When you own a company like Jaguar-Land Rover, people expect a certain level of finesse in your own products. Tata Motors, though never made a name for themselves in this department, expect a change in the perception with the all-new Zica. The latest offering from Tata Motors looks refreshingly good on papers, and comes with whole lot of goodies.
Tata aims to re-gain the lost faith of the customers with this compact hatchback offering aimed not only at the products like Maruti Suzuki Celerio and Hyundai i10, but also at a segment up with cars like the Hyundai Grand i10. So, is the Zica all-about the superficial changes or does it have what it takes to be a segment leader, we find in our Tata Zica test-drive review!
The very first word coming out of mouth after seeing the Tata Zica is 'Wow'! And to justice to the design of the car, one has to visit the showroom and see the car in flesh rather than on paper or virtually. The designers at Tata not only worked on the silhouette of the Zica, but a lot of efforts have gone into detailing as well. For instance, there's small hexagonal elements on the grille and lower air damp along with the tail lights. There's a honeycomb grille with smokey rectangular headlights that merges well with the grille in the front.
The lines here are sharper and striking making it look younger. The raising body line accentuates a sporty stance on the side. The rear profile, though not as exciting as the rear, gives the car an interesting character. We can't help but notice a lot of influence from rivals in terms of the design, be it the new Ford Figo, the Hyundai Grand i10 or the VW Polo, but that's in a positive way and makes the car an interesting one to look at. Another thing to mention is the inclusion of 4 new shades out of 6, which reflects different shades according to changing sun light.
Step inside the cabin of the Zica and you will immediately realize how welcoming cabin it is. The central console is made with black and grey dual shade, with orange inserts on the AC vents (AC vents are color coded with only orange and Red shades. The rest will get paino black finish). The clutter free design grabs attention with all the bells and whistle in place. One can't help but notice the hexagonal theme carried forward in the cabin too, case in point the hexagonal infotainment system.
The steering wheel is the traditional three spoke design which you get in Bolt and Safari, and feels nice to hold. The instrument cluster is easy to read and shows a lot of information. The seats are comfortable, with ample under-thigh support and seat bolstering to hold you around the corners. The boot is 242 litre in volume with minimal suspension intrusion, which frees up a lot of space. We particularly like the idea to stow away the tools and other stuff in rightly thought pockets.
Overall the cabin has decent fit and finish, not the best, but definitely on the top with some of the rivals.
Engine, Performance and Gearbox
First things first, Tata Zica is derived from Zippy Car which means the company has a lot of confidence in both the petrol as well as the diesel engines. The three-cylinder 1.05-litre Revotorq diesel engine is built from scratch and is made of an aluminium head with cast iron block. The engine cranks out 70 PS at 4000 RPM and 140 Nm of torque between 1800-3000 RPM. The petrol unit on the other hand, is a trimmed down version of the 1.2-litre Revotron engine that powers the Bolt and the Zest and has only 3-cylinders now. The engine is tuned to produce 85 PS at 6000 RPM and 114 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM.
The engine comes with a Multi Drive option, a first in its segment and allows the driver to choose between the Eco and City modes. The car starts in the city mode by default and the output in this mode is linear and engaging for both the engines with gives you an ease of driveability. In the Eco mode, though, the power drops noticeably and it's hard to push the car.
For what we felt, the petrol engine needed a lot of pull on the second gear, as compared to the diesel engines There's a tendency of petrol engine to go out of breath while climbing an inclination on the 2nd gear at a speed of around 10-15 kmph with AC on and a couple of passengers. A problem in high terrains we would say, though the diesel engine was smooth and chunky enough in any of the conditions.
Both engines come paired to a 5-speed manual transmission as standard. The gearbox offers short shifts as well as smaller gear ratios. Which means, while shifting the gear is an easy affair, you have to do it more often to keep the car in the right speed band which can be a bit of hassle in traffic. Overall, it's the diesel motor which excited us over the petrol one as it has more torque and feels much better to drive.
Ride and Handling
For manufacturing the Zica, Tata commissioned the Indica's XO platform, though it shares 0% components from the same. Tata has worked hard on refining the NVH levels, both on the petrol and diesel engines. The suspension on the Zica is tuned nicely and you don't feel most of the bumps coming inside the cabin.
In terms of handling, the traditional 3-spoke steering is good to hold and gives you feedback. The steering felt a bit heavier than nimble, which is an advantage on the highway drives. The steering helps you drive with confidence even at speeds higher than 90-100 kmph. However, it can be a bit tiresome in the city driving and taking sharp turns will need a bit of effort.
Safety and Equipment
Tata Motors has done a commendable job in terms of the safety and Zica gets dual front airbags with ABS and EBD as well as corner stability control. There's also a reverse parking camera for safe parking. In terms of the equipment, like we mentioned earlier, the Zica gets all the bells and whistle. It gets a Harman sound system with 8 speakers with Android powered navigation system. While Tata is not offering an automatic climate control in the Zica, the cooled glovebox is an advantage in this segment.
Tata Motors has really outdone themselves with the all-new Zica hatchback. The car has a lot of positives going its way! Not only does it looks good, it also has a smart cabin, refined NVH levels and zippy drive. Setting aside a couple of negatives, including the built quality, which needs to be improved, the Zica could become your next car if you are looking for a compact hatchback. A sureshot winner from our side!