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TATA BOLT: TWO IN A ROW

1Despite the fact that it is not as glamorized and flashy as other marquees, Tata Motors (under Sipradi) is a juggernaut in the automotive industry of Nepal. Not too long ago, Tata motors trailed behind competition when it came to fancy features and designs. However, thanks to its practicality and value for money, it commanded a major part of the market share without focusing as much on the glitz and glamour. But over the past few years Tata has improved on its short comings. Now it has come out stronger with products that are feature heavy and scoring high on the designs and aesthetics.2The Zest was a game changer for Tata. It was a fresh product with the latest features and modern-day technology under its skin. Although Tata has a stronghold with the Storme, it is important to broaden their hold; and that brings us to the Tata Bolt. If the hatchback segment was not competitive enough, the Bolt will be competing with the likes of Swifts and Grand i10s; some of the most popular offerings in the market.

EXTERIOR

Tata designers have worked with the Zest as the platform for the Bolt and the design cues are similar to the sub-sedan. The styling is neat and not so subtle that it doesn’t demand attention. The well sculpted front end has wraparound projector headlights on either side of a piano black honeycomb like grille. The top variant that we featured also has day light running lights in the driving light cavities which give it a lot of character. Fog lamps also come into the picture.12Shoulder lines run through the sides to transition into the bootless rear. The increased ground clearance gives it a taller appearance. The C-pillar is blacked out to give a floating roof effect and flows well with the rear windscreen.3The rear is stylish and simplistic as well. A thick chrome strip sits above the number plate on the tailgate. Vertical tail lamps, smaller than the clunky ones on the Indica, is a nice improvement. A gloss black insert has been added to fill the gap between the pillar and the glass.5INTERIORS AND FEATURES

The all-black interior of the Tata Bolt is a spacious affair, class leading in fact. The steering wheel is meaty and has a great feel. The hexagonal horn pad will have you stretching your finger to reach it but the silver accents are a great detail. The steering also hosts controls to the volume, mute button that also works as a play/pause button, answer button and search switch for the audio.9111315The Bolt is jam packed with features that give the Tata a premium feel. Everything looks rather upmarket with the white backlight. MID is comprehensive. It displays the currently selected gear, suggests upshifts or downshifts (via a tiny arrow), fuel efficiency, distance to empty, outside temperature and exactly which door is open. Trip A & B display their respective average fuel efficiency. The graphical bar for instantaneous FE is always shown & is easy to refer to while driving.  The Harman-developed 5” touchscreen ICE with 8 speakers & video playback is a great feature.It is easy to use and the sound quality is amazing. You can also operate the climate control directly from the touchscreen or the knobs.7PERFORMANCE

The Bolt comes with two engine variants, the Quadrajet 1.3L Diesel and the 1.2L Revotron. We test drove the petrol variant that features an all-new turbocharged unit from the Zest. The 1.2-litre Revotron motor produces 90PS of max power. The max torque is of 140Nm from a lower 1,500rpm up to 4,000rpm.

Power delivery is very good and it provides enough grunt to get you through the city. Not only is it a capable city slicker, it performs well on the highway as well. It doesn’t feel overworked unless you’re going too pedal heavy.

Like the Zest, the petrol version of the Bolt boasts of three driving modes: Eco, City and Sport. Switching to Sport mode gives the car a little extra oomph while the eco mode takes it all away. Driving in Eco mode, even in the city isn’t an exciting affair. It takes a little time to get going from a stop and you can almost feel the eyes burning into the back of your head from disgruntled drivers behind you. The Sport mode, however, unleashes the Bolt’s potential and it becomes a great car to drive.

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The electrically assisted power steering developed in association with ZF Lenksysteme who also worked on the Tata Nano is quite impressive. The brakes are a disc and drum combination and they do a good job of slowing down the car as well as bringing it to a quick halt. The slick 5-speed gearbox is also smooth and light, providing an adequate amount of finesse. However, the clutch travel is slightly longer and it’s resisting point at the top is also slightly higher than other cars.

VERDICT

Tata seems to have everything in good working order because the Bolt is as good of an offering as the impeccable Zest. Although Tata Motors had trouble with aesthetic appeal and popularity, it seems like a problem of the past. They seem to be catching up with competition in terms of refinement as well.

As a city hatchback, the Tata Bolt ticks all the right boxes. This car is more suited to a relaxed driving style than a hurried one. It’s best to drive the Bolt sedately, work the torque and shift up early. And that is what you’d expect from a commuter hatchback.

The value for money factor is also a plus as it is comparably better priced than its rivals. However, the matter of it compensating for the refinement levels it provides is a matter of opinions and priorities. All in all, the Bolt follows the Zest with vigor and proves to be one of the two best offerings that Tata have come out with in recent times.16

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