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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #1
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Default Tata Punch Review

Tata Punch Review


Tata Punch Pros



• Snazzy styling! We love the mini-Harrier face and tight rear end
• Well-designed & practical cabin with enough space for 4 adults
• 366-liter boot is accommodating
• 1.2L NA petrol offers good driveability in the city. Performance is acceptable <90 kmph
• Sorted road manners & reassuring high speed stability
• Enjoyable Harman 6-speaker ICE. One of the better systems in this segment
• Features such as auto headlamps & wipers, cruise control, Traction Pro (AMT), cooled glovebox…with factory customization packs too
• A full 5-stars in the GNCAP! Safety package includes dual airbags, CSC, brake sway control, ISOFIX etc.

Tata Punch Cons



• 1.2L NA petrol’s highway performance is weak. At 100 kmph & up, more noise than action
• Suspension has a firm tune (R16 variants). It is compliant & liveable, but you do feel bad roads
• Jerky and slow AMT gearbox when competitors offer you smoother CVTs and torque converters
• 3-cylinder petrol cannot match the competition’s 4-cylinders in refinement & NVH
• No turbo petrol or diesel option. Period. Rivals & other Tata cars offer both
• Cabin width makes 4 adults welcome, not 5
• Some missing goodies such as an auto-dimming IRVM, splitting rear seat, rear AC vents, full-size spare…
• Tata's after-sales service quality is a hit or miss. Remains a gamble

This review has been jointly compiled with Aditya & GTO. Thanks to them for the expert observations & photography!


Introduction



Crossovers of all sizes are hot in the market & Tata's product onslaught is in full-on aggressive mode. Tata already has the Nexon (which a lot of people love) in the Compact SUV segment and now, it has brought in the Punch which, with its 1.2L 3-cylinder NA motor, will sit just below the Nexon in the company's product portfolio.

Tata isn’t the first manufacturer to try its hand in the sub-compact crossover segment. Last year, we saw the entry of the Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger in this space and they’ve managed to attract thousands of customers each month. Because this is a price-sensitive segment, an attractive price tag is a must for Tata Motors to land a knockout punch (pun intended).

While the naturally-aspirated engine will play a part in keeping the car's price low, here’s some food for thought - Tata is trying to protect the Nexon way too much. First, it gave the Altroz the same turbo-petrol engine in a lower state of tune and now, the Punch doesn’t get the 1.2L turbo-petrol to differentiate the Nexon from this car. That is really not cool. As GTO never fails to mention, if you don’t cannibalise yourself, someone else will gladly do it for you. The Punch and Altroz are super important cars and Tata is doing them a disservice by not powering them with the full spec turbo-petrol engine, which it has ready in-house. We can tell you that the biggest con of the Punch is that 1.2L NA engine & performance over 80 - 90 km/h. Sucks that Tata has the ammunition ready, but won't take it out of the arsenal. At the very least, the 1.2L Turbo can be offered as an option on the higher variants?! We hope this comes soon, as Tata did with the Altroz which was also originally launched with just the 1.2L NA motor. Lessons must be taken from the Koreans who offer all possible engines + gearboxes at launch, leaving the final choice to the most important fellow (i.e. you, the customer).

Exterior



Design & Styling



The design team at Tata Motors has been churning out some great looking cars over the past few years and the Punch isn’t any different. Having been first unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show as the H2X Concept SUV and then showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo, the Punch had created quite a buzz in the car community. Now that the production version has been revealed, a lot of similarities can be drawn with the concept.

One of the first things GTO, Aditya and I agreed on was that the Punch looks sexy! Models like these prove that you don't need to spend big money to have style. The mini-Harrier face turned quite a few heads on our test drive and brought in some enquiries too. GTO loves the tight rear with those smaller-than-usual tail lights. Using Tata’s Impact 2.0 design philosophy, the car features smooth body curves all over with some sharp lighting elements. Overall, the design is appealing and feels well rounded off. Some notable features on the outside include 16" diamond-cut alloy wheels, projector headlamps, LED DRLs, LED tail-lamps, chunky roof rails and a black / white roof. The paint shade on our test car is called Tropical Mist. Tata has a wide colour palette for the Punch and other shades include Tornado Blue, Calypso Red, Meteor Bronze, Atomic Orange, Daytona Grey And Orcus White.

Build Quality, Fit & Finish



The Tata Punch is based on the ALFA-ARC (Agile Light Flexible Advanced) platform that also underpins the Altroz. This platform uses more than 40% high strength steel and since the Altroz has been awarded a 5-star Global NCAP safety rating, we expect the Punch to perform well too. Its kerb weight is close to the Altroz @ 1,000 - 1,035 kg and that shows in the build quality. The front doors have a fair amount of weight to them (rear doors are noticeably lighter though) while the bonnet feels heavy. The car feels solid, unlike some of the tinny competition. That said, we did notice several inconsistencies in panel gaps. Our orange test car had a noticeable difference even within the same panel gap, from top to bottom (between the door & fender). Disappointing to see this. On the other hand, we liked the Punch's paint quality.

Wheels & Tyres



The top-end variants are offered with 16" diamond-cut funky alloy wheels that are shod with 195/60 section Apollo Alnac 4G tyres. The lower variants are offered with 185/70 R15 tyres. The 195s work just fine with the 1.2L NA, but if and when Tata introduces a turbo-petrol version (which they definitely should), we'd love to see 205s on that faster variant. The spare is a 185/70 R15 steel wheel, while the PSI rating is 32 (you can drop it to 30 just in the city to make the ride cushier).

Ground Clearance



The Punch has an unladen ground clearance rating of 190 mm and a laden rating of 165 mm, which is sufficient for the worst of Indian roads. The firm suspension ensures it won't sag. In more of its "SUV" marketing spiel, Tata provides this additional data = 20.3° approach angle, 37.6° departure angle and 22.2° ramp over angle.

Standard & Extended Warranty



Warranty details haven’t been revealed yet, but Tata offers the Altroz with a standard warranty of 2 years / 75,000 km, which can be extended to 5 years / 1,25,000 km. We can assume that the Punch will get similar coverage. That said, because the Punch uses an existing platform, a 1.2L NA engine that has sold lakhs of copies and (presumably) a common electrical architecture, we are hoping that the Punch has fewer niggles than what we see on freshly launched Tatas (e.g. Harrier & Safari).

Safety



The Punch is equipped with a good number of safety features like dual airbags, ABS with EBD and Corner Safety Control, ISOFIX anchor points, driver & co-driver seatbelt reminders, tyre puncture repair kit and "brake sway control" that detects the tendency of instability during abrupt braking before the ABS kicks in to avoid vehicle swaying from the driving path. Besides, the AMT versions come with a Traction-Pro mode, which reduces the odds of the car getting stranded in situations where one of the wheels is stuck in mud or low traction surfaces. However, notable safety features such as ESP and TPMS are not provided in the kit.

As mentioned earlier, because the Punch has the same platform as the 5-star rated Altroz, we expect it to perform well in the GNCAP crash tests.

Interior




Cabin Design & Quality



Step inside and the designer's taste & style continue to impress. The minimalist look of the dashboard is something that a lot of people will appreciate. You get a dual-tone black and white theme for the cabin, with the major areas covered in black. The Altroz steering looks good, the air vents on the dash are funky and we sure like the clean, minimalist look of the center fascia. It looks very uncluttered and clean. The crash pad is finished in ivory white with nice tri-arrow detailing, while the textured dark grey panel running across the dash looks classy. There are no soft-touch plastics here, which is not a surprise. But we wish Tata would’ve at least given some fabric inserts on the doorpad armrest area as the Tigor gets. Here, it is hard plastic.

Interior quality is satisfactory for the lower half of the cabin; the dashboard, door panels, gear shifter, Altroz steering and air vents all feel satisfactory. The chunky door handles are nice too. But if you look at the upper half / roof level of the cabin, there’s a lot that leaves to be desired. The roof liner feels budget grade (Tiago and Tigor get a premium-looking roof liner) and there’s excessive play on the cabin light's button. We also noticed an inconsistent glaring gap where the roof liner ends and the plastic panel of the A-pillar starts. The sunvisors feel too basic and if you look at the rear grab handles, the finish of the bag hook is rough. Put your hands inside the door pockets & you'll encounter sharp, unfinished edges. At first glance, you will be fine with the cabin quality, but BHPians who look closely will see inconsistencies, especially in the not-so-obvious areas.

Space & Comfort



The taller seating & 90-degree opening doors make ingress / egress easy. The cabin has enough space for 4 adults (not 5). The fabric seats are comfortable. Their cushioning is on point for daily driving as well as highway cruising, while the side bolstering will keep you in place on twisty roads.

Driving Position & Ergonomics



The Punch allows you to sit tall. Not only do you have a clean view of the road ahead, but you will also be able to see the bonnet (many drivers like that). While the front and side visibility for the driver are fine, the rear visibility is typical of modern cars. You’ll need the camera while reversing. The C-pillars are quite thick and they lead to big blind spots so be careful in that area. The steering can be adjusted for height and so too can the driver's seat, which means finding your perfect driving position is easy. The steering adjustment lever however is stiff and not lady-friendly at all. The basic important controls - steering mounted buttons, stalks, gear lever are all within easy access. We’ll say that the ergonomics are sorted in this car.

Cabin Storage



Tata claims there are 25 utility spaces in the cabin and we don’t doubt them. You won’t be left looking for a slot to park your stuff in here. The center console has a deep storage box ahead of the gear lever, where you get a USB slot along with a 12V power outlet. Then, just below the gear lever, you have another square-ish storage space with a 12V socket and two cupholders. However, these cupholders aren’t of the average size as GTO’s regular coffee bottle kept tipping over (has happened in other Tatas too...only Tatas). The glovebox is well-sized, has a separate tablet / laptop compartment as well as cooling + illumination. Special mention of the unusually deep cubby hole on the RHS of the dashboard which is perfect for dumping loose change. The door pockets can hold 1-liter bottles along with other knick-knacks. The front doorpads even get umbrella holders. Rear passengers get seatback pockets to keep their stuff & door pockets. However, cup holders at the rear are missing.

Air-Conditioning



Like most other Tata cars, the Punch's air-conditioner is damn powerful. It kept the cabin cold when we wanted, and cool when we wanted. Even after parking the Punch under the hot sun, it chilled up the cabin soon enough. No rear air-con vents which does make a difference to temperature equalization, but because this is a small car + the AC is so powerful, we doubt anyone will miss the rear vents.

Features


Unique & Noteworthy Features



Competition like the Magnite and Kiger have an exhaustive list of features, including stuff like wireless charging & 360-degree cameras. While the Punch misses out on some of those features, it still packs all or most of the kit that makes it to the "necessary" list. Some noteworthy features include cruise control, projector headlamps, LED DRLs, cornering lights, LED tail-lamps, instrument cluster with 7" colour TFT display, drive modes, tyre puncture kit, cooled & illuminated glovebox, puddle lamps, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. Owners will miss some goodies like an auto-dimming IRVM, a driver armrest, 60:40 splitting rear seat etc.

The AMT-equipped cars get a ‘TractionPro Mode’ which is essentially a poor man's traction control. In situations where one of the front wheels gets stuck in mud or similar low traction surface, this mode gets activated and the system applies the brake on the specific wheel with no traction, with power going to the wheel with grip to get you out of the sticky situation. More on this later.

Audio System & Sound Quality



The Accomplished and Creative variants of the Punch get a 7" Harman touchscreen head-unit with 4 speakers and 2 tweeters. You get the usual connectivity options including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although these are not wireless like the Magnite or Kiger. In terms of usability, the touchscreen is alright. It’s not super responsive when tasked, but doesn’t have excessive lag either.

The Harman system provides good sound quality (by segment standards) once you set up the equalizer properly. It has good bass, good treble - far better than the OEM rubbish we see in so many cars. Punch owners won't see the need to upgrade anything in the after-market. The only complaint we have is that, in one of the test cars, the audio volume didn't go as high as we'd like in Android Auto mode. Switching to Bluetooth solved the problem.

The lower Adventure variant gets a 4" head-unit with 4 speakers.

Rear Passengers




Rear Seat Comfort & Space



The super-wide 90-degree opening doors along with the tall ride height helps in easy ingress & egress. There’s a fair amount of space on offer. Aditya at 5’10” was able to easily sit with the front seat adjusted to my driving position (I’m 5’10” as well). However, two six-footers one behind the other might be a bit tight - they might fit in, but just about. Headroom is ample. The cabin's width is limited and is good for two fit adults along with a child. But three healthy adults at the rear is impossible.

In terms of seating, the backrest is on the upright side, although it’s not uncomfortable at all. GTO & Aditya were both satisfied with the rear seat's back support as well as thigh support. The headrests have two positions = all the way up or down. Even those of medium height will need to put it up as it'll otherwise poke into your nape area. The center armrest is wide enough & positioned at an ideal height. No quarter glass like the Sonet, so if you sit back, you will feel that the glass area & your view of the world outside is restricted.

There are no AC vents at the rear, nor has any 12V charging port been provided.

Boot Space



The Punch has a 366 liter boot. That’s impressive when you compare it against some of the other cars in the Compact-SUV segment like the Nexon (350L), Vitara Brezza (328L), Ford EcoSport (352L), Hyundai Venue (350L) and Nissan Magnite (336L). However, the Kia Sonet (392L) and Renault Kiger (405L) have larger boots than the Punch. The rear seats miss out on 60:40 split backrests though. You get two bag hooks (1 kg capacity) and a boot lamp.

Last edited by GTO : 15th October 2021 at 07:52.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #2
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Driving the Tata Punch 1.2L Petrol MT



The petrol is a 1,199cc, 3-cylinder, 12V DOHC, all-aluminium motor, which churns out 85 BHP (@ 6,000 rpm) and 113 Nm torque (@ 3,300 rpm). Let us be upfront in stating that this 1.2L NA is the weakest link in the package. It just fails to "pack a punch" above 80 - 90 km/h (city performance is acceptable, however).


We’d mentioned it with the Altroz and it holds true for the Punch as well. Tata has royally goofed up in this department by offering just the 1.2L NA. Sure, it should be sold for the price-sensitive customers and sedate drivers, but at least as an option on the higher variants, the 1.2L turbo variant should be offered? It'll be good for Punch customers as well as for the company (fatter profit margins). Tata has said that the turbo-petrol will come if the market responds accordingly, which doesn’t make any sense. The Punch should’ve had the turbo-petrol ready from day 1. When you have the ammunition in-house, why not use it??!! We hope, like the Altroz, the Punch also eventually sees the 1.2L turbo under its hood. Else, Tata stands to lose a lot of customers who have a fatter wallet & want superior open-road performance.

Start driving and you’ll notice that the power on tap is "adequate" for city usage. The talking point is its driveability, not power. There is enough low end poke & that makes the motor practical for the city. 2nd gear over a speed-breaker is no sweat at all. You can easily potter around in 3rd gear at 40 km/h with the engine revving at ~1,750 rpm. Make no mistake = it has enough torque to carry you around town with few gear changes, albeit in a relaxed manner. You won't find the need to rev the Revotron hard as long as your driving style is sedate. GTO found the outright performance to be acceptable under 80 km/h. However, if you need to quickly close a gap in traffic, you’ll have to drop a gear or two. Not really enjoyable as the engine gets noisy (with that classic 3-cylinder thrum too) and progress can be slow! Overall, the car is a practical point A->B commuter, but it is no scorcher at all.

Highway performance is sub-par. At ~100 km/h and above, there is a whole lot of noise, yet no corresponding increase in the speedometer. On the open road, you'll need to work the engine hard to get any kind of pep out of it. Problem is, there isn't much "go" even when you do, hence we suggest you move out of the fast lane and stick to the middle ones. The pull up to 80 km/h is still acceptable, up to 100 km/h is strictly average, but post that, it drops off. The engine starts losing steam beyond 5,000 rpm and it gets loud too. Mid-range performance on the highway is not satisfactory. If you want to overtake a vehicle doing 80-100 km/h, it’s going to require planning and you’re going to have to work the gear + accelerator hard.

You will definitely miss the turbo on the open road, and with a full load of passengers on mountain roads. With 4 onboard, performance will be even more ordinary. Again, we suggest driving the 1.2L NA variant calmly in the middle lane. Compared to the butter-smooth 1.2s of Hyundai & gang, the Punch's engine sounds harsh at high revs. If you insist, it will go past 6,000 rpm. In terms of cruisability, because of the weak motor, Tata couldn’t give it gearing that’s too tall. You can see that in the cruising revs. 100 km/h is seen at ~3,000 rpm, while 120 km/h is seen at ~3,500 rpm (both of which are on the busier side).

Not a gearbox you'll brag about, not a gearbox you'll complain about. The Punch uses the same TA65 gearbox (also seen in the Indica eV2) as the Altroz, Tiago and Tigor. The 5-speed manual gearbox's throws aren't long and the shifter's operation is light and pleasant to use, although it isn’t Hyundai or VW-like slick yet. There is some notchiness to it. Its gates are well-defined though and we had no trouble slotting into the gear we wanted to engage. What you will appreciate is the clutch, which is very light and has a short travel range. It is a boon in bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions. There's even a wide, extremely usable dead pedal to rest your foot.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)



Being a 3-cylinder engine, there’s cabin-shake when you start the car. Leave the door open and you'll see it mildly vibrating. Even on the move, you will always be aware that it’s a 3-cylinder engine. NVH is just average at low revs; the 3-cylinder sound and mild vibrations are a constant, even when driving calmly in the city. As the engine warms up, these vibes on touch points like the steering wheel & gear lever reduce, but they remain present in other areas (e.g. on the pedals, floor and ORVMs).

While engine NVH is still tolerable in the city and you’ll get used to it, on the highway, it starts getting loud + coarse above 4,500 rpm. At 5,000 rpm, not only is the motor really loud, but you can also feel 3-cylinder vibrations on the dead pedal!

Wind noise is controlled at 100 km/h. Road and tyre noise are on the higher side. Even at 80-90 km/h, road and tyre noise are audible and above 100 km/h, they are a constant.

Mileage & Fuel Economy



While Tata hasn’t revealed the fuel economy figures yet, we expect the Punch's FE to be comparable to the Altroz which has the same engine and a similar kerb weight. Eco Mode is available for those sensitive to FE and the good news is, it's useable in the city with no major drop in driveability. An idling start/stop system (which switches off the engine when it's idling to save fuel) has been provided if km/l is your thing.

Driving the Tata Punch 1.2L Petrol AMT


While the Punch MT is still fine for sedate urban commuters (those on a budget and <80 - 90 km/h), we cannot recommend the Punch AMT. Those who have never driven an automatic before will find it more liveable, but the Punch AMT simply cannot be compared to the butter-smooth Nissan Magnite or Renault Kiger CVTs, nor to the Hyundai AMTs, which use electric actuators. We’ll give Tata's AMT an overall rating of 6/10. It does offer you the convenience of an automatic at an economical price and with decent fuel efficiency. However, the AMT is extremely jerky in heavy traffic conditions. The AMT does end up confused, which definitely won't be appreciated by enthusiasts. Main advantages of the AMT are cost (to Tata & the customer), fuel economy & that it can strapped onto any MT, making it an easy solution for manufacturers.

Lift your foot off the brake pedal and the car creeps forward at an indicated speed of 10 km/h, although it feels slower than that (more like 6 - 7 km/h). In bumper to bumper traffic, you’ll find the AMT to be jerky for sure. The car moves quickly when you release the brakes & the brake pedal itself is edgy, so when you brake again (in dense traffic), it's an annoying experience. It's almost impossible to drive the AMT smoothly in bumper-to-bumper conditions. GTO enabled Eco Mode in heavy traffic just to dull the throttle response a bit and make the AMT experience smoother. You should do that too. The AMT feels better in flowing traffic at moderate speeds. Things are more acceptable in the 30 - 50 km/h commuting range than continuous 0 - 10 km/h. In terms of response times, the AMT will disappoint you if you suddenly punch the accelerator to close a gap. Response time is slow and you’ll be left wanting for more. And yes, that infamous "AMT head nod" is very much there.

On the highway, the AMT is more tolerable. Higher speeds, higher gears & less shifts make the AMT smoother on long distance journeys, but in the city (where you need an AT the most), we didn't like this AMT at all. Kickdown response times at highway speeds aren’t great, so it’s better to plan your overtakes beforehand. We recommend shifting to manual mode for overtaking on the highway.

Tata seriously needs to develop or borrow a proper automatic for use in the Punch, Altroz, Nexon, Tiago etc. For the Harrier and Safari, they borrowed a gearbox from Hyundai, which worked out really well. They need to do that for their mass market models as well - develop or borrow! These cars deserve a superior AT solution.

Suspension





Ride Comfort



The Punch comes with a McPherson strut suspension at the front and a twist beam suspension with coil springs at the rear. The suspension tune is definitely on the firmer side here. Just like the Nexon, Tata has prioritized road manners over ride comfort. While the suspension is compliant enough, you are always aware of what kind of surface you are travelling on. The Punch can handle smaller bumps alright, but the bigger or sharper ones come in strong. All in all, you can live with the ride quality, but it’s not what we would call ‘plush’ at all. Cars like the Honda WR-V offer a far softer ride.

The 16" rims shod with 195/60 section tyres also contribute to the stiffer ride. Lower variants with the 185/70 R15 tyres will have a better ride due to taller tyre sidewalls. Further, the recommended tyre pressure is 32 PSI; you can drop it to 30 PSI only within the city. The good thing about such a suspension tune is that it doesn’t bounce around at 80-100 km/h. For a small crossover, it rides pretty nicely on the highway @ 100 km/h.

Handling & Dynamics



Suffice to say, the Punch has sorted road manners. Straight line stability is satisfactory and the car doesn’t feel nervous even at 120 km/h. Carry some speed around a long corner and the Punch holds its line well. Body roll is well-controlled for a car of this segment & the Punch moves well through the curves. What you will immediately notice when pushing the car hard is that the suspension setup & chassis can handle more than the 1.2L NA petrol has to offer. When is that turbo-petrol variant coming, Tata? Even the 195/60 R16 Apollo Alnac 4G tyres had no issue keeping up with us.

Steering



The electric power steering is light in the city and a lot of owners will appreciate that. Combined with the compact dimensions & taller seating, the Punch was easy to maneuver around Bombay. While Tata Motors hasn’t officially revealed the turning circle figure, engineers we spoke to confirmed that it’s just under 10 meters (turning radius = <5m). The steering does weigh up adequately as you gain speed on the expressway. However, one thing GTO noticed while coming down hard on the Lonavala Ghat was the steering weight being inconsistent through the corners. Sometimes it felt a little light, and sometimes it felt a little weighted. The weight & feel are both inconsistent. Further, the steering isn't particularly sharp or precise. Turning at speed feels like you’re moving it through clay! Frankly, this feels more like a Mahindra-tuned steering. Of course, the mass market won’t even know what we’re talking about, but for enthusiasts, it’s quite a boring EPS.

Braking



The Punch is equipped with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The brakes perform as expected. You also get cornering stability control = Tata says "CSC supports / stabilizes the vehicle during partial braking in curves by reducing pressure at the required inner wheel. This helps to reduce the probability of vehicle oversteer during cornering + braking".

Niggles & Problems



Since the Tata Punch uses a lot of components that have been in the market for a while (i.e. 1.2 NA engine and gearbox), is built on an existing platform, has loads of part sharing with other Tatas & presumably deploys an existing electronics architecture, we are hopeful it doesn’t have the kind of niggles we’ve seen other Tata owners (example, Harrier / Safari) suffer with. That being said, you should buy the extended warranty without a speck of doubt.

Last edited by Aditya : 10th October 2021 at 19:53.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #3
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Tata Punch Exterior Images


Mini-Harrier look makes the Punch look very handsome. Slim DRLs with a piano black grille at the top looks sleek:


Rear has a nice and sharp look. Still very concept car-like, but somehow manages to work well. GTO especially likes the tight design with these smaller-than-usual tail lamps:


Distinct creases & bulges on the sides give the car character. Excessive black body cladding lends the Punch a rugged look and makes it appear tall:


The Punch measures 3,827 mm in length, 1,945 mm in width (1,742 mm without mirrors) and 1,615 mm in height; has a wheelbase of 2,445 mm which is smaller than the Altroz (2,501 mm):


Flared wheel arches and sharp body lines make the Punch look muscular. Overall build quality is satisfactory, but we found panel gaps in some of the other test cars to be very inconsistent:


LED DRL strip sits at the top along with the turn indicator. Halogen projector headlamp cluster is placed below. The projectors act as low beams and the bulb next to it is for the high beam. Headlamps get automatic and follow-me-home functions:


Look closely next to the headlamp and you’ll notice this opening called an "air curtain" to improve aerodynamics. Nice one, Tata:


The piano black radiator grille gets a chrome border at the bottom and carries the Tata badge. The tri-arrow design slot on one side looks unique and premium. It has the horn placed just behind it. Not a fully open radiator grille. Looks unique, we love it!


Unusually tall black cladding on the lower bumper. Air dam is split by the number plate and gets large tri-arrow detailing:


Round halogen foglamps double up as cornering lights:


Under the front bumper, you have a wind deflector, and mud flaps just ahead of the front tyres:


Shockingly, no underbody protection at all! The exhaust pipe is quite exposed along with the oil sump:


Bonnet gets raised edges & some muscle on the side for an aggressive look:


Bonnet is heavy and gets an insulation sheet underneath. Doesn't help as the engine is very noisy:


Glossy black ORVMs get integrated turn indicators. Creative variant gets auto-folding ORVMs:


Overall glass area is sufficient to let enough light in the cabin, but rear occupants will miss a quarter glass. Blackened pillars look good. C-pillar is very thick:


Jacking points have been marked on the running board:


Very stylish door handles! Only the driver's door gets a request sensor + keyhole:


Black panel on the C-pillar has a scooped-out section from where you can access the door handle. The concealed design takes some time to get used to:


Funky alloy wheel design! 16" diamond cut alloys are shod with 195/60 R16 Apollo Alnac 4G tyres. Note the squarish design of the wheel arches:


Drum brakes at the rear. The short rear overhang also results in a good departure angle of 37.6 degrees:


Both, front and rear wheel wells get partial cladding - one of the reasons why road noise creeps into the cabin even at 80 to 90 kmph:


Clear markings on the inside of the fuel flap + cap to show this crossover runs on petrol. Fuel tank capacity = 37 liters:


Long, thin antenna sits at the front. On such a handsome car, Tata should have fitted a short stubby or shark-fin antenna instead of this outdated design:


To add to the muscular look, the Punch gets these stylish + chunky roof rails finished in shiny black. These look and feel sturdy, unlike the ones on some other cars:


The roof extends into a spoiler that houses the HMSL:


Rear windshield has a rhino marking at the bottom. We have seen such animal-themed markings on recent Tata models:


Sweeeeet LED tail-lamp clusters have a unique and futuristic design. Notice the tri-arrow design of the pilot lamp and the intricate detailing including…


…this amazingly integrated ‘Tata’ lettering on the sides:


Reverse camera placed just below the Tata badge:


Spaced out ‘P U N C H’ badging on the tailgate. Lower bumper has multiple design elements including units that house reflectors at both ends and tri-arrow detailing. You get aero vents on the sides and a skid plate-like design at the bottom. There’s also space for what could house a rear foglamp in the middle. Just love the design!


Exhaust pipe is nicely concealed behind the bumper on the RHS:


Here’s a look at the car in the Atomic Orange paint shade (our first choice)…


…Meteor Brown…


…and Tornado Blue:

Last edited by GTO : 9th October 2021 at 17:49.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #4
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Tata Punch Interior Images


Love the design of this dashboard. It’s simple, minimalistic and looks classy. Ergonomically, all controls easily fall to hand:


Tall windscreen offers good frontal visibility. Many drivers will appreciate the fact that the bonnet is visible from the driver’s seat:


Leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel with dark silver inserts is superbly thick and has a fantastic design too. The steering is lovely to hold and comes with contours for your thumbs:


Buttons for the infotainment system, telephony and voice commands are placed on the left spoke. A useful mute function has been provided (long press to mute). Notice the small horn symbol (next to steering buttons on both sides). Press that for the nice-sounding horn! The center part of the horn is on the firmer side. Most drivers will find themselves using the sides. Cruise control and MID buttons are placed on the right:


Thick stalks feel durable. Auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers work like a charm. A lane change indicator is present. Headlamp leveller is smartly placed on the stalk itself. Like in other Tatas, the DRLs can be turned OFF / ON by moving the light switch to the parking lamp position & back to the off position, twice in quick succession:


The engine start-stop button has been placed on the driver’s right-hand side. Yes, it is illuminated and has a silver ring around it. Next to it, you will find the buttons for the drive mode (Eco and City) along with the front fog lamp switch and the idling start / stop button (MT only). Just below the buttons, there’s a fairly deep cubby hole. The base is slightly lowered to hold coins / loose items:


Steering is adjustable for height. The adjustment lever on our test car was quite firm:


The instrument cluster consists of an analogue speedometer, a 7" TFT screen with a digital tachometer and a MID. The digital area has excellent quality graphics! The entire cluster should have been a size or two bigger though. Many of you will find it small (we've noticed this in other Tata cars too). The digital tachometer looks cool, but the exact rpm level is rather difficult to read on the go. A digital engine temperature gauge has been provided at the base:


MID displays all the standard information as well like - two trip meters with average fuel consumption + driving time + average speed (individual readings for each trip meter), instant fuel economy (graphical bar), distance to empty, time & outside temperature. In the AMT variant, you are told to press the brake pedal to start the engine. Current gear position is displayed in the tachometer. Below that you get the display for City or Eco mode:


Display for the cruise control is nice. You also get warnings if any the doors or the tailgate has been left open and to align the steering wheel when you switch off the engine. You can also keep the ‘Power’ and ‘Torque’ display on the MID while driving enthusiastically. For the IT geeks, you get the open-source software component information. The auto start-stop notification is also displayed on the MID:


Squarish silver air vents look classy. Tata said that the cars that will reach the showroom will have body-coloured air vents on specific body colours:


Bonnet release isn't perfectly positioned in the dash cutout. However, it is robust and feels long-lasting. Notice the lower edge of the dashboard. It is sharp and could have been finished better:


32 psi is the recommended tyre pressure for the 16" rim variants. Can be lowered to 30 psi for a cushier ride:


The 90-degree opening door carries the black and white theme. Since the lower part is black it won’t get soiled that easily:


Chunky door handles feel very premium. Nope, that’s not a tweeter next to it:


Driver's window gets one-touch-down convenience. Red light on the 'window lock button' appears when all passenger windows are unlocked. Should have been the other way around. Press the rotary ORVM knob down to fold the ORVMs in, press it down again to open them:


AMT instructions have been stuck on the doorpad:


Comfy front seats offer satisfactory support (both - lateral as well as under-thigh) for a person of a medium build and height. Larger users might find them a bit tight though. The adjustable headrests are soft. The seat compound is just right, we feel, for combined city and highway usage:


Tri-arrow design pattern makes its way on the seat fabric as well:


Only Accomplished and Creative variants get a height-adjustable driver seat:


Pedals are well spaced out and it's good to see a well-sized dead pedal too. Unlike what we see in most budget cars, it also has good width and is set at a very comfortable angle:


A look at the pedals of the AMT variant:


Budget fuel release flap on the floor:


Tweeters are placed on the A-pillars:


ORVMs are well-sized and offer a good view of the action at the rear:


The view through the IRVM is just average. It’s mainly restricted by the headrests and the thick C-pillars. No automatic dimming for the IRVM. Manual day / night flick switch is provided:


Rearward visibility is restricted by the thick C-pillars and the headrests:


The center fascia looks quite simple and uncluttered. The silver trim around the gear lever looks quite nice:


Accomplished and Creative variants get a Harman-developed 7" floating touchscreen head-unit. It features a high-resolution display, voice recognition, the usual music inputs (USB, Bluetooth, iPod), image & video playback (via USB when the car is parked), on-screen SMS display & readout, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, voice alerts and a reversing camera display:


You get the usual audio presets to play around with for the sound system and you can also check the driving performance in terms of efficiency on the touchscreen. You also have quick access menus from left and right for AC controls and other operations:


The Punch comes with What 3 Words navigation. In this, each 3m square in the world has been assigned a unique 3 word address. You can either type in these words or use voice commands to set a particular destination on the navigation system (Google Maps via Android Auto / Apple CarPlay):


The iRA app lets you remotely lock / unlock the car, operate the headlights + horn and check the DTE. It also gives you a diagnostic report with critical alerts and a list of Tata Motors service stations in the area. Other functions include find my car, stolen vehicle tracking, remote immobilisation, emergency SMS, geo fencing, time fencing alert, valet mode, roadside assistance, share location, social tribes, trip details and driving score:


Switches for the climate control system. Any changes to the climate control settings are shown on the infotainment screen. The air-con is powerful. Even on a hot day, it chills the cabin in seconds. The blower is always audible - you can hear it even on level one. While it is tolerable till level two, it starts getting loud on levels three and up:


USB port and 12V power socket are located at the base of the center fascia, but no Aux-in port has been provided. Below is a storage bin for a smartphone:


Typical Tata leather gear shifter that we’ve seen in their recent cars. It gets a leather boot and silver insert:


AMT gear lever is pretty basic but gets a nice piano black console. The leather wrapping makes it feel a bit more premium:


Bird's eye view of the center console. Handbrake is strangely on the passenger's side, as if in a left-hand-drive vehicle!


Tri-arrow detailing on the white pad on the dashboard looks lovely:


On top of that you have a dark grey wood-like finish which also looks very premium:


The glovebox is big and has a partition on top to hold a tablet / book. It also gets a pen holder and cooling and illumination:


Rhino design inside the glovebox:


Only one cabin light has been provided and it has been placed in the front. The rear passengers will be left in dark. The button and the light feel ordinary too:


Just look at the play on the button:
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Tata really needs to up their game in terms of fit and finish. There are multiple places where the plastic ends have sharp edges which you don't see in competitors' products:


Sunvisors are economy-grade in design & feel. Passenger side unit gets a vanity mirror, while driver side unit merely gets a flap to hold tickets:


More with the economy-grade roof liner. Cheaper cars like the Tiago and the Tigor get a very premium looking roof liner:


Smartkey is identical to other Tata cars. It is nicely finished and feels premium. Headlights can be activated by pressing a button on the smart key (to help you find your way in the dark). The shiny black border looks tasteful:

Last edited by Aditya : 9th October 2021 at 14:07.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #5
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Rear doors of the Punch open and close in a triple-stage action as well (rear doors usually open in a dual-stage action). They feel noticeably lighter than the front doors, which feel more hefty and swing out at a 90-degree angle - just look at this image! Downside? Try shutting the door after being seated - it's a task! The tall seating does make it easy to get in and out of the seats:


Just like the front, the rear door pads are finished in black with a white insert on the armrest:


There’s enough legroom for two average sized adults to sit behind each other:


Seatbacks are scooped out to liberate more kneeroom. Two adequately deep and wide seatback pockets are provided. These are the best to dump in miscellaneous items (even your house keys so they don't cause rattles & aren't easy to find):


Backseat is surprisingly comfortable for the size of the car. You have good overall support and can even tuck your feet under the front seats comfortably. Headroom is plenty. A quarter glass would’ve improved the view out of the window for the rear passengers:


Side occupants get three-point seatbelts and soft, adjustable headrests, while the middle passenger has to make do with a lap belt and no headrest. Rear seats are equipped with ISOFIX child seat anchors:


Center armrest is soft and it’s at a comfortable height and wide. Two hands fit easily. There is no hard plastic here because there are no cup holders:


The headrests can be either in a full up or full down position. When in the up position, the headrests almost touch the roof liner. Most people will have it in the up position as in the down position, the base pricks the spine:


No rear AC vents here. Instead, you get this storage area that can act as a smartphone holder too:


Spring-loaded grab handles have been provided above all the passenger doors. Both the rear units have nifty coat / bag hooks, but they are poorly finished and have sharp edges:


Just like in the Altroz, the floor hump is wide, but not high at all. Don't know why Tata is bragging about a "flat floor" in its marketing material when it's clearly not the case:


Parcel tray comes with a recessed area and raised border to keep things from rolling onto the rear seat:


Boot space of 366 liters is more than many of its competitors. The loading lip is high though which means you will have to lift your luggage a little higher while loading:


Tools are neatly arranged in a Styrofoam casing in the spare wheel which is a 15" steel rim. It’s shod with 185/70 R15 Apollo Alnac 4G tyre:


Like other recent Tata cars, you get a portable puncture repair kit:


Baggage hooks with 1 kg capacity on both sides of the boot. The boot lamp is on the left side:


You can fold down the seatback to increase the boot space. No 60:40 split here:


Tailgate is cladded on the inside. You also get a useful grab handle to pull down the tailgate:


On the other side, the area under the boot lip looks ghastly and should’ve been covered up properly:

Last edited by Aditya : 9th October 2021 at 19:59.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #6
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Off-Road Experience


Tata had arranged a course to showcase that the Punch can go through some of the usual set of off-road obstacles. This included steep inclines and declines along with steep side inclinations as well. The course also included articulation and water wading along with driving through a little slush and rock crawling in the end. The Punch cleared all the obstacles with ease as these were very basic obstacles meant to showcase the 20.3°approach angle, 37.6° departure angle, 22.2° ramp over angle (unladen), 190mm of ground clearance and the 370 mm Water wading capability. Note that the Punch is not a hardcore off-roader, but will do better than most of the hatchbacks.

Another highlight of this course was the ice challenge that was designed to demonstrate the ‘Traction Pro’ mode in the AMT variant. The course simulated a situation where you would lose traction on one of the front wheels when stuck. When this happens, the touchscreen displays a message asking if you would like to use the ‘Traction Pro’ mode. Upon selecting ‘Yes’, the touchscreen will ask you to press the brake pedal with your left foot and slowly accelerate with your right foot. You will feel the brake is applied on the right wheel and the wheel with more traction gets some of the power to get the vehicle out of the sticky situation.

Technically, this system is an affordable solution to traction control where if you start losing traction, the system applies brakes. Here, the brake force is directed towards only one wheel that allows the other wheel to rotate. This system has been patented by Tata Motors and is a nice addition to the Punch.

Check out this B-roll video from Tata Motors at the off-road course:


Last edited by Aditya : 9th October 2021 at 09:04.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:00   #7
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Tata Punch Review-20211005-10.59.54.jpg

I am very impressed with Tata's R&D and new product capability (unlike complacent Maruti (Maruti sleeping at the wheel | Where are the new car launches? | Why is Maruti missing new trends?)). Enjoyed driving the Punch. This car will easily add another couple of thousand sales to Tata's monthly tally & make it a strong 30,000 cars / month company. Reasonably solid build, great styling outside & inside (I love that dashboard design), sorted road manners, feels very "fresh" and will win over customers in the showroom. Ride is firm though on bad roads in the city - broken tarmac will bother you. The Punch will win many fans. Hope it is priced well (most Tata cars are).

Main deal breaker is that 1.2 NA engine. Fine in the city, slow on the highway, poor NVH. I can't figure out why Tata won't use the ammunition it has ready in the house (the 1.2L Turbo). They should also give it the diesel. End of the day, let the customer choose. See how the Koreans come all guns blazing with an unbelievable number of engines & gearboxes (more recently, XUV700 also offered a wide buffet). And yes, Tata desperately needs a proper AT for its mainstream cars. This AMT is very sad in heavy traffic conditions. It drove me up the wall!

Happy to see such impressive new cars from homegrown players . This, the Altroz...the XUV700 - just see the kind of response these Indian cars are getting (XUV700 has crossed 50,000 bookings!).

Last edited by GTO : 9th October 2021 at 09:15.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:19   #8
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Excellent and detailed review

I really liked the design of the car and the mini-Harrier package that it offers. Only grouse will be the 1.2L NA engine! Had it been offered with the better engine this car would have been the perfect package for buyers in this segment.

And this is another car on which all colours look brilliant!

Last edited by CEF_Beasts : 9th October 2021 at 09:20.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:24   #9
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Great review there. I feel Tata has delivered an impactful punch in the segment. This all-rounder should garner good sales for the fast rising Company. Tata Motors are slowly closing in on Maruti/Hyundai in terms of product range, and the numbers should support that. The front design looks like a shrunk version of Harrier and I felt this could work against the premium Brand. Rest of the features are 'win-win'. Look forward to the 'Black' and 'Camo' editions of this pocket wonder

Last edited by Sebring : 9th October 2021 at 09:25.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:48   #10
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Good to see Tata emerging as a frontline company in our automobile sector. Punch will be a great city car and it has some more low end torque than Altroz's 1.2 NA. As a Nexon owner, I am satisfied with my TASS here and In Kerala, many TASSs are also growing their reputation. IMHO the white panel below the Infotainment screen looks plain and they should have added a badging like PUNCH just as they did in the case of Nexon- 2021 models. Now Tata should concentrate more on the QC Department and Service associates to reduce the horror stories about them. Also they should develop a good NA 4 cylinder engine and source a good TC or CVT box to add in their cars. A Creta - rivalling SUV and a good sedan (revive Magna ) would be a good addition to the stable. Personally, I Would prefer the Altroz here though for its more soothening interiors and for the space and looks better too IMO. But it is a nice car for a person who is going to phase small rough patches of tarmac in his daily drive.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:51   #11
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Default Re: Tata Punch Review

Definitely among the more sorted Tata cars at launch. While the engine may not win over enthusiasts , it will suffice for most people. If the Punch is priced competitively it should have no problem outselling the Magnite and Kriger. Now Tata has to improve their sales and service experience to seriously challenge Hyundai for the number 2 slot in sales.
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Old 9th October 2021, 09:54   #12
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Excellent review as always. Crisp yet covering all the essential content for an informed car buying decision. The Punch is going to be a great buy especially if used mostly in the urban jungle. Hopefully niggles should be limited since a lot of parts have been shared with other cars from the Tata stable. All the best to the TML team. Waiting for the prices to be announced.
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Old 9th October 2021, 10:12   #13
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I was waiting on this before booking a Polo AT. Thanks for the AMT review, no need to wait! Punch AMT seems to be as bad as Tiago.
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Old 9th October 2021, 10:20   #14
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I have mixed feelings about this car from the very quick speed read of this review and some other videos. The primary disappointment to me in the budget end of Tata cars are their underwhelming engines. As I see it, neither the manual nor the AMT of this car are anything to write home about. Given that its rough / off - road credentials are being touted so much, making it a capable car on the highway (from an engine standpoint) should have been a priority.

There is a LOT that Tata is getting right with its offerings (on the product side, I am not on sales / service / dealer management etc). I just hope they up their game on the engine / tranny front too so overall these are a more complete package.
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Old 9th October 2021, 10:30   #15
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Brilliant review ! Thanks

On the other hand, is it just me or does that rear seat legroom look woefully inadequate?
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