Tata launched the Aria in October 2010 as a cheaper and better value SUV in the luxury segment. At 4650mm in length and 1918mm in width, the Aria is just 45mm shorter than say the Toyota Fortuner though is almost 80mm wider! This should give you a clear indication of how the Aria stands out among the usual crop of vehicles on the road. The huge double barrel headlamps (top end models get low light sensing lights) are now becoming familiar in the TATA family with the Manza being the latest product to sport the same theme. The hood is quite raised and helps give the front three quarter a lot of muscle. Step inside and it would be hard to tell this is a TATA product. The quality of plastics, the design theme and list of standard features that can put to shame a 20odd lakh rupee SUV amazes you.
There are acres of room inside for hefty, well-built adults and the seats feel nice and supportive. The steering wheel feels chunky and has controls for the music system as well as the cruise control – again a first in the price band this vehicle will be positioned in. However, while driving, the positioning of the buttons is such that it easily touches your hand / palm by mistake. While the lower Pure and Pleasure versions come with black and beige interiors with wood inserts, the Presitge and Pride versions come with Black and Plum interiors with brush metal inserts. The seats on the Pure and Prestige models get beige fabric while the Prestige and Pride get leather upholstery. The Aria comes powered by a 2.2-litre direct injection common rail engine with variable turbine technology that manages to churn out 140PS of peak power at 4000rpm.
Most importantly it has a healthy torque of 320Nm which is generated between 1700 to 2700rpm. TATA has worked very hard on the NVH levels and the diesel clatter is well under control once the windows are rolled up. The suspension of the Aria is another area where this vehicle excels. The double wishbone front and the five link rear with coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers go a long way in making its occupants feel comfortable. Drive the Aria over roads that don’t exist and it seems to swallow in everything. Steering is on the heavier side for parking speeds though feels much better once on the move. Another feather in the Aria’s cap comes in the form of the “4x4 torque on demand” system - available as option on all except the Pure version. This system supplies the torque in varying proportions between the two axles depending upon the terrain. The 4x2 range starts at Rs 11.4 lakh while the 4x4 range starts at Rs 13.25 lakh. The Aria is a good value product and certainly the best Tata.