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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

Last updated on: August 21, 2014 18:17 IST

Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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The Tata Zest packs in a serious amount of equipment compared to the Maruti DZire, it's cheaper too, writes Faisal Ali Khan of MotorBeam.com

Tata Motors' domestic car sales have been falling in the past few months as the automaker had nothing new to offer customers.

After a gap of almost five years, Tata Motors has finally launched an all new car, the Zest. The vehicle has a lot riding on it and its success is crucial for the Indica maker.

In fact, the Zest is so important that Tata Motors has gone out of its way to develop, market and price the vehicle.

The Indigo CS was the first sub 4-metre compact sedan in India while Maruti Suzuki's Swift DZire is the segment leader in terms of sales.

Can the Tata Zest give the Maruti DZire a run for its money? We pit both cars head-on to find out.

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Image: Maruti Dzire (L) and Tata Zest.
Photographs: Courtesy, MotorBeam

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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An area where Tata cars have lacked till now is without doubt the exterior styling. With the Zest, the company has taken a big stride ahead as this vehicle looks really captivating.

While the rear isn't as appealing as say a Honda Amaze, the Zest is a good looking car, unlike the DZire which comes off as a Swift with a boot, with not a smooth flowing design for the third box.

With so many DZires on the road already, the car doesn't induce a second glance but the fresh new Zest does. It also has better attention to detail and all variants also get alloy wheels as standard.

The best part and also the segment first features are the projector headlights and daytime running lights, these give the Tata vehicle a very appealing front-end. It's little doubt then, that the Zest is the more appealing car between the two.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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When we come to the interiors, the Zest continues to impress with an all new dashboard and quality you have unseen in a Tata car.

The fit and finish is on par with the Maruti DZire, which has already made its name in the country for its decent quality and appealing interiors.

The Zest has a very European dashboard and that appeals more than the DZire's which is also a nice unit having a two-tone treatment, just like the Tata car.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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Where the Tata Zest completely annihilates the Maruti DZire is equipment levels. While the DZire is quite loaded with Climate Control system, steering mounted audio controls, multi-information display, the Zest comes with a lot more.

Features like a touch-screen audio system, voice commands, Bluetooth connectivity, follow me home headlamps, reverse parking sensors are offered on the Zest.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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The seats on the Maruti DZire are really good but the Tata Zest isn't behind either and offers as comfortable seats, with excellent back support.

But the space inside the cabin of the Zest is much more than the DZire, it has way more legroom (the Zest has the longest wheelbase in its class) but it misses out on a rear seat centre arm rest. The boot in the Zest is bigger than the DZire's small trunk.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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The ConnectNext system on the Zest is really state of the art with exceptional audio quality for a stock unit and a range of connectivity options.

The DZire beats the Zest is in terms of cabin storage spaces, the Zest having very few with only one cupholder and extremely small door pockets, there are no magazine pockets either.

Still, with its roomier cabin and more equipment, the Zest is the better car on the interior front.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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Both cars come with petrol and diesel engines, with Tata Motors having a first in segment for both fuel types.

For the petrol motor, the big news is the 1.2-litre Revotron engine which is a turbocharged unit.

While it produces more or less the same output as the DZire (90 HP vs 86 HP), the torque output is drastically more at 140 Nm, that's 26 Nm over the DZire.

While the DZire's K-Series engine has always been good, the Revotron mill boasts of better drivability.

The Zest can't match the DZire in the top-end but the turbocharged Tata car has better low and mid-range performance.

It also has three switchable on the fly driving modes (Eco, City and Sports) and as per our VBOX timing tests, there is a difference in all modes with the motor being the most responsive in Sports mode.

The DZire's engine revs faster and is more sportier as the Zest even with a turbocharger doesn't have that kick in the pants feel.

The mileage on the DZire is slightly more as per ARAI but the real world difference is less than a kmpl.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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When we come to the diesel engines, both cars use the same 1.3-litre Fiat sourced diesel motor but the tuning is as different as chalk and cheese.

The DZire comes in a lower state of tune producing 75 HP and 190 Nm while the Zest also gets a similar tune but only for the base variant.

All other variants of the Zest come with output figures of 90 HP and 200 Nm. The DZire again has the better top-end but lacks drastically in the low-end of the power band, having considerable turbolag.

The Zest is again the more drivable car with lag being almost negligible, it pulls cleanly right from the word go but power trails off near 4000 RPM.

While both cars are offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox, Tata Motors has also matched an AMT automatic transmission to the diesel Zest, making it the cheapest diesel automatic car in the country.

This make the Zest quite unique as the convenience of an automatic is unparalleled for the comfort seeking person.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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The Tata Zest handles quite well but it can't beat the Maruti DZire which simply has the better handling of the two. The Zest also has a good steering wheel but again the Swift based sedan beats it on that regard with better feel and feedback.

The Zest does beat the DZire when it comes to grip as the tyres are better on the Tata. It also has a much better ride quality which is so good that it's easily the segment best.

On the braking front too, the Zest performs better, it gets ABS, EBD and Cornering Brake Control as standard on all variants except the base trim.

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Tata Zest is a better car than Maruti Dzire

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So the crucial question is, has Tata Motors made a better car than Maruti Suzuki's top selling Swift DZire? The answer is yes, a definite yes.

With better styling, more appealing interiors, higher equipment, much more interior room, class leading ride quality and better drivability, the Zest comes across as the better car of the two.

The icing on the cake is the pricing, Tata has priced the Zest from Rs 551,000 going up to Rs 843,000, while the Maruti DZire is priced between Rs. 586,000 to Rs 881,000 (on-road, Mumbai).

Thus by undercutting the segment leader, the Tata Zest is way more car per car and the value offered is simply unbeatable.

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