Tata Nano Review : The BIG small wonder
Increase in population, crowded streets, traffic chaos and never decreasing fuel rates. These are some of the issues, which we are plagued with. The big solution to this is something small. Something that can give the already stressed public a breather. Tata Motors, decided to bring a solution to this by giving India, Tata Nano.
India is a price conscious country and they want to squeeze the best available feature for every single penny they spend. A very common scene sometime back was a typical family with two kids travelling on a scooter irrespective of the weather and other difficulties.
Tata Nano, right from the time it was conceived was based on the theme of people`s car. Maruti 800 was the cheapest car but Tata Motors wanted to raise the benchmark by coming with an even more economical model. A car with a displacement lesser than that of 800 and more space as well as better mileage compared to 800. Tata Motors promised to come up with a Rs.1 lakh car for the masses who wish to upgrade from two wheelers.
It’s been 3 years now since Tata Nano has been executed from concept stage. This small wonder has travelled a long journey with lots of ups and controversial downs. We drive the Tata Nano LX and find out if this one is really the big “small” wonder and how far does it push the economic car crusader Maruti 800.
The design of Tata Nano is surely an impressive one the proof being it gets a second look always. We had the Sunshine Yellow shade (seems Yellow has become our favorite after the Skoda Laura RS review). Though yellow looks the most fresh and cute shade, Tata offers 5 other color shades too namely Racing Red, Ivory White, Summer Blue, Champagne Gold and Lunar Silver.
We drove the Tata Nano LX variant which had everything body colored. Tata Nano and Tata Nano CX come with limitations in body colored parts along with other features.
The overall length and width is just 3099mm and 1495mm respectively. This makes those parking hassles vanish off very easily.
See it from front and you can see some lines and cues borrowed from SMART (part of Daimler AG) series. The headlight with integrated turn indicators give a very cute look from front.
There is a symmetric mid-rib line that flows on the hood to give it some character. Tata Nano has a semi-mono Volume, Mini size, 4-door steel monocoque body. The 12V, 60/55 W bulbs in headlamp assembly provide suitable illumination and travel adequately long and wide at night. The LX variant has 12V, 55 W and 12V, 21W fog lamps affixed on the front bumper and the rear bumper respectively.
The radiator grille is integrated in the front bumper. Side profile of the Nano is reminiscent of the Tata present gen cars. The main thing that catches attention along with the height of the vehicle is the air scoop given on rear doors whose design is little similar to those used in Lamborghini.
The tyres are 135/70 R12 (F) and 155/65 R12 (R). Nano being a smaller car doesn’t take rough roads and bumps very smoothly and makes you realize about its potential. We however won’t write it down completely as the suspension tries its max to buffer the bad patches.
The rear profile is similar to Tata Indica with those conventional tail lamps. Though personally, I feel the one on Nano is better as its slimmer and given a proper rear profile.
There is a bit sporty touch with those so called spoilers attached.
Something that turns down is the rear appearance of the bumper, where one can see the engine hanging. If ever one has followed a Tata Nano on road, he would have observed how the engine swivels when the driver accelerates which is not visually very appealing.
Tata Nano looks a small but tall car, Its very appropriate for those mundane bumper to bumper traffics. Even if it gets bruised, the economics of mending it is not very high.
The interior of Tata Nano is very basic in nature. The cost of the car however should not be mistaken for any compromise that Tatas have done on this one.
When one gets in, the first thing one would experience is the legroom for the driver and front passenger. There are generous proportions of legroom as well as headroom in the interiors. The scene in rear is however little different. Ideally Tata Nano is for a 4 adults 2 kids family.
The steering wheel is a 3-spoke design with basic grip. The instrument cluster is centrally placed. It shows fuel, odometer and tripmeter with mechanical reset in digital and a speedometer in analog. The central console houses 2 round AC vents. It has a 3 speed manually adjustable AC. The AC offered on Tata Nano is very powerful and can get the cabin totally chilled that too at a very short period.
The seats have integrated headrests (part of cost cutting) with complete fabric. The door trims have vinyl with fabric inserts on them. There is a pseudo lumbar support for front seats which is very comfortable for long drives. The rear seats are comfortable too with not generous but adequate leg space. The top end variant LX offers central locking as a safety feature along with central high mounted stop lamp, front and rear seat belts, intrusion beams and laminated windshield.
The front dashboard has an indented recess for keeping basic things. The centre console has cup holders, power window controls (front doors) and a small recess after the gear stick.
The doors trims also provide inserts for storage. Tata Nano being a rear engine car has no rear luggage space. To conclude, Tata Nano provides the basic needs but without any compromise. The quality offered is totally justified at the price in which its offered.
Tata Nano is powered by a 2 cylinder 624cc water cooled, multipoint fuel injection rear engine. This engine produces a peak power of 35PS at 5250 rpm and a torque of 48Nm at 3000 rpm. It has a 4-speed transmission.
Nano weighs just 635kg (LX and CX). This light weight helps in its nimble handling. The steering offered is a mechanical Rack and pinion. The absence of power steering is easily felt when steering the vehicle from a stand still condition. The steering gets very hard and can give great stress to your shoulders. The trick to solve this issue is however very simple. Before turning make sure you accelerate and then steer the vehicle so the physical force required to steer is compensated by the mechanical force of the engine.
Acceleration in city conditions is very decent. The small size of the vehicle clubbed with less weight can make you zip past the traffic. However, if you try to be hard on her the pint sized engine starts wearing out and also the mileage drops considerably.
The booster assisted brakes offered on this one are 180mm drums. They are very active and can get the car to a standstill almost immediately.
The 4 speed transmission is smooth and handles the often gear changing in city conditions very swiftly. The only errant is the reverse shift, which took little more efforts to engage.
To sum it up, Tata Nano is a fun car to drive. It has the smallest turning radius of 4m. Its not under powered but suitably powered. It doesn’t boast of any hair raising performance of any sort but still manages to satisfy you to the core.
|Power in PS||38@5500rpm|
|Front tyre size||135/70 R12|
|Rear tyre size||155/65 R12|
|Seating capacity||4 Person|
|Fuel tank capacity||15 Liters|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Turning circle radius in Meters||4|
|Ex showroom Mumbai||211902|
|AC with heater||No||Yes||Yes|
|Front power windows||No||No||Yes|
|Body colored bumpers||No||No||Yes|
|Roof Lining||Jute based||Polyester fabric||Polyester fabric|
|Tripmeter in instrument clusture||No||No||Yes|
|Steering wheel||Two spoke||Two Spoke||Three spoke|
|Central lock with key||No||No||Yes|
|Ex show room Mumbai||153396||183854||211902|
Competition All Specs
|Power in PS||35@5250rpm||37@5000rpm|
|Front tyre size||135/70 R12||-|
|Rear tyre size||155/65 R12||-|
|Seating capacity||4 person||4 person|
|Fuel tank capacity||15 Liters||19 Liters|
|Dimensions( in mm)|
|Turning circle radius in Meters||4||4|
|Ex showroom Mumbai||211902||254374|
Tata Nano which is promoted using the tagline “Khushiyo ki chabbi” is definitely worth every penny you spend on it. Maruti 800 which enjoyed dominance in the economical car bracket has a serious contender in the form of Tata Nano (M800 is still sold in tier-II cities).
The small car scene is however seen as a segment which will increase substantially. Big league players like Renault, Nissan and Bajaj are working on an Ultra-Low Cheap car project to take on the fame of Tata Nano.
There have been episodes where serious allegations have been put against Tata Motors` engineering bit as many cars caught fire across India but then this was also speculated to be a part of sabotage by other competitors. The downs also affected the sales figures of Tata Nano which saw deep dark days too although now Tata claims it has risen from it.
Some love it, some hate it, some compare it with an auto-rickshaw still one cant runaway from the charm of Tata Nano, truly the big “small” wonder.