of cabin air conditioning. The vehicle also offers the best gradeability among the three at 38%. The loadbody is the longest at 2630 mm and most importantly the vehicle comes with a 4 cylinder engine and independent front suspension which makes it the smoothest of the lot to drive. The car like drive qualities and features makes for a fatigue free drive. The only drawback is the exposed front portion with lesser perceived safety for a vehicle with a top speed of 125 kmph. The Super Ace MINT in our opinion is the undisputed highway champion for loads upto 1.5 Tons and faster movement of perishable goods like meat and fish. It is also the best option for reefer applications.
Third and most important is the City you live in. All the three vehicles mentioned are fitted with common rail BSIV engines and are not friendly to the roadside mechanic in case of a breakdown. TML is known to have service stations all across India. The Dost has a serious limitation here with not many Ashok Leyland dealerships seen across the country. This is where the Mega and Super Ace excels over the Ashok Leyland offering.
If you are still confused, pls write to us with your specific applications and concerns. Till then Good day !