Ashok Leyland's upcoming LCV (Project Phoenix) spotted testing

When it was introduced in 2011, Ashok Leyland's Dost was a pioneer in the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) space in India. With a car-like cabin, power steering and optional air-conditioning, the Dost was a whiff of fresh air in a segment that wasn't known to offer it's drivers much apart from basic load-carrying ability.

Understandably, the Dost was - and continues to be - a reasonable success. But with just a single model offering payloads between 1.25 - 1.5 tonnes, Ashok Leyland couldn't make serious inroads against Tata and Mahindra that offer several models with multiple payloads and configurations. That's set to change with the Chennai-based manufacturer preparing to launch a slew of LCVs, internally codenamed 'Project Phoenix'.

One of those appears to be a pick-up truck that's bigger than the Dost but would still be an option for those seeking 'last mile connectivity' solutions. Caught testing in the busy GST Road on the outskirts of Chennai, the test vehicle was easily recognizable as an Ashok Leyland, thanks to the protruding snout up front. This time, it doesn't protrude as much as the Dost and looks far sleeker. The window-line is steeply raked as well and looks all the more better for it.

In terms of size, this truck is visibly bigger than the Dost, indicating a higher payload. Our sources indicate Ashok Leyland's upcoming truck would compete in the 3.0 - 4.0 tonne category, plugging a big hole in the brand's LCV line-up. While not much is known about this new truck, expect the Phoenix - or whatever this is called - to feature sleek styling and a decently-loaded cabin, just like the Dost.

The Dost is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged diesel engine that generates 60 horsepower and 170 Nm of torque. Whether the same engine would be carried over to the new offering remains to be seen. There could be a bigger engine or more horses hidden beneath that camouflage. So, watch this space!


  1. Replies
    1. Ashok-Leyland launched this truck this week. It's called 'Bada Dost', check it out.