Tata Zest hatchback First Drive & Performance

Tata Zest Overview

Launched in 2014, the Tata Zest was the company’s first all new product under its Horizonext product strategy. It’s widely admired for its premium styling, class-leading features and competent engines. Designed with inputs from Tata’s design studios in Pune, Turin (Italy) and Coventry (UK), the compact sedan looks more premium than most Tata cars below Rs. 10 lakh. It gets new signature grille with the new ‘Humanity Line’, trapezoidal lower air dam, projector headlamps with chrome accents, ‘The Diamond DLO’ and ‘Slingshot Line’ on side profile and various other styling elements. For information on contact details of Tata car dealers in Hyderabad 

Check for Tata Zest On Road Price in Pune

The interior, too, looks a lot better than many of its rivals thanks to the material quality and features. The car offers best-in-class features such as Harman’s ConnectNext infotainment system with 5-inches touchscreen, reverser parking sensor display, voice commands etc. Powering the Zest is Tata’s self-developed 88.73bhp,1.2-litre MPFi turbocharged Revotron engine and the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre, four-cylinder Quadrajet diesel motor. The latter one churns out 88.73bhp with 200Nm. Power is transmitted to the front-wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission and an F-Tronic AMT (automated manual transmission) gearbox.

Tata Zest Exterior

There is a new look about the Zest, yes, but there is also a little that remains from the Indigo CS. However, everything except the silhouette is new about the Zest. There’s a new grille that has taken inspiration from the old Indica grille, but is now a snazzy honeycomb design with a bolder logo on it. It is flanked by the headlamps, which remain a dual-barrel design but the top-spec versions now get a projector low beam with a corona ring. The fog lamps are housed in the new bumper that has a trapezoidal black center.

The Revotron gets LED daytime running lamps, while the diesel auto we had sported a chrome accent under the fog lamp. The hood now has a ‘power bump’, which helps the sporty intentions. From the front three-quarter, the shoulder lines are what grab your attention. Never before has Tata made a car this aggressive in the bodywork, and it is a pleasant change. The wheel arches are flared a little, and this time they are adequately filled out by the 15-inch alloy wheels shod with 185/60 tyres. The fenders don’t have indicators on them any more, they have been relocated to the mirrors, and the bottom of the window line gets a subtle chrome strip. The diesel gets a multispoke design reminiscent of the Manza’s wheels, and the petrol, a new eight-spoke layout. There is no diamond-cut finish here, and the Zest doesn’t really need it, either. As with any other sub-four metre sedan, at the rear is where the proportions are odd, but the Zest does a fair job of hiding the height of the rear by breaking it up into the bumper with a matt black lower section that mirrors the front bumper, a bootlid with a numberplate and a generous chrome strip above it that links the tail lamps and a subtle lip on the top of the boot lid. The tail lamps are horizontal and wrap around the car’s corners a fair bit. The top-spec variants we drove even had LEDs with light guides on the top, linked to turning the headlamps on. Overall, the Zest is a leap forward for Tata design, without making a clean break from the past. It is the right step forward and will definitely have heads turn, especially when they realise it is a Tata.

Tata Zest Interior

Unlike earlier, the designers at Tata Motors this time seem to have really worked hard when it comes to the interiors. The reason why we say this is that, the cabin is definitely up market when it comes to the embellishments provided on board that are superior than some of its competitors within the segment. The most important improvement here is the quality of plastics which has been an issue with almost each and every Tata vehicle in the past. Therefore once inside, the enhanced quality does across in a very strong way. Perfect blend of black and beige interiors give one the sense of roominess. The presence of a three spoke steering wheel with steering mounted controls is a welcome addition as it not only looks good but is firm to grip while driving. A newly designed instrument cluster with chrome surrounds brings to light two analogue dials – RPM and speedometer along with a digital display placed right in the centre providing information such as average fuel economy, trip metre and instant consumption of fuel at any given time.

A newly designed instrument cluster with chrome surrounds brings to light two analogue dials – RPM and speedometer along with a digital display placed right in the centre providing information such as average fuel economy, trip metre and instant consumption of fuel at any given time. While the fuel and temperature gauge are individually represented in two different analogue dials as seen in the image. To the left, is the company’s ConnectNext Infotainment system which has been developed with the help of HARMAN (world renowned audio system expert) keeping the ‘Zest’ as the focus. Featuring a 5 inch touch screen display, this system caters to advanced Bluetooth technology that enables smart phone integration. It features a total of 8 speakers split into 4 speakers and 4 tweeters which keeps one entertained with excellent audio quality. There is also a smart voice recognition which enables the user to give commands especially in regards to SMS notifications and read outs making life simpler for people like you and me who need to operate their smart phones on a regular basis while being behind the wheel. Other features such as Aux-In and a USB port also find their way into the cabin thereby enriching the overall cabin experience.

Seating both in the front and rear is pretty comfortable however its lacks under thigh support especially for those who are a bit tall. There is decent of amount of shoulder and leg room in both rows with the rear one falling short on head room due to its sloping roof line which is a bit of an issue for tall individuals. Rest active and passive safety features on board include elements such as driver and front passenger airbags, central locking, rear parking assist, burglar alarm, immobilizer to name a few.

Tata Zest Performance

This is one area where Tata Motors claimed to have cracked revolutionary changes with its first in class 1.2 litre Turbocharged MPFi petrol engine. So what’s so special one would ask? To begin, the 1.2 litre petrol power plant features shift-on-fly technology which basically aims to provide three different driving modes comprising of Economy, City and Sport. In detail, the petrol variant comes loaded with an 1193cc engine on board that puts out a maximum power output of 89 bhp with 140 Nm of torque.

All of this basically translates to an impressive engine performance which is said to be extracted out of a modern water cooled turbocharger that aims to provide faster, flatter response along with better torque spread. Having said this, there is a bit of turbo lag especially lower down the revs, the presence of a 5 speed synchromesh gearbox catering to smooth shift indicates that the Zest is perfectly packaged and meant for Indian conditions. Its ride quality, we must say is at par with rest of the competition within its segment as going over potholes and broken roads isn’t really an issue. Throw it at corners and curves, the Zest will do its best in providing decent handling as per its ability. Having mentioned all three driving modes earlier, its Sport mode really tinkles the maximum power from the engine making it rev all the way to 5,500rpm where in the needle automatically changes its colour to red indicating ‘redline’. Just to highlight the petrol model runs on ‘City’ which is its default mode.

This is just not it, for the increasingly competitive and growing diesel compact car segment Tata Motors have come out with an automatic diesel option which is again a first for this category. Interested in knowing more, christened as F-Tronic AMT, Zest diesel caters to a 4 cylinder; turbo intercooled 1248cc diesel engine that gives out a maximum power output of 89 bhp with 200 Nm of torque. Featuring a 5 speed F-Tronic AMT with Shift Assist Manual, the manufacturer has tried to address driving comfort for an end consumer considering that automatics are a boon nowadays keeping our traffic conditions in mind. The diesel provides two modes for driving; normal and sport. In normal mode the sedan remains subdued and goes about taking its occupants swiftly to places while the sports is more torque heavy relating to better power for those swift getaways.

Tata Zest Rideing

The steering is now an electrically assisted unit, and Tata has taken care that it returns to the straight-ahead when the driver isn’t turning it. It works well, this system, and the steering assist at low speeds is very well tuned. It is accurate at speed, but doesn’t weigh up very much as speeds increase, but we’ll put off a final opinion about this until we get a chance to slingshot the Zest along our favourite set of corners. However, Tata’s claim about it not having vibration stands true: it is as refined as the petrol engine now. The brakes also are very confidence inspiring. Bite and progression are good, and outright power is good enough to let you brake late with full confidence. ABS, EBD and Corner Stability Control (what I gather to be an advanced form of EBD) are present on the top-spec variants. The suspension is the traditional layout of McPherson struts in the front, and twist-beam rear. However, to keep the plush Tata ride intact with the larger wheels, Tata has included a second rubber mount for the front suspension that helps the secondary ride. The traditional mounts are also different to work around this, so if you’re thinking of swapping your Zest front suspension for something else, it won’t be possible. However, this is a very interesting solution for the problem at hand – secondary ride, in case you didn’t know, is the shock absorption done by things other than the actual spring and damper. Usually it is the tyres and the suspension mounts (made of hard rubber) that do this job, which is generally at low speed, and the primary ride is taken care of by the spring and damper at speed, because that is when the tyre starts moving vertically over bumps. Goa’s roads are smooth and flowing, so we didn’t get to verify this fully on our short drive, but I can safely say that both in high- and low-speed ride, the Zest is a traditional Tata. As far as handling is concerned, it is a whole new Tata – it takes the fast with the slow equally well, giving an unexpected level of feedback and therefore driver involvement. Of course, the Zest isn’t at the top of the class in the driver involvement section, but that was never the expectation. Is it much improved compared to before? Definitely.

Tata Zest Safety

The Tata Zest uses a baked hardened steel in its construction. It gets front and side crumple zones along with protection bars for rear passengers. Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and Corner Stability Control (CSC). The Zest feels strong, the doors close with a reassuring thud and the thickness of metal is good too. However, the vehicle isn’t tested by Global NCAP yet and we can only comment on the safety of the vehicle after a crash test rating has been given to it. The company has crash tested the Tata Zest at its own facility and it meets Indian regulations.

Tata Zest Cost in Mumbai

Tata Zest Ex-Showroom Price in Mumbai ranges from 5,19,594/- (Zest Revotron 1.2T XE) to 8,55,936/- (Zest Quadrajet 1.3 XTA). Get best offers for Tata Zest from Tata Dealers in Mumbai. Check for Zest price in Mumbai at Carzprice

Tata Zest Bottomline

It must be said that Zest is probably Tata’s best and well coveted attempt to target most sort after compact sedan segment. It actually breaks away from what we Indians are used to seeing in Tata Motors product portfolio till date as this sedan brings forward the company’s latest design philosophy and engineering to conquer competition. In sheer performance, the petrol is the one that impresses the most while the availability of an automatic in diesel is definitely going to attract a great number of seekers. The attractive pricing at which the company has launched the Zest into the market, will surely pull a lot of customers towards it, especially when it comes to the first-in-segment diesel automatic variant.

 

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