You know that the Car would be Gold standard when you receive an invite like this:
Altroz is the debutant from TATA Motors to be based on the completely new ALFA (Agile Light Flexible Advanced) platform which also serves to be one amongst the 2 platforms that all the future TATA cars will be built on. This platform is extremely agile, catering to different body segments like Hatchbacks, Sedans, Crossovers and SUVs. This is the biggest development we have seen from our Homegrown manufacturer in recent times.
This, by far is the most gorgeous looking hatchback, the country has ever seen. Heck, it even beats the VW Polo in this department. While the Polo has a timeless and classic design, the Altroz with it sharp creases steals the show. The front does not need time to grow with you. The design team has played it safe here with large projector headlamps which consume a lot of real estate. There is also a thin strip of chrome, running across the entire width of the front, which along with the chrome ‘Tata’ logo, adds to the premium feel at the front.The honeycomb grille adds to its elegance. Oh wait, before you miss out, let me remind you that the fog lamps are not housed as a separate unit but they are integrated. Smart move? You decide.
Moving to the side of the car, there are 2 things that instantly grab your attention:
- Rear door handle – Placement of the door handle next to the rear window gives it a stellar look, I wouldn’t shy away from badging this as an inspiration from the Chevy Beat, a car which was loved by many
- Diamond-cut alloys – One of the best designs we have seen in recent times. The angular twists provided are simply brilliant
The rear of the car is where the party starts. There is a lot of heavy-dose design which is brilliantly sculpted giving a 3D effect to the tail lamps. Kudos to Pratap Bose and Team for achieving this indistinctive design. The tail lamps are neatly engraved and go very well with the persona of the Altroz – The Gold standard.
The large doors which can be opened at a 90-degree angle welcome you with a wide grin. First thing and you notice how amazing things are laid up in the cabin. The A/C vents with chrome surround feel astonishingly good. The large 8-inch touchscreen system steals the show.
But what the Altroz surely impresses with is the features that are on offer. For starters, the car offers ambient lighting and there is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The touch response is very good and there is no lag, which is a big improvement in this department by Tata Motors.
There are a lot of plastics used in the dash which seem to be of great fit and finish, however we would have loved it had they been tad less shinier. Again the fit-finish of the interiors are quite good and Tata Motors have done a very good job this time. If I cover the TATA logo, I bet a thousand bucks, you would’t be able to figure it out that it’s a TATA. Thankfully, seats are supreme and the cushion feels good unlike the olden era of TATA’s which were a pain to sit on.
The Altroz has a flat-bottomed steering wheel which feels brilliant to hold and one of the best we have seen in recent times. It is thick, sporty-looking and feels very nice to hold and is one of the best features on the Altroz. The TATA logo is proudly housed in the centre. You do get the volume rockers embedded into them. The wiper and indicator stacks looks like they are built from decent quality plastics, again lets not pitch the quality against the segment leader, the VW Polo because the quality is leaps and bounds ahead from the days of the TATA indica, the National cab of our Country.
The biggest pain point is the asymmetric design of the Speedo and Tachometer. The speedo is square-ish and the tachometer is round-ish. For some reason, this does not really grow in an instant. Also the lack-lustering fonts which are white in colour contrast the sporty theme of this car. I really wish TATA could have used red & black combination with a sporty instrument cluster.
The gear lever with white stitching running across the leatherette feels supremely good to hold. The centre armrest is provided to rest in your left hand on your long road trips. However, this would largely be used when TATA gets the AMT variant to our shores. One thing that I sorely miss are the leather seats, which TATA could have at-least optionally provided in the top variant. Black leather with red stitches would be a deadly combo that would inadvertently go well with the Sporty character the Altroz screams.
Coming to the back of the Tata Altroz, after setting the driver seat according to my height, I still had a great amount of knee room on offer. There was also decent legroom, shoulder room and headroom on offer as well. Overall, it’s a nice airy, spacious cabin to be in. To make things better, it gets a flat floor, which means, if you put the armrest up, you can have three people sitting with ease. on your next roadtrip.
Apart from the cubby holes, door pockets and cupholders the Altroz offers a boot space of 345 litres.
How Does it Drive?
I drove both the variants of the ALtroz – Diesel and Petrol.
Diesel – Does this motor feels absolute bonkers from the word Go! No, not really. There is the negligible turbo-lag that you would expect in a Diesel mill at this price bracket but the turbo lag vanishes off in the rear-view mirror as the car picks speed. I have complaint in just 1 area of the diesel mill: NVH insulations which are too loud for the liking. One thing that is seriously commendable in the TATA Altroz is its high speed handling. The car felt planted on the road like a magnet when I was doing serious triple digit speeds in the twists and turns of the desert land of India – Jaisalmer.
Petrol – I have never fancied the 3-pot petrol mills which are not turbo-charged. Going back to the days of VW polo which is equipped with 3 pot in its petrol avatar since a decade to the Altroz, they are lethargic. The Altroz takes its sweet time to pull off from stand-still to reach the 100 kmph mark.
The Tigor’s 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine along with the 5-speed gearbox is carried over and this is a naturally-aspirated unit unlike the Nexon’s turbo-petrol. It makes 85bhp of raw power and 113Nm of torque, which seems good on paper but when you put it across the battle on a drag-strip with the good-ol’ Swift, the performance is not as eager as its chief rival, the lovely Swift which prances to the finish-line faster and the engine of Altroz is not as smooth, refined or silent. The gearbox isn’t very slick or direct either. A big big area of improvement for TATA Motors here.
However, the Altroz also has the best driving dynamics of any Tata vehicle so far. The new ALFA platform feels strong and stiff and the suspension is very well-sorted too. It deals with all imperfections in the road in a super-impressive manner and the ride is comfortable without being too stiff. Proud to say this after driving it in one of the worst roads of Jaisalmer’s countryside. I barely slowed down for small sized potholes and speed-breakers, it just eats them for breakfast! The body roll is also well-controlled and the steering feels nice and accurate and is suitably weighted with speed but please dont expect the first-gen Figo magic here.
The brakes, discs at the front, drums at the rear, are super good. I did some hard braking at triple digit speeds and trust me, I dint scare the camels away, I swear!
Kitna deti hai? I would urge you to wait for the real world figures. For starters the petrol should deliver 17 km on an average and the Diesel 20 kmpl.
The Nexon has received a 5 star Euro NCAP rating. Going by it, plethora of safety features on the Altroz was not a surprise.
The endless list goes on…
Dual Front Airbags
ABS With EBD
Corner Stability Control
Reverse Parking Sensor & Camera
Automatic is sorely missed at the launch. Tata Motors is working on a DCT for the petrol and an AMT for the diesel (as on the Nexon).
Should you buy One?
If you are looking for DIESEL car that is fun to drive, handles well with a solid built, the Altroz is worth every single penny it would ask for. It is the best hatchback that Tata Motors have ever built. It is properly finished, nothing feels out of place or compromised, and it looks fantastic. In fact this is the best looking small car there is right now and also among the most comfortable and confidence inspiring too. Well, a lot depends on the pricing especially in this price-sensitive segment. Having said that the ALTROZ deserves a much better petrol engine. Ok, I shall put it across this way – can we get the JTP Please?
In a nutshell, the TATA Altroz is one of the very few cars that I would rate a very good 4/5. The efforts laid out by TATA making it almost perfect are visible in every spectrum of the car, redefining the Gold standard.