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Tata Zest Hatchback First Look Review

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Tata Zest Overview

The past few years haven’t been good to Tata Motors’ passenger car division. It has had a few good products, but there always was something that didn’t sit right. Of course, there were even more things that were brilliant about the products, but desirability, one of the most important things in an economy such as ours where a car still remains in large part a luxury rather than a necessity, was absent. Tata has now recognised this, and has thrown everything they have behind the new range of products that will launch from now on, and it all begins with this small car that will replace the cheapest sedan on the planet – the Tata Zest. Does it manage to deliver what Tata so badly needs?

Tata Zest Design

This Tata car doesn’t look like a Tata car. It might sound confusing but holds strongly for the Zest. With its modern contemporary design language, it looks way different from their portfolio models and it is for the first time a Tata car looks in sync with modern trends in automobile.Ditching aggression and angry looks, the Zest gets a human touch on its face. It has a humanity line which consists of the smiling radiator grille. The overall shape as many would expect is based on the Indigo but it is the finer details which differentiates the Zest from its siblings. Check for Tata Zest price in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive.

Is if the first car in its segment to offer projector headlights and day time running lamps which can’t be switched off. It is encouraging to see Tata Motors paying attention to features which add to the overall safety of the vehicle. To make sure everyone notices the new engine, the hood has subtle power bulges displaying strength.Front bumpers are completely new and have a reverse trapezoidal air dam. The petrol variants had the DRLs mounted along with the fog lamp while in the diesel; it just gets a mild chrome strip and no DRLs. Even the detailing on the fog lamp housing in the petrol variant is more than that of the diesel.

Petrol and diesel also have different alloy wheel design. It gets clear 8 spoke 15 inch sporty alloys in the petrol while the diesel gets multi spoke type alloys which look more elegant than sporty. It has a length of 3995mm and a width of 1706mm. They claim the Zest to have the best in class width and wheelbase of 2470mm and it is true when compared with Honda Amaze which has a width of 1680mm and a wheelbase of 2405mm while the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire has a width of 1695mm and a wheelbase of 2430mm also the height of Zest is greater than the other two meaning better headroom.

A strong shoulder line followed by sculpted wheel arches make the side profile of the Zest look and feel attractive. External mirrors affixed with turn indicators are body coloured. They can be adjusted electrically. Visually the ground clearance looks higher. Height of the Zest has gone up but the slender Diamond DLO design of the side window panel make the roofline travel lower than others.It gets a sling shot line on the rear profile which flows around the body giving it an in motion look even in standstill position. Wrap around tail lamps with LEDS are modern highlights given to the Zest along with a smart lip spoiler integrated with the rear boot lid. Continuing the theme, the rear bumper gets inverse trapezoidal design with plastic cladding.

Tata Zest Cabin

Unlike earlier, the designers at Tata Motors this time seem to have really worked hard when it comes to the interiors. The reason why we say this is that, the cabin is definitely up market when it comes to the embellishments provided on board that are superior than some of its competitors within the segment. The most important improvement here is the quality of plastics which has been an issue with almost each and every Tata vehicle in the past. Therefore once inside, the enhanced quality does across in a very strong way.

Perfect blend of black and beige interiors give one the sense of roominess. The presence of a three spoke steering wheel with steering mounted controls is a welcome addition as it not only looks good but is firm to grip while driving. A newly designed instrument cluster with chrome surrounds brings to light two analogue dials – RPM and speedometer along with a digital display placed right in the centre providing information such as average fuel economy, trip metre and instant consumption of fuel at any given time. For more details on Tata Zest check Stsoft

A newly designed instrument cluster with chrome surrounds brings to light two analogue dials – RPM and speedometer along with a digital display placed right in the centre providing information such as average fuel economy, trip metre and instant consumption of fuel at any given time. While the fuel and temperature gauge are individually represented in two different analogue dials as seen in the image. To the left, is the company’s ConnectNext Infotainment system which has been developed with the help of HARMAN (world renowned audio system expert) keeping the ‘Zest’ as the focus.

Featuring a 5 inch touch screen display, this system caters to advanced Bluetooth technology that enables smart phone integration. It features a total of 8 speakers split into 4 speakers and 4 tweeters which keeps one entertained with excellent audio quality. There is also a smart voice recognition which enables the user to give commands especially in regards to SMS notifications and read outs making life simpler for people like you and me who need to operate their smart phones on a regular basis while being behind the wheel. Other features such as Aux-In and a USB port also find their way into the cabin thereby enriching the overall cabin experience.

Seating both in the front and rear is pretty comfortable however its lacks under thigh support especially for those who are a bit tall. There is decent of amount of shoulder and leg room in both rows with the rear one falling short on head room due to its sloping roof line which is a bit of an issue for tall individuals. Rest active and passive safety features on board include elements such as driver and front passenger airbags, central locking, rear parking assist, burglar alarm, immobilizer to name a few.

Tata Zest Performance

In the past few months, we have driven many cars across segments but with the Zest, the experience was different. Firstly, it is the first Tata car to get the recently launched Revotron 1.2T petrol engine and secondly, it is the first car in its segment to get an AMT transmission.Let’s begin with the petrol. It is very rare that a Tata car has been associated with ‘Fun” as they have always been functonal and lacked emotional connect. With the all new Revotron 1.2T petrol engine, the company attempts to revamp its brand image from purpose built to built to perform car maker.We knew it that the new engine is a result of extensive research and ticks all the boxes on paper. Fire it up and you would expect the rattles and shivers as expected but to everyone’s shock, it is not the case. The engine idles smoothly without any redundant noise. Push the throttle harder and the sounds gets sporty with a slight grunt.

One can also choose a driving mode from three options which are Eco, City and Sports. It is amazing to see a car in this range sport multiple driving modes catering to mileage and performance needs. City mode, which is set by default, works on maintaining a balance between economy and performance. There are two buttons on the console which are Eco and Sports. In Eco mode, it concentrates on fuel efficiency while in the Sports mode; it is pure based on performance.The engine feels quick if not fast. The 1197cc engine produces 90PS at 5000 rpm and generates a torque of 140Nm. Petrol variants come with a standard five speed manual transmission. The engine doesn’t react at a touch on the pedal but once it crosses the 2500 mark, its performance gets evident. The tacho needle travels all the way to 6000 rpm before shifting to next gear. One interesting bit is the needle going red at peak rpm alerting the driver to shift to the next gear.

The petrol feels great on straight section but then on hilly sections where the climbing angle increases it loses breath very quickly forcing the driver to downshift. During overtaking, one has to squeeze every bit of power to make sure one manoeuvres confidently. The power band is very short in the petrol engine. Second and third gear help building momentum but at fourth it falls flat and similarly in the fifth gear.Then was our turn to drive the diesel AMT. Thanks to Maruti Suzuki Celerio, we had an idea on Automated Manual Transmission. Gyaan goes like this; it is not an automatic transmission but an automated manual transmission unit meaning the upper half has an electronic mechanism which works with the help of a control unit and hydraulic actuators while the lower half acts like a conventional manual transmission. It comes at a price of a manual and offers convenience of an automatic.

The diesel F-Tronic AMT is equipped with the same four cylinder diesel engine which was also seen on Vista D90 hatch. This 1248cc engine produces 90PS of power and generates 200Nm of torque. It is offered with a conventional 5 speed manual transmission but then there is an additional option of getting the diesel in AMT version. The engine is amazingly quiet and all the measures to make sure the cabin is insulated have worked really well. It fairs a lot better than the Honda Amaze and Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire when it comes to low NVH levels.It comes with three different shift modes namely the automatic, sports and manual. In automatic, the drive feels sluggish at lower engine speeds but then once it enters 3000rpm to 4800rpm band, the torque delivery gets aggressive. The cut off engine speed to shift to next gear is 4500rpm. Even the intermittent delay between shifts is less. Sports more gets activated with the help of a button below the transmission stick. Power delivery doesn’t improve but the shifts happen quicker than in normal auto mode. Then comes the manual mode which is the best when it comes to outright performance.

In manual mode, the driver has to upshift or downshift manually by shifting the stick forward or reverse respectively. In this mode, the engine holds on to its power delivery for a longer duration. We found a way to ‘Cheat’ the shift by downshifting few rpms before its ideal limit for example while shifting from first to second, the cut-off happens at 4500rpm and thus shift it at close to 4300rpm so the delay between shifts gets shorter and it slides to next gear quickly without losing on speed.This Tata car rides well and handles great. The Zest impressed us completely with its amazing handling potential. It has a taller ground clearance but at the same time the roof line flows at a lower height bring down air resistance. Introduced in the Nano, EPAS (Electronic Power Assisted System), with speed sensitivity along with a segment first feature of Corner Braking stability makes the Zest handles corners confidently.

Tata Zest Riding

Just like the engines, Tata has tried to keep all the good things that Tatas are known for – namely, great ride – and tried to get rid of the bad things like the look of the cars rolling along on castors, the vibration in the steering at high speed and ordinary feedback from the controls. The steering is now an electrically assisted unit, and Tata has taken care that it returns to the straight-ahead when the driver isn’t turning it. It works well, this system, and the steering assist at low speeds is very well tuned. It is accurate at speed, but doesn’t weigh up very much as speeds increase, but we’ll put off a final opinion about this until we get a chance to slingshot the Zest along our favourite set of corners. However, Tata’s claim about it not having vibration stands true: it is as refined as the petrol engine now. The brakes also are very confidence inspiring. Bite and progression are good, and outright power is good enough to let you brake late with full confidence. ABS, EBD and Corner Stability Control (what I gather to be an advanced form of EBD) are present on the top-spec variants.

The suspension is the traditional layout of McPherson struts in the front, and twist-beam rear. However, to keep the plush Tata ride intact with the larger wheels, Tata has included a second rubber mount for the front suspension that helps the secondary ride. The traditional mounts are also different to work around this, so if you’re thinking of swapping your Zest front suspension for something else, it won’t be possible. However, this is a very interesting solution for the problem at hand – secondary ride, in case you didn’t know, is the shock absorption done by things other than the actual spring and damper. Usually it is the tyres and the suspension mounts (made of hard rubber) that do this job, which is generally at low speed, and the primary ride is taken care of by the spring and damper at speed, because that is when the tyre starts moving vertically over bumps. Goa’s roads are smooth and flowing, so we didn’t get to verify this fully on our short drive, but I can safely say that both in high- and low-speed ride, the Zest is a traditional Tata. As far as handling is concerned, it is a whole new Tata – it takes the fast with the slow equally well, giving an unexpected level of feedback and therefore driver involvement. Of course, the Zest isn’t at the top of the class in the driver involvement section, but that was never the expectation. Is it much improved compared to before? Definitely.

Tata Zest Safety

Tata Zest comes equipped with Disc brake as front brake while Drum brake does the duties as the rear brake. This primary braking system responds instantly and to ensure much better braking, the company has also introduced the most advanced, the 9th generation Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) as secondary braking system. Tata has also blessed the Zest with Speed dependent auto door lock system and Front and rear fog lamps.

But unfortunately, the XE variants in both the guises miss out on these features. The company in a bid to avoid any mishap and make sure of maximum safety of the occupants, has also incorporated segment-first, the Corner Stability Control feature in the Tata Zest with mid and top trims. There are also dual front airbags and front seat belts with pre-tensioner & load limiter in the top-end trim. However, for the security of the vehicle; the company has come up with Immobiliser with every variant. But, the top-end trim XT also has a Perimetric alarm system that makes loud sound if any attempt of burglary or thievery is made.

Tata Zest Price in Hyderabad

Tata Zest On Road Price is 6,54,434/- and Ex-showroom Price is 5,53,554/- in Hyderabad. Tata Zest comes in 6 colours, namely Venetian Red,Platinum Silver,Sky Grey,Pristine White,Dune Beige,Buzz Blue. Tata Zest comes with FWD with 1193 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 89 bhp@5000 rpm and Peak Torque 140 Nm@1500-4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Tata Zest comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Tata Zest Bottomline

The Zest has a lot riding on it, and that is why Tata has put so much thought – and a whole new engine and an automatic gearbox – into it. Usually when a manufacturer says ‘new car’, us cynical, jaded journalists expect a new paintjob and upholstery and not much else, but the Zest has proved my expectations wrong. That is a great thing for Tata, because it will earn respect and, eventually, profit, slowly but surely if things follow this path. This will also be a difficult period for Tata because the expectations that benefit the consumer, like a low purchase price and extremely low cost of spares and maintenance will be retained. Sometimes that will not be possible – a turbocharged engine with three electronic modes, an AMT gearbox, projector headlamps, LED DRLs, LED tail-lamps… these things aren’t inexpensive, but the Zest will be expected to be just that.

As always, it will boil down to the price: if Tata manages to retain its traditional place in the price hierarchy for the moment, it will convince people to walk into the showroom to look at the car. Once they drive it, I’m sure most people will come away impressed. If Tata wants to retain its customers, it will have to work on service as well – I expect Tata to manage the former with an introductory price, and hope that the latter improves dramatically and soon, because that’s what it will need to keep up with products like the Zest and prevent another sales slump.

For the moment, though, Tata’s Zest shines through in almost all areas, and is certainly something that you should wait for if you’re in the market for a sub-four metre sedan.

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