Tata Motors has been working on two new cars, the Q501 and the Q502, based on a Land Rover platform. The Indian car maker has trademarked the moniker ‘Merlin’ recently and we think this might be the successor of the Safari Storme.
Incidentally, the Safari Storme was codenamed Merlin while being developed which makes it quite obvious that the moniker has been trademarked for the Safari successor. But just like Tata never used the Kite badge for the Tiago or the Tigor, the SUV might not be badged Merlin when it goes on sale.
Tata, along with Maruti Suzuki, has placed a combined order for over 2 lakh 2.0-litre diesel engines over the next few years which kind of ensures that the Merlin will be powered by the 170bhp mill that will debut with the Jeep Compass next month. It goes without saying that, like the Compass, the Tata Merlin will also get an all-wheel drive but that will be an independently developed system by Tata in conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover, akin to the one we have on the Tata Hexa as of now.
One of these is a five-seater premium SUV-rivalling the Hyundai Tucson and the Jeep Compass while the other one will be a seven-seater sharing space with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner or the Ford Endeavour. The two new SUVs are expected to come in 2018 and might be previewed at the 2018 Auto Expo held in Delhi in the month of February next year.