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Old 13th January 2018, 15:26   #1
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Thumbs up Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report

Background
It was in April 2010 that I got a chance to go to Manali with a few of my friends. We decided to hire bikes from a local bike rental shop in order to roam around the place and go to see Kullu, Manikaran, Kasol and every boy's dream in northern India, Rohtang Pass. Tata Nano had just been launched in 2009, and while we started on our way from Manali to Rohtang, we saw a yellow Tata Nano driving on the way near Manali. We did not expect to see it go all the way up to Rohtang Pass and moved along making fun of the guy. After a long drive up to the pass, we enjoyed a cup of Tea and a plate of hot Maggi and enjoyed playing in the snow. While there, the weather grew rough and we decided that after a while we will begin our descent back to Manali. Just before we were to leave, we saw the same yellow Tata Nano climb up all the way to Rohtang Pass. It had a Haryana state registration number, and the person who was driving it came out in shorts and t-shirt, asking the shop owner if he could get Warm Clothes on rent from some shop up there as it was freezing cold. We all started to laugh at him. He continued that inside the car he had heater on, so did not need to wear warm clothes. Now due to the weather getting rough, most of the other shop owners had closed their stalls and left for their homes, it was afternoon already. Finally we decided to start back for Manali, but the sight of the humble Nano reaching all the way to Rohtang Pass really left a lasting impression on my mind.

I had been taking test drives of Tata Nano to buy it as my first car since 2012. So, when the time came to think of buying my first car, I wanted to buy the cheapest most pocket friendly, practical and fun car that can take me almost anywhere and servicing should not be much of a hassle as well. Even though I was in love with the small car, I was waiting for it to become more and more practical and city friendly for my use. Then came the flash floods of June 2013, and it's repercussions were even felt in Thatyur (Tehri Garhwal) of Uttarakhand where I lived and worked at that time. The roads were washed away in some places, and the ones which were left and cut out again to regain connectivity, were all rocky and needed a car with a good ground clearance. Then came an epic moment, when I dozed off while riding my bike from Mussoorie to Dehradun in the later part of June 2013. I had had very less sleep the previous night, it had rained till about an hour ago from when I left from Mussoorie. The winding roads got me dizzy and sleepy and finally I dozed off. When I opened my eyes, I was going to hit the mountainous side of the road, and so I applied both the brakes and skidded and fell on my right side. My left hand held to the handlebar long enough to develop a hairline crack but nothing major. Thanks to my wearing my helmet and faux leather jacket etc., and very little vehicular traffic around where I fell, I escaped without any scratches, and with just that hairline fracture.

All this made my reason to buy my very own first car very compelling. My father agreed to be my co-guaranter, and I got in touch with my salary account SBI Bank and got looking for the best vehicle to suit my requirements. I came to know that Nano will be launched with a Power Steering in January 2014, and I waited till then to submit the price quote and brochure to my bank for approving my loan. Getting the loan approved took some time, but eventually on 30th January my bank manager called me to approve my loan.

Alternatives Considered
Maruti Suzuki Alto800 - Was put off due to the lower ground clearance, no fog lamps provision, at the price of the base model of Alto800, I was getting a fully loaded Nano.

Hyundai Eon - Comparatively expensive. The only model with Driver side Airbag was costing upward of 4 Lakhs, and I was not ready to spend that much for my first car.

Tata Nano Twist XT - VFM offering. Has Power Steering, Front Power Windows, Bluetooth enabled Music System with 4 speakers, Front Fog Lamps, Boot Cover, excellent Mileage, 180mm Ground Clearance, Remote Central Locking, the top model costs a shade over the base model price of Maruti Alto800.

Complete Booking and Delivery Experience with the Dealership
I booked my car with a deposit of Rs.5000 by cheque and my car came in the first lot by around 24th of January, IIRC. I informed my SA that I will come on 1st February 2014 to pick up my Nano. Back then I did not read TBHP much, and had no idea what doing a PDI means. I went to the showroom (Ess Ell Automobiles, Dehradun) on 1st of February 2014 morning, and around noon, my car was in front of me after the cleaning etc. ready to be delivered. The delivery formalities took another hour or so, and by about 2PM I was out of the showroom and to my way home. I was given a box of Cadbury's chocolates, 2 sets of Keys, the duplicate has a metal tag attached with the key number on it, the main key has the Remote Central Locking fob in it. Unfortunately, after less than an year of buying my car from them, the Showroom closed down and so did their Service Centre.

On-Road Price and Discounts
The ex-showroom Price was Rs.2,40,310/-, with the On-Road Price amounting to Rs.2,69,000/-. Being a new launch, I wasn't given any discounts. But instead, the SA promised to give me free Mud Flaps, rubber Floor Mats, cloth Seat Covers (with seat back pockets behind the front seats) and basic Car Cover. I did not buy any accessories from them. The car already had a factory fitted Music System, front Fog Lamps and front Power Windows. I was very happy with my purchase.

Extended Warranties and Service Packages
I was given an option to buy Extended Warranty for 4 years for my car, I do not remember the exact amount now after all these years. The car had 3 free services. I also took Teflon Coating Gold Package and Anti-Rust Underbody Coating from the showroom during my delivery. The cost of Teflon and Anti-Rust was extra at the time of the First Free Servicing.

Engine Type and Variant
I opted for the, then top of the line, Tata Nano Twist XT. It has a 624cc 2 Cylinder BS-IV MPFI Petrol engine, producing 38PS of power and 51NM of torque.

Good and Bad about it's Features
Good Points - Excellent Mileage, Peppy performer, better than doing long drives on a two wheeler (no offence to bike enthusiasts), long list of features, covered boot space (many people still do not believe that Nano actually had a boot space inside), ample ground clearance, excellent manoeuvrability in tight parking spots.

Bad Points - No 3 point seat belts for rear passengers, earlier versions had Day/Night IRVM, no ABS (all such lightweight cars with thin puny tires should have ABS at the least for panic braking situations), earlier versions had Rear Fog Lamp as well, would have loved an engine with more power (probably Nano800 or Nano1000).

Safety and Related Equipment
Tata Nano does not boast of many safety features. It is supposed to have Side Intrusion Beams, Frontal Crash Protection, 3 Point ELR Seat Belts up front, Lap Belts at the rear and that's about it. No Airbags, no ABS, no EBD, no Rear View Camera or Parking Assist as well.

Number of Kilometers at the time of the Review
I have done 37K+ kilometers in these 4 years, on hilly climbs, national highways and state highways. Even driven over kuchha (unpaved) roads and done some off-roading as well (trying to get adventurous).

Usage Pattern
When I bought my car my usage pattern for the first 1.5 years was 3Kms daily drive on kuchha roads and 100Km one way drives on hilly hairpins on the weekends to my home and back on Monday for duty.

After 1.5 years, the pattern changed to 2Km daily drive on steep incline to and from my workplace, and alternate weekend drive of 60Kms one way down and up the mountain to my home.

Since last January (2017), my driving pattern is 6Kms daily drive on metalled national highway road to and from work and occasional drive on the weekends mostly on plain roads and less of hilly roads now.

Comments on Exterior Styling and Design
Like many people, I was also very eager to see how will Tata Motors make a 1 lakh rupee car, and I have seen the earlier prototype images in auto magazines. On seeing the car in person I am in awe of the amount of space inside due to the Egg Shaped design and engine at the back.

I love the plain exteriors, they are aerodynamic, functional, easy to maintain. I love the Egg Shell design. It has liberated so much leg room and head room that I have never had anyone complain in my car that my head is banging against the roof or my knees are constantly touching the dash board or front seat back.

Overall Build Quality, Fit and Finish, Paint Quality and Panel GAps
Build Quality is okay. Seriously at this price point one just want to have a commuter to go from point A to B, no high expectations. But in these 4 years, I do not have any rattling interiors and I love that. I have an engineer friend in Mahindra, and he asks me every year when we meet if my car has any rattles or squeaks, but the God's grace, nothing like that.

I am satisfied with the fit and finish of the dashboard, the door pockets, etc. No sharp plastic corners are visible. The steering feels small, but that adds to the fun quotient while making tight turns or driving in the hills. As mentioned elsewhere in this review, the top portion of the steering had started to ship off after being in the sun most of the time, and that was rectified by putting up a Steering Cover on top.

Paint Quality is good. I love the vibrant colours Nano comes in. Mine is Dazzle Blue. While many other colours had Beige interiors, Dazzle Blue had Black interiors, which I loved the most.

Panel Gaps are there and very prominent at some places, but as long as there is no leakage inside my car during the monsoons, I am okay with them. As it is, I sit inside my car and drive, and how these gaps looks from outside is not my concern.

Wheels and Tyres
The car has 12" 135/70 tyres up front and 155/70 tyres at the back. The spare wheel is 135/70 R12 size. Mine has Steel Wheels with Full Wheel Caps. Alloy wheels were optional extras and I did not buy them.

Interior Design and Quality
When inside, it feels like any other car and not like an autorickshaw like how many people imagine Nano's interiors to be. The Speedometer console is in the middle, and is not very easy to read under direct sunlight, but is easily visible to all the passengers from all the seats. The glove boxes alhough not very deep are a practical touch, the door pockets are deep enough and present on every door. The only Bottle/Cup Holder is present in front of the Gear Lever, under the dashboard, and can handle a 1-1.5L bottle easily. It is tilted, so not a good place to hold a Cup filled with coffee etc. Plastics are hard and tactile, but who touches them on every journey anyway?

Interior Space and Comfort
The Egg Shell design has liberated a lot of space inside the cabin. Even though Nano is smaller than Alto800, it still has more interior volume and it shows. There is no lack of Leg Space or Head Space and people of all shapes and sizes can fit in. The seating is high and road view is good and wide. The A-pillars obstruct your view, and many a times I have had a close call around tight corners because of the obstructive A-Pillars. Rear visibility is adequate. The windows at the rear also roll down almost 95% and give an airy feel to the rear occupants. Long distance journeys get a little tiresome due to thin seat cushions, but the car keeps going on without a sweat. Road noise is present at high speeds, but the auto rickshaw like engine noise turns into a nice thrumm once all windows are closed and the engine is revved for driving. In fact I love the sports car like engine noise from behind my car with the windows rolled up.

Front seats are narrow, and due to the compact proportions of the car, two full sized adults often end up shouldering each other, especially when both try to take off their seat-belts after their journey or during driving on the hills.

Driving Position and Ergonomics
Driving Position is good. It is high and you can see the road ahead clearly. As the instrument cluster is in the middle, so the driver can see what's ahead of him more clearly. Single Wiper for cost cutting leaves a big area of the wind screen uncleaned and reduces visibility during monsoons or driving during snowfall. Though the Owner's Manual mentions that Nano has Lane Change Indicator, I have never been able to use that, probably older versions may have had it. The wiper and light stalks are thick and of solid plastic.

MID shows Average Fuel Economy (AFE), Distance to Empty (DTE), Trip Meter and Odometer. No dual Trip Meter or Gear Change Indicator or Ambient Temperature Display present. AFE also resets when resetting the Trip Meter. It usually shows the correct reading. I have gone maximum till 50Km left on DTE, but by then the Reserve Light starts blinking and I usually now top up when I have about 70-80KM left on DTE.

Visibility and Size of Mirrors
Rear visibility is adequate. IRVM lacks Day/Night function and is narrow. ORVMs have good visibility, though they do create Blind Spots on the highways.

Air Conditioner Cooling and Effectiveness
Tata cars are known for their AC cooling, and the tiny size of Nano's cabin is no different. The AC is a chiller and does not take a lot of time to cool the cabin. I think the fact that AC's compressor and fan being in the front of the car, while the engine's radiator and engine are at the back helps in this too. All 4 vents can be shut off completely and can be rotated 360 degrees to channel the flow of air to anywhere in the car.

Audio System and Sound Quality
I am not an audiophile, and the music system at just 5 or 7 level is adequate for me. The sound quality from OEM speakers is okay for my use. The system has options for USB, Aux-In and a single Bluetooth phone at a time. To add another phone, the master phone has to be deleted and then the new phone has to be paired. Pairing is fairly easy. Muting the song while playing over bluetooth pauses the song as well. The mic for bluetooth telephony is not very clear to other people, but I hardly drive while talking now and use the car music system for music purpose only.

Interior Storage, Practicality and Boot Space
The covered storage spaces on the dashboard are fairly okay, should have been deeper. Having a closable lid makes a whole lot of difference. The door pockets are narrow and deep, they can not hold even a 200ml water bottle. No rear pocket behind front seats, but I have them in my seat covers. Rear Parcel Tray is a good addition, keeps the luggage covered. It does hamper the luggage carrying capability, but it can be removed and tucked away at the back to liberate more boot space and keep things which would not fit otherwise. The 80L boot space can carry a small strolley and a backpack at the most, but if you need to use the car to haul luggage, just fold the rear seat and you get enough flat space to load it to the gills, but through the rear doors only, boot did not have a hatch till when I bought my car.

Any other Unique or noteworthy points about the interiors
None that I can remember as of now.

Engine Performance and Driveability in the City
The engine is good for a city runabout. Peppy performer with 4-5 people on board with AC as well. Gives me about 20-21KMPL in the city with AC on most of the times.

Engine Performance and Driveability on the Highway
On the highway you have to be cautious when planning to overtake as the engine needs time to build up speed when fully loaded. But it can go all the way up to 110KMPH even after the engine cuts off at 105 due to the gained momentum. Crosswinds unsettle the car at highway speeds and so I would advice everyone to be careful. Brakes are not that confidence inspiring, and so refrain from racing on the highway, as there is no ABS or EBD to help you in panic braking and you may end up hitting/killing something/someone and injuring/killing yourself as well. Highway mileage even with AC goes up to 25-27KMPL.

Additional Comments on the Engine
It is a 2 cylinder engine. Not very refined, no turbocharging, not very revv happy when the car is fully loaded. Does the job and gives you miles and miles of smiles.

Overall Opinion on the Engine
A small and yet powerful engine for a lightweight car to take it up the hills and down the highways without breaking a sweat. No problems while starting it on a snowy day either.

Gearshift and Clutch
It has a 4 speed gearbox. The 1st gear is very powerfull but I have heard that the earlier BS3 model had even more power in it's first gear. Reverse Gear lacks power when compared to this, and sometimes you may not be able to go back in reverse on a steep incline when fully loaded unlike in other vehicles while driving on the hills. Gets problematic at that time. Clutch is not too tight. Gear shifts were smooth initially, but now after 4 years slotting into first gear takes some effort sometimes.

Overall NVH Levels
NVH is okay with the windows rolled up, even though road noise creeps in at higher speeds along with the tyre noise. The cabin is quiet enough for regular conversation with the windows all the way up, but needs a little effort when windows are rolled down.

Fuel Efficiency in City and Highway
Already mentioned above in Engine Performance and Driveability.

Suspension and Ride Quality
The suspension is on the softer side. Road undulations are absorbed with ease. Potholes and speed breakers are not a problem due to the high ground clearance. Even during rainy days no issues during water logging or crossing small streams etc.

Handling etc.
Small turning radius and EPAS make city driving and parking in tight spots pretty easy. I have got rear parking sensors installed, they further add to the ease of parking in the city. The steering is light at city speeds and weighs up at 80KMPH. Feels nice and solid when cruising above 80KMPH on the highways. Crosswinds unsettle the car, or when a big (read Volvo) bus or truck overtakes you, then you can feel the winds unsettling your ride. Puny little thin tyres do not provide adequate road grip for stopping at highway speeds, and so maintain a comfortable and safe speed on the highway. Body Roll is very much present on the hilly roads and while taking turns at speeds. Turning Radius is small and helps quite a lot in the city or while taking U-Turns.

Steering
Size is small, but helps when out on the hilly turns. No cut outs for placing your thumbs. It has a 3 spoke urethane steering and the horn pad is easily pressable from 3 and 9 O'Clock positions. No activity at 6 O'Clock position though.

Braking
Now this is the dangerous part. It does not have Disc brakes at all, neither in the front nor at the back. The drum brakes, though are adequate at times, become dangerous when going downhill and on repeated braking. The master cylinder tends to loose it's vacuum and brakes start failing. I have explained how this gets dangerous in the explanation below. Also, on panic braking, the car looses it's grip and slides towards to obstacle, rather than avoiding it. Wheels should have had more grip and ABS would have helped a lot in such tricky situations.

Ground Clearance
One of the best part of owning a Nano is that you can drive it over any speed bump or through pot-holes or drive it on uneven grounds without worrying about scraping the underbelly, because of it's more than enough 180mm ground clearance. I have got so much used to this G.C. that in my next vehicle I have made it a top priority to have a G.C. of 180mm or more.

Any Particular Likes
The front windscreen is huge, so it gives a nice view of the road along with high seating position. The front tyres and very near the driver's foot, so it is easier to estimate how much to turn in case of tight parking situations and while manoeuvring in the city. At the price point, most VFM car. I had to get parking sensors installed later on when my wife started learning to drive my car, otherwise I always managed even without them. Good overall visibility. Compact dimensions. Fun to drive. I especially like that once you are inside the vehicle, the interiors are very much car like, and there is no compromise to keep the costs in check. Ample head room and leg room.

Any Particular Dislikes
Boot wasn't openable till when I bought my car. Tata could have made the engine turbocharged or something to get more power from this small engine to give a more peppy drive. No Airbags, ABS etc. More than once I have been in situations on rainy days and mountain roads when on panic braking, the car started to slide towards the obstacle rather than stopping there and I really felt the need to have ABS in small light-weight cars with thin tyres. I still would buy a Nano if Tata motors brought it out with Airbags, ABS, Crash reinforcements and a slightly more powerful engine with AMT. The single windshield wiper does not clear all the screen and leaves blind spots in rains and snow. Also, I do feel shortchanged a bit by Tata Motors now, knowing that the previous versions had Day/Night IRVM, rear Fog Lamp and rear 3 Point Seat Belts (saw this in the Owner's Manual). Even after buying the top end model of that time, these important safety features were omitted in order to keep the price rise at bay.

Any Niggles Problems or Parts Replaced
Being a cheap car, parts are easy to replace on your pocket. In these 4 years, I have had the Brake Shoes changed about 3-4 times, 2 pairs of front tyres changed, and 1 pair of rear tyres changed. The windshield needs to be replaced due to a crack incurred in December 2016, still running with it. The hose pipe connecting Coolant box to the radiator got changed in Feb this year. Had developed a crack and coolant was leaking every time I shut the car. The Service Centre was kind enough to send the parts to my home place and replace them under AMC free of cost along with 3 Litres of coolant. Noticed yesterday (6th March 2018) that the HMSL has stopped working and will need to be changed now. Rest all the lights are stock units and running perfectly for the past 4 years.

Cost of Upkeep and Maintenance
Since after the free services, I take my car for servicing once in 6-8 months now. I get the car serviced and take AMC, which covers 2 services, and my next service becomes almost free. Service and AMC set me back by about 4-5K, but a lot of replacement and labour becomes free for me.

[My review post on MouthShut.com from 2014]

I bought my Tata Nano Twist XT on 1st February 2014. Have driven it for almost 1700 Kms now and got the 1st service done at 1500Kms (it was supposed to be done at 1000 Kms but I was caught up some place).

I have noticed, and my dealer has also reported other owners complaining about this, that there is some noise filtering in from the instrument panel (as if a small plastic piece is jumping around in a hollow space). Also, my use is mainly in hilly regions of Mussoorie and beyond and my little car faces problem climbing uphill in reverse gears if there are 2 or more passengers, though I had heard that a car's reverse gear is as strong as (and sometimes even stronger than) the 1st gear. Also, as I drive mostly alone in the hills (not yet Married;-), I notice a lot of body roll going around corners at over 40 Km/H.

Apart from this, I have not noticed anything negative. The space inside is amazing. I feel that our WagonR is more cramped now when I sit in it after spending the whole week in my Nano. It is quite tall, has a good ground clearance, the seats are nice and comfortable, it has a host of creature comforts to pamper you at such a small price. My car cost me Rs.2, 68, 174 (on-road Dehradun, Uttarakhand). It has a RFID Tag for Automated Tolls on the windscreen, it has Bluetooth Connectivity for my phone along with USB and Aux-in in the integrated Music System, it has Distance To Empty (DTE), Average Fuel Efficiency (AFE), Remote Operated Central Locking, it has factory fitted everything, and I did not have to spend a penny on anything else as could not find anything more I wanted in my car.

I get a mileage of around 17-19 KMPL in Hills and almost above 14 KMPL even on steep incline roads. I get about 18-21 KMPL in Plains and I am very happy with my car. Our Wagon R (2005 model) gives 13-15 KMPL in city and >17 KMPL on highways. The ride quality is good, except for the body rolls. The music system has a nice sound quality and the Radio is capable of catching the Radio stations airing from New Delhi in my village even though it is not available through other cars' audio systems in my area. The 2nd gear is tall enough for 20-60 KMPH and the 3rd good from 30-90 KMPH. I hardly need to use my clutch during braking, unless of course during a hard-braking. The car picks up effortlessly from braking to driving speeds without the use of clutch.

I have had the privilege of driving my car through snow-filled roads during this February snowfall in and around Mussoorie-Dhanaulti and it has never failed me anywhere. Being a rear wheel drive car, the front wheels steer effortlessly through snow and frost while the rear wheels push this tiny wonder forward. People stare at my car as it moves past them in the hills. Tata has done a marvelous job in making this little wonder, and it is appreciable. The place I work in was hit during the disaster last June (2013), and so the roads are not very good now. And the 180mm ground clearance is a boon in such a place when I have to drive through potholes, rocks protruding from the road surface, unpaved (kutcha) roads etc. The in-built fog lamps (a feature missing even from the top of the line Alto 800) are also a good feature while I had to drive through foggy conditions and clouds (in the hills).

Overall, my experience with my car has been a pleasurable one. The service intervals are at 1000Kms, 10000 Kms, 20000Kms and 30000 Kms. I got an AMC done during purchasing this vehicle for Rs.3200, so my Oil and Labour charges are free for 4 years. As freebies, I got floor-mats, mud-flaps, body cover and seat covers.

I would encourage anyone who likes this car but is not buying it under pressure from others to ignore their advice and go ahead to buy it. I had a lot of opposition from my friends and family too. Even my family was against my decision to buy a Nano, but when we went for a test-drive as a family with the Sales guy (and trust me 3/4 of us are heavy built and 1/4 is thin and even the sales guy was a little on the heavier side) and the car pulled off with the 5 of us on board with ease in the city. I have travelled with 4 people on board along with enough luggage (all 4 of us and the luggage would have weighed around 350-400Kgs that day) in the hills, and I have not noticed any problems except for the weak reverse gear that I have mentioned before.

As a city car, I am sure that it will not fail you. In the hills, if you drive carefully and know the limits of your car, I am sure you will keep out of trouble and this car will take you from point A to point B in all comfort and safety from the forces of nature. All in all, if you like this car, go for it. If you do not like it, you will always find something or the other to complain for. So, you can either love it or hate it for what it is, and that will affect your buying decision more than anyone else's opinion. Most people will advice you against it, even when they have not ever taken a test drive of this car. I would advise you to take a test drive and convince yourself, then only can you convince others as I was able to.

Unluckily, after about 7-8 months that showroom closed down, and since then I have been getting my car serviced at the only other showroom cum service centre in Dehradun, Oberai Motors, near Dehradun ISBT (bus stand).

[UPDATE on Driving Experience, Comfort, Features, What I Like, What I Don't Like etc.]
DRIVING EXPERIENCE
Even though Nano has a puny little engine, it drives well in the city. When fully loaded, it does take a while to gain good speed, but otherwise if there are just 1-2 people on board, it moves just fine even with the AC on. Yes the tyres are small, road undulations can be felt inside, but the suspension is soft. In fact, my family says that they feel better in my Nano on uneven stretches near our house, than in my father's Baleno, due to the stiffer setup in Baleno. Road Noise filters in when going in high speeds, and the factory fitted music system tries it's best to keep them in check. Unlike other Bluetooth enabled music systems, the system in Nano only pairs to 1 phone. In order to pair another phone, you need to unpair the current phone by long pressing the Call Disconnect (RED HANDSET) button and then proceed to pair a new phone. I have done around 3-4 Dehradun Delhi trips on my Nano with my family, and I have touched 110KMPH on the Speedo before the engine cuts off, only on open straight road stretches. I got a mileage of about 27+ while on my highway trips.

COMFORT
Though it is marketed and registered as a 4 seater car, Nano can fit in 5 people or 4 people and a child (without seatbelts). I have even taken 4 adults, 1 teenager and an 8 year old once for about a 80 kilometer round trip without a hiccup. No one complained of lack of head or leg room, or heat coming in from the engine bay at the back seat, or lack of AC cooling in the rear seat. Yes, when I do go on highway drives to Delhi, I have to keep a small neck pillow below my lower back, as it starts paining after a few hours on road, due to the thin seats. And while driving on the hills, there is a lot of body roll making the journey tiresome, but it is still better than driving in your bike, and you are protected from nature's fury. 4 speaker music system is good enough, closed lid glove boxes in the front, door pockets and rear boot cover provide ample storage spaces, though a 1 or 1.5 litre water bottle can only be kept in the large cup holder in front of the gear lever. The front seat back does not recline a lot as in other cars, and so it can not be used for sleeping when the car is parked, but the rear seat back can be folded down flat to have a huge luggage space. I have a lot of stuff, and I used my Nano to shift most of it in cardboard boxes when I moved from Mussoorie to Dehradun, people most often underestimate the amount of stuff that can be moved in a Nano.

FEATURES
I had the top model back in 2014, it has AC, e-PAS (Electronic Power Assisted Steering), Front Power Windows, Amphistream Music System with USB/Aux/Bluetooth and 4 Speakers (2 in front and 2 at the back), Front Fog Lamps, 180mm Ground Clearance, etc. People asked me why Tata Nano when at a slightly more price I could get an Alto 800. My answer was, at 2.69 Lacs (on-road) I am getting a fully loaded variant of Tata Nano with so many features, while the Alto range started at 2.65 Lacs (ex-showroom) with no power steering, no fog lamp provision, no power windows, lower ground clearance etc. So, for me Tata Nano was more VFM than Alto 800. Moreover, my running was on unpaved mountain roads back then, and this was a much safer bet than Alto 800 considering all the features.

[UPDATE in February 2018]

I completed 4 years with my Twist XT on 1st of Feb. I have covered a little over 37000 kilometres in these 4 years. Have not faced any major issue in my vehicle. The windshield got cracked in Dec 2016, we're still using it as it is, the crack has increased, but the windshield is holding on for now. I had opted for 4 years extended warranty, which expired on 31st Jan 2018. No major ownership hassles till now. In this meanwhile I have got married and now have an 9 months old son, the Child Seat fits in the rear bench with the lap belt provided. I may keep my car for another 1 year or so, before upgrading to something bigger and safer. Hats off to Tata Motors for bringing out a product like Tata Nano. Wish they could give it safer body, active and passive safety features, bigger and powerful engine, and relaunch it on a newer platform. I'd still buy it again if it fits all these criteria. I wanted to change mine for an XTA last year, but refrained.

[UPDATE on Problems faced in these 4 years of ownership]
Even though these 4 years have been uneventful by God's grace, but still there were times when I really did question my decision of buying a car with no safety features to boast. As I have mentioned, I used to live in a village and had to traverse through a hilly route every week to come home and get back to my workplace. While going downhill, many a times it has happened that the front brakes would become very hot and the brakes would fail and the brake pedal would get spongy. It all got better after keeping the vehicle standing for a few minutes and letting the brakes cool down. Especially when I had to use the brake a lot, maybe due to steep inclined road shortcuts or slow moving traffic ahead of me. In such cases I had to use my hand-brake to maintain my deceleration while trying to stop. And due to this overheating of brake shoes up ahead, twice my tyre's wheel cap came off from the front right tyre as they rim had become very hot, and the plastic on the wheel cap melted and could not hold the wheel cap in place and it rolled off the vehicle.

The worst was when we were leaving for my wedding (October 2015) from Dehradun to New Delhi, and due to the odd even rule being in place, we started late in the afternoon from Dehradun. Papa Mummy were in Papa's WagonR, and my sister and I were in my Nano. We got stuck up in a jam in Mohand hills. I had just got the car serviced a week before and had specifically asked the service person to check the brake shoes because I had this long drive coming up. In the jam in the hills, the brake shoes got heated up. I took it to be normal heating as most of the route after Dehradun is downhill in that area. But around Roorkee, my brakes started failing again and I had to use the hand brake to stop. It was late evening and most of the car workshops had closed down. Finally we found 1 shop near Muzaffarnagar, and he opened the brakes and showed that the brake shoes had worn off completely and he did not have Nano's brake shoes. So we decided to drive real slow on the highway till New Delhi using just the hand brake and reached quite late at night. All this while my heart was pumping so hard, imagine getting in an accident on the way to your marriage! Before returning from New Delhi my cousin took the car to a local garage to get the brake shoes changed, and it did not create any fuss on the way back home, but I was really in for a surprise on that journey.

Another change I have noticed in these 4 years is that the steering has started to chip off from the top, the portion which is in sunlight most of the time, so now I have put a wheel cover on top and a steering knob as well, and that has sorted my problem out for the moment.

The water spray for the wiper is really limited and does not clean the windscreen much, and I prefer to keep a bottle of water to clean the windscreen when in need.

Apart from this I have never had any problem in my car. The light bulbs, switches etc. are all original till now. No change in quality or breakage noted. Engine is still running good, good mileage. No other problems to report. Keep going for regular service and check-ups, and all is well till now.

Some pics:-
Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report-264533_660516773989977_1250860691_n.jpg
Meri Nano ghar aayi...


Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report-1743470_660517003989954_1468193_n.jpg
My father admiring the new car. Notice our old WagonR behind the Nano. I was surprised to see the height difference etc.

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Nano's First Snow Ride

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Nano gets her own snowman! :-)

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Posing in a mountain river

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Another angle

Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report-10559940_758908257484161_7562596827240958500_n.jpg
I really loved working in these hills and taking her to the off beaten roads once in a while

Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report-10612907_758908377484149_6205215425593388404_n.jpg
The 180mm ground clearance was a boon in that terrain.

Last edited by AdityaDeane : 7th March 2018 at 10:29. Reason: Adding more details about my ownership experience
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Old 8th March 2018, 08:13   #2
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Default Re: Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Long-term Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th March 2018, 13:08   #3
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Default Re: Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report

Excellent stuff. Unbeknownst to many, the Nano can take a lot of abuse and still come up trumps.
My wife owns an AMT variant and she swears by it. Ingress, Egress, Air-conditioning performance, fuel efficiency, Manouverability, the Nano is hard to beat.

It can do serious long hauls as well. We shifted from Chennai to Kolkata and I drove down, all of 1700 kms in the Nano, rear seats tipped forward and the Nano crammed to the roof with luggage and other household stuff. Not for a moment did she falter. A steady 80-85kmph with AC continuosly running in the searing summer heat; returned an impressive 21 kmpl on the highways.
What we like about the Nano is it's simplicity and single minded purpose of offering basic transportation.
It never professed to being a Ferrari or a Rolls - Royce, and it is this singularity of purpose which she fulfills brilliantly.
Yes, many people have slammed the Nano for unending number of reasons and yes, the product could have been even better with a slightly bigger engine and disc brakes in front but I guess the negative publicity and the general aversion of people to be seen in the "world's cheapest car" did not build up a strong enough business case for Bombay House to invest in the Little One's upgradation.

How significant and disruptive the Nano was to the small car segment w.r.t. automotive engineering and frugal engineering, can be judged from the fact that modern day interpretations such as the Renault KWID , Datsun Redigo etc blatantly copied the L'il One and fixed the bad bits to create their own respective small cars.

And now the Nano is dead. Long live the Nano.
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Old 8th March 2018, 14:16   #4
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Congratulations on getting the perfect vehicle. I wanted to opt for XTA (3.69 L On road), but the FE fluctuations of the petrol engine along with the highway capability made me opt for the Figo Base 1.5D (6.17 L on road).

Had Tata improved the car to this level before launching, it would have been a hit. They chose to get fixated on the 1 Lakh tag which alone contributed to the downfall.

Even now if Tata folks plan to give Nano an 800 cc engine, disc brakes and 14" tires while keeping the premium to the minimum, Nano will be a hit.

But they have chosen to kill the Nano brand instead!

Last edited by COMMUTER : 8th March 2018 at 14:20.
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Old 8th March 2018, 14:34   #5
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Originally Posted by arjab View Post
Excellent stuff. Unbeknownst to many, the Nano can take a lot of abuse and still come up trumps.
My wife owns an AMT variant and she swears by it. Ingress, Egress, Air-conditioning performance, fuel efficiency, Manouverability, the Nano is hard to beat.

And now the Nano is dead. Long live the Nano.
I have a similar experience with the AMT variant, have two models in my family. One is a July 2015 model done 11000km used by me and the other a Dec 2016 with 8600km on the ODO. After experiencing the joy of owning it for a year, I bought the second one for my father in Delhi. He was utterly skeptical about NANO and also TATA service. But today he can't think of owning any other car for his usage pattern and inspite of my advice both my parents did a trip to Jaipur in this little gem.
The toughest part for the Genx nano was in making people believe that it's a totally different iteration from the initial model. But ask any of the owners of this version if they would like to get rid of it, no way!
It maybe dead now but will comeback in EV mode and I will be the first in line to buy it.
In today's worsening urban traffic scenario anything more is an overkill.

Last edited by damodar : 8th March 2018 at 14:46.
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Old 8th March 2018, 16:33   #6
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It maybe dead now but will comeback in EV mode and I will be the first in line to buy it.
Me too if it gives a better range than E2O Plus and TMIL or Jayem give it the much required safety upgrades as well. I do not understand why Indian car makers can not bring in REEVs (Range Extending EVs) like Tata MegaPixel as a more practical solution to the current EV problem till the charging infrastructure is in place to go for complete electrification. I would so love to see the next gen Nano EV in Tata Pixel or Tata MegaPixel form with a good 3-400KM/full charge range or with REEV based charging to charge on the go.
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Old 9th March 2018, 12:18   #7
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Default Re: Tata Nano Twist XT: 4-year ownership report

Nice review and pics.

My wife owns a Tata Nano AMT XTA. This is her first car. For our family, it is a rugged workhorse for city use. Makes daily runs to groceries, school, and all sorts of errands within Bangalore very easy. No need to think of narrow lanes, traffic, and parking. Very capable for city use!

Generally, people have a very flawed idea of the car and criticize the little thing whenever they have a chance without experiencing it themselves.

Few negatives in a nano I think are the braking ability (could have used discs instead of drums), lethargic AMT response in D mode, and missing ABS/airbags. With improvements and better marketing, Tata could have marketed this car well. Unfortunate that nano has lost it and the car is now almost discontinued.
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Old 9th March 2018, 17:55   #8
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Even now if Tata folks plan to give Nano an 800 cc engine, disc brakes and 14" tires while keeping the premium to the minimum, Nano will be a hit.

But they have chosen to kill the Nano brand instead![/quote]

I love the way nano looks and the amount of space it offers. However, am not so sure about it being a hit once engine, brakes and tyres are upgraded. The way Maruti is going, it would be very difficult to beat them in that segment IMHO.

If I am correct, a large FMCG stopping production of Glucose biscuits as they could not compete with Parle.

Might as well accept the fact and move on.

Regards,
Pinin
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Old 10th March 2018, 10:58   #9
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I do agree that Tata is at an disadvantage in today's scenarios when facing the perceived might of Maruti. But they chose to disregard the negativity when they launched the Tiago and have met with reasonable sucess. They can afford to try again.

Yes its good to know when to pull out.

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Old 10th March 2018, 21:07   #10
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Very interesting that your "journey" with the Nano started in Manali, our place of residence. I haven't traveled broadly in India for awhile, but thinking of the northwest region I'm more familiar with, I suspect Himachal Pradesh has a greater density of Nanos per capita than anyplace else. Well-loved car up here.

Personally, I drove one and honestly felt like I was driving a cardboard box... just not my thing, especially vs. IMO really excellent cars like the M800 (which could be had as a one-year-old secondhand for the same price as a new Nano).

But to each his own, and one thing is clear - Himachalis love them, and the Nano has been taking them pretty much everywhere, though contrary to the claims of great (180mm?) GC, the low-hanging silencers out back do tend to get knocked off with alarming frequency. So have seen a lot of very loud Nano's up here. And the front suspensions tend to get bent a bit on rough roads and start showing a lot of positive camber, too. Still, they do a lot better on the hills than one might think with the modest engine size, they're colorful and easy to own, and a lot of people who could afford more expensive cars bought them.

I always felt that the main problems with the brand were:

1. The troubles with the original land acquisition in West Bengal, leading to a lot of unrest and delays, and having to kind of start over, also causing a lot of negative press and sentiment (I'd bet these are exceedingly rare in the Bengal hinterland, where they might've actually sold well otherwise);

2. Market timing, re: a "cheap" car coming in at a time when the economy is booming and a lot of people want to flaunt their wealth, commonly being willing to go into debt to do it. Tata wanted to provide an alternative to two-wheelers for individuals and families, figuring the cost wasn't much different and the advantages were several. Trouble being that given the choice between a premium motorcycle and a bottom-of-the-pile car, a lot of people are going to get a bigger self-esteem boost from the former.

Not a bad vehicle for sure, great space utilization, efficient, a truly great out-of-the-box concept and design - but on the other hand certainly disposable - I've seen quite a lot of these in the scrapyards already. They're so cheap that they're not really worth fixing in the event of anything but a very minor accident. Spare-parts sources will probably dry up prematurely on account. I doubt whether the brand will ever be revived, if for no other reason than that as a highly hyped effort and ultimately complete flop, it hasn't done anything at all for Tata's corporate pride.

No offense at all intended, though - I wouldn't take anyone to task for choosing one. A good little car for the needs of many, very practical and unpretentious, and with proper maintenance is likely to last awhile.

Regards,
Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 10th March 2018 at 21:23.
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Old 12th March 2018, 11:05   #11
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Personally, I drove one and honestly felt like I was driving a cardboard box... just not my thing, especially vs. IMO really excellent cars like the M800 (which could be had as a one-year-old secondhand for the same price as a new Nano).
I have Test Driven the Alto800 as well, and an uncle of mind has one since 2009, I find it's build quality no different than my Nano. Both are cardboard boxes on wheels. But coming from using a WagonR, the low set seating was a big deterrent for me. Nano had that higher seating like in WagonR. Also the low GC, no Fog Lamps even in top model Alto kept me away from it. Even the used Alto would not have those things if I bought one. But as you rightly said, To Each His Own.

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But one thing is clear - Himachalis love them
My in laws live in Kalimpong (Darjeeling, West Bengal) and trust me I have seen lot of Nano's in that area as well. I guess the narrow parking spaces on hilly roads make it an apt car for use [read abuse] in such places.

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the low-hanging silencers out back do tend to get knocked off with alarming frequency. So have seen a lot of very loud Nano's up here.
I haven't seen anything like that here. Maybe while reversing people tend to hit things and knock off their silencers leading to such loud Nano's. The Heat Shield did come off from my silencer a couple of years ago, but that hasn't changed anything, no loud noise, no overheating in the cabin etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
And the front suspensions tend to get bent a bit on rough roads and start showing a lot of positive camber, too.
I did not notice that as it is beyond my understanding to read the Wheel Alignment report. You may be right on that, maybe other experts who have seen and noticed this may comment.
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Old 20th March 2018, 22:30   #12
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I've always loved the Nano s design. Like someone said this is going to be classic car like the Citroen c2v in the future. I'd love to own a pre worshipped model sometime in the near future just for the fun of it. Nice review loved every nano of it !
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Old 21st March 2018, 11:02   #13
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I'd love to own a pre worshipped model sometime in the near future just for the fun of it.
I might sell mine off around next year to buy a 7 seater automatic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mh09ad5578 View Post
Nice review loved every nano of it !
Thanks... :-)

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Old 21st March 2018, 11:32   #14
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On seeing the car in person I am in awe of the amount of space inside due to the Egg Shaped design and engine at the back.

Brakes are not that confidence inspiring, and so refrain from racing on the highway, as there is no ABS or EBD to help you in panic braking

The 1st gear is very powerfull but I have heard that the earlier BS3 model had even more power in it's first gear. Reverse Gear lacks power when compared to this, and sometimes you may not be able to go back in reverse on a steep incline when fully loaded unlike in other vehicles while driving on the hills.

Apart from this, I have not noticed anything negative. The space inside is amazing.

Overall, my experience with my car has been a pleasurable one.

As a city car, I am sure that it will not fail you. In the hills, if you drive carefully and know the limits of your car, I am sure you will keep out of trouble

Hats off to Tata Motors for bringing out a product like Tata Nano.
As a delighted owner of the 2013 LX in dazzle blue that is identical to yours except for not having power steering, I agree 100% with the conclusion. And I have also quoted what I see as key takeaways that I also fully agree with, from your extensive review.

As to reverse gear, I suspect the difference is caused by weight transfer. When climbing a hill facing forward, the Nano does better than front wheel drive cars because the weight transfer to the rear and consequent loading of the rear wheels prevents wheel spin and allows easier climbing compared to even powerful front wheel drive cars that struggle to climb steep slopes in first gear from stationary. When reversing up a climb in the Nano, this works in the opposite direction and wheel spin happens as it does for front wheel drive cars climbing steep slopes in first.
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Old 23rd March 2018, 09:47   #15
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When reversing up a climb in the Nano, this works in the opposite direction and wheel spin happens as it does for front wheel drive cars climbing steep slopes in first.
At such times I so hoped have been able to remove the Spare Wheel from the front, and get an electric motor mounted in the space to provide a 4 Wheel Drive hybrid system for my Nano for additional power and torque on demand when I need it. Wish we could get such conversion systems in India at an affordable price to make our rides more potent...
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