Tata’s most adventurous project has got to be that of the Tata Aria. Years of permutations and combination have resulted in this vehicle from the Indian manufacturer. It was also the most luxurious and also the most expensive car built by the manufacturer, i.e. if you discount the Jaguars which are now part of the Tata stables. Tata Motors never wanted to have a good sales figure with this car or dare they think so that they would be able to achieve it. Since October 2010, this car has been around and not too many can be seen on the roads. It has got to be with the expensive thing going around for this car. Somehow an expensive Tata or a Maruti for that matter doesn’t seem worth the money. So in comes the 4×2 variant of the Tata Aria, which was launched just a few days back. We got one for a test drive and here are the few pointers about how it behaves and stuff. Of course the looks and all have been discussed extensively here. So for the Tata Aria 4×2 in India test drive, only the major changes have been discussed as also the fuel economy which needless to say is the highlight of any new car coming to the country. The Tata Aria road test would definitely help in the other aspects.
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To begin with, this new 4×2 variant would be available only in Pure, Prestige and also the Pleasure variants. We could see people around appreciating the styling which looks futuristic and needless to say, the Aria has loads of road presence to boot for its stance. The Tata PR person told us that in the process of losing its 4×4 creds, the Aria has become 200 kgs lighter now. Look wise, its very hard to differentiate the Aria siblings. Both the lower end variants namely the Pure and Pleasure get only 16 inch steel wheels which seem Sumo Grande derived. The base Pure variant also doesn’t get any fog lamps but does have a slot for them. The shocking thing is that to reduce the price, Tata have even removed the engine cover and under the hood, the engine does feel sort of naked. The Pure variant is the basically entry level stripped down thing with a 4×2 configuration. Over to the rear, the 4 wheel drive signaling Adapterra badge has been chucked off, though no 2WD badge replaces it.
Inside, the Aria now gets beige interiors which replace the earlier darker ones in the 4×4 variants. The good thing is that the electrically operated ORVMs are there and they also retain the heating function. Apart from that, the base variant gets an AUX and USB compatible music system which has got 6 speakers, discs on all the 4 wheels and also EBD and ABS. At the other end of things, on the top end variant, there is a passenger and driver airbag, alloy wheels of the 17 inch types, fog lamps in the front and rear, chilled glove box, climate control, steering mounted controls with the Bluetooth system inbuilt and also a reverse parking sensor system. Leather seats are also there. For the base variant, Tata Motors have offered upholstery draped in beige color. Well, this one makes the Aria look more spacious than it already is. The cheap looking fake wood insert is present on the dash of all the 4×2 Arias and while the Pure gets its dashboard done in beige, the top end Pleasure has got it all in black. Why even the steering wheel in the Pure is beige in color minus the steering mounted controls. In a bid to keep costs down, Tata have definitely compromised on some of the luxury features like the arm rests for the front and rear passengers in its base variant.
The Tata Aria 4×2 in India is very quick off the block and as far as we remember, better than its 4×4 sister. The weight reduction of 200 kgs definitely shows here. The way the front axle no longer aids in moving this car forward helps with the steering wheel as well. It no longer feels heavy and instead feels lighter at parking speeds. Like, we had noted earlier, the body roll is something which Tata had worked upon from the very first car and this means taking quick corners is not a task like in the Grande and Safari. The ride quality is also A rate and we suspect that it has to do with the 16 inchers than the bigger profile tyres present in the 4×4 variant (17 inch). The highway speeds however, do tend to time and again unsettle this car. It is the rear most seated passengers who will feel it more than the driver and his co-passenger. NVH has been taken care of and the 140 Bhp motor has got enough insulation under the hood to take things in its stride. Turbo lag was definitely there but with the less weight to haul around, the car did feel very nimble and agile. Some vibrations did creep in via the gear lever and they are more noticeable if one has the habit of keeping a hand on the gear lever while driving. Above speeds of 110, the wind noise becomes all too apparent. Just for the geek buffs, Lotus engineering fine tuned the suspension characteristics of the Aria 2WD.
As always, Tata quality levels are nothing to speak about, though, compared to its own stablemates, the Aria does have a good build quality. Some inconsistent panel gaps were an eyesore though. The Arai claimed fuel efficiency of this car is 13.7 kmpl and this is an increase of 0.2 kmpl from that of the AWD Aria. Not significant enough, however during the regular trundling around in the city, we did notice the MID showing a fuel efficiency of 11 kmpl. This is definitely good considering the weight and dimensions of the Aria. Brakes as usual were fantastic but the long travel definitely takes away some of the fabulous experience with this car.
So, while the entire car is a big development over any current Tata product, comparisons with its own 4×4 variant are inevitable. Here, there is not much of development as far as the panel gaps are concerned and stuff. The big thing is the change in the price. The Tata Aria 4×2 price in India starts from Rs 11.61 lakhs and goes upto Rs 14.26 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi. At this prices, it treads on its own sibling the Safari 4×4 and also to some extent the Scorpio automatic and the Innova V variant.
For more information about the 4×4 Aria and also its comparison with the others of its ilk, do check the following links for some quick pointers.