Tata Nano Review
Spacious and ComfortableThursday, June 20, 2013
Overview of Tata Nano
Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car was launched here in India in 2009. This car was a dream project for Ratan Tata (chairman of Tata Group). Speculations were made that Nano will change the scenario of Indian car market. It was expected that it will expand nation’s car market by 65% and will have a huge effect on used car market. It was first showcased at Delhi Auto Expo 2008. We remember that it received a huge attention from media and people. Soon after its launch, it was clear that it has not been able to grab the market as much as it was expected. It got mixed response from people. Moreover few car fire incidents were reported which involved Nano. Recently Ratan Tata himself admitted that Nano failed at its first attempt. It has a direct competition with India’s largest selling car Maruti Suzuki Alto. Sales record show that the market share of Nano in comparison to Alto is negligible. In fact people prefer buying used Alto or Wagon R over new Nano.
Now Tata is trying to improve Nano’s image as they are ready with their all new Tata Nano. They have made few changes to make sure that it becomes the favourite car of Indians. Tata is relying too much on Nano 2013 and if it doesn’t succeed this time we are afraid if it will be given another chance. Nano is 8 percent smaller in exterior size and has 23 percent larger interior space in comparison to Maruti 800.
UPDATE (19th June, 2013) – Tata Motors has launched the 2013 Nano in Indian market. It comes with minor styling updates like chrome strip upfront and below the hatch and new shades - Royal Gold, Dazzle Blue and Cornflower Blue. On the inside, it comes equipped with twin glove-box integrated into the dashboard, new USB compatible music system, key-less entry system, new design for seat upholstery, improved plastic quality and rear parcel with integrated speakers. On technical front, it now features easy steer technology which as per company makes Nano very easy to steer in comparison to other cars without power steering. Tata also unveiled the CNG variant of 2013 Nano and it will be sold as ‘Nano eMax’.
Tata Nano Exterior
The New Nano is not that new in terms of looks. It resembles very much to it earlier version. Its awkward designing has been a major contributor to its failure. Tata could not manage to keep it alive in terms of styling. If you look at Maruti Alto and 800 (which is also available in many states), they have looks like proper cars. Yes, Nano has been tried to give funkier shape but it loses out somewhere. Its design was not completely new for Indians as one can easily notice how much it’s inspired from the styling of Maruti Zen Estilo. In fact its face looks like the another version of Estilo. We know you can’t ask for much style at this price but people did expect something better than what has been offered. It has a big front windshield with a single wiper which indicates at the cost cutting. Nano is available with tinted glasses. It’s A-pillar is extended till its front bumper which looks very sloppy.
It has a tiny bonnet with big clear lens headlamps on both sides and a Tata logo in its center. It lacks front grille between its bumper and bonnet. Its front bumper is the most attractive thing in its front. It has edgy lines which make it look aerodynamic with nicely designed air dam. The top model of Nano features body colored bumpers and front and rear fog lights which are as per its size. Side profile has been given slight treatment as now new Nano has full wheel covers along with body colored door handles and tip-tap side mirrors on both sides which is a welcome feature in this car. It has noticeable wheel arches which along with R12 size of tyres go well with its styling. Nano looks extremely tall when seen from its back. It’s C-pillar and its clear lens tail lights are very similar to its elder sibling Indica. It features a rear spoiler which blends well with rear glass. Its rear bumper sports its unique exhaust pipe in its center. All over appearance of a Nano is just acceptable.
Tata Nano Interior
Tata has made big changes in Nano’s interior. It look very much refreshing than before. Top model of Nano is available with all new beige and black interiors. The usages of new colors make it look up-market. Seats are also of beige color with premium beige fabric. Front seats are now offered with adjustable headrests and rear seats have in-built headrest. Its oval shaped instrument cluster is fitted in center with dual trip meter and digital fuel gauge. Beige and vinyl black colors are used on its door trims while inside door handles and window rollers are of black color. The top model of Nano comes with 3 spoke standard steering wheel and it has a long gear knob which has beige finish on its tip. Nano looks very rich in comparison to its competitors in terms of interior styling. The fit and finish is better than Maruti 800 and its plastic quality also feels superior when you touch it.
Comfort and Convenience
Tata is known for its spacious cars, Nano is no different. It is incredibly spacious and it is the roomiest car in its segment of entry level cars. New seats are extremely comfortable and have enough thigh and back support. There is ample amount of head room and knee room for front and rear passengers. Expect five people to fit in Nano comfortably with enough legroom and headroom. Driver seat is manually adjustable and it’s perfect for tall people. Front seats are available with sliding option and there is sun visor for both front passengers. Rear seating is specially designed to offer optimum comfort. Its rivals feel very tiny in terms of interior space and comfort. Nano now carries a new steering which feels very light. We are not sure if people will be comfortable with its centrally fitted instrument cluster as it takes time to get used to it. The top model of Nano is endowed with power windows and AC with heater which is very powerful and effective in comparison to its competitors. The top model also features central locking which has never been offered in Maruti 800.
Dashboard and Storage
Nano features a beige colored dashboard. It’s a big dashboard which has enough amount of storage. 2013 Nano comes equipped with twin glove-boxes. Its center facia has been given silver finish with black colored round AC vents and switches. Due to the central placement of instrument panel, there is massive storage space available on dashboard for both front passengers to keep essentials on it. There are cup holders in front console with magazine and coin holder on all four doors. Front seats features integrated map pockets. To offer more space there is a parcel tray at the back with foldable rear seats. One major drawback is that its boot can be operated from inside only as it has no rear opening hatch.
Music System of Tata Nano
The top variants of 2013 Tata Nano comes with factory-fitted music system with USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. For base variant, you will have to spend extra money for the music system, you can’t expect so much from a car at this price. Although its gear shift console has a 12v accessory socket which will allow you to play music gadgets directly once you get your music system installed.
Engine and Gearbox of Tata Nano
Tata Nano is available with a rear engine which is first for any Indian car. It’s a 624cc; 2 cylinder petrol engine. Tata has re-tuned this engine to make Nano more powerful. The power in new Nano is up by 3 bhp while there is increase in torque by 3 Nm in comparison the previous model of Nano. This engine now produces 37 bhp at 5500 rpm with a maximum torque output of 51 Nm at 4000 rpm. Nano has four speed gear box which has slightly been tweaked.
Acceleration and Performance
The increase in power and torque is quite evident when you drive the new Nano. Its initial pickup is much quicker than before. The first gear is very short and it will help you to move through city traffic and signals much faster. Rests of the gear ratios are taller and you will have to work hard to get quick power out of it. Increased torque is very helpful in city traffic to move this car with AC. Nano does 0-100km/hr in less than 29 seconds; 2 seconds earlier than before. Top speed of this car is 105km/hr which is similar to its earlier version. Tata Nano is much slower in comparison to its competitor Maruti 800 which produces almost similar amount of power. Its top speed is also 30-35km/hr less than its rivals. This car is much suited for city conditions as it can’t cruise on high speeds.
Tata Nano Mileage
Tata claims Nano to give a whooping mileage of around 25.35km/ltr. Minor alterations in engine now results into higher fuel efficiency. Its fuel efficiency is up by 2km/ltr. Its lightweight and two cylindrical engines make it the most fuel efficient car in its segment. Taller gear ratios also contribute to its high fuel efficiency. When tested Nano manages to give around 19-20km/ltr in city conditions while on highways it can return a fuel efficiency of around 22-23km/ltr.
Ride and Handling
Earlier people complained about Nano’s heavy steering. Tata has tried to get rid of that problem as now Nano’s steering feel much lighter. You don’t have to work hard on its steering to keep it moving in city traffic. It won’t need those strong triceps to use it but it’s not that light either. Its minimum turning radius of 4m reduces your parking tension. It can fit those places where you will have to think before parking some bikes. Its high ground clearance of 180mm saves it from most of the nasty speed breakers and pot holes on our Indian roads. Tata Nano is blessed with superb suspension. Its gas filled shockers feels capable enough to provide you stress and bumps free ride. It’s very comfortable to travel in Nano with full seating. High speed cornering is strictly prohibited as its tiny tyres are not able to hold it on road and body roll is quite evident. Though Tata has worked on NVH level yet it is very noisy when pushed hard and it does vibrate at high speeds.
Braking and Safety features of Tata Nano
Tata Nano has very capable drum brakes at it front and rear. These are booster assisted brakes and they work really well to stop this car whenever required. Front brakes could have been disk brake but it still doesn’t make much difference. For collusive situations it has intrusion beam. Other than these there are basic safety features like seat belts and body reinforcements.
Variants of Tata Nano
Tata Nano Standard: The standard version comes with clear headlamps, tubeless tyres and tip-tap driver side mirror, booster-assisted brakes and front suspension with anti-roll bar. The interiors comprise dual-tone vinyl seats and fold-down rear seat.
Tata Nano CX: The interiors have been refreshed with trendy black fabric seats, ebony black interiors, fold-down rear seat with nap rest. Besides these, the variant offers best-in-class air-conditioning with heating (optional), parcel shelf, booster-assisted brakes, tip-tap mirrors on driver and passenger side and half wheel covers.
Tata Nano LX: The top-end variant comes loaded with features like premium beige fabric seats, central locking, door handles, front power windows, cup holder in front console, provision for 12V socket, body coloured bumpers, fog lamps, electronic trip meter, rear spoiler, full wheel covers and tip-tap mirrors on driver and passenger side and booster-assisted brakes. The Nano LX comes in six premium colours -- Pearl White, Papaya Orange, Mojito Green, Sunshine Yellow, Meteor Silver and Champagne Gold.
All the variants of Tata Nano come with an unmatched warranty of 4 years or 60,000 kms, whichever is earlier.
Shades Available in Tata Nano
Tata Nano is available in these shades: Serene White, Rouge Red, Aqua Blue, Neon Rush, Papaya Orange, Meteor Silver, Champagne Gold, Sunshine Yellow, Mojito Green, Pearl White, Royal Gold (NEW), Dazzle Blue (NEW) and Cornflower Blue (NEW).
Tata has not raised the prices of new Nano. What you get at this price is a good spacious car which has nice quality of interiors and offers incredible fuel efficiency. This car handles really well in city and has the potential to provide comfortable ride to a small size family. It will save your money and it won’t take you much to be an owner of a four wheeler. It’s a nice option but we won’t say its complete value for money car. Reason being at this price you can also buy Maruti 800 which has more power and higher resale value than Nano. It also has a major drawback; it can only run on petrol.
We agree the fact that it’s fuel efficient but looking at the rising petrol prices, more and more people are opting for Gas kits in their petrol cars. There is news that Nano will be soon available with CNG variant and even Tata has also showcased the CNG variant in Delhi Auto Expo 2012 but that will take time. Till then it’s going to be hard for the petrol Nano as many will be happy with their two wheelers and even if few people want to shift from two- wheeler to four- wheeler, there are many used WagonR and Alto’s available with CNG and LPG kits at these prices.