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Old 18th April 2024, 19:29   #1
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2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Hello forum members,

This is my first ownership review on Team-bhp and I hope to do justice to the high standards set by all the long term ownership reviews that I have always enjoyed reading throughout the years

The first review had to be of our *now sold* Tata Nano 2013 LX - nicknamed Mooshak since this was one of the first cars that I had learnt driving in and I spent a long long time behind the wheel as well as maintaining it during a ~10 year period

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-image1.jpg
Somewhere on the country roads of Kolar where the nano felt right at home

A quick summary of the ownership tenure :

Year of birth at the tata factory: 2013
Year of welcoming it home: 2014
Year of finding a new home and bidding goodbye: 2023

Variant: LX (The 2012 facelift that was officially reviewed by teambhp over a lonawala drive) - Non power steering
KMs driven at the time of being sold: ~25,000

Last edited by cheeku : 19th April 2024 at 07:31.
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Old 18th April 2024, 20:24   #2
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Re: Journey of the 'Mooshak' , Tata Nano LX 2013 - A long term ownership review

Prelude to the purchase :



We were on a lookout for a second car for the household starting 2012 since there was a need for a car that could do the in-city runabouts with fair ease and be light on the pocket as well.

Requirements :

- Small footprint
- Good mileage , preferably ~15 in city with the AC on
- Petrol
- Had to be available in white

That was about it, and we had begun our search.

Showrooms visited :

1. Tata Motors for the nano - Test driving the nano was an underwhelming experience , the test drive vehicle didn't have it's AC functioning and had rattles. We understood this may have been one-off but we continued the search.

2. Maruti Suzuki - The Alto 800 didn't impress us with the looks and it was rejected right there without a test-drive. I didn't mind it though but it was vetoed.

3. Enter Hyundai,Residency road for the i10 , Eon - We loved the way Eon looked,felt and drove , the D-lite model was booked right away with the awareness that it lacked a power steering. We just needed a car, and I was okay with anything that was new and drove.


A couple of days passed by after the booking and after some good long family drama over the lack of power steering, instead of upgrading to a higher variant, the booking was cancelled

The search continued for another car that fit just right both to our budget and requirements ( but we did end up buying a EON few years later and it has been a joy to own)

After the unsuccessful search in 2012, came a 2 year period when there wasn't really a need to have a second car around due to low usage and changing work commitments.

Come 2014, I was preparing for my entrance exams , when suddenly I notice momentum in the automobile discussions at home with the word "nano" being thrown around often.

I didn't think much of these discussions until one fine day my father randomly asked for the keys of the nano from my brother's friend to test-drive it. It was a yellow colour one from the very first batches and he had driven it for more than 50,000 kilometres by then. He came back happy from the drive but we didn't know that smile would transpire into a purchase in the next few weeks. The only statement I remember hearing was "Iss gaadi mein toh power steering ki zaroorat hi nahi hai" (There is no need of a power steering in this car at all !).

In the next month or so, when I was innocently preparing for my exams , doors closed in my study room , the decision had been made and I was informed that a new Tata Nano was on the way already.

Wait, where was it bought from ? Neither had anybody visited the showroom , nor any finance related discussions took place at home.

As it turns out, this was from unsold dealer inventory of December 2013 , a few months old by then and we had received word of this deal via someone who was known to handle the vehicle fleet at my parents' workplace.

Questions I asked at home when I helplessly heard this purchase taking shape :

Q: How will it arrive home ? Will we have the ribbon to cut? That big key handover like in the Girias / Pai newspaper ads, do I get to be part of it ?

A: It will be driven home by the fleet owner, he is driving it from a far away yard, you can cut the plastic covers from the seats and take the keys directly from him.

Q: Wait, what about the smell of new car ?

A: We have told him to clean the car, and since this has been in the yard for a few months, there may not be any of that lucrative new car odor. * My heart sank here *

Q: Which colour ? Not yellow,please ? Top-end right ?

A: It's white, and yes it's the LX. * A bit happier *

The car arrives in a few days and the usual formalities are completed in the next few weeks. This was a direct delivery from the dealer and was more of a spinny type delivery of recent times when the car was handed over at home.

Last edited by cheeku : 19th April 2024 at 09:31.
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Old 18th April 2024, 21:35   #3
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Re: Journey of the 'Mooshak' , Tata Nano LX 2013 - A long term ownership review

Initial ownership period of 2014-2017



Accessories added :

ICE:

- Blaupunkt audio system - single DIN
- Front speakers - Blaupunkt
- Rear speakers - Sony

Convenience:

- Sunfilm within the legal limit of visibility (I was told that ) for complete glass area since the Nano had the steering right under the windscreen and I didn't want to use up all the sun-screen at my home everyday protecting my arms.

Interior:

- Leatherette seat covers, pre-stitched and fit
- Steering cover

Things that impressed us during this time :

1. The mileage - Owning it alongside a WagonR F10D that returned 8-10kmpl in the city, this was a surprise, it returned a steady 15-18 kmpl with the AC on during our normal usage conditions.

2. The footprint and manoeuvrability - Could fit in anywhere without a sweat.

3. The suspension - We were regular users of bad roads in the city, and the nano's suspension handled them well every day. The faster over those uneven patches, the better it handled.

Things that didn't impress us much during this time :

1. The brakes - good in the city but beyond 60, braking to a halt needed a heavyweight press and the brake bite felt wooden , got them checked and it was diagnosed to be a brake cylinder issue. The part was changed.

2. The ergonomics : Power button windows needed a bend down to be operated, the wiper stalks had a weird order of control , the passenger side seat adjust was towards the driver console

3. The small fuel tank of 15 litres - We realised the importance of a large fuel tank once we used the vehicle more often in the city, a usual week's drive sometimes consisted of 300-350 kms and it needed a refuel stop mid-week.

Things that fell apart during this 2 year period :

1. The hazard light switch - It had the weirdest design where one had to pull the knob up, it fell apart in a few months and when we requested the service centre to fix it, they mentioned they needed to change the whole assembly. This was fixed later.

2. The rubber clamps that held the parcel shelf at the back.

Things that went really wrong during this time :

1. Oil pump failure and radiator malfunctioning - Left us stranded mid-way home at a traffic signal. We had to let the car cool down every couple hundred meters, covered the last 4 kms in moderate traffic with many stops.

There were symptoms of failure earlier during a drive to Nandi Hills in September 2014, when the car switched off during a bumper to bumper jam uphill and refused to start.

Luckily, there was a parking space right behind the spot where it had stopped and using the downhill momentum , we could parallel park it. 2 hours later, it started up just fine and we drove 70 kms without a hiccup.

Looking back, it would have been a good idea to record the symptoms and show it to the service folks. The oil pump assembly was replaced along with few other parts.

2. AC malfunction : The AC had it's own mind , the compressor would sometimes switch on and sometimes it won't. After a couple of ignition cycles, it would start working and would stop.

This issue could never be fixed by Tata's service centre, the folks just failed to diagnose it. This was fixed much later in 2019 (covered in the later part of this thread)

Some pictures during this period :

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-dsc00878.jpg
Enroute to Nandi Hills

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-img_0246.jpg

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-dsc00812.jpg
On a rainy day in traffic ( Oh, how I miss the rain in bangalore now !)

Last edited by cheeku : 19th April 2024 at 07:44.
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Old 18th April 2024, 23:32   #4
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Re: Journey of the 'Mooshak' , Tata Nano LX 2013 - A long term ownership review

The mid-life ownership period, 2017-2020 (pre-lockdown) was more eventful than the initial years.

Odometer's reading: 10000 km - 20000 km

Things that were good:

- The consistently good mileage in ever-increasing Bangalore traffic. It's frugal nature helped my college commutes and those occasional road-trips over short distances.

- The space management , again during short drives from college , this was a way better alternative when compared to my friends using two wheelers.

Issues that started cropping up during regular usage:

- Battery issue as well as leakage, car didn't crank at all one day , changed exide battery in mid 2017.

- Even after the battery change, there were starter motor problems, car didn't start up with first crank and used to make a *tak tak tak* sound atleast 4-5 times before the car started up.

Led to a lot of problems at traffic signals and eventually, I stopped switching off the car until I had reached my destination.

At this point of time, we had given up hope on the Tata Service Centre folks, they were never able to diagnose issues correctly or fix them

We decided to switch to a Bosch FNG, and it was probably the best decision that we made and these folks eventually were the reason we held on to the Nano for many more years. The issues that they addressed :

1. The AC cooling issue, it was diagnosed to a faulty thermo amplifier module. Changed the part and the AC never gave a problem again !

2. Starter issue, there were minor repairs taken where it was opened and checked, again this solved the issue , there were no more double-triple cranks, just once and the vehicle started !

3. They fixed the age old broken hazard light button as well with just some tweaks, no replacement anywhere.

After this experience, I decided to service our car periodically at Bosch. We never used the authorised tata service centre post 2018.

Some pictures from this period: ( My team-bhp fandom was at its peak by 2017, the car had been bhp'd left right and center )

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-dsc07149.jpg

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-dsc07125.jpeg

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-dsc07139.jpg

Last edited by cheeku : 19th April 2024 at 10:32.
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Old 19th April 2024, 06:14   #5
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Re: Journey of the 'Mooshak' , Tata Nano LX 2013 - A long term ownership review

Final period of ownership tenure - 2020-2023

Odometer reading: 20,000 - 25,000 KMs

Repairs undertaken during lockdown :

- The old tyres had become hard and this warranted a change at 19,800km to Bridgestone - costed 12K in total with balancing.

- Periodic annual service costed around 6.5K as it involved multiple wear and tear parts to be changed. The average periodic service cost hovered around the same figure for 2020-23.

- The car was fairly reliable during this period of minimal usage , a couple of rat bites here and there which led to the headlight wiring being damaged once, and the AC wire being cut off in another.

- By end 2021, the clutch had started slipping at the 22,000 km mark and the fuel consumption due to the extra revs dropped to around 8-10 kmpl. Got it replaced at the FNG , and to my disappointment , the flywheel was damaged as well , total bill for both the clutch assembly and flywheel totaled to around 8K with labour.

- After a few uneventful months, the car started exhibiting issues where it just randomly stalled while being driven and there were random jerks when braking. It happened around 3-4 times in a span of 2 weeks.

It felt like a fuel related issue, and I noticed this knocking and stall issue always happened at the 1-2 bar mark in the fuel indicator. A full tank and the issue didn't appear until the fuel fell back to 1-2 bars.

Took the car to the FNG and they opened the fuel tank and cleaned it. There was a lot of dirt, and the plastic tank had almost turned black at some places.

- Post the fuel tank cleaning and also a minor fuel pipe repair since a leakage was observed, the car was back to driving normally.

- By the end of 2022, we had 3 cars with us due to my family relocation to bangalore but only 2 parking spots in the apartment, so we had decided that it would be a better move to let go of the Nano since it was not very reliable compared to the other two cars in the stable : Ertiga and the Eon.

The sale process and the hurdles during the time :

- We reached out to Spinny for a quote and they were able to give us a decent price. The price was valid for 2 weeks if I remember correctly and we decided we would take the call after a week or so.

- Mid-way during the weekend, I decided to take the car for a stroll and lo and behold, the vehicle broke down. Thankfully it was before we entered the destination mall's parking and just before the entry point on Old Madras road. I had my friend for company and with his and the security folks' help, we pushed the car to a spot near the footpath where autos were parked.

No attempts to start the car were successful. The famous tak tak tak was back and this felt like a battery related issue.

Decided to call Tata's RSA and got a response that my car is not registered in their database, decided to not pursue the matter and chose to call a local towing service since it was getting pretty late.

We called up the tow truck and got the car towed back by paying around 3.5K for a distance of 18 kms within the city. The folks reached at our location exactly 15 minutes after we gave a call since their yard was nearby.

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-img_1949.jpeg

The next day, the Bosch FNG folks came to our place with jumper cables and got the car started. They mentioned the battery was almost dead and they would charge it just enough so that it would run for a while and then I would have to make sure to keep it charged. Bought a jumper cable from Amazon for backup.

By the time all the issues were resolved, the spinny quote was invalid and a new quote from them after revaluation was 20% lesser than the first one.

In the end, it was Cars24 that gave us a satisfactory price, we explained the evaulator about recent issues and he acknowledged the battery related issue.

All in all, the Cars24 quote was 25% more than the 1st Spinny quote and that sealed the deal in their favour. The selling process was smooth and we bid adieu in a fortnight.

Last edited by cheeku : 19th April 2024 at 08:04.
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Old 19th April 2024, 07:30   #6
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Re: Journey of the 'Mooshak' , Tata Nano LX 2013 - A long term ownership review

Important areas of assessment of the vehicle over the complete ownership period :



If one reads the posts above, they probably give an impression that our Nano was plagued with a lot of issues, while that is true, there have been significant positives as well alongside and many memorable experiences that got me to review this car in detail. Having spent the longest time behind the wheel of this car (mainly because it was driven in traffic) , I will try to provide an honest view of all areas pertinent during the ownership period.

Likes :



- Driving position and view from the driver's seat
- Small on the outside, big on the inside with interior space
- Unique rear engine design and rear wheel drive.
- Consistently good fuel economy in city with the AC on
- Suspension setup
- Light on the pocket for even the most major repairs. Part cost was low.
- Good headlight throw for the segment.
- Peppy engine at low speeds, rarely felt lack of power in city traffic
- Chiller AC ( when it worked )

Dislikes :



- The Tata ASC experience, most issues could have been ironed out at the very start instead of a FNG helping us out
- Mechanical part longevity was poor leading to poor reliability. We seldom chose to drive it over 50+ km in a day.
- The high maintenance costs due to regular repairs.
- The NVH levels at the rear
- The seat comfort and bolstering
- The power steering weight at low speeds, it led to wrist workouts and now I really do have strong wrists.

Section wise review :



1. Exterior styling : Catchy from the front and very subtle from the rear. Always loved the rear profile.

2. Build quality : Poor when it came to interior plastics but the exterior body held up well.

3. Usage pattern :
Regular 15-20 km a day in traffic during initial ownership, just 3-4 long road-trips. The last few years involved multiple 2-3 km drives on weekdays.

4. Tyres : Smaller ones at front for ease of driving, prevented oversteer. Rear ones were of acceptable size. Stock MRFs were poor and bridgestone changed the experience significantly.

5. Interior comfort :

Front - Poor side bolstering on seats, had to use a cushion for lumbar support, any drive longer than 1 hour required a stretch.

Rear - Just a bench seat with lap belts, got the job done of ferrying people, the terms comfort and rear-seat were never used together in a single sentence.

6. NVH : Poor at the rear but acceptable at the front. Outside noise used to creep in through the wafer-thin glass panels and doors that lacked significant insulation.

7. Driving position : Great. This was a highlight. Didn't feel too low or too high, just right.

8. Ergonomics : Poor, have already mentioned the few misses, low positioning of power window buttons, seat adjustment lever, fuel lid placement at front under bonnet, rear seat folding mechanism.

9. MID : Nothing much to view except the speed , fuel indicator and 1 trip meter. Anything else lighting up meant that a breakdown was probably lurking around. The negative was that after a restart of the car, the trip meter fell back to the total odometer reading and we had to navigate back to it using the stalk.

10. Visibility, mirrors, glass area : Perfect sized, the only problem was the thick A pillar.

11.AC : chiller and never had to refill gas during the ownership. Very effective and could cool the cabin down in a minute or two even in the hottest of days. Blower noise was very high though.

12.Interior storage : Lacked spaces, door pads didn't have any space for bottles, if you tried fitting a 250 ml bottle, they would break.

Lacked a glovebox until bought as an accessory, could never come around to finding one at the accessories store or at TATA. This was available with the new Twist XT model.

13. Gearshift and clutch - Gearshift had a notchy feeling with 1st gear, 2nd to 3rd was the smoothest.

14. Engine : Peppy at low rpms, weak at high rpms with a lot of noise but not much momentum

15. Handling : Easy to use in traffic and on straight roads, that's about it. Had to take it slow on curves, high amount of body roll.

16. Braking :
Adequate in city but poor for emergency braking. Brake feel was wooden after initial bite.

17. Fuel efficiency :

In city with AC on: 15-17 kmpl
In city without AC: 17-18 kmpl
On highway with AC always on and top speed of 65-70 kmph : 20+ kmpl consistently

18. Cost of upkeep and maintenance, service experience : This was one of the weak links in the ownership The upkeep cost, time invested was unexpected for the segment. The marutis and the hyundais practically needed just periodic service whereas when it came to the Nano, the folks at my FNG had started referring to me as "Nano saar" due to my weekly visits.

Had to make regular visits to the workshop every few weeks for some part going kaput, part falling off, vehicle not starting etc. Thankfully, the Bosch FNG is located 100 meters from my home and the only positive is the relationship I built with them during the nano repairs.

Now, these folks service all our cars that are out of warranty and perform everything to our satisfaction and I frequently chat with them for inputs on repairability topics.

19. Last but not the least, a question that wouldn't be put across for any other car but the nano, what did people think?

The Nano didn't do well in the non-automobile circles due to its small car image, and in the automobile circles due to some of its quirks and misses. The ones who owned it, loved it and the ones who didn't could never figure how somebody could use the car every day.

So, what was my experience of using this first for my college, then for work and then just for household chores?

Most of my friends had a hearty laugh when they saw the Nano, the exterior styling and the noise from the engine resembled to that of an auto for them. These same folks would be surprised with the space on offer once they sat inside and would mention "Machha, it's good, machha "

Some of my friends appreciated practicality (the car lovers) , we did numerous short drives with them and at times, these guys who had sedans and other hatchbacks used to borrow the keys of the Nano for the ease of driving it around.

And then there were those who didn't bother at all. Gaddi hai, AC hai , jagah hai, aur kya chahiye ?

Now, what about the folks near our home? Well, Nano grabbed eyeballs everywhere, first because nobody in our colony owned one and people didn't really understand as to why we had the Nano, why not an Alto or a Beat or an Indica vista? These were actual questions asked regularly even by our relatives. At some point, I had to realise that there was no use justifying the purchase when they never really would be convinced with its use-case.

So, how was the Nano experience and why does it still hold a special space in our heart despite the numerous issues and unreliable nature?

Because we are petrolheads, and when we drive this little piece of innovation which I still feel was ahead of its time, we would always remember it fondly.

If I had any other car, seldom would anyone notice it or even remember it for standing out.

The nano stood out in its own ways, among the sea of other commuter hatchbacks, it was liked by the folks at home even after all the problems surfaced but these are part of a car ownership, and our case may have been an outlier in terms of reliability.

If we had the permanent space for 3 cars at home, the Nano would still be there tucked away in the corner, happily fulfilling its daily duties of handling the household chores.

Signing off with a memorable click from the very first month of ownership

2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'-dsc01054.jpg

Last edited by cheeku : 19th April 2024 at 12:04.
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Old 19th April 2024, 23:17   #7
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th April 2024, 12:45   #8
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Absolutely honest and that is what ownership reviews should be like. Sad to see it go. A great practical and fun car and yes, the space was always a eye-opener for the first-timers!
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Old 20th April 2024, 16:24   #9
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Excellent review. Such a shame you had to sell it. I always admired the Nano for its unique design and space it offered.
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Old 20th April 2024, 17:29   #10
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

All valid points. But in the end as a owner of two nanos I can say the reason it is dead now even in used car market is it's horrible reliability and inability of service centre to fix them.

The amount you spent on upkeep vis a vis resale value questions the logic in keeping this car going.

My original 2011 nano had so many things replaced that I lost count, we sold it and got the xta which was way better but maintenance cost and frequency of maintenance is not in line with maruti or Hyundai which are Rolexes in comparison.

Ac work, throttle body cleaning, tyres wearing out, poor idling- the list goes on. No wonder many of the original non power steering nanos are driven to the ground or used for roadside catering stalls. Great concept but terrible execution.

Thankfully tata has moved on and their reliability and desirability has improved leaps and bounds.
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Old 20th April 2024, 18:40   #11
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freespirit27 View Post
Absolutely honest and that is what ownership reviews should be like. Sad to see it go. A great practical and fun car and yes, the space was always a eye-opener for the first-timers!
Thank you for the kind feedback ! Yes, it was a bittersweet experience while selling it just like the ownership !

Quote:
Originally Posted by venukrithish View Post
Excellent review. Such a shame you had to sell it. I always admired the Nano for its unique design and space it offered.
Thank you ! Yes, the space had always been a plus point, especially for short rides without any real luggage, this was a great car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanolover View Post
The amount you spent on upkeep vis a vis resale value questions the logic in keeping this car going.

Ac work, throttle body cleaning, tyres wearing out, poor idling- the list goes on. No wonder many of the original non power steering nanos are driven to the ground or used for roadside catering stalls. Great concept but terrible execution.

Thankfully tata has moved on and their reliability and desirability has improved leaps and bounds.
Absolutely agree, the only reason we kept the car with us for longer than expected was the delay in having the Hyundai EON back in Bangalore due to work commitments , we knew the nano was the one to be sold as soon as the hyundai was back.

Also, there was no suitable replacement for our city beater car during the 2020-22 period because of the absurd pricing in the used car market for small cars. It didn't make sense for us to invest 3x-5x the nano's selling price on a used small hatch which would do maybe 50 kms a week at the maximum. So, we decided to chug it along and the last few repairs were done keeping the needs in mind for a specific year or two.

The funny part is that every nano looks to have had a unique set of issues, I can now confirm that after seeing the list of issues reported with yours
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Old 21st April 2024, 09:06   #12
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Fantastic review of your dear Nano. I am sure it will have an iconic place in your heart and I did feel touched towards the end.
I was on the lookout for an honest recent review of the Tata Nano, its handling, driving dynamics, including highways and in curves, and you did mention the body roll! I have been excited by the announcement of Nano.ev the electric Avatar of Nano by Tata.

Thank you, @cheeku.

OT: Nano fans, any hints on Tana Nano.ev's launch date, as I do need a small EV (because of single person mostly) that can help me do 250km in real life range, which the Nano electric is promising, which would enable me to do 3/4ths of the Warangal-Hyderabad and back round trip! There's one charging place available at Hotel Vivera on NH163 at Bhuvanagiri where I can charge for half hour/ 80km, for the rest of the return journey.

350km range in a small EV is what I actually need, but the price points of such vehicles are way beyo nond my budget for a second vehicle.
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Old 21st April 2024, 09:15   #13
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Can you state which Bosch FNG you went to? Im looking out for a good mechanic in Bangalore.
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Old 21st April 2024, 10:37   #14
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilck View Post
Can you state which Bosch FNG you went to? Im looking out for a good mechanic in Bangalore.
OP, second this request. Would be good to share it here for others to benefit than direct PMs please.
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Old 21st April 2024, 20:33   #15
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Re: 2013 Tata Nano LX Review | Journey of the 'Mooshak'

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilck View Post
Can you state which Bosch FNG you went to? Im looking out for a good mechanic in Bangalore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
OP, second this request. Would be good to share it here for others to benefit than direct PMs please.
Sure, why not. I was referring to Yes motors located near Whitefield main road. They were initially a very small place when I had been there first in 2016 for getting the nano checked but now they have a really large workshop.

Initially it was only the Nano but after Maruti ASS started their shenanigans with the add-ons in service even after repeated requests to remove them, these folks were also handed the responsibility for periodic service of our Ertiga.

I am not associated with them in any way and have only used their services frequently to great satisfaction. Hope you have a great experience with them if you plan to give them a try
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