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Old 19th May 2015, 09:51   #1
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Default Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

The Tata Nano GenX has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 1.99 - 2.89 Lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• Cute & cool styling. A car that will make you smile
• The cheapest Automatic car in India. Priced Rs. 1.26 lakhs lower than the Alto AMT!
• AMT, light power steering & small footprint make it effortless to drive in the city
• Innovative packaging results in spacious interiors for 4 adults. Generous legroom & headroom
• Openable tail-gate & bigger fuel tank make the Nano more practical to live with
• Powerful air-conditioner will chill you to the bone
• Features such as the Bluetooth-stereo, full MID, Zest steering wheel, twin glove-boxes etc.
• 4 year warranty is standard (limited to 60,000 kms)

What you won't:

• Nano AMT has sluggish performance. Struggles on inclines too. Unsuitable for highway runs
• AMT lacks the refinement & shift-speed of conventional ATs
• Puny drum brakes feel too weak in the Automatic variant
• Basic, bumpy ride quality
• Low cost nature & quality. Cheap car image is a deterrent for many
• Tiny 94-110 liter boot
• Niggles & issues as reported by existing Nano owners
• Tata's sub-par after sales service isn't a match to Maruti's


Last edited by Aditya : 20th May 2015 at 06:24.
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Old 19th May 2015, 09:51   #2
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Default re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Since the Tata Nano has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the 2015 GenX update. For easy reference, here are direct links to the complete road-tests:

Tata Nano: Link (Tata Nano : Test Drive & Review)

Nano Twist: Link


Last edited by Aditya : 20th May 2015 at 06:25.
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Old 19th May 2015, 09:51   #3
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Default re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

The latest GenX Nano marks the nth update to the car; it is the most significant one till date, and also the most expensive. Today's Nano is quite a different ride from the one Ratan Tata unveiled in 2008.

We've already discussed the 5 major reasons behind the Nano's failure in this post. Poor sales performance aside, it's clear that Tata hasn't given up. The company didn't get the Nano right initially, yet you have to give them credit for continually improving the product...and investing in it. The various improvements haven't seen any resultant rise in sales though; a flopped car rarely makes a turnaround in the Indian market. In 2014, less than 19,000 units were sold. The Maruti Alto sells as many in a month.

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The Nano is no longer the 'cheap car' it once was. The quality has improved, and many features & functionalities have been added along the way. The 2015 Nano has an automatic gearbox, electric power steering, an open-able hatch, twin glove boxes, 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, keyless entry, full MID and more. Based on owner feedback, the fuel tank's capacity has increased to 24 liters (earlier Nano = 15 liters). All that hardware adds to the cost of a car that was once built with unbelievable frugality. This is all part of a plan to change the Nano's positioning from a cheap car to a smart city car.

So, what's new on the outside?

The GenX Nano retains its familiar shape. The MT variant weighs 25 kilos more, while the AMT brings yet another 30 kilos. AMT tips the scales between 755 - 765 kg (that's in the ballpark of the Alto AMT which has twice the power!):


New grinning face:


New rear bumper & windscreen. Lower edge of the hatch is garnished with a piano black strip. Grin shaped grille looks out of place at the back, though it's functional (that's where the engine is!):


The Automatic + RWD combination is normally seen only on SUVs and the luxury German sedans:


Front bumper is restyled and now features a wide "infinity" motif grille (observe the grille pattern). Round foglamps are placed higher than is usually the case:


Shot with flash. Yep, that's the radiator at the front. What this means is, engine coolant flows between the front & rear of the car (where the engine is)!!


The bonnet area houses the spare tyre. Radiator is hidden from view:


Smoked headlamp with NANO engraving. See the chrome detailing around the turn indicator:


Piano black garnish & Tata badge between the headlamps. This strip is the designer's attempt to make it look like a regular car (every other car has a black radiator grille between the headlamps):


No change to the 12" steel rims & wheel caps:


Integrated rear spoiler is different from the earlier piece (reference image):


The rear bumper's wide infinity grille - essential due to the rear-mounted engine. The older Nano used to have its rear foglamp on the bumper (reference image)...no longer the case:


Ground clearance has gone up from 180 mm to 190 mm for the manual variant. In the AMT, it stays at 180 mm. The exhaust pipe peeps out from the left (instead of the center):


XTA badge (denoting the automatic transmission) was first seen on the Zest:


Twist badging, carried over from the 2014 Nano, announces the power steering:


No remote release for the boot. Open it the old-fashioned way. You won't have to step out at malls though; their security guards still think the Nano's tail cannot be opened :


Handle which makes lifting the hatch easy:


Two new colours - Sangria Red & Persian Rose - have been added to the palette. Latter targets women and is only built on order. Papaya Orange (my favourite) has been dropped. Interior colour themes change with the different body colours & trim levels:

Image source: Tata Motors presentation

Rear section (C-Pillar area) had to be significantly beefed up for the opening tail-gate. Tata engineers claim to have improved the torsional stiffness by using stronger materials and strengthened members. The additional length has helped the Nano gain some more crumple zone, enhancing frontal protection. In addition, the doors get side impact beams, and there is an anti-roll bar as well. The Nano fared poorly in the Global NCAP crash tests (link (Indian Nano, Alto, Figo, i10 & Polo FAIL Global NCAP Safety Test)). Hopefully, with these structural changes, it has become a little safer:

Image source: Tata Motors presentation

Last edited by Aditya : 20th May 2015 at 12:12.
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Old 19th May 2015, 09:52   #4
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Default re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

So, what's new on the inside?

The dashboard (carried over from the 2014 Twist) gets new colour combinations. This one's latte-coloured with a black center console (XM variant gets ebony-coloured interiors). Cabin quality has improved from the earlier Nanos:


360 mm steering wheel with contoured palm grips is taken from the Zest / Bolt (without the piano black inserts & audio controls). So much nicer to see & hold than the older steering:


Stalks lifted from the Zest / Bolt too (without the time delay setting for the intermittent wiper). Foglamp switch replaces the headlight adjuster:


Instrument cluster gets a new MID. So much information, but no rpm counter yet?!


MID with clock, distance to empty counter, an instant fuel economy bar and two average fuel economy counters (unique reading for both trip meters). Additionally, the instrument console gets a 'low fuel' warning:


MID also displays the current gear and has a handy gearshift indicator (arrow suggesting an upshift here):


Displaying the various modes that the AMT can be driven in - Manual, Auto and Auto+Sport:


Center console is finished in black (was silver earlier). Air vents get chrome bezels. Like earlier Nanos, the air-con is surprisingly effective for such a small car:


AmphiStream audio system with 4 speakers, USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity:


AMT doesn't have a "P" mode...only R-N-A. Shifter is a stripped down version of the Zest's. Still feels good:


Shift to the left for 'manual mode'. Move it up for upshifts & vice versa. 'Sport' button sits below the gear lever:


Owner's handbook provides clear instructions on operating the AMT:




No clutch pedal means more space in the foot well:


The dead pedal is raised barely an inch off the floor and there's just enough room to the left for your foot:


Front power window switches again move ahead of the gear lever (they were relocated below the gear lever in the Twist). Notice the 12v power socket for your smartphone, and the ribbed storage spot at the top:


Cubby hole under the handbrake - can't hold much when the handbrake is down:


Twin gloveboxes are very welcome in the Nano!


Small storage bin on the side of the driver's seat (holding the owner's manual here):


Seats get black upholstery with a touch of orange:


The infinity theme continues inside the car as well - check out the pattern on the seat upholstery:


Doorpads have a different pattern (infinity theme on the fabric insert). Door pockets are narrow. The 2015 Nano gets a lot of features, but still no stalk to internally adjust the ORVMs!


A sticker on the driver's door gives some AMT tips. After all, this car will be driven by AT newbies:


No power windows at the rear. Door pockets have been provided:


Rear seat gets infinity markings, some orange highlights & Nano branding. Merely lap belts for back seaters (3-point seatbelts are safer):


Boot space has increased from 80 to 94 litres. The manual variant gets 110 liters of space, since its engine cover sits a little lower:


Parcel shelf has "NANO" embossed on it between the rear speakers. Nice touch:


The boot can carry two small to medium-sized bags at best. It's a small boot, yet the open-able tail makes the 2015 Nano far more practical to live with:


With the seat folded down & parcel tray removed, luggage space increases dramatically to 500 liters:


Pneumatic struts on both sides of the hatch:

Last edited by Aditya : 20th May 2015 at 07:32.
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Old 19th May 2015, 09:52   #5
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Default re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review



The GenX Nano uses the same 624cc, twin-cylinder petrol engine with 37 BHP (@ 5,500 rpm) and 51 Nm of torque (@ 4,000 rpm). What's new is the optional 5-speed AMT gearbox (regular Nano has a 4-speed manual). This is a Magneti Marelli-sourced 4th generation AMT unit. It has a manual mode, sport mode and 'creep' functionality. With the hatch now open-able, the engine is a lot more accessible than before. The radiator has been relocated to the front of the car, while there is a cooling fan in the engine bay at the back. Tata claims that the exhaust system has improved thermal (temperature) management.

About the AMT:

The AMT is the 4th type of Automatic to be offered in India, after the traditional torque-converter type, dual-clutch AT & CVT. Mechanically, an AMT gearbox is identical to a manual transmission. What's different is how the clutch is operated and how the gears are shifted. In the manual, the driver is responsible for these tasks. With the AMT, hydraulic actuators located in the engine bay operate the clutch and shift gears. There's no clutch pedal, and zero driver input is required for gearshifts, making it exactly like a conventional automatic to drive. Simply put, the mechanical functions of operating the clutch and gear-lever have moved from inside the cabin to the engine bay. The AMT is particularly clever because it is cheaper to manufacture than a regular 'slush box' automatic and can be mated onto any existing manual drivetrain.

Driving the Nano AMT:

To start the Nano, you have to ensure that the AMT is in 'neutral' with your foot on the brake. The engine won't crank if the gearbox is in A, R or M modes. If you don't press the brake pedal, the gear lever can still be moved to the A or R positions, but there will be a warning chime. The indicator on the instrument cluster will display "N" and the engine won't start.

Driving off from a standstill is a smooth experience. It's in city traffic that the AMT brings the most benefits. There's no clutch pedal and there's no requirement for the driver to repeatedly shift between Neutral-1st-2nd either. Further, in crawling bumper to bumper traffic, you don’t need to give any accelerator input. Simply release the brake and, after a moment's delay, the Nano will crawl forward. In torturous rush-hour traffic, you can drive with just one pedal (the brake). Budget car owners will love the fact that their left leg is completely relaxed in the city. Bring the light power steering into the picture and the Nano becomes one of the most stress-free cars to drive in traffic. Your left hand & leg are free; that's 50% lesser limbs working . Because of the Nano's low power output though, it needs to be driven patiently. Where the Nano MT is nice & peppy below 60 kph, the Nano AMT feels very lethargic. This is also due to the gearbox's eagerness to upshift quickly in 'A' mode. Best to drive the Nano with a relaxed right foot and enjoy the convenience on offer.

This convenience comes at a price though. The more the engine torque & power, the better the AMT feels. We had commented on this aspect in our Celerio AMT report. Our Zest review later confirmed how much better the AMT felt with the 1.3L diesel's additional torque. The Nano, however, has a puny engine & limited power on tap. This affects the experience in two ways. For one, the Nano's shift quality is a sore point. During upshifts, there is a noticeable delay as the clutch disengages & engages again. Upshifts are noticeable, and the lull in acceleration can get annoying. Another example: If you're cruising along at 50 km/h and press the accelerator to get a little more punch, you'll feel a lull before the acceleration actually kicks in - because the gearbox is shifting down. On each gearshift, you feel your body move forward due to the mismatch of anticipation and reality. The jerkiness is even more prominent if the driver is heavy-footed. With time, either you'll get used to it or you won't (I can live with it, but GTO considers this a deal-breaker). Take a long test-drive before signing on the dotted line. If you haven't driven an automatic before, you might find it acceptable. Those used to torque-converter ATs won't.

There are some simple tips you can apply to make your gearshift experience smoother. If you drive with an extremely light foot, the shifts will be much less perceptible, since the drop in acceleration at each shift won't be as large. Another tip that some might get used to, others will find cumbersome: When accelerating up to speed, let off the accelerator at intervals, and the AMT will seize that opportunity to upshift. Let off the accelerator very slightly and the AMT will take each one of those opportunities to upshift a gear - almost like you told it to! Finally, you'll be happy to know that shift quality gets better between higher gears, and is virtually seamless when going downhill. It's also totally silent in its operation. There's absolutely no noise or clanking when the gears shift.

Let me make one thing clear = The Nano AMT isn't a highway car. It's not got much straight-line performance and the gearbox's shift quality suffers with aggressive accelerator input. On the rare occasion that you do take her out on the open road, engage 'sport' mode by pressing the small black button below the gear lever. In 'sport' mode, the gearbox upshifts at a higher rpm, thus improving performance a little bit. This certainly comes in handy when you are on the highway. You could also shift the gear lever to the left and drive in 'manual' mode. Press it up for upshifts and pull it down for downshifts. This mode will take the engine to high revvs before upshifting (note: the engine doesn't sound nice at high rpm). Manual mode will be useful when you need to prepare the car for overtaking - by downshifting before you overtake - and on hilly roads. Manual mode helps in limiting unintended upshifts in the middle of an overtaking move or ghat corner. In terms of top speed, I managed an indicated 110 km/h before the engine cut off. This speed was achieved in fourth gear. Don't expect anything magical though, the Nano AMT is slow and there are no two sides to it. The Maruti Alto AMT is a far superior performer; it weighs about the same, yet has nearly twice the horsepower! The Nano's lack of power is evident when climbing up steep hills. You need to aggressively use the accelerator and even then, it's a challenge. The Nano AMT feels very underpowered when climbing. 'M' or 'S' mode are a lot better for the hills. Remember to use the handbrake when starting off on an incline; it'll help preserve the transmission & prevent roll-back.

Manual mode comes in handy while driving downhill. Reason? Engine braking! It helps take some stress off the weak drum brakes, and keeps the car in better control. Like the 'manual mode' of most ATs, the gearbox will prevent a downshift if the resultant rpm is too high (to prevent engine damage), and automatically downshift if the rpm falls too low (to prevent engine stalling). Whenever the engine doesn't agree with your command for an upshift / downshift, you'll hear a warning chime, with the car continuing in the same gear it was in.

For parking, one has to stop the car completely before shifting between the forward and reverse gears. If it's a tight spot, wait momentarily for the 'creep' function to kick in; it can be very useful. Good thing that the creep function works in forward & reverse!

The small dimensions, tight 4-meter turning circle and light EPS steering make this an effortless car to drive in the city. The steering is light at parking speeds too. As the speedometer climbs, it starts weighing up. Past 60 km/h, the steering isn't as quick as it is at crawling speeds (a welcome move). The Nano AMT handles nicely in the city where speeds are low. The ride is basic, but acceptable at urban speeds. On bad roads or the highway, it's a different story. The suspension gets very bumpy. Crosswind stability hasn't improved either - a gush of wind and it sways. Add to that, the weak brakes! Yes, the 180 mm brakes have been carried over from the old Nano. In the AMT version (with lesser engine braking than the MT), the brakes simply don't inspire any confidence. They lack bite and braking from 80-0 km/h takes a very long time. Tata should have provided disc brakes at the front.

Under ideal test conditions, the Nano AMT delivers 21.9 km/l. In real-world conditions, AMTs are known to provide acceptable fuel economy. They aren't guzzlers like the torque-converter AT petrols. You can expect accurate figures once our ownership reports start rolling in. The Nano MT is rated at 23.6 km/l. BHPians will remember that the original Nano had an ARAI rating of 23.6 km/l, it went up to 25.4 km/l with the 2011 update (which had taller gear ratios) and is now back to 23.6. Tata says that the gear ratios have been tweaked, based on owner feedback. I mention again that the fuel tank capacity has increased to 24 liters (was 15 liters earlier).

In summary, the Nano AMT can be a good city commuter for those on a budget. Don't take it out on the highway unless you absolutely need to. Tata appears to be in agreement, as the vehicle is being marketed as a 'smart city car'.

Additional Notes:

• For regular usage, there is no need to use Neutral, other than for starting the Nano.

• Not sure how the AMT will behave once the clutch starts to wear out. Will AMT clutches have to be replaced sooner than MT clutches? Proper clutch service and setting will play an important role with the AMT's performance. And remember, use the handbrake on inclines!

• Turning off the vehicle with the transmission in Neutral leaves you entirely reliant on the handbrake, when parked on an incline. We suggest you turn your Nano off in either "D" or "R" instead. This will provide a secondary brake force (just like parking a manual car in 1st or Reverse).

Removing the engine cover requires six wing nuts to be undone. One of them also holds the carpeting in place:


The other five nuts are below the carpet:


This Magneti Marelli box has the hydraulics which operate the clutch & gearshift (instead of your limbs):


With the open-able hatch, the engine is now a lot more accessible:


Cooling fan (sans radiator) in the engine bay:


Disclaimer: Tata invited Team-BHP for the Nano AMT test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Aditya : 20th May 2015 at 10:48.
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Old 19th May 2015, 09:52   #6
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Default re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

The Maruti Alto AMT


What you'll like:

• A much improved Alto K10 at the same price point
• VXI AMT starts at merely Rs. 3.80 lakhs
• Power-to-weight ratio of ~90 BHP/ton makes this one peppy li'l hatchback
• AMT variant is an easy sipper @ 24.07 km/l
• Compliant low speed ride quality. Soft suspension is absorbent
• Convenient city car: Light, agile & easy to drive
• Maruti's excellent after-sales service & fuss free ownership experience

What you won't:

• Cramped rear bench. Also, the seatback is very short
• Sensitive steering & nervous handling at speed. Best driven <100 kph
• AMT lacks the refinement & shift-speed of conventional ATs
• VXI (O) trim & airbag unavailable with the AMT. No ABS on any variant
• Questionable structural strength. The car which it's based on (Alto 800) fared poorly in crash tests
• Skinny 155 mm tyres beg for an upgrade
• Flimsy build & economy grade quality. Poor NVH levels as well

Full Review: Link (Maruti Alto K10 : Official Review)

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Old 19th May 2015, 13:00   #7
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing!

Superb detail, rating thread 5 stars.

Must say, the Nano AMT is priced lower than I expected.
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:13   #8
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Thanks Aditya, Fabulous review and pictures as always. The pricing and variant spread will help in getting better numbers now for the Nano. Tata has surely stepped up with this new launch.
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:15   #9
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Thanks, Aditya. Lovely pics - the best of all the reviews that are out there. And a well captured review.

I have had a short TD already, but yet to test it well - including on inclines. But going from your review, it would be good to get a first hand experience of performance on the inclines before one decides on this car.

One point I want to highlight here is that AMT's should not be compared with AT's. Their performance will definitely be different.

Niggles and issues as reported by existing owners are again from the previous version.

Both these points could be put in separately at least at launch time. However, with time if the issues continue, then can be seen in different light (or in the same view as for the current version of the Nano Twist). Then again, the issues this time can be less , or more, .. or just new ones.


The light color dash causes reflection on to the windshield. This should have been kept darker.

Btw, good thing that the Persian Rose is on made to order .. dont see many people going for that one !

Pretty good pricing, though. I had got a scare with the prices mentioned by the Concorde sales person yesterday. It is not that bad

Last edited by condor : 19th May 2015 at 13:33.
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:28   #10
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

This is sure a cute car, and a tremendous value for money. For somebody looking for a second or third car to be used in the city, it ticks all the boxes.

However I see a missed opportunity here.
Tata should create a Xtreme variant of this vehicle.
How to do that?

Well put in a turbo charger, bump up the power to max it can get out of 800cc(I figure around 100bhp should be doable with modern tech), give discs and slightly bigger tires.

It can cost 1.5L more. But its going to be the fastest thing on roads, embarrassing even 20L+ sedans.

Real wheel drive means it can drift too. Tata could also create a Tata nano cup with points for drifting!
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:33   #11
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Great review Aditya, very detailed !

The pricing is slightly less than what was speculated in the Nano AMT discussion thread. I guess Tata Motors has done their homework well post the Bolt's pricing disaster.

An open-able hatch, AMT and slightly better looks are welcome. Having seen test mules in Pune, I have noticed that the noise levels have also come down to a great extent. The Nano definitely appeals to a wider audience now, hope it sells as much as it deserves !

I wish Tata Motors would have launched the Nano with front discs though !
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:38   #12
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

with the latest additions nano becomes the ideal city car but the irony is its only city car. Maruti alto AMT though not its direct competitor is more complete product which can also do some highway duties( lighter build quality notwithstanding). I hope nanos sales increase with this much needed facelift.
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:38   #13
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Yes!
It is here - FINALLY. The ONE review that matters the most.
Thank you.

Just a few quick questions:
  1. Price difference between AMT & Manual
  2. 2-3 negatives are related to AMT gearbox. Does that make Manual a better option
  3. Purely in terms of AMT - how does the drive stand up v/s the Alto K10
  4. Head-to-head price difference beween Nano & Alto K10 - version to version
  5. Difference between XMA & XTA Nano?

Even though a lot of things have been posted here (PICS: Tata begins testing Nano Twist Active AMT):

This is a sincerely good attempt. This is definitely NOW one of the most decent 'affordable' cars today.

Future wish list:
  1. Internally adjustable ORVM
  2. Full console on right door pad
  3. AIRBAGS !
  4. Disc brakes
  5. 5th gear in Manual - many many times have felt the need just as the car goes above 80 kmph

Would be really interesting to see where Kite / Glade begins in terms of pricing and features.

Last edited by Dr.Suraj : 19th May 2015 at 13:41.
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:43   #14
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
...

It can cost 1.5L more. But its going to be the fastest thing on roads, embarrassing even 20L+ sedans..
With that amount of power delivery it will need a better chassis along with a stronger and safer body. Now this will increase the costs further.
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Old 19th May 2015, 13:45   #15
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Default Re: Tata Nano AMT (Automatic) : Official Review

Lovely review Aditya. A 5 star!

The review is in detail and narrative. I liked the cute car! It would be very interesting to see how the stores goes for TATA on this.

I believe it would have a better market than the manual transmission! However, still the TATA after sales has lot to catch-up!

The pricing is very aggressive.

You mentioned about sluggish performance, but yes it has to perform as per its engine parameters or is it under performing?
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