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Tata Motors Nano
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Customer Rating
: 2/5
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 4 Yrs / 60,000 Kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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2.33 Lakhs-2.84 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Class leading AC
  • Cute fresh styling
  • Great fuel-efficiency
  • Excellent space proposition
  • Excellent all-round visibility

Weak Areas

  • Heavy steering
  • Shaky gear lever
  • No glove box and less storage
  • Interiors quality unsatisfactory
  • Different front & rear tyre size 
Tata Motors Nano
 
 

Tata Adds a Twist to Baby Nano

In Nano Twist, Tata finally brings the much awaited power steering feature, and coupled with the small size of the car, this gives it more practicality for the congested city roads.


Author

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ecardlr.com National

Since its launch in 2009, Tata Nano has seen three major upgrades. The first set of changes came in 2012 when the suspension was tweaked for a more comfortable ride, the engine power was increased and the gearing was modified for improved fuel efficiency. There were slight updates in the cabin too and the seats got tad more comfortable. In 2013 a bigger steering wheel was provided to make up for the lack of power steering and there were some chrome touch ups on the upper end variants. But such modifications did not really amount to an upgrade. Therefore in 2014 by introducing a new variant, Tata brought a feature that mattered more to prospective buyers of Nano- it gets a power steering.

           

Called the Tata Nano Twist, the new trim like most other cars launched this year in India, was exhibited at the February 2014 Auto Expo. In the meantime, the marketing and advertising team at Tata is trying to shed the ‘Rs One Lakh Car’ image and project Nano as a fun city vehicle aimed at urban youth. Powered by the 624 cc 2 cylinder petrol engine mated to 4 speed manual gearbox, Nano Twist XT churns 37.4 bhp and has 5.2 kgm of torque. How well does the Twist work? We find out:

Exterior

Besides its power steering upgrade, Nano Twist does have a few subtle changes on the outside too. In the front, the car gets a chrome belt that runs on the edge of its bonnet. Other features on front and towards side are same as its siblings. So the design of the swept up headlamps has not changed, there are fog lamps in trapezoidal housings and they do have a good spread which aids in visibility on poorly lit roads of semi urban or rural India. Nano Twist comes with 12 inch steel wheels that have full wheel covers. Alloy wheels are optional. The car gets 135/70 R12 tyre size for front, and 155/65 R12 for the rear. The variant also has a roof top antenna. Passenger side keyhole is missing on this new Nano as this baby car now sports keyless entry and central locking features.

          

It is at the rear that you will again note a few updates. There is a chrome strip on the hatch door with the Twist badge on the left. Nano XT crest is also provided on the right. A honeycomb mesh grille and pair of cooling vents have been added on the rear bumper.

In the ‘Twist’ form Nano’s dimensions have not changed but with few extra elements it has gained weight and now scales at 660 kg (instead of previous 600 kg).  Nano Twist comes in six colours – Dazzle Blue, Papaya Orange, Pearl White, Meteor Silver, Royal Gold and the new option, Damson Purple.

Inside the Cabin

There are more updates in the cabin than on the outside. The instrument panel that still features in the centre of the dash now has a new MID with odometer, trip meter, average fuel efficiency and distance to empty information. You will also see a temperature gauge on the top right side of the panel and the top left side has a fuel gauge. Graphics on the dials have a new look. A tachometer is still missed in this car.

         

On both sides of the instrument panel, the dashboard has recesses and with lids on top these are the gloveboxes for little Nano. This car gets an AmphiStream audio system that has a simple equaliser along with USB, Aux-input and Bluetooth connectivity. There are 4 speakers two of which are placed on either side of the dashboard, next to the gloveboxes and the other two are on rear parcel shelf. The sound quality as expected in a low budget car is pretty banal. What’s more, connectivity with your Bluetooth enabled mobile phones might not always be smooth – the system takes time and at times fails to detect signals.

          

The power window switches in the older Nano models are placed in front of the gear lever and that is not user friendly. In Twist, they are behind the gear lever and this makes them more easily accessible. So instead of the window buttons, there is now a 12V power socket in front of the gear lever. Only the passenger side sun-visor has a vanity mirror. On the driver’s side it has a thin ticket holder. You don’t get a day-night feature on the rear view mirror anymore. Air conditioner is standard for Nano Twist. 
 
On the mechanical front, the power steering motor is concealed under the dashboard. This unit has been developed by ZF Lenksysteme in association with Bosch. 
 
A good thing about Nano (all of its variants) is that there is sufficient legroom on the rear bench seat. But the quality of seats belts for rear seat passengers is poor. Door pockets are provided on all doors. The boot has capacity of 80 litres – good enough for a couple of small travel bags. 
 
Engine, Transmission and Performance 
 
Tata had worked on Nano’s engine for the 2012 model and the principal mechanicals have been the same since then. So the 2 litre engine now makes 37.4 bhp and 5.2 kgm of torque. For better fuel efficiency, the gearing is taller now. 
 
An odd feature is that Nano Twist’s speedometer does a full sweep to 120 km/hour as you fire up the engine. Refinement is a bummer – the sound is irritating and there is considerable shaking too. The vibrations smoothen out only when the engine is revved up.
 
          
 
Nano feels pretty nimble under city driving conditions and you can drive up to speed of 70 km/hour. Unlike the non power assisted steering that makes maneuvering through traffic difficult, this zippy new unit can be twirled very easily. Driveability is appreciable and the small petrol engine is adequately responsive on city roads. Frequent downshifts will not be required and in 2nd gear you can pull away from most of the slow driving situations except when you are literally crawling or at a standstill. 
 
Cruising on straight-line highways is also good with Nano Twist. With tall gearing, the engine is pleasantly relaxed even at 100 km/hour. Actually, the tall third gear is enough to take you to top speed. But as the needle begins to cross 100 km/hour, the check engine light starts to warn you about safety and at the marked 110 km/hour the fuel cuts off. Then there is a weird jerky feel. 
 
Plan your overtaking maneuvers carefully. Although downshifting to third gear can help you here, progress is rather tardy at times. 
 
Nano climbs up hills without complaining but on steep slopes and especially with 4 people (including driver) onboard, it does tend to struggle. This is because of the gear ratio spread, particularly the very tall first gear. And therefore, driving Nano on steep hill roads with stop and go traffic (very common on hills of North India in peak summers) can be dangerous. 
 
Ride and Handling 
 
The small size of Nano is an obvious factor that makes it practical for packed city roads –and now with the new steering system, it can move in and out of traffic gaps even more easily. The air conditioner chills the small cabin fast and does not put much load on the engine.
 
           
 
Take your Twist to a tight, low speed zigzag track and it feels keen to change directions instantaneously. The light and nifty steering allows you to move through meandering roads in much better way than the non power steering Nano. On taking U-turns, the active return function minimises the manual effort needed to re-centre the wheel. Such qualities naturally make Nano Twist even more useful for congested city roads of India. And parking of course is a breeze. 
 
Handling has improved and driving this car feels easier now. While, the steering wheel is light, it is not completely devoid of feel. Tata has imposed a speed limit for safety and to limit the wear & tear of components.  
 
Nano Twist (like other Nano variants), has gas dampers and independent suspension at each end of the profile. Independent suspension layout was indeed important for space packaging of this small car. Also, the wheels are considerably pushed out. And so the Nano has good road manners. Ride quality of the new model is better than the pre 2012 car. Suspension is softer. But then as a small and budget vehicle it does have its limitations and so ride comfort continues to remain basic – it can give you lot of jerks in cabin on poor roads and back seat occupants feel worse. With a short wheelbase you can also expect considerable vertical movement on highway ripples. But the overall ride quality as an everyday city car is acceptable. 
 
Drum brakes are still not very efficient and you have to apply lot of effort to bring Nano to a halt from high speeds. It is safer to drive this car only up till 80-85 km/hour.  
 
Fuel Efficiency 
 
Nano Twist has decent fuel economy even though not as good as you would expect from a light vehicle with small engine. It ranges between 13 and 14.5 km/hour in the city, and 17 and 19 km/hour on the highways.
 
Verdict 
 
While its struggle on steep roads, tall gearing and poor brakes may disappoint you, the admirable performance at speed below 80 km/hour, effective air conditioner and adequate cabin space for four make Nano pretty endearing. And now, the power steering feature has enhanced the appeal and utility of Nano Twist as a fuel efficient city car for daily commuting. 
 
Tata Nano Twist XT is priced at Rs 2.32 lakhs (ex showroom priced Delhi)
 
Comfort:  3.5/5
 
Refinement: 3/5
 
Safety: 3/5 
 
Ride: 3.5/5
 
Handling: 4/5
 
Value for Money: 3.5/5

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