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Old 23rd July 2012, 18:39   #1
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Default My Nanovation : Tata Nano

It was after my company announced a car lease scheme and the petrol prices went through the roof that I finally started giving serious thought to replacing my workhorse - Santro. It was literally a workhorse because I drove it to work all the four years that I owned it. In the last few months it had actually started returning upto 16kmpl without AC, nothing short of miraculous. However it still bled my pocket.

The need really was simple, a car to drive daily and low running costs. There really was just one serious contender, the Nano. Others were either not as fuel eficient or not as cheap. Plus Tata had added the left side ORVM as standard, which meant I would no longer feel blind in one eye. A couple of test drives, specially the second one in a 2012 model convinced me the Nano was as nimble as the Santro, something I didn't want to compromise upon.

The second test drive happened towards the end of May, and the deal offered for my Santro was a little less than what I had secretly wished. The salesman did mention that with the new month, the company would be announcing new policies. Now this could mean good news, or it could mean bad news.

It turned out to be good news. The exchange bonus went up from 10k in May to 30k in June. The salesman called me to give me the news, and I made up my mind.

The formalities started, the paperwork was completed and signatures made. At the last moment my family chipped in with the finances so I didn't have to take a loan. Paying >30k for a loan of barely 1.30k seemed a little too much. The procedures over, now started the wait for the car. The salesman informed me they didn't have any stocks and all cars were made to order. The expected delivery time would be around 20-25 days.

I kept going back there for checking up on the delivery status and also the accessories. However the only thing I could decide upon was a music system which was priced the same as the aftermarket one. Then there was the problem of speakers. With the first new car I didn't want any cutting up of the rear parcel tray or the dashboard. And without the speakers, the music system didn't make sense. So I decided to hold on.

Finally the day arrived when the salesman called me up and informed me my car would be reaching their stockyard in the evening and I needed to surrender my Santro to complete the financial part of the deal. With a heavy (and also beating) heart I handed over my trusted workhorse to the dealership.

After a couple of days and daily follow up I received the chassis number, but no VIN. The salesman actively discouraged me from going to the stockyard for a PDI too. I started having jitters.

Finally the day he had promised the registration would be completed, I called him up in the night and enquired about the status. He replied back with the registration number! I was ecstatic. However the problems weren't yet over. The family opined that Saturday wasn't an auspicious day, Sunday was, Monday and Tuesday weren't, and Wednesday was. The salesman informed me they didn't do deliveries on Sundays since most staff were on their weekly off. On weekdays it would be impossible for the entire family to be present. So I decided to do away with the fortune-telling book and took delivery on Saturday.

Last edited by honeybee : 25th July 2012 at 21:59.
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Old 26th July 2012, 09:07   #2
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

Some observations:

Visibility:

Excellent visibility in front of the driver, as the windscreen is large. However 45 degree view on both right and left is severely obstructed. The right side view is obstructed by the thick A-pillar, while on the left, the high position of the centre console and the wiper add to the A-pillar in ensuring you can't be sure of stepping onto a kerb or a stray dog when negotiating tight lanes.

The rear visibility is also good with not many blind spots. The mirrors, though not as big as the Santro's, are adequate for the job. I just wish the mirror covers extended a bit further onto the mirror so the glass can be free of water droplets during rains.

The windows are large and provide good visibility all round.

Ride Comfort:

The ride comfort is decent, but pales when compared to a proper hatchback. The reasons for this are obvious: Small tyres, stiffer suspension and reduced wheelbase together ensure that you feel every road abnormality. Depending on the speeds you may be able to keep your coffee from spilling or have it splashed around.

Generally the car handles well over the uneven roads, but an occasional pothole can cause the steering to wobble for a fraction of a second. Nothing serious though, I have experienced this with the Santro as well, though the potholes would be larger.

The firmer suspension reduces body roll during cornering. My daily route involves some pretty winding curves on the Mumbra overhead bypass, and where in the Santro I would be rocking sideways at speeds ~60, the Nano keeps me more or less upright.

A couple of things I discovered:

The sun-visor in front of the driver has a place to store receipts (toll receipts). The good part is the place is a strip open from both sides. So no more trying to reach the money/receipt lost deep into the recess and risking tearing up the cover.

The other quirk I noticed yesterday is that the central AC vent can be shut half. The lower flap could be completely closed resulting in only half the vent being open. I tried that with the driver-side vent, but no luck. So I am wondering if it's some QA gaffe or a feature. With its powerful AC if all the four vents could be half-shut like this, it would be great.

Last edited by honeybee : 27th July 2012 at 10:11.
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Old 27th July 2012, 10:21   #3
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

Some pictures:

Shot while on my way to drive home the Nano, what amazes me is how the manufacturer has printed the date of manufacture and the MRP on the sidewall. The ISI mark is at 10 o'clock, next to that is the date of manufacture (June 2011) at 11 o'clock position and next to that the MRP at between 12 and 1 o'clock position. A far better way of educating the customers, don't you think?
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The engine bay: Unlike the 2011 Nano I test-drove, the engine bay gets some base in the form of a sheet attached at the bottom. Though this reduces the chance of bags falling down onto the road, it being an engine bay it's best if no luggage is stored here (this tip is for those who still believe the Nano has a boot at the front!).
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A close-up of the bay: You can see the petrol tank inlet on the right of the spare tyre.
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A sideways glance:
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The front fogs: good enough to illuminate anything in front, but yet to see how they can light up any part of the road.
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The rear (three-quarters?) view:
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The hatch door does NOT open! It's been rivetted to the body shell. A security guard at a mall found this out the funny way when he went to the rear and tried opening it. We all had a laugh, including the guard. Thankfully he didn't insist on opening the 'other' boot!
Notice the two slats of the rear grill? This grill protects the engine, but if you see how these slats can be easily bent by hand, you wonder if the protection should have been sturdier.
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The LX stamp. Apart from the BS4 sticker on the left, the rear is free of decals. I like the clean looks.
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The full-wheel caps come as standard on the LX. Lends a premium look to the car.
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The Nano mudflaps: Complimentary from the dealer along with floor mats.
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The centre console: Illumination is good, however the upward-sloping console reflects into the front windscreen. Not to mention its positioning means you sacrifice some much-needed visibility.
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The passenger-side ORVM: A much needed addition to the accessories list. There's no knob to adjust the mirror internally, you need to push gently on the glass to position it to your liking. Visibility is satisfactory with no obvious blind spots.
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The running-in instructions and tips for achieving better FE stuck to the top right of the windscreen. A good effort, only the car refuses to run smoothly at 60kmph in the fourth gear. Third is the best for speeds upto 60kmph.
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The internal mirror, provides good coverage of the area at the back. The driving position is high, so you cannot spot easily any obstacles below the window line immediately at the front or at the rear of the car. But that's not exactly a flaw of the Nano.
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The profile view, again: The LX comes with tinted glasses.
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Decked with a garland, ready to be delivered:
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The roof-line of the Nano is above the i10 (foreground): The camera angle does not reveal this clearly, but the Nano is a notch taller than the i10, probably even the Santro.
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The vent in the centre console: The flap circled in the pic can be shut independently, leaving just half the vent open. Cool, but unfortunately it's not availble in all the vents.
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The tall gear stick easily falls to hand. The shifting isn't smooth though, you actually feel it shifting between the gates. And if you miss slotting it correctly it will make such an awful racket, the passers-by will rush to your rescue. Ahead of the shifter is the classic ergonomic blunder called the power window switches. Having to lower the window six times enroute for toll, I suspect if it's an attempt by the Tatas to keep the Nano drivers fit in the tummy area.
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The handbrake and a small recess below it. The white box there is the spare headlamp provided with the car.
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The view out of the front windscreen. Look carefully and you will see how much the dash and the console reflect upward. This is a royal pain in the eyes, whether day or night, made worse by street lights. Either opt for black interiors or get a dash cover pronto!
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The view at 45 degrees is severely obstructed by the thick A-pillar: I have to crane my neck to check for oncoming vehicles and other obstacles when negotiating small lanes.
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The passenger side offers a better view than the driver's side. Of course it's largely helped by the wide windscreen and the quarter glass.
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The mirror is all water droplets: An extended hood might have ensured the mirror surface remains dry.
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The panel gaps (oops, there are none!): The dash seems to have been well put together. The dash gives out a premium feel ...
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Till you spot this: The whole piece of upholstery is loose, probably not fitted back properly after the wiring etc? Or the cost-cutting?
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The straight ahead vision:
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The steering position is a tad too low: it could have been shifted up by an inch or two for a more comfortable feeling. Also notice how the wiper and the centre console block the view.
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Last edited by honeybee : 27th July 2012 at 11:07.
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Old 27th July 2012, 11:25   #4
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

Thanks a lot for Sharing.

Thread was moved from the Assembly Line.
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Old 27th July 2012, 11:38   #5
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

The mandatory bump:

I haven't got any (ANY) accessories fitted yet! Not even a music system. I did buy a Logitech Mini Boombox (red and black on the dash) to play songs from my mobile or MP4 player. Next in line are seat covers, I have seen some good designs at the local accessories shop.
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Old 27th July 2012, 11:48   #6
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Smile re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

Congratulations Honeybee on the Nano

So this was the exchange which was planned and I must say a good one too. What was the OTR cost of the Nano?

Happy mile crunching in this cutie and drive safely.
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Old 27th July 2012, 12:08   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post

The panel gaps (oops, there are none!): The dash seems to have been well put together. The dash gives out a premium feel ...
...
Till you spot this: The whole piece of upholstery is loose, probably not fitted back properly after the wiring etc? Or the cost-cutting?

The steering position is a tad too low: it could have been shifted up by an inch or two for a more comfortable feeling. Also notice how the wiper and the centre console block the view.
so, this is what has replaced your Santro. congratulations on your purchase.

i have driven the Nano a couple of times (mostly to showcase it to foreign clients, or to friends/relatives who think NANO does not have space) and have had exactly the same observations/thoughts as you have. the build quality, and panel gaps are consistant, and plastic on A piller was loose on the most recent NANO i drove (was a 2012 made). i also have the exactly same view about the steering position, seating position being higher, the steering feels placed very low; i wonder how it fell for 6' or taller people.
but contrary to what most of general public thinks, NANO has a very good suspension set up and is a hoot to drive (till 80 kmph).

Last edited by infotech58 : 27th July 2012 at 12:10.
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Old 27th July 2012, 12:13   #8
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

Congratulations my friend.

It indeed looks good in this colour. Wish you Happy Motoring and do update us further with your driving experience, comfort, fuel efficiency etc.
All the best.
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Old 27th July 2012, 13:05   #9
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Congratulations on your new ride !

How much did the car cost you OTR ? What was the discount you got from the dealer ?
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Old 27th July 2012, 13:33   #10
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

Really well written and honest review. Looks many people are opting for the NANO nowadays, thanx to ever increasing petrol prices.

Quote:
Ahead of the shifter is the classic ergonomic blunder called the power window switches. Having to lower the window six times enroute for toll, I suspect if it's an attempt by the Tatas to keep the Nano drivers fit in the tummy area.

The description cant get better than this. My tummy area is having a pain due to uncontrollable laughter.

I wish you miles of happy motoring with the nano.
Take Care and Drive Safe.
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Old 27th July 2012, 14:09   #11
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Default re: My Nanovation : Tata Nano

The OTR price for the LX model came out to approx 2,55000/-, and there was a dealer discount of 10k.

The Nano has a stiffer suspension, which helps it scale speedbrakers with ease, it can take corners without body roll, but it also throws you around in the cabin if the roads are uneven. Going over potholes at high speeds should keep you firmly in your seats, but I am not sure if it will upset the car. Incidentally I twice hit potholes: once on the Powai flyover when the pothole appeared just after the apex and the only way to avoid it was to fly over it, and the other while descending towards the Mumbra side of the Mumbra bypass in the night. The first was under the left wheel and the second under the right one. Both times there was a loud thud and the car shuddered for a moment, but everything was ok after that.

And thanks all of you for the wishes!

As for updating the thread, yes, I shall be doing it. The next in line is observations on the 'Kitna Deti Hai' question, which was the sole reason to opt for the Nano. Since the digital fuel guage is not entirely accurate (or maybe I am new to it), I am going to wait for my second tankfull to check how much it worked out to.

One thing I must mention: When I took delivery the salesman kindly informed me they had put in Rs. 200/- worth of petrol in the car when they brought it from the Kalyan stockyard (Kon gaon) to the showroom (Ghodbunder road, R Mall), and that I had better fill up at the petrol pump just down the road. This was quite 'kanjoos' of them. My advice to others buying a new car: Please insist on the car having at least 1k worth of petrol and offer to pay cash for the same so that you aren't stranded on the first day of owning your new car.

The road back was jam-packed with vehicles (we took about ten minutes just to exit the service lane and join the main road!), and in the traffic we missed the said petrol pump (I spotted it only after we were halted right opposite it, with about four cars separating us). So we drove on and reached the Anjur phata petrol pump. I had had my fingers crossed that the available petrol would last us till then, and it did. The engine did splutter and die twice, the last time right in front of the petrol pump as we waited for a break in the oncoming traffic, but it held on till we reached the pump.

Guess the relationship has already started. Am planning to take her out more often (after all it now costs less!), and a Bhopal trip is going to cost me half the money it would by plane. So let's see.

Last edited by honeybee : 27th July 2012 at 14:11.
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Old 27th July 2012, 15:52   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
One thing I must mention: When I took delivery the salesman kindly informed me they had put in Rs. 200/- worth of petrol in the car when they brought it from the Kalyan stockyard (Kon gaon) to the showroom (Ghodbunder road, R Mall), and that I had better fill up at the petrol pump just down the road. This was quite 'kanjoos' of them. My advice to others buying a new car: Please insist on the car having at least 1k worth of petrol and offer to pay cash for the same so that you aren't stranded on the first day of owning your new car.
Where at R Mall? Was it Balaji Motors?
The dealers I have come across dont even say it kindly to get the tank refilled, leave about filling 1K worth of fuel. They feel the customers might ask them for the fuel. When I was driving my Fiesta out of the showroom I was told it had 5 lts of fuel sufficient to go for max 40 kms. Luckily the petrol pump was next door, hence did not mind.
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Old 27th July 2012, 17:01   #13
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Where at R Mall? Was it Balaji Motors?
When I was driving my Fiesta out of the showroom I was told it had 5 lts of fuel sufficient to go for max 40 kms. Luckily the petrol pump was next door, hence did not mind.
That is what the Ford Dealers say, but you never know how much they put in unless you fill the tank and do the math.

For Honda too they said it has more than 5lts, but still better you fill up at earliest. Not being familiar with the roads and anxious of driving the new car among the stream of auto on W Exp Hw it just skipped my mind.

I had the a/c on with music..etc...and just as I turned towards JVLR it struck me that I had to re-fuel. The thought of being stranded in middle of road with new car and no fuel, made me sweat. Just pulled up at nearest pump and bought 10lts and peace of mind

Moral: Always refuel at earliest on taking delivery of new car. Whether the dealer has done his bit or not.

Cheers
MKP
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Old 27th July 2012, 17:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Where at R Mall? Was it Balaji Motors?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkpiyengar View Post
That is what the Ford Dealers say, but you never know how much they put in unless you fill the tank and do the math.
No dealer today would fill the tank up and hand over the car. Heck, my Santro had half her tank full when I handed it over and that's about 1k. But I think if we tell the salesperson upfront that we shall be paying for the same he may oblige.

You do need to fill it up at the nearest petrol pump, however it would be less anxiety if you know you can continue onto your home with the available fuel. The petrol pump may not be the first place you want to visit with your new car.
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Old 27th July 2012, 17:50   #15
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Quote:
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.... The petrol pump may not be the first place you want to visit with your new car.
Unfortunately thats the first place everyone visits straight from the showroom Congratulations on your new wheels ! I have been using the 'yellow fellow' for an year, its occasional usage only. I have been shifting between hatch, sedan for over 8 yrs. Nano is the only wheels not gone out of city till date and very frankly I dont have the confidence to take it on highways. Even within the city above 70 kmph, I dont feel safe enough in it. But from the user experience so far, I would rate it the best vehicle for city use. Cost of maintenance, running cost, parking worries none of these matter much !

Enjoy your drive
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