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Tata Bolt: For a great daily drive in the city

By Faisal Khan
April 26, 2016 10:00 IST
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The Tata Bolt is the company's first hatchback, which boasts of premium interiors and equipment. Faisal Khan, drives it for 10,000 kms to see how it is to live with.

Tata Motors has seen its sales decline in the past few years as the lack of new products did affect its market share.

The Indian company did come up with a strategy, under which it would bring out new products and one such offering is the Tata Bolt.

Successor to the Vista, the Bolt is a new vehicle and when we drove it before its launch, we found it to be the best Tata vehicle. But how does it perform in the daily grind?

The Tata Bolt isn't a looker as it will remind you of the Indica since the profile is quite similar to it.

Still, there are some nice design elements like the projector headlights, dark coloured alloy wheels, black finished C-pillars (for a floating roof appearance) and a rear-end which might just remind you of the MINI Cooper.

Although the exteriors will not make you sit up and take notice, the interiors surely will.

The cabin is all-black and looks sporty with the gloss black finish around the instrument cluster and centre console.

The 3-spoke 360 mm steering wheel is just the right size and feels great to hold. Build quality is very good and the fit-finish is excellent too, there are no rattles or squeaks which we are used to from older Tata cars.

The front seats are supportive, so are the rear but what truly is the standout in this car is the wide rear bench and the space on offer.

There is plenty of features in the Bolt, emphasising on Tata's more car per car mantra.

So the remote key will let you turn on the headlight from a distance, a useful feature at night when you need to see the road to reach the car.

There is an excellent Harman audio system which has been aptly termed ConnectNext, it offers good audio output and is a touch-screen unit.

The instrument cluster is easy to read and the mileage indicator is right in front of your eyes which did help us when we went on a Goa trip recently, having efficiency in mind.

The only gripe we have with the Tata Bolt's cabin is the lack of storage spaces, we do tend to drive the car with enthusiasm sometimes and our phones and bottles are flying all over the place.

Bigger door pockets and a mobile holder near the handbrake would be very nice.

That said, the glove box is big sized and there is a storage tray under the co-driver's seat.

The boot is average sized but an electro-magnetic tail gate opener should be there at least in the top trim.

There is nothing to complain about as soon as you start driving the Tata Bolt because the Fiat sourced 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel motor is an excellent unit.

What makes this oil burner even better is Tata Motors' tuning which we appreciate every time we take the car through the crowded Mumbai streets.

While output numbers aren't breath-taking with 75 PS and 190 Nm, the way the power is delivered makes the Bolt punchy right from get-go.

Turbo lag is well contained, the motor picks up pace quickly and has enough juice to keep highway driving spirited.

The NVH levels are very good, the gearbox is light and so is the clutch so even after long hours behind the wheel, one doesn't get tired.

The ride quality is good, although on the stiffer side, the Bolt does manage to take in the bumps.

The steering has feel and doesn't feel lifeless like some of its rivals but there is a big tendency to under steer when you corner hard, something we don't encounter daily as the Bolt is a good car to drive sedately and not near the limit.

The Tata Bolt definitely deserves more success but the company needs to tweak the vehicle and address issues which although small, seem to have come across as big ones to prospective buyers.

This Tata car is well engineered and makes for a great daily drive in the city.

On our highway runs, we managed a mileage of 19.8 km/l, which makes the Bolt a very light car on the pocket, that and the spacious cabin, comfortable ride and punchy engine make it a car worth considering.

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