More power and connected car features but no automatic
Tata was late to the premium hatchback party. Cars like the Hyundai i20, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo have already been doing the rounds for years now. Nevertheless, the Altroz finally arrived in January 2020 and within a year Tata has now brought in an engine update. So far, the Altroz came with either a 1.5-litre turbo-charged “Revotorq” diesel or a 1.2-litre “Revotron” petrol engine. The car here is a turbo version of the latter. In this avatar, the Altroz now delivers 109bhp, which is 24bhp more than in the non-turbo version. Torque also has shot up from 113Nm to 140 Nm.
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
Well, the extra power relates to a more exhilarating pick-up for sure. The Altroz feels quicker off the blocks and you keep the throttle dug in for an extra helping of surge. The turbo kicks in quick by revving the engine to around 1500rpm. And it continues to power till about 5500 revolutions per minute. It however does get noisy in a not so good way once it nears the mark. While the exhaust note is actually quite sporty- sounds sweet from the outside while idling – we can’t say the same about the engine noise that filters into the cabin when the driver’s right foot is stretched. The engine continues to be mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. They haven’t upgraded it to a six-speeder and unfortunately for city dwellers, Tata hasn’t readied an automatic for this car, yet. However, if you don’t mind a manual gearbox, this one has slick, short and effortless shifts. The clutch does feel heavy over longer drives though, which is where an automatic transmission would have been nice.
Amongst a few new things in the Altroz iTurbo, is an additional Drive mode. Press the switch placed in front of the gear stick to now toggle between ‘City’ and ‘Sport’ drive modes. The latter is exclusive to this engine. It enhances the drive performance by allowing the engine to rev higher and adds a bit of extra heft to the steering to help build more confidence. Otherwise, the steering is light enough for everyday driving and parking.
Tata has added a new top of the line XZ+ trim with this engine variant. This gets Black and light Grey interiors with perforated leatherette seats. Nice to touch and thankfully, don’t look tacky. The cushioning is soft and it looks premium enough in black. Another new introduction is iRA- a connected car technology feature we first saw on the Nexon EV. It also comes with natural voice tech, through which the car can understand and process voice commands not only in English or Hindi but also in Hinglish. It does work reliably well. The powerful Harman audio system has been further enhanced with two additional tweeters in Altroz iTurbo. The car here is a new Harbour Blue colour not to be confused with a similar shade in the Nexon. A dual black roof option is also on offer.
Based on Tata’s new ALFA architecture, the Altroz is the safest car in its class with a maximum five-star crash test rating by rating agency Global NCAP. The Altroz has always had a big car feel and now has an engine to match the sense of size with better performance without much drop in efficiency (see specs below). If you are not bent on an automatic gearbox car, the Altroz iTurbo is pleasantly practical and also affordable.
Engine: 1199cc turbo-petrol, 3 cylinders, 109bhp, 140Nm, 5M gearbox, Fuel efficiency: 18.13kpl
Price: Rs 7.74-8.86 lakh
[Image Credit: Tata Motors]