Tata Bolt diesel review, test drive

Tata Bolt Price in India

 

They have been making trucks, SUVs and cars for many years now. The

popularity of these vehicles is in the exact order as mentioned. All

is well in Tata Motors except for a small change. They have become

young…again! As absurd it may sound, it is superbly true. They have

shrugged off their conventional approach and have become more Zesty

than ever.

 

Grab a daily or visit online and you shall see how the Zest is lapping

sales records and creating many in its course. The waiting period of

Zest has also gone up, a trouble which Tata Motors wanted to face for

a long time. Now that the Zest has got its feet fixed, it’s time for

its younger enthusiastic brother to step in. The elder, being the

matured one, is called the Zest while the younger one has a wild

streak and thus aptly called the Tata Bolt.

 

Paying attention to the demands of the young, the Bolt comes loaded

with many class rivaling features. Will this Bolt Strike leave the

competition in a state of complete discomfort? We reveal soon

 

DESIGN 

Tata Bolt is based on the Vista platform, just like the Zest. Both are

twin siblings with a DNA similar to the Vista. To not go away from the

current design, Pratap Bose, Tata’s chief designer has evolved the

styling of the Bolt from the existing Vista design. If one notices

closely, it is the same shell like the Vista. This will be the new

design language for the coming Tata products; first we saw it in the

Zest and now in the Bolt.

 

The fascia of the Bolt retains a lot of similarity to the Vista, but

it does look fresh. It isn’t old or out-dated at any given point of

time. There is a chrome lip on the top of the front grille and

headlamps integrate well with this design. It looks like a smiling

front than an aggressive snout. It does have projector headlamps, but

it misses out on Move to the side and one can notice striking

similarity between the Vista and Bolt. The Bolt gets the blacked-out

pillars that give it a floating roof feel. The rear is a bit of

confusion for me, as it is floating but the round ends confuse me. The

new tail lamp design is compact and it does look stylish

 

CABIN 

If the exteriors don’t manage to convince you that the Bolt is a new

Tata, then the interiors certainly will, because apart from the

spacious cabin, the Bolt doesn’t share much with the Vista.

 

In fact, the all-new dashboard is similar to the Zest’s but, instead

of the sedan’s dual-tone scheme, the hatchback gets a sportier

all-black look. If you’re familiar with the Vista, you’ll find a big

step-up in quality, especially with the switchgear and some nicely

damped buttons on the centre console. However, some plastics, such as

those on the mirror casing and door pockets, have rough edges. Also,

the rear seatbelt’s retracting mechanism on our test car went bust

after a few uses, which is more worrying as it’s a sign that Tata’s

well-known quality niggles still persist.

 

Typical of Tata hatchbacks, you walk into the cabin and sit relatively

higher up in the driver’s seat. The front seats are generous and plush

but feel a touch too soft, and lack of support for the lower back can

lead to aches after a long drive. While finding a good driving

position is easy, taller drivers may find the tilt adjustable steering

blocking a chunk of the instrument cluster. Other ergonomic irritants

are a narrow footwell which leaves little place to rest your left foot

and the ‘Multi-Drive’ row of buttons which are set too low.

The Bolt’s strength, however, lies in the spacious rear bench. The

ample legroom rivals many mid-size sedans and thanks to the wide

cabin, passengers seated three abreast here won’t have to jostle for

shoulder room. Surprisingly though, while the front seats feel too

soft, the rear bench feels a bit too firm. Tata needs to give the

Bolt’s seats consistent foam density.

 

For convenience, there’s just a single cup holder in the front and an

open stowage in front of the gear lever to hold your phone. The top

trim also gets a storage tray under the front passenger’s seat –

useful to hide valuables when parked. That said, the lack of bottle

holders and slim door pockets hampers practicality and even the

210-litre boot isn’t particularly large; in fact, it’s around 10

percent smaller than the Vista’s.

 

Equipment, though, is what the Bolt has in abundance. The top XT trim

gets a Harman-sourced touchscreen interface that also doubles up as

the screen for climate control. In the Bolt, this infotainment screen

gets an upgraded firmware (vis-à-vis the Zest) that adds GPS

navigation through an Android phone. For better readability, the

screen’s contrast has been tweaked as well, but that hasn’t done much

to improve legibility in direct sunlight. Thankfully, you won’t have

to strain your eyes much as the infotainment system can read aloud

text messages and supports voice commands for dialling. Surprisingly

though, there isn’t a CD player but it supports most modern audio

sources such as Bluetooth, USB, iPods and aux. Sound quality from the

eight-speaker (four mid-range drivers and four tweeters) set-up sounds

great; most customers won’t be tempted to spring for an audio upgrade.

 

PERFORMANCE 

Tata officials only offered the petrol Bolt with manual transmission

for us to test drive. The diesel and the AMT (automatic) will have to

wait for a date closer to the launch next year.

 

The 1.2T, turbocharged, 4-cylinder Revotron engine is offered in

pretty much the same state of tune in the Bolt too. The powertrain

remains almost identical with the same TA65 gearbox also on offer in

the Bolt. But, compared to the Zest, the Revotron in the Bolt manages

to offer a slightly wider band of torque, despite the fact that the

peak continues to be the same 140Nm. Maximum power is the same 90PS

and though it peaks at 5,000rpm, power delivery from the engine is

very linear.

 

The Bolt shares the new light-weight chassis architecture with the

Zest and it becomes clear that it has helped the car massively, making

it nimbler and quicker. It is only a few kilos lighter than the Zest,

but Tata engineers have done an excellent job in boosting the ride

quality. Vibrations and noise have been extremely well contained

inside the cabin. Suspension geometry has been calibrated for keeping

the ride quality cushy on bad roads, though that didn’t mean that the

car bounced or bobbed about too much either. Body roll has also been

contained, though you tend to feel that there is a bit more lateral

movement due to the tall seating position.

 

DRIVING DYNAMICS 

Tata cars always score high on comfort and the same can be said about

the Bolt. Ride quality is excellent (a bit soft which results in some

bounciness at speed over bad roads), the vehicle takes everything in

its stride with utmost confidence and irons out bad roads like it’s

child’s play. Even bad roads don’t pose a threat to the Bolt and it

won’t be wrong to say that this is the best riding car in the

hatchback segment. Where Tata cars aren’t popular is the driving feel,

while they are neutral, they won’t make you rave about the handling,

the Bolt is a bit different here. Set-up to give you a good time

around the bends, the Bolt handles nicely and is eager to corner but

there is some body roll.

 

The new electric steering has good feel and decent feedback at speeds

(although it’s on the lighter side) which inspires confidence to drive

fast. We love the appearance of the 3-spoke steering wheel and the

size just fits in perfectly to make you feel at home. With 10 mm

smaller width of each tyre over the Zest, the Bolt still has plenty of

grip on offer and cornering really hard makes the acres of under-steer

make itself very evident. Stability at speed is excellent and braking

performance is also very good. Turning radius is a tad more than

rivals while ground clearance is more than adequate for our roads. The

Tata Bolt offers a fantastic blend in the dynamics department and is a

car you can actually have some fun driving.

 

SAFETY 

Tata Motors has given the Bolt front airbags, ABS, EBD and Corner

Stability Control. Unlike its rivals from Japan and Korea, the Bolt

isn’t a light car and the heavy weight does make its presence felt as

you simply don’t feel like your driving a hatchback, the vehicle feels

robust. Yet to be tested by NCAP, we expect the Bolt to fare very well

but safety equipment on lower trims would be a nice touch. Tata Motors

is doing a lot to improve the service experience for its customers and

the same is reflecting already although such things take time.

 

CONCLUSSION 

After spending a day behind the wheel of the Bolt, we can say that the

Bolt lives up to the standards set by the Zest. It looks decent, is

spacious and rides pretty well too. In fact, Tata Motors has been

smart in changing the suspension setup as well as the steering feel,

thanks to which it is a lot more fun to drive and will appeal to a

slightly larger audience. Will it beat the competition? Well, a lot of

it will also depend on the pricing, but one thing’s for sure, Tata

Motors has once again got it right with the Bolt.

 

Tata Bolt Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 4,63,449/- (Bolt XE Revotron 90PS Petrol) to  7,16,908/- (Bolt XT Quadrajet 75PS Diesel) .Tata Bolt has 8 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Tata Bolt comes in 5 colours, namely Venetian Red,Platinum Silver,Sky Grey,Pristine White,Dune Beige.