About 9 months ago, Tata Motors launched an all new version of Nano, world’s most affordable car. Since it was first launched in 2010, Nano had failed to gain required volumes due to multiple reasons, but Tata Motors had continued to invest in the car and bring more and more improvements.
The 2015 Nano AMT has many significant changes w.r.t outgoing model- branded GenxNano, new Nano gets an automatic transmission option, it gets a slightly bigger fuel tank (24Litres, 5 litres more), gets an openable boot, refreshed front facia with a smiley look besides many other interior and quality upgrades.
Most important change to note is the positioning of the car- earlier Nano was positioned as world’s cheapest car. That proposition didn’t go well, because on road price of Nano LX was about 2.3 lakh as against originally believed 1 lakh. Now Tata Motors has decided to shed that low cost image and has turned Nano into a smart city car. Which means Nano gets premium interiors, better looks and features that make it fun and safe to drive. Cost cutting is no longer the agenda. With the GenXNano, with AMT option, Tata aspires to target women drivers, youngsters who want an affordable but stylish car.
Images Courtesy : Shrinidhi Hande
I drove the AMT version of the Nano last May at Pune, during a bloggers event. It was peppy and fun to drive around. It even gets a sports mode, but the difference was hard to notice. Creep function ensures that car doesn’t roll forward when driver takes leg off the brake pedal. Only after accelerator is pressed, car starts moving forward. It is kind of safety feature, available in most automatic cars, including Maruti’s AMTs but not widely promoted. But then in an uphill drive drivers need to be very careful- to use handbrake when necessary, lest the car has a risk of rolling backword.
New Nano also gets EPAS- Electronically assisted Power steering. First gen Nano didn’t have any and lots of physical effort was required to negotiate sharp turns. Now it is a lot simpler.
Nano now gets openable rear door, which takes it one step closer to traditionally designed cars. But the boot space is over the engine, so you can’t keep heavy objects. Space is less in AMT than manual version. Still it is a good improvement.
Top spec variants get a much premium interior now, instrument cluster remains at the centre. Design as you can see in pictures, retains original shape but gets lots of nice changes including front grill with integrated fog lamps. Refreshing indeed.
Tata has retained the rear engine design and no diesel option as yet- like it was once believed. Engine gets better insulation this time, but some noise still creeps into the cabin. Nano’s engine is more exposed to elements compared to other cars.
Some dealers are selling a manual sunroof for Nano for about 17k.
Overall, Nano is a great package at its price tag, which goes up to 3.8 lakhs on road in most cities. Cheaper variants are also available. But yes, if you have another 2 lakhs to spare, then there are better cars that you can consider- including Tata’s own ZICA.
Tata Motors takes Nano very seriously. Last year they flew in over 100 Nano customers to the Nano plant in Sanand, Gujarath and let them experience the manufacturing of the car first hand. This kind of factory visit was never possible for customers of budget cars- only if you buy some of the one crore plus models, you stood a chance. The ChoosenOnes initiative helped Nano customers understand the vision behind Nano, its progress over the years and how their cars are made with utmost care. Tata Motors has also put lot of effort to revamp dealer experience.
Should I buy one?
GenX Nano AMT is the cheapest automatic you can buy in India today- next best option is Alto AMT, which is about 1.25 lakhs more expensive than Nano. Clearly customers today can afford expensive cars and cost is no more a criteria. Still, Nano’s small size, spacious cabin, AMT option for peppy city drive, low cost ownership makes it an ideal city car worth considering. If you are looking for a second car in the family or a cheap car for short neighbourhood drives in congested lanes, then Nano makes a great choice. But then, Nano is averaging only about a 1000 units a month while 2-3 times expensive Baleno is selling 10 times more. Make a wise call.