In our first reliability report of the Tata Zest, we loved a lot of bits about the compact sedan. There were a few flaws that we had pointed out. Now, after 7000 kilometres with the Tata Zest we have come to a lot more conclusions on how has the Zest performed as a product. What are the positives and the negative aspects of this compact sedan.
The hard seats of the Zest are highly comfortable for long distance travel. This makes it a great option to consider for long drives. We have done several Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai trips and the good bit is all the occupants feel comfortable and do not feel tired even on long journeys. This is one of the strongest points on the Zest.
The music system is certainly a gem with the Harman speakers that have amazing sound output quality. There is no other vehicle that comes with Harman or equivalent brand’s music system. But then there is some amount of lag when you operate it from the steering controls be it while changing tracks or answering a call. With Android devices, when you make a call from the device it doesn’t connect to the system. One needs to shift to Hands Free mode every keep you make a call. At times there is a conflict between the music that the system shows and the what the smartphone plays.
The biggest plus on the Zest is its 1.3-litre multijet engine. With the AMT, it does take some time to get used to driving, especially in city. In bumper to bumper traffic, one needs to get used to the point when the turbo spins and this could be a tricky situation initially. For the highway, the AMT tuning is ideal. No creep function makes will make it difficult to drive in bumper to bumper city traffic.
We achieved a fuel efficiency of an average of 15km/l in the city, while on the highway the number rose to about 22km/l. This makes the Zest highly fuel-efficient, especially when we consider it doesn’t have a manual gearbox.
The ride of the Zest one of the best in its segment. The compact sedan glides over potholes, however it does make a crashing sound. This makes it sound harsh, but in reality it is a lot smooth and the suspension irons out most of the road shocks. The Zest has a softer rear, which means more comfort for the rear passengers. Despite all this, it has good handling characteristics. It does well around bends. It might not have the alacrity like its European competition but it does a fairly good job.
The electronic steering wheel is light and this makes it easy to manoeuvre in city. On the highways too the steering has a good feedback. It is only on bumps that the Zest steering feels disconnected, especially when around a corner. The steering wheel is small and nice to grip.
There are no bottle holders in the Zest and this is one major downside when it comes to storage space. There is a single cup holder at the front and apart from this there is nothing else. This is a major let down when it comes to practicality of the compact sedan. The door pockets are also thin to not fit any bottles into it.
There are some minor plastic quality issues with the Zest. The interiors look sturdy but the look and feel isn’t at par with the competition. This is one aspect that isn’t in favour of the Zest. The power windows switches, indicator stalks and even the air-con knobs need a bit more force to use than what the competitor does. This changes the experience of how the vehicle behaves. In terms of reliability there is no doubt that these plastics will last and not fall off.
But then the Zest comes at a lower price tag than most of the competition and better quality will demand a higher price tag. The compact sedan segment is more of a compromise segment that has been built to fulfil the needs of those who want more in less. And this can be achieved by some cost cuts.
If you are wondering to pick a Zest AMT for yourself, we will recommend this compact sedan. Pick up the XMA variant, as this has more than enough features and the XTA can be avoided.