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Old 27th May 2015, 15:23   #166
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

I had the chance to test drive all AMT vehicles being offered now - Nano, Alto and the Celerio. Here are my observations, with more of a "Nano" perspective as this is the car in question here. Slight long post so please bear with me!

First glance, the new Nano AMT looks dashing, specially in red! It's finally got a hatch and a boot that manages to hold about 2 laptop bags and a kilo of fruits. Build quality seems average; nothing great. You will find all the other details in the review so I'm not going to go over them here. Now to the AMT Driving experience. Spoiler Alert - it was diasspointing! In the 'A' mode, the car barely moves - doesn't creep on removing the foot off the brake pedal. One needs to press the acc pedal H-A-R-D, right to the floor to get the Nano engine to respond. Sluggish performance is probably overstating it - I'd rather term it as lethargic and draggy. Here's something I'd like to share with regards to driving in city traffic - During the TD, the lane ahead of me cleared up, and natuarlly, I wanted to get the Nano in to spot that opened up on the road, and I start giving the Acc pedal input. I'm waiting...and waiting ... and waiting and nothing's happening. After what seemed like ages, the engine responded and we finally started moving to the open spot on the road, only to be greeted with other traffic joining into the road from the cross roads. Now that I had missed my chance to occupy the free spot ahead of me, and seeing the traffic merging ahead, I decided to slow down and pressed on the brakes. Nothing happened. Press harder - still nothing! I started 'br(e)aking into a sweat seeing that I was approaching traffic and couldnt slow down and I literally stood on the brake and bam.. the brakes finally started biting! It was an unnerving experience indeed and I slowed down and moved to the left lane.

Having understood the behavior of this car, I changed my driving style and suddenly, I noticed that the car was behaving well. I then determined that this car needs to stay on the left or the middle lane of a road and never on the fast lane. Once I got a hold of this characteristic of the car, I drove very sedately and gave micro inputs to the Acc and brake pedals and the car obliged gracefully. Long story short, you cannot drive this car like your usual style - you need to alter your driving style to be able to use this in the city and most importantly, leave the overtaking and the "gapping" mode of driving at home! One brilliant thing is the turning radius of this little beauty. I was on the rightmost lane of the road, attempting a U turn at a signal. Generally in other cars I'd rather be at the center-right or the center of the road and then attempt the U turn (or more often, a 3 point turn) and I'd end up on the left most lane after the U turn. In the nano, I was amazed how easily it did a U turn from the right lane of the road, to the center lane of the other side after the turn! The EPS was delightful to use along with the short turning radius. Here again, I had to floor the accelerator when I had to move at the green signal and only then, the car responded to my input. Manual mode was a better "controlled" drive and didn't feel any different than the other Nano's I've driven. Suspension looks like it has been improved as I couldn't feel the THUD of a pothole - not sure whether it was the pothole or the car! NVH is still an issue inside the cabin and one can clearly hear the engine working hard, over the abysmally tinny and punch-less integrated music system.

I then went on to drive the Alto and was pleasantly surprised at the response from the engine. Currently owning the 2010 Alto K10, I could clearly relate to the performance of the engine - it still has that peppiness and eagerness to surge ahead on the acc pedal input and the AMT performed pretty well, except while on inclines and when the AMT was in the 1st gear where I could feel the clutch judder come into play. Apart from this, the Alto retains the same pocket-rocket image, but now with an AMT. I felt that the manual mode in the Alto K10 AMT was more of a pocket rocket++. It was super powerful and the burst of acceleration and energy is unbelievable. One can use this at green lights to surge ahead of the other vehicles. The acceleration in the Auto mode felt a bit more "tamed" when compared to the M mode.

Next up, I drove the Celerio. Oodles of space (compared to the other 2 contenders) and excellent refinement. The AMT felt like it was "at home" in the Celerio. Engine had the same peppiness as the Alto, but somehow, the AMT Auto mode performed better in the Celerio than in the Alto. The M mode was also good, but there was a lack of that zesty "oomph" that one got with the Alto K10 in the M mode. I concluded that the Celerio deserved to be driven in the A mode all the time as it somehow felt very 'refined' if I may use the word without sounding too cliched.

Overall, I'd say that the nano needs to go over 2 more iterations to get to what consumers want - a more powerful engine and better NVH to make it more acceptable. Now, at 3.7L OTR Bangalore, the nano seems a bit expensive. The Alto K10 AMT stands at 5.11L OTR and Celerio VXi Stands at 5.82L OTR. I also heard that Maruti is now launching a Celerio ZXi variant which will have the AMT as well and will also come with integrated ICE with BT, Steering mounted controls, Fog lamps and other goodies. This variant is priced at 6.2L OTR.

I undersdtand why Maruti is bringing out this version. With Alto at 5.1L and the Celerio Vxi at 5.8, most people who can stretch their budgets will end up buying the Celerio which is a much better package. With this strategy, and with Tata launching the Nano AMT, I'm guessing that Maruti will get the AMT into the 800CC Alto or will have a AMT Alto K10 LXi variant with the AMT option. This will place the Alto AMT around the 4.2L - 4.5L Price range which will clearly create a nice place of itself. After driving the Nano AMT, I'm sure the mango-man looking for that AMT experience will not mind spending a bit more to buy the Alto with AMT, specially when it comes with a name like Maruti and the relatively stress free ownwership and after sales experience.
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Old 27th May 2015, 17:25   #167
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

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Hmmm...Not quite sure how it can manage to pull air all the way from up front of the car, based on its current location. Looks more like a system to exhaust hot air out from within the engine bay.
Exactly what I meant. It pulls air from the forward direction and exhausts it through the rear bumper grille.

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Now that I had missed my chance to occupy the free spot ahead of me, and seeing the traffic merging ahead, I decided to slow down and pressed on the brakes. Nothing happened. Press harder - still nothing! I started 'br(e)aking into a sweat seeing that I was approaching traffic and couldnt slow down and I literally stood on the brake and bam.. the brakes finally started biting! It was an unnerving experience indeed and I slowed down and moved to the left lane.
This statement is a "bang on" for me and I'm sure for other nano users as well! This scenario is one that the driver needs to be careful about while driving the nano old and the GenX too. I'm sure those used to nano will not have a problem but it is a problem nevertheless. The delay in the brake assist kicking in when you lift off the throttle is really unsettling for new drivers to this car. It could be because the booster is in the front while the engine is at the back and there is a long vacuum hose connecting the two across the length of the car. Guess we will have to just live with it!
PS: The car would have stopped even if you had not stood on the brakes. It just needs a second or two to build up vacuum(provided you have the needed gap in front of you!). Takes a little bit of getting familiar with the car.

Last edited by alphahere : 27th May 2015 at 17:30.
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Old 27th May 2015, 19:42   #168
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

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Originally Posted by vsathyap View Post
I had the chance to test drive all AMT vehicles being offered now - Nano, Alto and the Celerio. Here are my observations, with more of a "Nano" perspective as this is the car in question here. Slight long post so please bear with me!
...

Overall, I'd say that the nano needs to go over 2 more iterations to get to what consumers want - a more powerful engine and better NVH to make it more acceptable. Now, at 3.7L OTR Bangalore, the nano seems a bit expensive. The Alto K10 AMT stands at 5.11L OTR and Celerio VXi Stands at 5.82L OTR. I also heard that Maruti is now launching a Celerio ZXi variant which will have the AMT as well and will also come with integrated ICE with BT, Steering mounted controls, Fog lamps and other goodies. This variant is priced at 6.2L OTR.

...
Almost all what Maruti *could* come out at 6.2L is available in the Nano XTA already!

Spend almost 170% to buy something that'll more or less serve the same purpose isn't worth IMO.

Lets see how the Indian car buyers react to this reality when they note down the Final Comparo.
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Old 27th May 2015, 22:10   #169
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

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I here. Slight long post so please bear with me!

! In the 'A' mode, the car barely moves - doesn't creep on removing the foot off the brake pedal. ...
seeing the traffic merging ahead, I decided to slow down and pressed on the brakes. Nothing happened. Press harder - still nothing! I started 'br(e)aking into a sweat seeing that I was approaching traffic and couldnt slow down and I literally stood on the brake and bam.. the brakes finally started biting! It was an unnerving experience indeed and I slowed down and moved to the left lane.
I think the brake switch might not have been working in your TD vehicle. That may explain the absence of creep function and the reduce effectiveness of the brake. The creep function works on brake being posed and then released. In the second scenario, the AMT/Engine ECU not understanding that you are pressing the brakes, must have increased fueling to compensate for the increased load due to you braking, until it was almost going to stall, thus engaging the clutch.
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Old 28th May 2015, 11:57   #170
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Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
Almost all what Maruti *could* come out at 6.2L is available in the Nano XTA already!

Spend almost 170% to buy something that'll more or less serve the same purpose isn't worth IMO.

Lets see how the Indian car buyers react to this reality when they note down the Final Comparo.
Agreed that the Nano offers everything that the Celerio does at 6.2L. That said, we're looking at totally different buyer "zones" here. Nano would probably fit into the second car buyer's zone while the Celerio would find a place for the first time car buyers territory who would like to have the convenience of an AMT as well as a good, powerful, spacious and reliable car. I highly doubt that first time car buyers will go for the Nano XTA - they would jump brands and settle for the Alto800 which comes at almost similar pricing, but with a manual option.

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I think the brake switch might not have been working in your TD vehicle. That may explain the absence of creep function and the reduce effectiveness of the brake. The creep function works on brake being posed and then released. In the second scenario, the AMT/Engine ECU not understanding that you are pressing the brakes, must have increased fueling to compensate for the increased load due to you braking, until it was almost going to stall, thus engaging the clutch.
Is there a brake switch too? Interesting - the sales person seemed to be indifferent about it when I asked him if the Nano doesn't come with the creep feature. He just mumbled something to himself and was disinterested with everything during the entire duration of the TD. I hope Tata gets fresher and energetic people in its showrooms - half the excitement is already dead by the time one speaks to a sales rep and gets a TD vehicle ready.


One more thing I forgot to add - The brakes of the Celerio have a crazy "immediate" bite - almost so much that one can easily hit themselves to the dashboard or the steering. The Sales Rep informed us about this "gas brake" feature even before we started the TD and good thing he gave us a chance to get a feel of the brakes within the compound of the showroom. If I had not been informed of this crazy bite, I'm sure I'd have hurt myself, the co-passenger and the Sales Rep, and also have a vehicle rear-end the Celerio when I would have stopped with a bang! He also said that initial Celerio TD cars had to have their bumpers repaired or replaced almost every 3-4 days when people doing a TD applied brakes and the vehicle came to an immediate stop and someone from behind rear ended the TD car.
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Old 28th May 2015, 14:34   #171
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

For those who have reviewed the new model, is it possible to fit the 25 litre petrol tank on the old Nano? Thanks.
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Old 28th May 2015, 15:01   #172
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Being a Nano owner, I was interested in the AMT. Took the test drive today, the dealer made me wait almost 1-1.15 hour before testdrive, now I know why people runaway from Tata. Following are my observations :

1) AMT : There are two modes City/Eco and Sports. In city mode the car is absolutely undriveable in city unless you have a endless empty runway. The shifts are too early and takes fair bit of time specially from 2nd to 3rd. I gave-up and shifted to sports mode (the funny thing was that the showroom guy did'nt even knew that Sports mode existed). Sports mode is what I would opt in city and highways. The gears shift at higher rpm. But, the lack of torque coupled with time consuming shifts ruin the fun. I am happy with my Manual Nano until these problems are addressed by Tata.

2) AC : Boy o Boy! The car was parked under direct sunlight the temperature here is 40+. The car was hot like a oven from inside when we sat first, I bet one could have easily cooked a omelette. Just after 700 mts on a empty stretch the AC made the cabin cool. The AC was more effective than my 2011 Nano.

3) NVH : The engine seems more refined and there were very little road, engine noise inside cabin under 60 Kmph which is acceptable for a city car. When comparing to my 2011 Nano, I would say 50% noise reduction.

4) Suspension : I donot know if Tata altered it or not but I found it better than my Nano.

5) Engine sound : It is more sort of a puttering sound now. The harsh engine noise of old Nano was better, now it feels like phut.. phut.. phut.. phut.. in the GenX, which is more annoying.

6) Dash : I would have preferred if they had changed the speedo-console position to normal, in front of the steering. It would have made it more a car like unlike rickshaws which have the same meter position. (in the middle)

7) Tyres : Same old puny tyres. But, for 3.5 Lacs, Tata should have provided alloy wheels atleast.

Overall, this is a better car. But after having a quote for 60,000 plus 10,000 exchange bonus for a 2011 model Nano (30K kms on ODO) which I bought with my hard earned money for 1.9Lacs and still am paying the EMI, I would not exchange it for a whopping 3.5 Lacs which is almost 100% costlier than what I bought my nano LX a few years ago.

Last edited by mercedised : 28th May 2015 at 15:10.
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Old 28th May 2015, 18:29   #173
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

I am not sure if anyone else feels the same, but to my eyes, the positioning of the wiper is a real eyesore. It looks like an afterthought and a classic product of 'Jugaad' rather than something that was engineered properly. Why, for ex, can it not sit at the base of the wind shield? Does it really need to sit almost 6 inches up from the base, leaving quite a bit of useful area un swept?
Surely this does not cost any money to fix!? These are small things that matter and Tata Motors definitely needs to learn the art of small details from the Japanese/Koreans/Germans.
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Old 29th May 2015, 12:11   #174
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Is there a brake switch too? Interesting - the sales person seemed to be indifferent about it when I asked him if the Nano doesn't come with the creep feature.
Oh my!! What is a break switch ??

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Originally Posted by vsathyap View Post
One more thing I forgot to add - The brakes of the Celerio have a crazy "immediate" bite - almost so much that one can easily hit themselves to the dashboard or the steering.
Absolutely Agree!! I too felt the same sudden bite of the break in Celerio. I was going down the incline when I was taking the car out of the parking zone on to the road and I got it right after 3 or 4 presses. This sudden jerk reminded me that I had not worn my seat bealt . The first thing I did after pressing the break was fasten my seat belt (even before I came out of the incline). During the entire test drive I had to control my leg in a very subtle manner to ensure I did not hit the break too hard and hit my head on to the dashboard.

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Originally Posted by mercedised View Post
5) Engine sound : It is more sort of a puttering sound now. The harsh engine noise of old Nano was better, now it feels like phut.. phut.. phut.. phut.. in the GenX, which is more annoying.
For me it was more like pharr... pharr... pharr... / tarr... tarr... tarr... which is better than phad...phad..phad.. / phut... phut... phut...

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7) Tyres : Same old puny tyres. But, for 3.5 Lacs, Tata should have provided alloy wheels at least.
Note that the On-road cost is 3.5 lakhs. But the actual cost of Nano out of the factory without VAT, dealer charges, Road taxes is only 2.62 lakhs. It would be harsh on Tata to provide all these at this price point.

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Surely this does not cost any money to fix!? These are small things that matter and Tata Motors definitely needs to learn the art of small details from the Japanese/Koreans/Germans.
The Tatas will learn from Germans if we pay the Tatas what we are paying for Germans. As a customer I understand that we need the best. But it is harsh on Tatas to give us everything at these price points. Having said the above, I agree with your point on the wiper though. I will not blame the Tatas for this but I would wanted them to do a better job.

Contrary to the comment made by prashanthyr, I think Germans and Japanese should learn from Indians on how to provide decent products (may not be great) at an unbeatable and affordable prices. No comment on Koreans though as they are doing a good job

Last edited by ampere : 29th May 2015 at 12:18. Reason: Edited Smilies. Please restrict them to two
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Old 29th May 2015, 12:24   #175
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Oh my!! What is a break switch ??
Its a switch usually connected behind the Foot Brake (not break) lever, that gets pressed when you press the brake. This switch when pressed gives an indication to the ECU that the driver is pressing the brakes. The ECU uses this information to do further actions (e.g. ABS actuation etc). In older vehicles, this switch is used only to switch on the brake lights.

Last edited by ampere : 29th May 2015 at 13:47. Reason: Edited as requested
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Old 29th May 2015, 12:56   #176
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Its a switch usually behind the top of the Brake (not break) lever, that gets pressed when you press the brake. This switch when pressed gives an indication to the ECU that the driver is pressing the brakes. The ECU uses this information to do further actions (e.g. ABS actuation etc). In older vehicles, this switch is used only to switch on the brake lights.
Thanks @nijelj. Just to get more clarity here. Are you talking about the Leg brake (pedal) or Hand brake (lever) ?

And thanks for correcting my spelling. Made the mistake multiple times

Last edited by ampere : 29th May 2015 at 13:00. Reason: Please avoid typing with multiple dots. Fixed them for now
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Old 29th May 2015, 15:41   #177
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Booked a Test drive for the GenX AMT today. The people at Concorde assured me a test drive at 1pm at their premises @ Dairy Circle. Exactly at 1 pm, I got a call from the CR (Customer Representative) informing that the vehicle was ready. Since I had a few friends interested in the TD, I requested them if they could bring it to my office. He agreed and said that he'd be at my office in 10 minutes. Not surprisingly, he was at our company gate 15 minutes later. I say not surprisingly, because I've had the same excellent experience from them when I bought the Zest.


Three of us + the CR sit in the car, I read the starting instructions, press the brake to start the car and switch on the AC. So loaded the car to spec? Check.

Test route taken : Adugodi signal to Dairy circle and back, since this would give us an idea of how the pickup is on long stretches, bumper to bumper traffic, inclined road signals, braking after a fast downward slope and the turning radius at a U-Turn. Its a hot 34degC in the Bangalore afternoon and no clouds in sight.

Creep Feature : I put it into 'A' and was expecting creep to take over. It didn't. It needs a tap on the accpedal to start moving. Is it because, I had just started the vehicle? I think so, because after that, I found the creep function working even at the inclined stop near the signal at Dairy circle. The creep function will really help in bumper to bumper traffic. That's clear.

Drivability : Reading the impressions of our members, I was ready for the sluggishness. That must be why I still don't find it very troublesome. I drove it in the normal mode and with 4 people +AC, it didn't feel so bad. Ofcourse it is not a peppy as the manual Nano, but I can live with that. When my colleagues (who tests vehicles regularly and a diesel Fabia at home) started driving, I didn't feel the sluggishness at all. The AC cuts-off when spirited driving happens, so it started to feel uncomfortable after a few rounds of his driving. Otherwise Nano is known for its powerful AC. Sport mode, as our reviewers concluded, holds a gear for longer at high RPMs and as we drove, it gave slightly better drivability. Top speed is 120kmph on the AMT as per the CR, but its not printed anywhere in the brochure, so taking it with a pinch of salt.

Manoeuverability : The EPS was a delightful surprise, as my Nano doesn't have it. The two other colleagues who drove the GenX amt commented that it was like driving a Toy car! The tight U-turn impressed on them the turning radius and its utility in the city.

Brakes : This was one point which I wanted to check after reading the many comments here. Again, it must be because I am already used to my Nano's braking, but I felt it was adequate. Definitely not worth the brickbats.

Interiors: I had earlier seen the manual version of the GenX, so was eager to see how this would be. The gear indicator is clear and large and easily falls to the eye. Didn't check out the AFE etc since we didn't have enough time. The cluster is well lit and clear. We had switched off the ICE, because we wanted to discuss the feel while driving. It was loud, when it was playing. I'm not an Audiophile, so the quality was enough for me.

The Boot : In the Manual Gen X, the space was almost the same as I have in my Nano. Here the space is reduced because of the platform like bump due to the AMT. Nothing much to write about, though I'd have loved to see the remote opening accessory in person.

Summary : I'm hooked, and this is a perfect car for my wife. I've always maintained that Nano is the best car for a city like Bengaluru. This AMT upgrade will allow my wife to be logistically independent, which will be one less worry, when I'm travelling. I have done multiple long distance trips on the Nano, so I'm confident when I say that you can do a highway trip on it. In-fact my best average Bangalore- Angamali (520 kms - 9hrs) time came while driving the Nano. My colleague is also going to recommend it to his wife.

I hope I have the same enthusiasm and better offers when the time comes for me to buy it (Jan 2016)
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Old 29th May 2015, 16:25   #178
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Quite a few TD posts above! I too took one today from Aadya near Nagawara. Did not have to wait much since it was a weekday morning.
Acceleration is a bit sluggish but no complaints once it hits 3rd gear. Brakes felt reasonable too. My only gripe was not enough space in the footwell to floor the accelerator for my size 10 feet. Don't know if it was any carpeting coming in the way.

I'm confused whether to buy the Nano as a 2nd car (my wife is learning to drive and wants an automatic), or swap my Rapid for a Vento TSI DSG ().
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Old 29th May 2015, 18:47   #179
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I'm confused whether to buy the Nano as a 2nd car (my wife is learning to drive and wants an automatic), or swap my Rapid for a Vento TSI DSG.
A word of advice based on experience. If you get the Vento TSI, seeing how you treat it, your wife may not come anywhere near the drivers seat.

I had an SX4 which my wife also used to drive comfortably, for the benefit of both of us, I switched to the Vento TSI. Hearing me talk about DSG and treating it with care and in general after experiencing the 'plushness' and feel of the Vento, she is actually hesitant to drive it.

Now I am actually thinking of the Nano AMT as a 2nd car.
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Old 29th May 2015, 20:00   #180
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A word of advice based on experience. If you get the Vento TSI, seeing how you treat it, your wife may not come anywhere near the drivers seat.
We actually TD-ed a Vento TSI, which they brought to my home, right after coming back from the Tata showroom. The kick in S mode is unbelievable!!
And exactly as you said, my wife wanted nothing to do with such a beast . What a car that one is... But we digress .
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