Replaced my Hyundai i10 with Tata Altroz: 16 observations after 450 km

The engine does not rev freely and coming from a Hyundai 1.1 iRDE engine, this is going to take a lot of time to get used to.

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I'm ecstatic to share with all the fellow BHPians that I have brought home a Harbour Blue Altroz i-Turbo XZ+, this festive season. Many thanks to the moderators for the detailed reviews and the community for the enlightened discussion on the forum. Special shoutout to BHPians PrasannaDhana and yesyeswe for their input in the forum discussions as well as for addressing my queries over DM. Prasanna sir's painstakingly maintained car and thread are what cemented my confidence in the Altroz as a product.

I had been scouting for decent 7-seater options to retire our trusty Hyundai i10 iRDE for the past year and a half. But due to extenuating circumstances (that will be elaborated in the initial ownership report), the upgrade was put on hold and it was decided that a larger hatch would instead be replacing the i10. After a lot of brainstorming, test drives, and convincing the family, the Altroz i-Turbo emerged as the clear winner.

I booked the car on October 16th, received it on October 26th, and I headed out for a quick trip over the weekend with the family. Having clocked around 450 km since delivery, these are a few initial observations about the car that I've penned down:

  1. The Harbour Blue shade is absolutely stunning and manages to draw a lot of attention to what is essentially a now-familiar ~3-year-old design.
  2. Solid build, inside out. There are a few rough edges, but everything feels well screwed together. But panel gaps galore, inside out. Not only do those look weird, but also serve as cavities of dust that are really tough to reach and clean.
  3. The shape is a dust magnet. Not only is it an aesthetic concern, but both windshields accumulate a lot of grime, thus hampering visibility, and require periodic wiping.
  4. The driving position is spot-on with the height-adjustable seat, padded elbow rest, wide footwell, big ORVMs, and perfectly positioned gear lever. The A and C pillars cause massive blind spots, though.
  5. The clutch pedal is placed higher than the other two, causing the left foot to rest at an awkward angle. Shuffling between the clutch and the dead pedal feels a bit unnatural. It also doesn't help that the clutch has a very high bite point, and will keep slipping unless one takes the left foot off entirely.
  6. No telescopic adjustment for the steering is a huge miss. The aforesaid pedal position can be alleviated by pushing the seat further back, but the steering wheel would be a stretch.
  7. Engine refinement is not as bad as it is made out to be in several reviews. Noisy, sure, but smooth all the same. There are some vibrations on the pedals and the gear lever, too.
  8. The snappy fuelling issue still exists, especially on lifting off the throttle in the first two gears. One needs to slip the clutch a bit for smoother transitions, or jerks would be felt. Gearshift quality is alright, if a bit waxy and notchy at times (especially the downshift from 3rd to 2nd).
  9. The engine is definitely NOT a scorcher; just about adequate. Sport mode does liven things up a bit and help with quick overtakes, but one needs to plan the moves on single-carriage undivided roads. City mode feels severely restricted and only good enough for dense traffic scenarios.
  10. The engine also does not rev freely, and coming from a Hyundai 1.1 iRDE engine, this is going to take a lot of time to get used to. This also requires one to mash the throttle, thus hurting the already mediocre fuel efficiency. The car has just run ~450 km, and I'm hoping for major improvements as it racks up miles and after the services.
  11. The bonnet and front of the car get insanely hot due to the placement of the turbocharger and the intercooler. Sort of a design flaw from a safety perspective; one must exercise caution around these areas after a long drive.
  12. The steering is tight, wonderfully fluid, and weighs up nicely with speed. Feels great to grip, too. Handling is great but the stock MRF ZVTV play spoilsport; giving up grip way too early and causing a lot of road noise. This was audible even with music playing and AC blower at level 3. I would upgrade to either the Michelin Primacy P4ST or Continental UC6 once the stock set wears out.
  13. The suspension is firm, but silent. Bump recovery is phenomenal, and damping is very well-judged. The low 55 profile and high 35 psi recommended pressure (full load) are contributors to the stiff ride.
  14. The cabin is roomy enough and ergonomically sorted, with supportive front seats. The rear seats could have been more reclined, though. The space between the B-pillar and rear seat base feels insufficient for shoe sizes 10 and above; might get stuck during ingress / egress. The door sill is also wide by hatchback standards.
  15. Fabulous sound quality on a less-than-perfect ICE system. It froze a couple of times while using Android Auto. Also, some audio source remains on by default (mostly FM), and I haven't yet found a way to make it not play music at start-up. Any pointers would be appreciated! Also, I abhor Tata's decision to delete the physical buttons for the ICE system.
  16. The headlights are adequate. Low-beam projectors have a good spread and sharp cut-offs. High beams and fog lamps are mediocre, though. Would be contemplating an HID / LED upgrade in due course.

I shall be posting a more detailed initial ownership review of the car very soon, but until then, enjoy the pictures!

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