UPDATED: Read detailed roadtest of the Nano GenX (click to read)
The Tata Nano is the car that put its maker on the world map as a car manufacturer. When it was launched first in the year 2008, it created a lot of buzz because of its ‘most-affordable car’ tag. The launch of Nano resulted making Tata Motors instantly recognized whereas the Nano became a hugely famous car among Indians. As famous as it might have been back in the day though, the sales for the Nano never really took off as predicted initially. Since its introduction, the Nano has been given mild refreshments to improve its appeal.
And with the current model, Tata has done a commendable job of resurrecting the Nano for the Indian masses. This model has been vastly improved and most of the changes have been made keeping in mind the target audiences’ requirements while customer feedback has also been taken into account. The enhancements come in shape of new aesthetics while the major highlight of the car is the introduction of an optional AMT (automated manual transmission) and an openable boot.
The powertrain on the Nano is unchanged, meaning it comes powered by the same 624cc twin-cylinder petrol motor as before. In the new model, Tata Motors has worked greatly on the engine response and driveability part and even sacrificed fuel economy for that matter. But, while it sips a little more fuel than before, it is now also fitted with a larger fuel tank – 24 litres as opposed to 15 litres on the earlier models.
The major change in the new model is the addition of an automated gearbox . The AMT in the Nano is optional and is a 5-speed version with a creep function. The creep function in automatic gearboxes allows a vehicle to slowly gain pace as soon as the driver lifts the foot off the brake pedal. This is of great convenience while encountering bumper to bumper traffic, which is something that is very common in metro cities.
The Nano AMT has three selectable driving modes, namely- A, M and S. In
A or automatic mode, the transmission upshifts depending on the throttle inputs. In M or manual mode, the driver can shift gears themself by moving the gear lever back and forth for downshifts and upshifts. In case, the driver does not upshift, the gearbox will eventually upshift once the engine hits the redline. The third and final S or the Sports mode allows the the transmission to hold on to a gear till higher rpm than normal.
The AMT equipped Tata Nano makes up for an able city runabout. The transmission is not that quick or peppy to use as a conventional automatic, but it does the job quite effortlessly in the Nano. And given the convenience it offers for its price, it’s a great overall package.
The ride quality on the new model is also improved and it eats up potholes and bad roads in a sublime manner. The ride does get bumpy at high speeds over bad stretches, but even then it remains planted and sure-footed unlike some of the cars in its segment. The power steering is light and works brilliantly too. At speeds of over 80-90km/h, the Nano gets affected by the crosswinds, but it does not get scary anytime. That said, braking is one area where the Nano still needs to be improved in. While the stopping distance can be termed as satisfactory, there’s not much bite from the brakes and under heavy braking or emergency stops the vehicle tends to swerve out of the desired trajectory. There’s no ABS on offer even now!