The Tata Nano was a car that had oodles of hype surrounding it even well before it was ever launched. After a difficult birth and several teething troubles, the car had established itself in its segment however to fully realise its potential Tata Motors have given the Nano a complete makeover. Now launched, this is the second major revision that the Nano has received since its debut in India.
I see, looks different now?
There is no doubt as you walk up to the car that it is the now familiar Nano but, there are several differences that one can spot immediately. The front bumper has a wide and curved band which makes it appear as though the car is grinning at you. Up close, the grille has a motif pattern of infinity symbols which look very pretty. Apart from that, the smoked headlight clusters have a black bezel around them and there are round foglamps for added illumination while driving on those rainy nights.
The back of the GenX Nano also has a grille with the inifinity symbol motif that we spoke of earlier. But the biggest (and most convenient) change here is that the tailgate is no longer welded shut like that in the previous Nano. It can be opened to gain access to the 94 litre boot. It must be pointed out that the manual version of the car, due to a lower engine cover, has a slightly larger 110 litre boot. If we had a gripe, it would be that even though the tailgate can now be opened, you have to actually get out of the car and use the key to open it. Interested buyers can choose one of seven paint colour options for the GenX Nano: Pearl White, Royal Gold, Meteor Silver, Damson Purple, Dazzle Blue, Persian Rose (which will be only made-to-order) and Sangria Red.
What about the interiors?
Step inside the car and it is almost immediately evident that Tata has made changes in here as well. Tata Motors have worked hard in improving the ambience and they have succeeded. The new steering wheel looks nice and needless to say is much better to use and look at than the one in the previous version plus the dash and instruments have had an update too! There is an AmphiStream audio system which has Bluetooth, USB, aux-in, radio and CD support; a digital information display which shows parameters such as a low fuel warning, a gear indicator (for the AMT variant), average and real-time fuel consumption, 2 trip meters, a clock and the all-important distance to empty readout. Tata Motors have gone big on features here and that surely ups the desirability of the car.
The interiors either have a latte colour scheme with an ebony centre console or an ebony colour scheme with a silver centre console. Other features such as keyless entry, a 12 volt socket, power windows at the front, two glove boxes, magazine pockets in the door panel and an air conditioner ( which cooled the cabin quickly in the Pune heat) are provided as well. Space is excellent and beats its rivals here for headroom, legroom.
Want to know about the AMT gearbox now
Was waiting for you to say that. The heart of the matter or should we say the gearbox of the matter is the main talking point here and that is the addition of the latest gen Magneti Marelli 5-speed AMT automatic gearbox. There is a sports mode plus an in-built creep feature and of course the manual mode. Meanwhile power comes from a 624cc, 2 cylinder petrol engine that develops 37.5 bhp. For city use the addition of the gearbox makes it perfect. As usual there are the plus points and negative points of an AMT but here the pluses far outweigh them. There is decent response from the gearbox and while there is the jerky shifts and some lag it is not annoying in normal city use. We like the creep feature also which helps the car to crawl as soon as the pressure is eased off the brake pedal, without pressing the accelerator. However if you want to overtake or want to step things up a bit, hit sports mode button and it does get more zippy and the gearbox is more responsive. In-fact we prefer the sports mode over the manual mode as that is when the GenX Nano feels the best. Overall performance is decent and is good for city use.
In terms of ride and handling while from outside the engine is noisy inside the noise is not massively intrusive plus the steering is light and lets you use the cars tiny dimensions perfectly. Make no mistake it is the perfect urban weapon. The ride is decent at low speeds while at high speeds and bad roads it does get bouncy. Handling wise with the small tyres play the limiting factor and there is some roll but for its main usage its enough. Fuel efficiency wise the AMT version returns 21.9 kpl. This coupled with a bigger fuel tank will give you decent range.
So, in the end what do you think?
One thing is for sure, Tata has actually put in genuine effort to significantly improve the Nano and if there was ever a car which really needed an AMT, this was it. Plus with the much needed changes and features the GenX Nano is definitely more desirable than its predecessor and simply makes more sense than before. There is no doubt that the GenX Nano makes a great case for itself being a capable city car. With excellent pricing ( XMA AMT starts at Rs 2.69 lakh) we see the next chapter in the life of the Nano being a successful one.
Words and Photography: Pranav Divakar and Somnath Chatterjee