The TATA Nano Comes Home

Picked up the Nano Twist, primarily for wifey. I used to have a dim view of the Nano. I never considered it in my interest list of small cars, buying was a big NO NO. My wife has this minimalist view. She likes to go for the minimum requirement for her needs. All she needed were 4 wheels to go from point A to point B in relative comfort as opposed to 2 wheels. The Nano fitted that operating model, so she forced me to take a test drive. That changed my whole opinion.

It’s been more than a month since I picked it up and I am loving the little wonder. It is a fantastic car for crowded city roads. Easy to drive, almost like a Go-Cart! Has all the creature comforts. Great fuel efficiency. Smooth ride quality. Little but peppy engine, quick on it’s feet. Electronic power steering smooth as butter. Pedals are light on the feet. Spacious and comfortable interiors, sits 5 average-sized adults with ease. There is good legroom and under-thigh support. Great ground clearance. I am yet to scrape the bottom, even when going over mountain sized speed breakers. Smallest turning radius, can do next to impossible U-turns in a single turn. No reverse and forward monkey business. If you do not believe me, take a test drive. Super easy to park. What more does one ask for? The regular service schedules are infrequent. In addition TATA has a scheme whereby I paid a small amount up front and the next three year regular services are free as in free beer! Probably I will have to dole out some small amounts for a few odd consumables. Combined with high fuel efficiency and low insurance fees, for a vehicle of this segment, it represents exceptional value for money.

The engine sound has been tamed down. Also it now sounds more car-like rather than the earlier commercial vehicle sound. There are a few minor cons. Like the outside rear view mirror is too small. There are quality issues with the finishing on some of the panel edges, though panel gaps are consistent. While I get curious stares on the road, the biggest problem is I do not get respect on the road! I am used to driving my usual SUV and that gets ample respect like a gorilla. On the Nano suddenly, I am a mouse instead of a Gorilla! However the Nano makes up for it by it’s agility. Think of Stuart Little on a busy road. The other big con is the lack of front disc brakes. Braking from speed requires a harder push, which can take some getting used to . However these cons do not take anything away from the value proposition that the Nano represents.

Apart from disc brakes, I do wish that TATA comes out with an automatic transmission variant, probably using the AMT from Magneti Marelli. That would be an excellent addition. It would push the price up, but no harm in having a high-end Nano with a whole bunch of bells and whistles. The age-old marketing technique: attract the customer with the lower-end cheaper models to the showroom and sell them the high-end models 🙂

Anyone looking at cars in the same segment or a second hand Santro or some such, definitely need to give the Nano a serious consideration. One cannot get better value for money that this vehicle in it’s “Twist” Avatar. This vehicle definitely deserves 10x the sales that it is unfortunately garnering today. This is the car that TATA Motors should have launched on day one, but as we all know, Indian car manufacturers like to use customers as test engineers, sometimes with disastrous results! Also for the Nano’s woes TATA got the initial marketing, product positioning and branding wrong.

The children are really excited with the Nano. The little ones with the “Little One”:20140714_191724_Fotor


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