Tata Aria Launched…A Review

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Car reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tata , in the recent past, has generated huge fan following from all around, with each new product from the Tata stable, setting new benchmarks. The turnaround started with the Indica Vista, where customers got to see a Tata vehicle with a level of finesse that was till then not associated with Tata. Then came the Manza, which, with its refreshed looks and loads of space and features raised the bar even further. But the most notable improvement was in the quality, rising exponentially with every new car.

So with Tata having launched an all new product, and with the kind of buzz surrounding it, owing to Tata’s online marketing initiatives, I had no problem in getting a few colleagues to accompany me to the dealership. So we set out, to explore the new kid on the block and to find what special Tata has to offer.

We stepped inside the dealership and were greeted by the personnel, but we were least interested in them. All three pairs of eyes were anxious to catch a glimpse of the new ‘monster’. We were led to the car and on the first glance, from a distance, our mouths opened wide with awe. There she was, a true monster by size, but amazingly calm by appearance and showing off all her glory. We were bowled off by the stunning looks and wide tires and good muscular alloys accentuating her beauty.  The chrome surrounding the grille and wide stance further complemented the look, and with a built to last feel, we were almost certain that this car would be the new talk of the town.

Having fully appreciated the exterior build and looks, I decide to move inside. Opening the driver door, I stepped inside. Entering inside was quite comfortable with the floor being neither too high nor too low. A look around, and I was impressed with the kind of features Tata has provided inside. I shut the door and it closed with a great reassuring thud, showing its quality and gave me the assurance of being safe in the vehicle in the event of a crash. The audio looked impressive and had a well put together feel, and the steering and mounted controls were also like a breath of fresh air (compared to Manza, which had the smallest controls possible and required a magnifying glass to figure out). I was expecting to see the GPS, which is a first in class feature, but I was disappointed to find that the car was not a top variant one and had no GPS tracking. The 4X2 switch reminded us of the fact that we are in a car with tremendous off road abilities. The new overhead storage spaces appeared to be of great quality and their damped opening, is truly a treat to watch. The new red color scheme gave a dull feeling and failed to impress us though. The new offset gear lever generated some interest, but it soon subsided when it started twisting in our hands and the questions on quality started to rise. The instrument panel, with its squarish proportions, felt good and nice to touch and feel, but the speedometer console looked so bland and uninspiring. The gap between the console and the door panels was so huge that I could put my palms in it with ease. The quality of plastics used is also not great, giving me a mixed feeling about the vehicle. The seats are also not up to the level of cars in this price range, with hard cushions and bench like thigh support at the front. The arm rests at the front were a relief though.

Hoping to find no further faults and hamper the image the car had in my mind, I hopped on to the rear seat. There was ample room for three and the legroom and headroom were also great. It was then I noticed the pillar mounted AC vents, totally different form all Innovas and Xylos and Scorpios I had seen till now.

Having seen enough, I moved on to the last row of seats, with my friends occupying the centre seats. The seats were decently comfortable unless we folded the middle row seats. But once folded, their hard board back started rubbing against my knees and I found it difficult to be inside for more than a minute. The seating position was no better and with my knees facing skyward and my head touching the roof (Oh… forgot to say…I’m 5’10” long and average built), it was like a nightmare. Happy to find a couple of cup holders in the rear seat like in Innova, I tried opening them. It was as if they didn’t want to be opened and they protested by opening in a way similar to the creaky doors in ghost movies. The only good point I could find was the generous outside visibility, even at the third row. Also I was surprised to find a side window defogger, but only on the side opposite to the driver, maybe to help his visibility while parking.

Overall, we came out of the car with mixed bag of emotions. All of us were unanimous in our feelings. The car though loaded with features and equipments, has terribly let us down. The expectations of finding an exponential rise in quality, like from Vista to Manza was thrashed, and finally it all came down to one question. Is this car the sort of value for money that we have seen in cars from the Tata stable?

At a starting price of 12.9 lakhs (Ex. Showroom Delhi), we feel there are much better ways of putting your hard earned money to full worth. But being a Tata fan for all they have done till now, I hope Tata comes out with some magic of turning around the car, just like they did in the case of Sumo Grande to Grande Mark II.

The car was not yet available for a drive and the section will be updated as soon as we get to lay our hands on this car and put it to its limits. Stay tuned…

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  2. Dr. Naynish Kulkarni says:

    Hi, I am really confused between the Tata Aria and the Skoda Yeti. I need a vehicle in the 15-20L price range that will do around 500 kms/week on the highway, My only criterion is safety. The lack of a big rear in the Yeti (to protect against rear impact) has been an area of real concern for a car that otherwise meets my safety requirements, considering its great Euro Ncap scores. I should add that I presently drive an Octavia and am v. happy with it. Also, are there no safety ratings for Indian cars?
    N Kulkarni

    • automate4u says:

      Currently there are no norms available anywhere for rear impact safety. The ENCAP ratings are mianly base on front, side and pedestrian protection only. So even though the Yeti has a 5 star rating, in does not include the rear of the car. Also, from what Tata says, they aim for a 4 star rating for the Aria.
      For Indian cars, the safety ratings are not compulsory, but if the same model is to run in Europe, US etc. they require to have good safety ratings.

    • Watched a very good show on Discovery about Car safety and SUV myth.
      Simple takeaway of show was:
      More width/less height cars are safer then less width/more height cars.
      SUV are less safer than Sedan cars.

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