Took my Tata Altroz DCA on a highway drive: 8 significant observations

We are very satisfied with the DCA gearbox so far. The automatic takes a whole load off your mind when you go for a drive.

BHPian W.A.G.7 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So yesterday, we took out our Altroz on a highway trip. This was a long pending trip to Akkalkot around ~290 km from Pune. We wanted to visit Akkalkot for a long time but could make it only yesterday due to work and personal commitments. This was also a good drive to test out the highway manners of the Altroz.

We started from Pune at 5.00 AM in the morning and reached Akkalkot at 10.00 AM, after having a breakfast break in Solapur around 8.45 AM. The Pune > Solapur > Akkalkot stretch is excellent and we could hold on to speeds of 90-100 kph. There was hardly any traffic on the road, possibly because of the ongoing SSC and HSC exams and also due to the fact that we started early. The only traffic we ever encountered was during the last one hour of the return leg. From Hadapsar to Nal Stop (a distance of hardly 19-20 km), we took an hour and 15 minutes, which was too much considering that we had done Pune to Solapur to Akkalkot in 4 hours and 45 minutes.

Anyways, to come back to the car here are our observations:

  • The road manners are pretty good. In fact, the handling is exceptional and the car feels stable and planted on the road.
  • It can consistently pull on 80-90-100 km/h without breaking into a sweat. There's a caveat though - push it beyond 100 and the raspy note of the engine turns loud which after some time becomes an "ear-sore".
  • The comfort zone of the car is between 80-100 km/h. The power band is sufficient in this range and it can comfortably cruise all day long.
  • The fuel efficiency that we managed to eke out from the car was 17.7 km/l., whereas the maximum fuel efficiency we managed was 19.7 km/l. As I had mentioned in the previous post, the combined fuel efficiency in the city + highway driving cycle was 13.6 km/l - which I feel is pretty decent for a heavy car with a puny engine. We had to refill in Solapur while returning back to Pune.
  • The DCA gearbox worked perfectly for the whole drive. The shifts were not noticeable at all and they shifted precisely and perfectly for every occasion. There was not a moment where we felt that it was hunting for the right gear, it managed to stay in the right gear/powerband for the whole trip.
  • The suspension setup is good - in fact the layman will not be able to point any bounciness or thuds when going through potholes. The suspension manages to cover up anything that you throw at it, on the road.
  • The Goodyear ATM2 tyres are very nice - in fact, I am much relieved that a manufacturer is finally using better quality tyres; as compared to the OEM MRF ZVTv's or MRF ZV2K's in all our previous cars. There's hardly any road noise and they have a good grip on the road.
  • My wife drove the car for almost the entire trip and she didn't feel tired at all. We took breaks for 2-3 minutes after driving every 100-120 km just to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. She also didn't have any fatigue yesterday evening after returning back from the trip - which according to me translates as they (Tata) have got the ergonomics and comfort aspect correct.

Here are a few pictures from the whole drive/trip:

The combined fuel efficiency for the city and highway driving cycle:

Here is the light spread from the stock headlamps. I am happy with the spread and reach of the lamps. As a comparison, this needs to be checked in rainy season / foggy weather to find out if it is as good as this one in clear weather:

Looks nice doesn't it?

Another good looking angle:

I feel this is the best view of the car, the black accents look good, and from a distance, you can hardly make out any swirls on those:

Here's a view of the 90-degree opening doors. There's a practical difficulty though - You can't stretch and pull those towards yourself if you have your seatbelt on.

Trivia - What do you find inside the door once it is opened? Stickers!!

Here's a shot of the maximum fuel efficiency that the Altroz managed on the trip:

The sunglass compartment/holder is not lined - the result is that the sunglasses keep rattling and shifting position in the tiny space. Possibly a lid would have also helped here:

Here are the reflections on the windscreen in the hot sunny weather, somewhere between Solapur and Akkalkot:

Beautiful roads - these deserve a more powerful engine:

One more observation - while the centre screen is pretty bright and nice, it still has a lot of reflections due to the wide front windshield. Lots of glass area means a lot of sunlight filters in through the front:

Another ergonomic nitpick - the elbow rest in the front door fouls with the cap of your water bottle. If the cap is loose, it will be knocked off into some unknown corner in your front footwell! Good luck finding it in the moving car then:

Here's the final pic of the odometer when we ended the trip yesterday:

The odometer stands at ~3600 km as I write this post. We are very satisfied with the DCA gearbox so far. The automatic takes a whole load off your mind when you go for a drive and we are loving it so far.

Another thing - while the 82ps engine is definitely underpowered and is the only weak link in an otherwise complete package, it is still livable for 95% of the populace. In fact, for most people (for example, my non-automotive-inclined Mrs) this may not even be a consideration. Don't get me wrong, this is an engine which will do 90% of the things correctly and will be sufficient for the habitat for which the car is designed - the cityscape.

For purists like us, though; the shortcomings of the 3 pot motor are evident and the yearning for more power to complement the beautiful gearbox and planted chassis is something that you keep on asking - "Why in the world do they not offer DCA with the i-Turbo version?" Heck, if they had one; we would have got the i-Turbo+DCA combo without even batting an eyelid.

So, just hoping that Tata listens to the feedback and offers this combination; as an option at least.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Driven by india