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      2012 Tata Nano Review: The Refreshed Cute Car

      Aditya Chatterjee

      Aditya Chatterjee


      2012 Tata Nano Review: The Refreshed Cute Car

      Launched in 2009, The Tata Nano has seen several highs and lows in the Indian automobile scene. There were some unpleasant experiences faced in different parts of the country and there were some proud accolades that this cute car won.

      An upgrade of the Tata Nano has been expected from long - in fact, many had anticipated the launch of a diesel Tata Nano under the upgrade announcement.

      All these guesses were put to rest when Tata Motors finally launched the 2012 Tata Nano. The 2012 Nano avatar claims to have been developed after taking tons of feedback from present consumers.

      All in all, the new 2012 Tata Nano is not a total revamp from its predecessor but has been tweaked to enhance its drivability.

      We review the 2012 Tata Nano CX variant and find out the difference.

      Appearance Exterior

      The 2012 Tata Nano’s exterior remains completely unchanged and are same as its predecessor. The 2011 Tata Nano Review can give you a brief idea of the exteriors.

      The only changes that have been brought in the exterior are the tip-tap ORVMs. The new ORVMS now give a big car feel and look as it can be adjusted from the inner housing of the ORVM unlike previously, which had a bike mirror type adjustment.

      The co-passenger side ORVM, which otherwise is an accessory and one needs to splurge extra for is a part of standard fitment. One more change that has been brought in the exteriors is the addition of a number of new and vibrant color shades which include Pearl White, Rouge Red, Aqua Blue, Neon Rush, Serene White, Meteor Silver, Mojito Green, Papaya Orange, Sunshine Yellow, and Champagne Gold.

      When I went to pick up the car for the review, I was told that I would be getting the Neon Rush shade. I was very skeptical about it as I really couldn’t visualize Neon colored Nano and thought of it to be too flashy. But to my surprise, The Neon Rush shade was surprisingly a fresh shade. It’s a brighter version of the Squeeze one gets on the Figo.

      For the 2012 variant, Tata basically upgraded the features available from the lower variant to the immediate higher variant.
      The CX variant now comes with half wheel cap, which initially came on the LX variant. The LX variant is equipped with full wheel covers. We somehow felt, the half wheel caps looks better as compared to the full wheel covers given on the top end variant the reason being the full wheel covers have a typical aftermarket look.

      If paid attention, the wheel covers given on LX variant would show poor quality finishing as it doesn’t fit uniformly throughout the wheel.

      New Color shades, Wheel covers and tip-tap external mirrors would describe the changes Tata Motors have done to the 2012 version of Nano. 

      Appearance Interior

      Coming to the interiors, going with the lower-to-higher upgrade theme, the interiors in all versions have been changed.

      The basic standard version of Tata Nano has medium graphite interiors, the middle line CX variant has rich black and the top end LX variant has barley beige colored interiors. The new revamped door trims now feature vinyls in dual tone for standard, combination of black fabric and vinyls for CX and a beige fabric-black vinyl job for the LX variant.

      We were happy that the 2012 Tata Nano has an upgraded interior but then there is an issue. The beige colored interiors of the LX variant will be a task to maintain. In our day-to-day life where we are needed to shuttle every hour, the door trims are the first that get struck and then the seats.

      The previous generation Tata Nano would score little more in interiors if the utility aspect is considered. The stains of different things that accumulate on the seats become a pain to get rid of. The bright colored seats make these stain marks very evident.     The LX variant if the 2012 Tata Nano has a glossy black treatment done, which looks little too flashy.

      The doors of the 2012 Tata Nano have been bettered too. The present gen Tata Nano has heavier doors compared to the previous generation. It has a proper thud effect when you close it.The driver and passenger seats now no longer have integrated head rests but are a different assembly. Tata Motors calls it the nap rest. The rear seats can be folded to increase the luggage volume.

      Rest of the Interior dimensions have remained unchanged and is very much the same as the previous generation Nano. 

      Performance Drive

      This section is the most important as the 2012 Tata Nano boasts of engine tweaks too along with other changes. The 2012 Tata Nano has the same 2 cylinder, 624cc MPFI engine. The new power figures range from 38 PS at 5500 rpm and an improved torque of 51Nm at 4000 rpm. The new figures see a change from a power of 35 PS and a torque of 48Nm respectively.

      The new figures may not look massively different from the earlier figures but yes the drive factor has been improved a lot.

      I myself own a 2011 Tata Nano LX variant and find the steering a task to maneuver, especially when dodging out of a tight parking. The 2012 Tata Nano has a reworked steering mechanism which does not eliminate the issue completely but reduces it to a great extent.

      Some would think of why not a power steering be added in the Nano, the answer to that is, it’s a very small and light vehicle. The power steering would make the Nano even more agile. Power steering actually tempts us to make those tight maneuvers very easily but then in case of Tata Nano, it would increase the chances of toppling specially considering its tall boy design.

      The new 2012 Tata Nano feels a lot refined in performance. Even at higher gears and lower speeds, the vehicle won’t deter away from its smooth feel.

      Booster assisted brakes have been introduced in the standard variant which was available only on the CX and LX variants. The booster assisted brakes do a fantastic job of bringing the vehicle to a complete halt to the extent the tyres would screech and tear your ears to bring the car to a standstill.

      The basic 4 speed transmission meted with the new engine is very balanced in power distribution. The often gear changes in the previous generation have come down.

      It intra city travelling is your main priority, then the Tata Nano is completely your car. Drive it-Park it-Drive it is the main theme. The shortage of power can be felt only on highways. Try reving her hard and she would reach a top whack of 110kmph after that there is a limiter which stops the engine from cranking further.

      The shortage of power that’s felt on long free roads is however compensated in traffic jams. One can take this vehicle through any corner of any dimension possible. So when all the big high performance cars are stuck in jams, the pint sized Nano can take you through the rough tarmac beside the road and envy all.

      The Engine check indicator starts glowing as soon as you cross the 105 mark on the speedo. However, one thing that’s really appreciable for a pint sized car like this is even when you are travelling at a very high speed that too for really long, there are no unpleasant noises.

      There were 2 irritants experienced amongst all the goodies; the fuel level indicator – there is often a fluctuation in display on the fuel indicator. The indicator sticks won’t be constant and show different values when the starter is cranked.

      Second irritant was, if the vehicle has been on standstill for long then it will have this incomplete fuel supply type of jerks felt when driven afterwards. The 2012 Tata Nano was comparatively a new car, lately I been facing this in my own Nano too, which is a month old now.

      The new 2012 Tata Nano also claims of an improvised suspension, which has been described as an SUV type suspension on the television commercials. This is not exaggerated as one can feel the difference of the previous generation versus the present generation on rough roads.

      I always love driving Tata Nano. The reason being it is a very basic car with no brains. No rain sensing wipers, no dark sensing lights, no active bending lights nothing of those techy gizmo stuff which has made us all so lazy that we don’t even wish to move our finger just a bit away. 

      The Tata Nano is a cute car indeed. It’s like a delicate baby. Even though Tata Motors have revised the suspensions and tweaked the steering mechanism, one can’t take it for off-roading endeavors (unlike the dude who take his friends to a certain Lal Dabba through rough roads in the television commercial). One needs to be gentle with her.

      And finally an answer to Kitna-deti hai? We got a real time figure of 19kmpl (with AC) and 23(without AC). The figures that we got are a result of all our performance testings done on it. 

      Tech Specs

      Technical Specifications
       Make Tata
       Model Nano
      Variant CX
      Engine cc/cyliner 624/2
      Power in PS/RPM 35/5250
      Torque Nm/RPM 51/3000
      Transmission 4/M
      Tyre type Tubeless
      Front tyre size 135/70 R12
      Rear tyre size 155/65 R12
      Seating capacity 4 person
      Fuel tank capacity  15 Liters
      Dimensions in mm
      Length 3099
      Width 1495
      Height 1652
      Ground clearance 180
      Turning circle radius in Meters 4
      Warranty 4 years 60k km


      Features Std CX LX
      Ex show room Mumbai 156057 190514 215607
      AC with heater N0 Yes Yes
      Front power windows N0 No Yes
      Body colored bumpers No No Yes
      Fog lamps 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
      Seat Upholstery Dual Tone Vinyl Trendy Black Fabric Premium Beige fabric
      Dashboard Medium Graphite Ebony Black Barley Beige
      Center Facia Ebony Black Silver Dust Silver Metallic
      Colour options
      Rouge Red Yes Yes No
      Serene White Yes Yes No
      Aqua Blue Yes No No
      Neon Rush No Yes No
      Papaya Orange No Yes Yes
      Meteor Silver No Yes Yes
      Champange Gold No Yes Yes
      Pearl White No No Yes
      Mojito Green No No Yes
      Sunshine Yellow No No Yes

      Competition All Specs

      Suzuki Alto
      Variant CX 800 STD
      Price (Ex-showroom Mumbai) 215607 266399
      Engine cc/cylinder 624/2 796/3
      Power in PS/RPM 35/5250 48/6000
      Torque IN Nm/RPM 51/3000 69/3500
      Transmission 4/MT 5/MT
      Tyre type Tubeless Tubeless
      Front tyre size 135/70 R12 145/80 R12
      Rear tyre size 155/65 R12 145/80 R12
      Seating capacity 4 person 5 Persons
      Fuel tank capacityn liters 15 35
      Mileage 24 22
      Dimensions in mm
      Length 3099 3395
      Width 1495 1490
      Height 1652 1475
      Ground clearance 180 160
      Turning circle radius in Meters 4 4.5
      Warranty 4 years 60k km -


      And finally the verdict, The 2012 Tata Nano is indeed a refined product. Nano has been successful in making its own class. There are many players, who would be trying to rival this class and the front runner of this brigade is Renault Nissan Bajaj with its Ulta-Low cheap concept. Though it won’t be a direct rival but will be closely priced to the Nano.

      Also the legend who dominated this sector, Maruti-Suzuki won’t take things that easily as there are big chances of the Japanese major giving a fitting reply to the Nano with its own Palette and MR Wagon series of cars. A lot of dust would be set free in the forthcoming 2012 Auto Expo to be held in Delhi.

      So the 2012 Tata Nano has more color shades, promises of a better mileage, the performance have been tweaked and some more changes. The good news is that Tata Motors has not changed the price and has maintained it as it was. The overall package is impressive.

      We hope such upgrades are often part of the Nano and the Tata Nano diesel is not a distant dream. 

      Tata Nano ₹ N/A Onwards
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