Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > The Indian Car Scene


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11th August 2010, 23:48   #1
Distinguished - BHPian
 
FlyingSpur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 3,937
Thanked: 1,331 Times
Default Tata Aria : Driving Impressions. EDIT : FULL specs, features & variants on page 18

Note from Mod : Please continue the Aria discussion in GTO's test-drive thread. Thanks

This afternoon I walked into the Concorde showroom at Prabhadevi, accompanied by my cousin, with the intention of checking out the Safari LX for him.

We were pleasantly surprised by a young trainee chap who walked up to us and pointed to the Maroon Aria standing outside on the road (which I had failed to notice while entering) and asked us if we would like to TD it and give our impressions, as they were collecting some market feedback. We agreed, since we didn't really have anything else to do.

What we thought would be a casual first impressions kinda thing, turned out to be a full fledged survey questionnaire thrown at us, with all sorts of questions regarding our present vehicles, our background etc, and we were filmed and our responses recorded while we were doing so.

We were taken out to the car and were asked our first impressions about the looks. After that, we were offered a TD and we gladly accepted. This was one TD where we were not hurried up. The surveyor flashed her Sealink daily pass and told us we could go via the Sealink to Bandra and back. So we did our TD, with my cousin taking the wheel first upto Bandra, and then I took over on the way back. We recorded our observations throughout the journey. Once back, some closing comments followed wherein we were asked about how much we would spend on this car, what we thought it was worth etc. We were told all throughout that this was a pre-production test mule, and were not told about the pricing at all.

My impressions are as follows :

Exterior :

  • I never liked the Aria in the pictures. The first time I saw it in the metal was in Pune when it drove past me, sporting a light blue colour. Back then, the front end did impress me. Today's encounter was the same. I quite liked the front end. Definitely a step forward for Tata.
Tata Aria : Driving Impressions. EDIT : FULL specs, features & variants on page 18-photo0939.jpg
  • The side profile is where one first notices the rather substantial length of the car. One will immediately notice the window line. The rear-most windows are clearly inspired by the CR-V. Personally, I did not like the treatment given to the C/D pillars. Overall, the side profile is heavily inspired by the CR-V in my opinion. Panel gaps were quite even.
Tata Aria : Driving Impressions. EDIT : FULL specs, features & variants on page 18-photo0938.jpg
  • When you walk around to the rear, you wonder whether Tata has ever designed anything other that this rear end. Everything from the Indica to the Vista and now the Aria carries this rather typical rear end, and it's boring, to say the least. It reminds me of Jeremy Clarkson's review of the original Cayenne, where he states that the designers put a lot of effort into the front end, and then beyond the B-pillar, they simply didn't bother !! The one thing I like, though, is the twin-exhaust treatment.
I'd give it a 7/10 for exterior looks. It's a step forward for Tata, they've moved it forward, but not quite there.

Interior :

  • Now this is where it all changes. If you've owned one of the first batch of Indica / Safari like I have, then you will most definitely acknowledge that Tata has been working hard to improve interior quality.
  • Once in, the first thing I did was knock about all the plastic panels, try to move them around to see if they give way, whether they make a hollow sound, creak etc. And I was impressed. The car was done up in a combination of black & dull maroon leather upholstery. I quite liked it, and the door pads were made to match as well. The theme was even carried forward to the dashboard panels.
Tata Aria : Driving Impressions. EDIT : FULL specs, features & variants on page 18-photo0941.jpg
  • The materials used are definitely of good quality, including the leather, the trims, the door pads etc. I found the piano black finish nice as well, but in the above picture, I thought that if the piano black finish around the window switch was extended to the plastic trim around the door opener as well, it would have looked a little better. From what I observed, that maroon piece of plastic surrounding the door opening lever was the only bit that looked really cheapo.
  • Also in the above picture, you may notice that the B-pillars have AC vents incorporated into them a la Superb and the high-end Germans. A nice touch. In fact, even the third row occupants have similar AC vents on the C-pillar (no photograph, sorry) but I doubt they will be useful at all, because surprisingly, the third-row space is absolutely non-existent. Surprisingly, because I assumed that a car of this length would have a very comfortable third row of seats, after the Xylo has shown us the way it's done.
  • Which brings me to space. Very spacious all around. The second row passengers will not complain of legroom or headroom at all. I am 6'1" and my cousin is about ~6'. With him driving and me sitting behind him, we were both very comfortable. The seats were quite comfortable too, and I suspect the middle row would seat three abreast without much of a fuss. The middle passenger himself will not complain about being there, because the seat as well as the backrest are nice and flat unlike most cars today which have a nasty bump in the centre - on the seat and on the backrest (for the armrest). And yes, this one has a centre armrest at the back.
  • The car is equipped with dual AC. The controls for the second AC are situated between the first and second row of seats. Unlike the Innova which has a slider switch, this car has four switches in a row, for Off - 1 - 2 - 3. I like this arrangement more than the slider switch, somehow. Cooling was quite satisfactory, I did not find the need to speed up the blower. The second AC gets quite audible in settings 2 & 3, though.
  • The roof itself is quite strange. This is one picture I regret not clicking. On the roof, along the centre and running across the entire length of the car, are litle storage compartments of varying sizes. Some of them are useful because they can hold sunglasses. But some others, which are about two inches deep, serve no immediate purpose that comes to mind. They are hinged on one end, and flip downwards (like a flip-down roof-mounted DVD screen) but only upto a 30 degree angle. They are too small to hold documents, which would most likely fall out when the compartment is opened anyway. If Tata were attempting to create some sort of airline ambiance, they have succeeded but the utility of the same is doubtful.
  • The dash is cleanly designed. Unexciting, but very clean and the panel gaps were more or less even. The matte silver panels running on either side convey an eclectix mix of the Captiva / GV interior theme which is quite common now. The quality of buttons and switches, the AC rotary knobs etc was quite up there, nothing to complain about at all. The switches mounted on the steering wheel for cruise control and audio, though, made quite an audible click (like a mouse click) on every press. Felt a little cheap.
Tata Aria : Driving Impressions. EDIT : FULL specs, features & variants on page 18-photo0940.jpg
  • The car had a twin glove compartment similar to the Altis arrangement. The top one, in fact, is a chiller for drinks etc.
  • I was quite satisfied with the driving position and ergonomics, except for one massive massive fault. No dead pedal, and quite a narrow footwell. This meant that my left foot was quite uncomfortable even after a 20 minute Bandra - Worli drive. Further, the dash incorporates this space-age attempt at bottle holders which fails miserably, because it fouls with the driver's foot when opened.
  • On top of the dash sits a screen which was not too big in size, and it was a low-res dot matrix screen with blue backlighting, showing basic audio information such as radio station, volume, track etc. The surveyor claimed that the production model will have a full-fledged GPS in-dash module. I'd say that it can take one easily, no sweat.
  • The gear shifter didn't really feel premium at all. Felt like the leather was wrapped around it by a beginner. The matte silver trim, too, looked quite cheap in that application, while it went surprisingly well with the dash itself.
  • Audio quality itself was quite ordinary. On par for the course, I'd say, but no audiophile material.
  • In the dash pic, above the screen, you will notice a black protrusion rising up from the dash along the windscreen. This is a sensor for the auto lights or the auto wipers (don't remember which). Whatever it is, IMO it blocks your vision just a little bit, not something I liked.
  • The car was equipped with a Bluetooth handsfree system, with call accept / reject buttons on the steering wheel. nice touch. Didn't try it out though.
  • This car has the Civic windscreen wipers. I don't quite know what's wrong with the "normal" wipers.
Overall, a 7/10 from me for the interiors. A refreshing step forward from Tata, not too many el cheapo bits. Quite comfortable, and save for the massive ergonomic blunder i.e. omission of dead pedal, and the dismal third row space, it's a good effort.

More to come : Driving Impressions, Ride & Handling, Comfort, Closing Comments.

Last edited by GTO : 12th October 2010 at 01:22. Reason: Adding link to review
FlyingSpur is offline  
Old 11th August 2010, 23:55   #2
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Hyderabad, Mumbai
Posts: 19
Thanked: Once
Default

I am not impressed with the looks. My first impression itself says this one is a no gamer. IMHO Innova is miles ahead and if Tata wants to give serious competition then the pricing better be good despite the negative initial impressions.
bubbu64 is offline  
Old 11th August 2010, 23:59   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
sachinj12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,188
Thanked: 161 Times
Default

That is one exhaustive and keen observation you have made. I guess you would give a go ahead for this?
sachinj12 is online now  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:00   #4
BHPian
 
coldice4u's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Delhi
Posts: 156
Thanked: 86 Times
Default

Nice to hear that TATA has been able to produce an interior that meets expectations of the segment. Or atleast on par. Eagerly waiting for the next piece... Hope you managed to get high-res pics of the interiors/exteriors.

Last edited by coldice4u : 12th August 2010 at 00:04.
coldice4u is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:05   #5
BHPian
 
backrub's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 196
Thanked: Once
Default

Great review flyingspur, You have very well observed many factors. Lets hope TATA listens to these reviews from everyone and put together a great vehicle which will have nothing much to complain about.

Because there are these some little things like the plastic surrounding of the door handles, which if comes out in the production model or the final product, will make the customer feel robbed even after paying the amount being asked for.

So if they are to take up seriously with their survey, we will get a fine tuned Indian Machine

Way to Go TATA
backrub is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:18   #6
Distinguished - BHPian
 
FlyingSpur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 3,937
Thanked: 1,331 Times
Default Driving Impressions

These are my impressions after a 20-minute drive along the Sealink, Worli Seaface, and then from Atria Mall to the Concorde showroom via Siddhivinayak.
  • Driving position itself was quite comfortable. The height adjustable seats had good travel which meant that a tall fellow like me had no problems finding the right position.
  • The twin armrests make life easy for the front occupants. Perfect for a long drive, then why omit the dead pedal, Tata?
  • The mirrors are huge. Electrically adjustable as well as retractable. I had no problem driving the elephant around.
  • All round visibility is very good. Though there is a bit of a conflict here. The third row windows really help in all-round visibility, but the headrests of the second row block the lower half of those windows even if in the lowest position. Not cool.
  • The internal rear view mirror felt like it was stuck to it's place with chewing gum. It was way too loose, but what left me surprised was that it still did not vibrate during the drive.
  • The steering wheel was good to grip, and I felt it to be the perfect size. Not too big, not too small. Steering feel itself, did not quite weigh up and gave a sense of floating at about 140 kmph.
  • The clutch is the biggest disappointment. It is far too springy and really wears out the left knee. My cousin stalled 3-4 times while I stalled a couple of times. The Captiva has the same problem, and if you've driven one, you will know what I'm talking about. Even the travel is too long and unnecessary.
  • The brake pedal lacked feel, and had a discomforting play to it. Probably twice as much as I would have liked. The brakes themselves are quite alright, I braked hard from 120 kmph to 40 kmph and the car felt quite composed, did not divert from the straight line. ABS and 6 airbags standard, I'm told.
  • The engine is the same 2.2 DiCOR. This car weighs a little over two tonnes, and while the engine lacked outright punch and was quite raucous and audible above 2500 rpm, it seemed fine for routine overtaking maneuvers. On the sealink, I tried to simulate a typical state highway situation wherein the car is doing about 80 kmph in 5th, and needs to overtake a slow-moving truck. It was quite smooth in 5th, and on downshifting to 4th for the same, it pulled quite well. I'd say it's quite well-suited for the highway.
  • I feel the biggest step forward by Tata in this department is the gearbox. I found the shift action to be much smoother and more accurate than any ther Tata car that I've driven (and this includes a '98 Safari, an Indica DLE from the first batch ever, a '06 Indica V2, some rattly old Sumo from God knows when, and an '08 Safari DiCOR). The gear shifter itself though, could have been maybe a couple of inches taller. I found it a tad low, and a bit of a stretch to get to 1st and 3rd.
  • At 140 kmph, I noticed significant wind noise on the Sealink. Not too much tyre noise, though.
  • I didn't take a U-turn to comment about turning radius. Damn. The car felt quite nimble in the city traffic though, I had no problems inching through tight gaps.
Have I missed anything out? I am not GTO, and this is not an S-Class level review with Bentley-quality pictures. Feel free to ask me specific questions.
FlyingSpur is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:25   #7
Team-BHP Support
 
Akshay1234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 9,759
Thanked: 6,665 Times
Default

Great review. Seems impressive. I think it might just end up selling well if priced right. It will offer great VFM and segment first features. The wind noise on the sealink could be because of crosswinds.
Akshay1234 is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:34   #8
BHPian
 
coldice4u's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Delhi
Posts: 156
Thanked: 86 Times
Default

A few queries.
1. How was the rear seat comfort?
2. Did the TD route include any broken roads?
3. How was the high speed stability?
coldice4u is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:40   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
prince_pervez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Redwood shores, CA, USA
Posts: 4,205
Thanked: 30 Times
Default

Nice review. I did not like the way it looks though. Maybe I have to see that in person. Rear A/C vents are a welcome anytime.
prince_pervez is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:43   #10
BHPian
 
backrub's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 196
Thanked: Once
Default

Is it using dual compressors or is it using just a blower in the B pillars, If using a second compressor (which I understood from the review), wont that be too much of a load on the engine and invite unwanted complications.

How does Innova's dual cooler works? Is that just a blower or a different compressor
backrub is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:44   #11
Distinguished - BHPian
 
FlyingSpur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 3,937
Thanked: 1,331 Times
Default Ride & Handling / Comfort

Ride & Handling / Comfort :
  • The suspension is quite softly sprung.
  • ...which means a comfortable ride. Annoying sealink strips, hardly even felt. Bad roads, absorbs them quite well. Compliments the spacious and comfortable interiors just fine.
  • ...but that also means very annoying body roll through turns, and the feeling of lurching forward on braking + being pushed back on acceleration. I think it is not bad enough to induce motion sickness, but it's surely a bit of a bother. I'd rate the UVs on this front as Scorpio > Aria > Safari > Innova, implying that the Scorp is worse than then Aria while the Safari is better.
  • Individual armrests for the front seats, and a nice broad armrest for the middle row ensures no turf wars for elbow room. Helps over long distances.
  • If it matters, the useless third row folds flat into the ground so you can carry your apartment with you in your car. Let's not get into how comfortable the third row was. I did not even try it. Looked like the "+2" seats you see in sports coupes.
I think that sums it up. A heartfelt 8/10 on comfort. This is NOT a driver's car, and I'm not docking points for body roll etc. Docking two for the ornamental third row.
FlyingSpur is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:54   #12
Distinguished - BHPian
 
FlyingSpur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 3,937
Thanked: 1,331 Times
Default Closing Comments

Difficult to sum it up. At the end of the session, they showed us a comparison chart which had spec comparisons of the Aria (excluding price and dimensions), Innova, Fortuner, Endeavour and a couple other cars from that segment. Which is a dead giveaway that they're pricing it up there, or atleast somewhere close to 18 lacs. Which is a bad move. I don't think Tata has the brand equity to pull this off at that price point.

BUT where would I price this one? With all equipment, I'd say 15 lacs tops. Because beyond that, it's competing with players that are FAR more established, products that actually give you a feel of having arrived. This doesn't.

And compared to the Innova?

Shoot me for saying this, but I'd definitely say it eats the Innova, in terms of comfort, drive, equipment, everything. If they were priced similarly, I would never buy an Innova over this, except if third row seating was a critical deciding factor. I sat with the second row completely pushed back, but I'm quite sure that there would never be enough space for a 5'8"+ adult to get in there (you may consider this as a limitation of my quick review).

But they're NOT going to price it near the Innova. I'd love to eat my words, but that comparo sheet was a dead giveaway. And that's why I feel Tata is making a bit of a mistake here. It's all going to boil down to pricing.
FlyingSpur is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 00:57   #13
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Newest capital
Posts: 382
Thanked: 828 Times
Default

A detailed first impression ,liked your style.my queries are 1)Did you notice how many km was on the odo? 2) was the engine noise so high that it was bothersome or was it like a typical CRDI sound? 3) how was vehicle feel from the steering was it light and agile, quick to change direction? 4) any body sounds like resonance at certain rpms like in safari or rattles when going over bad patches or expansion joints? 5) was it a 2wd or 4wd? Thanks

Last edited by damodar : 12th August 2010 at 01:04.
damodar is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 01:02   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
Amartya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Evanston
Posts: 1,699
Thanked: 376 Times
Default

Can't thank you enough for sharing your feedback. I hope Tata Motors uses this feedback carefully. The dead pedal omission is a serious blunder, I hope they fix that before the launch.

One quick question, was this version the AWD version?
Edit: I really like the looks of the Aria, but didn't like the ARIA badge (the font, the spacing between letters, both)

Last edited by Amartya : 12th August 2010 at 01:04.
Amartya is offline  
Old 12th August 2010, 01:11   #15
Distinguished - BHPian
 
FlyingSpur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 3,937
Thanked: 1,331 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbu64 View Post
IIMHO Innova is miles ahead and if Tata wants to give serious competition then the pricing better be good...
I would pick this over the Innova if priced similarly. But this car has apparently been designed for a segment higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinj12 View Post
That is one exhaustive and keen observation you have made. I guess you would give a go ahead for this?
Thank you. Made it a point to record all these observations with them, I can only hope they listen. And yes, I "approve" of the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coldice4u View Post
Hope you managed to get high-res pics of the interiors/exteriors.
Not really. Sorry 'bout that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backrub View Post
So if they are to take up seriously with their survey, we will get a fine tuned Indian Machine
I sure hope they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
Great review. Seems impressive. I think it might just end up selling well if priced right. It will offer great VFM and segment first features. The wind noise on the sealink could be because of crosswinds.
My Indica V2 would have had as much wind noise, probably higher, right? This was not the ordinary stuff. Quite audible and intrusive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coldice4u View Post
A few queries.
1. How was the rear seat comfort?
2. Did the TD route include any broken roads?
3. How was the high speed stability?
1. Very good, slightly flat seats but I didn't find much to compain about. Under thigh support is something I've never understood because my feet are just too big for any car.

2. Oh yes, it did. One of the worst patches these days, infact. The Reclamation entry / exit section for the Sealink. Quite absorbent.

3. Good, but not confidence inspiring. Or maybe I'm spoilt by the 320d.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
Nice review. I did not like the way it looks though. Maybe I have to see that in person. Rear A/C vents are a welcome anytime.
Thanks Pervez. Apart from the vents on the B-pillars, there are also central AC vents for the middle row like in the Laura etc. Those are a little small, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by backrub View Post
Is it using dual compressors or is it using just a blower in the B pillars, If using a second compressor (which I understood from the review), wont that be too much of a load on the engine and invite unwanted complications.
Dual compressor. Maybe that's what hampered the power delivery a bit.

Quote:
How does Innova's dual cooler works? Is that just a blower or a different compressor
Again, my guess is a dual compressor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by damodar View Post
A detailed first impression ,liked your style.my queries are 1)Did you notice how many km was on the odo? 2) was the engine noise so high that it was bothersome or was it like a typical CRDI sound? 3) how was vehicle feel from the steering was it light and agile, quick to change direction? 4) any body sounds like resonance or rattles when going over bad patches or expansion joints? Thanks
Thanks damodar. I'm no Yeti though.

1. No, I did not. My bad.

2. It was a typical CRDi sound which was a little bothersome Actually the only diesel noise I really like is, well, the 320d. And the Verna too, actually.

3. Quite light and agile, yes. But did not weigh up at high speeds, which was slightly unnerving.

4. Oh yesssssss, thanks for reminding me.The most pleasing observation. Apart from one tiny, barely audible rattle from the rear windscreen / rear pillar area, absolutely none. I'm sorry I missed this in my review. Mighty impressive for a Tata.

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 12th August 2010 at 01:18.
FlyingSpur is offline  
Closed Thread


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Safety features in lower variants of B2, C1 & C2 segment cars zenren The Indian Car Scene 36 12th November 2014 02:59
Tata Aria Exterior Grilled: DeINDICAization of the Aria bravo82in Modifications & Accessories 27 26th October 2013 18:33
EDIT: Now Launched :All New Honda city (Indian version)-full specs & features . sidindica The Indian Car Scene 670 21st May 2011 03:51
New Nissan Micra : Full details & specs. EDIT - Launch on 14th July! sidindica The Indian Car Scene 374 28th June 2010 17:34
New I20 1.2 variants to be added soon - Full features details sidindica The Indian Car Scene 285 27th May 2010 23:45


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:24.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks