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Tata Bolt – Let there be light

Snapshot: After an impressive return to form with the Zest, midsize sedan, Tata Motors impresses further with the new Bolt hatchback. Rivals should be worried.

Tata Motors is clearly on a comeback trail and that too with some heavy punches. Its new line-up is not only sensational in terms of equipment and engineering, it’s also very sensible. But the Bolt isn’t just a new car from the house of Tata, it is also a serious alternative to established Japanese and Korean carmakers. Just how good is it? Let’s tell you about it.

Tata Bolt Exteriors
This is a big ‘small car’ and it shows from the dimensions. The Bolt looks well balanced and has a strong purposeful stance. Key styling elements include the blackened out headlamps(a segment first), a trapezoidal grille in the bumper and blacked out C-pillar. There is a big chrome strip running just over the numberplate and it helps reduce the bulk on the car’s rear styling. The rear tail lamps though look small compared to the big silhouette of the car.

Tata Bolt Interiors
Tata Motors seems to be aping rival Hyundai when it comes to cabin ambience, because just like the Korean carmaker the Bolt also offers a ‘fee-good’ interior trim. Quality of materials used is on par with most class rivals and an improvement over the Zest as well. Tata Motors has used an all-black cabin instead of offering beige. This works in favour of the Bolt even further as it feels very sporty and youthful. The front seats on the Bolt offer good cushioning and in fact aren’t far from the comfort offered by the class leader in front seat comfort, the Maruti Suzuki Swift. The rear seats also offer plenty of space, both in terms of leg and shoulder room and the generous width at the back means that you can genuinely fit three in comfort at the rear.

Tata Bolt Engine, performance and gearbox
The Bolt will come with the same 1.3-litre diesel engine and the same 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine. Tata Motors only allowed us to sample the petrol engine which has 90bhp of power on it. Just like the Zest you get three driving modes to choose from. City mode, where the car starts automatically, Eco mode for fuel efficiency and Sport mode for lively performance. City mode is a mix of the other two modes. The best part about the engine is its refinement and responsive nature, which makes it an easy car to punt around city traffic. Even when you rev the engine hard for added power, the engine doesn’t feel strained or become noisy.

The gearbox is as good as most class rivals. Though it’s still not as slick as the class best, VW Polo and Maruti Swift, its accurate, light, and easy to operate through the gates.

Tata Bolt Ride and handling
The Bolt has a soft edge to its ride, which means that it manages to keep you comfortable negotiating small bumps and speed breakers in the city. But the suspension isn’t so light that it will make you feel nervous when out on the highway. The Bolt displays a mature character when out on the highway and this is largely due to its relatively long wheelbase.

The steering is super light, which makes parking this car in tight spaces a cinch. However, it is accurate enough and weights up when you are out on the open highway.     


 

Tata Bolt Safety and equipment
The Bolt will comes with ABS and two airbags in the top version as standard. Other useful kit includes GPS based maps(which is a first in this class) along with the obligatory Bluetooth stereo connectivity and climate control on the top versions. You also get alloy wheels as standard kit. The base versions come with power steering as well as air conditioning as standard, which means that the Bolt is pretty well kitted.

Tata Bolt Competitors
In this highly competitive segment the Bolt’s main rivals include the Maruti Swift and the Hyundai Elite i20. Though those two cars have a proven record, the Bolt with its comfortable cabin, refined petrol engine and generous equipment makes a strong case for itself.

Summary
The Bolt’s is a stylish hatchback that scores strongly on all fronts and should genuinely have the class leaders worried. Being a Tata also means that running and maintenance costs will be relatively low. What all this means is that you should stop being a badge snob and simply consider this car on its merits alone. You simply won’t go wrong with the Bolt.?

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