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Living with the Zest Petrol: Wrap-up Review

  • Mar 31, 2016
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For unaware viewers, we have been carrying out our 'Living with the Car' series with different long term vehicles.

Date of Arrival: December 12, 2015
Odo reading on arrival: 2076 kms
Odo reading till date: 4625 kms
Realistic Fuel Economy: 11 - 12 kmpl
Buy this car for: Well-planted ride; Good fit and finish; Impeccable sound system quality
Stay away because of: Heavy vehicle! Will not deliver enough mileage when compared to the segment

Tata Zest Exterior
There is no compact sedan that can be defined as perfect. There are a few missing bits that will eventually not allure some prospects who are looking at narrowing down to one, and the Tata Zest Petrol is really not what you would want as your primary car. It has one cup holder to start off with, the clutch travel is quite a lot and there are many more grouses we can talk about. But, before we talk about the downside, let us focus on the good part.

I have been driving the Zest Petrol top-end (XT Revotron) trim for over a month now. And let me tell you, I am, contradictory to my previous statement, falling in love with this compact sedan. The reason is simple. It is a Tata! This may also be controversial with a number of people since the company's product line-up has been known to have some squeaks creeping from some end of the car right from the time one buys it.

So, why am I boasting about the Zest? First off, like my earlier long-term fleet review, the build quality, inside and outside, is extremely solid and you feel cocooned and secure in this compact sedan. In fact, the design may seem pleasing (or delicate) due to its subtle silhouette on the outside, but make no mistake, it is a relatively tough compact sedan. The metal coupled with the plastic body is actually more function than form. A testimony of which we understood while following a convoy for an off-road trail. Well, the trail ended for the Zest where only Maruti Gypsy and the likes could go but we were quite impressed with the ride quality as well as the fact that the compact sedan's plastic cladding is not just 'all-show and no-tell'. It has immense practicality while traversing over thorny terrain and even sand patches. So, overall, it is a tough bird!

Tata-Zest-Front_view

The powertrain and transmission may take some time getting used to. But the sweet spot is between the 2,000 to 3,000 rpm range which means there will be slight compromise on fuel economy but not on power delivery. Gearshifts are also very nimble and you don't feel there is a shoddy job of putting the vehicle together or any compromise in the build quality. And like always, there is a catch! But a good one for this car. The Revotron 1.2-litre petrol engine comes with two modes namely ‘Sport’ and ‘Eco’. This changes the throttle response and fuel delivery to the engine. Needless to say that 'Sport' mode will increase these effects and Eco mode will decrease. So, in case you are travelling on the highway on a light foot with cruising speeds of 80 to 90 kmph, the Eco mode will make the engine more frugal. 'Sport' mode is best kept for sudden inputs and best left to the city else fuel efficiency is bound to take a dip.

The fit-and-finish exudes a robust feel on the inside. The plastics feel very good and the rather dark interiors are more practical for everyday use, courtesy of the dusty conditions of NCR. Although this means the cabin does feel slightly cramped, but rest-assured, after driving around town and on the highway for over a month, I can safely state that the Zest can seat four tall adults comfortably.

Now, if you are in the market looking for outright performance in a compact sedan, you are actually looking at the wrong segment. These cars fulfil your daily commutes of trotting around town without much drama. And the Tata Zest checks all the boxes as well. The only downside is the lack of cubbyholes and cup holders in the car. All you get is (and you will read this right) only one cup holder for the driver. An issue they have addressed in the upcoming Tiago and Kite5. But, the more expensive Zest and Bolt seem to have an afterthought with the designers when it came to storage spaces.

Tata zest

If you talk about travelling on the highway, or trotting around in the city with either four adults and some luggage, in both cases, the Zest feels a lot more planted than its rivals and can get you from point A to B comfortably. One more thing I did miss out (intentionally) for the interiors is the impeccable sound system offered by Harman on the top-spec version. It is an eight-speaker setup and can put some rather premium sedans to shame when it comes to sound quality.

Pairing your phone is as easy as it can gets. Tata's patented 'Juke-Car' mobile application (available across all leading platforms) allows people to share their music lists with your infotainment system without having the need to pair their phone to the car’s audio system. This is simply a very clever touch.

Tata-Zest-Boot

So, to sum it up, what can we term the Zest as? It has a well-planted ride quality that's not too supple or stiff, has a decent engine which is powerful enough and frugal enough when needed. Has good interior space with a top-notch sound system and comfortable seats. So, if you are in the market looking for a car that can take you comfortably from one part of the city to the other and the new addition will not be a primary car in your household, the Zest is meant for you.

It is time that we bid the Zest adieu as it moves on from our long-term fleet.

Also Read: Living with the Zest Petrol Chapter 1

In case, you were wondering how the Zest fares against the Ford Figo Aspire and the Honda Amaze, watch the video below

[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W3MEAazkxU[/embedyt]
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