Tata Aria review


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Tata Motors have been on a roll since the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover and also the launch of the Tata Nano. Though a small car, it has captured the world’s attention and also has projected Tata Motors and India into the world’s view. People who believed that India can only work in conjuction with MNCs need to bite the dust as the Tata Nano proved to the world that all it takes is some dedication and vision to make the things the way they are intended to. Not quite content with the success of the Tata Nano, Tata Motors have moved on to the other spectrum of the automobile industry. This one is an all unabashed pricey, spacious and premium crossover called the Tata Aria. First showcased as a concept car in the Geneva Motor Show in 2005, few thought that it would be a production car 5 years down the line and more since it was a premium car. Tata Motors in India are not known for cars having classy interiors, low NVH as well as good design cues. They are best known for delivering bang a buck in their cars and the tag line for the Indica “more car per car” is apt for all the cars from Tata Motors stable.

Looks

Now, Tata Motors cars look okay but not segment defying. They have been at best inoffensive. The new Tata Aria changes that all. It is a radical looking car or should I say SUV. It is one of the most eye catching designs from Tata Motors. It is what you would call a proper crossover. Penned from IDEA design house from Italy, the same one which penned the earlier version of the Indica as well as the new Indica Vista, it is a sure shot design. This car is huge meaning the Toyota Innova looks pint sized in front of it.

The head lamps are double barelled and it has a roofline swoop similar to the newly launched Mercedes R-class. Nowhere does it look boxy like the other MUVs in its class.The front grill is all highlighted in chrome and the paint job is also quite glossy. The Tata logo is fitted into the horizontal slats. The wind screen area is also big and has a Civic like kamikaze wipers. The air dams are wide and gaping. They are a single piece unit and house the fog lamps in them.

Viewed from the side, the first striking feature in the Tata Aria’s 2850 mm wheel base is its 17 inch tubeless alloy wheels. They fill the wheel arches well and give the MUV a good ground clearance of 205 mm. This vehicle is after all intended to be used for some off-roading as well and hence the ground clearance is on the higher side. Wonder of Wonders, there are no quarter glasses for this huge cabin and the swooping cabin meets the tail of the car. The door handles are body colored. Special mention must be made of the big outside rear view mirror. They have the turn indicator lights embedded onto them. The mirrors though seem a bit big for their own liking and its very likely that they would brush against the other cars or bikes in the city.

The rear throws a coupe like roof line and has those same vertically stacked tail lamps. Tata Motors could have done well to give it some other kind of look however the current arrangement looks classy as well. The rear windscreen is also huge like the rest of the car and has a lone washer and wiper doing duties. A step forward for Tata Motors is the twin tail pipe unit which are also chunky and first for a MUV in India. There is a chrome strip running along the length of the tailgate handle.

Interiors

A big change and a leap ahead for Tata Motors for what they done with the Tata Aria’s interiors. There are those perfect seats and even leather as an option. Not one thing looks out of place and the cabin has that ambient quality elements in it. It’s loaded to the gill with features like GPS navigation system, cooled glove box, rain sensing wipers, auto head lamps, climate control, Bluetooth pairing, 6 CD changer system with 8 speakers, reverse camera, parking aids and electrically controlled rear view mirrors. There is also no dearth of cubby holed around the dash. There are seven of them on the roof and there are also many bottle holders. There are twin glove boxes on the well sculpted dash. Everything has a soft and premium feel to it. Gosh! We never thought we would be saying this about a Tata vehicle and that too an Indian spec one.

The steering wheel is a new unit and has cruise control, Bluetooth pairing and the audio controls added to it. It feels chunky to hold however could do with some more weight. The steering is rake and reach adjustable. The seats are comfy and have pretty of travel. Even the second row of seats is quite comfortable for seating three upright. The third row of seats can be accessed by pulling a lever next to the second row. Seating at the third row though is not upto the mark and would only be fit for kids. There is plenty of boot space even with the 3rd row of seats in place and flopping over the second row shows a big storage space. All row passengers are pampered with pillar mounted aircon.

Handling and ride quality

Tata Motors passengers cars have been always appreciated for their ride quality and this stands good even for the Tata Aria. It has a pliant ride quality and those independent double wish bone suspensions in the front and 5-link suspension at the back do a great job of isolating one from the road irregularities. It is only jolted by some sharp irregularities at low speeds and rest everything is smothered by the huge tyres.

The handling is also well sorted out with Electronic Stability Program{ESP} which cannot be turned off. Aiding it is also the traction control and the 4 wheel drive system. The new Tata Aria doesn’t do anything funny and is quite sorted out. The lifeless steering is something which Tata has to improve in this MUV. It detracts from enthusiastic cornering. It is too light and this aids in parking speeds. Also Tata Aria feels quite composed even on high speeds and there is no road or wind noise inside the cabin. There is also Automatic Level ride control that keeps the suspension stable, irrespective of the vehicle load. To ensure that things don’t go out of control, Hill Descent control system and Limited Slip Differential are also present. Though it isn’t built for off-road travel, the Tata Aria can fairly well handle the rough with its wide array of off-roading equipment. It actually mates the convenience of an MUV with that of a SUV.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The Tata Aria uses the same 2.2 liter DICOR engine from the Tata Safari. This means that the Tata Aria gets the same power output of 140 Ps and 320 Nm of torque as the Safari. However due to use of dual flywheel, a cast aluminum stump and fitting of rubber mounts has enabled the Tata Aria to be a better performer. Those mounts ensure that the engine noise is down to minimum. The Aria is quite a performer with 0-100 kmph coming in at 14.3 seconds. This is commendable for a MUV weighing more than 2200 kg. The Tata Aria is also quite sprightly to drive and much in likeness to the Suzuki Swift. The gearbox is also a nice shifting unit with no extra nudge required to slot the gear into its gate. The floor pedals are also aluminium drilled however since the foot well is small, there is no place for a dead pedal.

Brake pedal modulation is also good and features a segment first, disc brakes on all 4 wheels. These are assisted by ESP, ABS and traction control. All these electronic nannies haul the MUV safely without any drama or fuss. Safety is taken care by another segment first, 6 airbags, Hydroformed body chassis, collapsible steering column, seat belt pre-tensioners and active head restraints.

Fuel economy so paramount to Indians is also well taken care of with the Tata Aria returning 9.8 kmpl in the city whereas these figures rise to 14.6 kmpl on the highway run. This makes it one of the better performing MUVs with decent fuel efficiency to boot for.

Verdict

The Tata Aria in India is a giant step for Tata Motors image.  They have been usually associated with low rent interiors, cheap cars. However with the Aria, Tata Motors have changed it all. It has the usual Tata strengths like a good packaging, extensive features list, fuel efficient engine, loads of space in the cabin and good road presence. However the one thing missing is the price quotient. The Tata Aria is offered in 4 variants namely Tata Aria Pride, Tata Aria Pleasure, Tata Aria Pleasure Leather  and Tata Aria Prestige. The price start from 12.4 lakhs {Ex-showroom, Delhi} for the base variant to 16.1 lakhs {Ex-showroom, Delhi} for the topmost one. The price is the fouling factor here as none of the MUVs are so costly in this segment. Moreover, Tata Motors are gunning squarely for segment leader, the Toyota Innova and pricing is in the Ford Endeavour’s territory. We would recommend that you settle for the base variant of the Tata Aria and you still have more equipment on hand than the Toyota Innova.

Tata Aria specifications

Displacement: 2179cc, DiCOR, 16 Valve, 4X4
Engine Type: Diesel
Maximum Power: 140 Bhp @ 4200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 320 Nm @ 1800 rpm
Length: 4790 mm
Width: 1885 mm
Height: 1770 mm
Tyre Size: 235/65 R17 tubeless alloys
Suspension: Independent Double Wishbone at front and 5 Link Suspension at the rear
Turning Circle: 5.80 mtrs.
Steering: Hydraulically assisted and tilt adjustable
Brakes: Front Ventilated disc, Rear solid Disc
Gears: 5 speed Manual
Ground Clearance: 205.00 mm
Fuel Tank capacity: 60.00 liters
Seating Capacity: 7

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