2014 Tata Aria Review
Launched with an intention to take the MPV segment with storm, the Aria was the Indian manufacturer’s foray in the premium passenger car space. Going by its popularity in the UV segment, Tata Motors knew that a large vehicle with great space and an equally capable engine will make right sense for the Indian market.
Tata Aria, the only crossover available in the true sense, offered the practicality of a MPV and capability of a SUV which made it distinct from Toyota Innova. With a unique design and a 4x4 drive train, the Aria was all set to be a different offering in a common space.
Four years after it launch, it has got an update in the form of tweaked exteriors and remapped engine for better performance. Along with it even the prices have been revised. Should you get one? We reveal in our review.
The Aria, with its crossover design, has always got mixed reaction from the audience. Personally, I love its big boy SUVish looks. Compare it with the Innova and the Aria scores a lot more with its macho masculine appeal.
Changes introduced in the new Aria are too subtle to be noticed at first glance. The front face still resembles the Vista hatch but then in an attractive way. It is the chrome radiator grille taking the centre stage on the front facia. Smoked headlights are a new addition on the top spec variant. A chunky bumper with round fog lamps look built for the purpose. The lines over the headlight flow with the hood and then merge with the shoulder line.
Giving it a sporty touch are the flared wheel arches and the strong shoulder line. It also gets revised decals on the side. Again something that get my attention are the 17” multi spoke alloys with 235/65 R17 tyres. These look impressive and give it a can go anywhere theme. Even the way the roof line descends on the D pillar which has been camouflaged with the rear tail lights is interesting.
On the tail door not much has been changed except for the transparent indicator inserts which looks contrasting when compared to the dark shade of Quartz Black. It also comes in shades of Pearl White and Arctic Silver. After four long years, this update was much needed but then it still does not succeed in leaving an impact.
Not much has changed in the interiors except for the new touch-screen colour which has become brighter. The design of trims and interiors is impressive but the materials and the finishing does not take the experience ahead.
We had the top of the line Pride variant for our review. Black and plum interiors feel good and rich. The dashboard arrangement is clean with systematically arranged buttons. While, it earns points for the design it loses the same when it comes to finishing. The plastic quality of the button is not upmarket and even the edges of different panels appear coarse.
Spacious cabin continues to remain the main element of Aria’s interiors and that has been left untouched. The driving position is the best and feels more engaging than that of Innova. Legroom for the front row passengers is great and decent for the rear passengers as well. The third row is suitable for children or perhaps for shopping bags but not passengers.
The leather quality of all seats on all rows is great but they are not as comfortable as the one on Innova. The seats lack cushioning and even their upright stance with a flat support are not helpful on long journeys. There are ample storage options inside the cabin.
The aircraft inspired roof mounted pockets can come handy but can also be tricky to remember the location. There are beverage holders for first and second row passengers while the third row gets twin cup holders on either sides. There is ample boot space for luggage and still if one finds is insufficient, then collapsing the second row seats empties a generous area.
It is the only MPV which feels more engaging to drive. In addition to the cosmetic changes, the engine now makes a greater 150PS which is more than the earlier version though the torque remains the same. The shifts are decently smooth. It comes with a 5 speed manual transmission.
Gadgets wise it has a modest list which consist of a 2 DIN music system with USB and AUX-IN. It also features Bluetooth telephony but then the same cannot be used to stream music which is completely weird. Pairing mobile phone is easy and it can also be controlled with the help of controls mounted on the steering wheel. The alphabets are too small and are not clear. The other issue is at night, spotting the controls is purely guess work due to the absence of backlit option.
While the quality of trims faces criticism, the top notch JBL music system is sure to get all the appreciation. The 360 Watts music system with 8 channel DSP amplifier and 10 onboard speakers, it is purely a delight to ears. The infotainment system which feels larger and brighter is also simple to operate. Navigation system comes only in the premium priced variant and it works on a pre-loaded navigation maps disc instead of an onboard system.
The power figures have gone up but it isn’t strikingly evident instead the engine feels smoother than before. After escaping the clatter of lower engine speeds, the revs keep on going higher swiftly. The turbo lag seen on the earlier model has diminished completely. The shifts will work smooth unless you want it to get athletic where the sticky nature gets highlighted.
With a tall ride height, sturdy suspensions and a 4x4 drive option, we did not limit our test to smooth tarmac roads but instead took it on some non MPV terrain too. The rainy season also added to our fun quotient by making the otherwise dry patch full of muck and puddle. With the help of shift on the fly 4x4, the Aria cruised on all of them without a moment of hesitation. The suspensions seemed more than happy to take all the battering. Tall ground clearance and wide tyres make it feel like a SUV on off-roads.
While the suspensions and ride height worked well on uneven surfaces, it is not the same on normal roads. The diesel motor feels reasonably good and catches up triple digit speeds with ease but then at high speeds, it does not feel stable as the ride gets choppy and the steering also gets vague. Around corners, the screeching and screaming of tyres get loud and the body roll is also at a high.
The company claims the Aria to deliver an ARAI certified mileage of 15.05kmpl while we realistically got 11.9kmpl.
|Variant||1.5L DOHC Petrol-V|
|Power in PS/RPM||150 / 4000|
|Torque in NM/RPM||320 / 1500 - 3000|
|Transmission||5 / M|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Minimum Turn Radius||5.6m|
|Fuel Tank capacity in Liters||60L|
|Dual AC with Auto Climate Control||No||No||Yes|
|Keyless Entry with Remote Integrated key||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|All Disc Brakes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||No||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic Stabiility programme and TCS||No||No||Yes|
|2 DIN music system with CD/MP3 player and 6 Speakers||No||Yes||Yes|
|Satellite Navigation System||No||No||Yes|
|Steering Mounted Controls||No||No||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable and retractable ORVMs||No||No||Yes|
|Rain Sensing Wipers||No||No||Yes|
|Auto dark sensing headlights||No||No||Yes|
|Leather Upholstery in Black and Plum||No||No||Yes|
|Metal inserts in interior trims||No||No||Yes|
|Black Bezel headlamps||No||No||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|2.2 L DICOR||2.5L|
|Power in PS/RPM||150 / 4000||100 / 3600|
|Torque in NM/RPM||320 / 1500 - 3000||200 / 1400|
|Transmission||5 / M||5 / M|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Minimum Turn Radius||5.6m||5.4m|
|Tyres||235/65 R17||205/65 R15|
|Fuel Tank capacity in Liters||60L||55L|
|All Disc Brakes||Yes||No|
|Electronic Stabiility programme and TCS||Yes||No|
|Power Windows||Front / Rear||Front / Rear|
The changes that have been brought in the new Aria don’t leave an impressive impact. Personally, I have loved the design of Aria but this opinion is subjective. Compared to the Innova, it has an upper edge especially in the looks, features and drivetrain options but then latter overtakes by a huge margin when it comes to engine reliability and comfort.