Tata Bolt Review
THE STORY OF CHANGE
Once upon a time, there was a manufacturer which was known to produce some of the best value for money cars that stroked the correct amount of customers and topped up the sales charts. Tata is a homegrown name with which every Indian civilian is familiar to. Indica was the game changer for Tata, it topped sales charts and created a new niche of cars which got further invaded by the “outsiders”. The car ruled the automotive Indian scene but with time the competition grew up significantly and the other manufacturers got more tech more efficiency and trust than a Tata used to deliver. Tata was vanishing, vanishing fast!
With directionless automotive desires, Tata appointed Late Karl Slym who was made head for the new R&D. He decided to bring a reform and the way he chose was this…. TATA BOLT.
Company chose to invade the mass sales section of cars that consisted most of the small hatchback and the new “notch-back” segment.
Sadly Karl Slym Passed away but he left a new direction and energy for the Tata team.
Aimed to invade and rule the hatchback world, which, already owned by Maruti Suzuki Swift, Tata, launched Bolt.
Starting at 4.3 Lakhs ex-showroom at Delhi, Bolt surely is to win hearts of Indian’s. Besides of the price, Bolt offer’s two engine choices with a 1.2 Lt Turbocharged Petrol called Reventron developing 88.7bhp at 5000rpm and the 1.3 Lt Turbocharged Diesel borrowed form Fiat producing 74bhp at 4000rpm.
Sure the pricing is to win hearts but what made people get drown away from Tata cars with time, was, pathetic quality and reliability. And this is why Tata took 4 years to make this car and tested it toughly and thoroughly so they don’t get any complaints in the Board Member’s Meeting.
THE OUTSIDE THUNDER-BOLT
Bolt looks pretty much the same as the old Indica Vista, well, that’s what most of us will think of when looking at it and this is what it is pretty much. The roof line, the bonnet slung, the sweptback headlight all indicate towards the Vista. But wait! There are significant changes.
The car is made on a new chassis, the front is all new, the new honeycomb grill resembles to those of Safari Strome, the headlights now get Projector treatment, the fog lamps are designed new and the bumper is all new.
Move back and you see those tiny tail lamps that look pretty much cool. LED treated, they illuminate the surrounding well too. Big chrome grill gives a bolder look.
The C pillar now gets taped down black in order make it looks sportier.
Bolt sits on large 15” alloys same as those of ZEST but rubber is a bit less wide. Large ORVM’s with turn signals embedded in, all of this together makes BOLT look good for a TATA to be.
Space has always been a Tata forte and it doesn’t loose on it here too. Bolt inside is vast as a national park reserve! You get two big seats in front and a large sofa at back. Yes! I am not kidding. The car have the best in class space overall. Sit in the front, the seats are well broad and cushioned, a bit high though the positioning is quiet exact what you would want for your daily drive. Jump at back and the three abreast? No problem. The window line goes quiet comfortably with shoulder line of rear passengers, thus, gives enough amount of glass area and makes the ride a comfortable one.
Talking of equipment’s, you get ABS, twin front airbags, MID, Touch screen Infotainment system (First in class) from Harman with 8 speakers and it sounds really amazing for such priced car, climate control, Steering mounted controls, GPS synchronization, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, video playback.
Instrument cluster is quiet sharp and clear thus makes look the cabin very up market.
Steering is borrowed from ZEST too and it looks and feels great to hold.
Dashboard comes in a grey shade but you get optional dual tone saffron and black shade too (I don’t think many would opt for that though)
Overall, apart from a few niggles, the Bolt doesn’t resemble any previous TATA’s and is totally
a new step ahead in terms of quality and refinement.
ENGINE RIDE PERFORMANCE EFFICIENCY
The petrol motor is turbocharged and produces a class topping 88.7 bhp but it is not so fast as it seems to be on paper. The performance is subtle (because of the heavy weight of car, although TATA engineers tried to keep it light) and is comfortable to drive. The power comes linearly after a few disturbances (if noticed after paying attention). The car performs well over highways and never lets you feel the need of more power. Engine stretches itself good and the harshness of the petrol motor is very low. You won’t hear the motor working hard even if you are trying to liberate out the performance. Cabin insulation is the area where Tata worked hard and the result is phenomenal. Outside noises are quiet well suspended out.
The new tech? Yes, Tata has introduced two modes of driving which could be adjusted through buttons over the center console.
ECO mode and SPORTS mode.
Press the ECO button and the top end weakens out and the throttle responses become smooth and light ultimately saving fuel. The difference from the normal mode of driving is very less though but it does affect the efficiency.
Press the SPORTS button and this is where the considerable change happens. TATA soon transforms into a fast moving hot hatch. The top end becomes stronger, the throttle becomes crispier and even the lightest press of throttle can make the BOLT run fast.
The difference in performance can be seen through the in gear times. The bolt is quicker by around 4 seconds to 100 kmph than in the ECO mode. That’s a big difference!
Go for the diesel and it is the same as the old Vista’s. It’s a FIAT borrowed engine and produces a good punch around 1800rom and pulls clean to the 4000rpm. After that the engine loses it’s breath but it’s very satisfying to use. The turbo lag surely makes things itchy in traffic but once you get a good open road and the engine stretches itself quiet good. There is sudden surge and the car seems to be pulling at a good pace. Performance is not as good as rivals (Engine tuning and ECU to be blamed here). In gear timings are also same as of earlier and are satisfactory for a daily commute and occasional highway trips.
Ride is the excellent feature of BOLT and no hatchback comes close to it. Tata irons out well the bad roads with so ease that it never feels like you are driving bad roads. The suspension absorbs nearly everything thrown to it. It is only high speeds when the car feels a bit uncomfortable but is till under control and keeps up the confidence of driver and passengers high. Ride quality phases out even the Germans! Five stars to TATA here.
“Kitna deti hai?”
The answer here is not very brilliant but manufacturer claims an overall 18kmpl for Reventron motor (do not expect it to give more than that in Indian Driving Cycle) also the diesel is claimed to be giving 21kmpl which would convert to 18-20 kmpl in real world driving.
I haven’t got to test the BOLT in terms of mileage but soon figures would be revealed.
Tata has been making cars since decades. It’s a 100% homegrown brand (For Indians By Indians) and the trust issues are very less in terms of brand, but, than you go for the cars it makes. They are crude, unrefined, stall anywhere, bad to drive, pathetic to own and the customer feedback is also very scary, they also came with “TAXI” badges which made a common man think twice before buying it for personal usage.
But this is where the story changes. Tata has worked hard, real hard, to change things as they are going on. The 4 years hard work and loss of a life has resulted in a great quality product which can withstand the “outsiders” and beat them down to their knees. The areas to improve would still include the service backup, part availability and most important of all good product. Tata has taken a step in the right direction, all it needs to pace up and make things right quiet fast. For me, this where the “acche din” of Tata Motors Pvt Ltd should begun. Finally a product from Tata to describe the story of change.