There aren’t many cars more reflective of their environment than the Tata Nano. Adhering to commandments of practicality and ease of driving meant underplaying its more playful attributes. This brought Tata Motors to an impasse – they’d gotten the essentials right, so where were they to go from there? Thus began the Nano’s gradual evolution. But if the recently installed power steering and multimedia options weren’t enough to get your attention – behold the Tata GenX Nano Twist Easy-Shift .
Admittedly it’s a rather long name for a small car, but what it means is that Tata has decided to lure the prospective Nano buyer with the convenience of an automatic gearbox, which makes it a heck of a value proposition. Essentially, the new GenX Nano has the same 37.5 bhp, 624cc petrol engine that it always had, now accompanied by the same 5-speed Magneti Marelli AMT unit found in the Zest and the Bolt.
So, does it the gearbox fit into the practical scheme of things? Only if you aren’t particularly lead-footed. As a city-bound runabout, the Nano relies largely on its levity and its dimensions, which make it very easy to live with. In standard automatic mode the AMT unit does hesitate, with a gap in gear change and power delivery that can seem aggravating if you wish to overtake. Feather the throttle and anticipate the gear shifts and you have yourself a smoother driving experience, even though it’s a difficult task given the absence of a tachometer. That said, Tata does have the smoothest AMT unit in the segment. Like the Zest and the Bolt this AMT too comes with a ‘Sport’ mode which allows the engine to rev a little longer in each gear making the car a shade quicker. But if it’s a series of overtaking manoeuvres you’re looking at, it’s best to switch to the ‘Manual’ mode which gives you a greater degree of precision and control over the car than the other two modes.
Since a lot of the prospective buyers may not be accustomed to having just two pedals to work with, Tata has installed a ‘creep’ function which allows the car, when stationary, to move forward slowly without any throttle input. It works perfectly well everywhere except inclines, where you might want to step on the gas immediately.
The changes to the car don’t end with the AMT gearbox. The GenX has an openable hatch which adds to its practicality quotient and makes it a little more conventional than before. The design has been altered to accommodate front and rear bumper grilles which make the car look more cheerful and also allow for heat dissipation at the back. Along with that Tata have also given it a bigger fuel tank.
Since it continues to bear the ‘Twist’ badge, it goes without saying that the same electric power steering finds its way here, with an added ‘return’ feature which makes it revert to its original position after a turn. There’s also the same array of multimedia features including Bluetooth, USB connectivity and a brilliant four speaker setup along with new upholstery which separates it from its more impoverished competition.
With a Rs 2.8 lakh price tag, the young, novice car buyer has quite a bargain on his/her hands. No one can predict what the Nano’s evolution will lead to, but in an increasingly cramped infrastructure, you’ll find that the new GenX Nano suits your needs just fine.