In India, TATA is one of the largest motoring manufacturers and is held in high regard; it does not specialise in motoring alone and is also involved in several areas of business, from telecommunications to construction. For South Africa, though, TATA is focused on offering the best customer satisfaction and value, through its cars. So, has the new Bolt got what it takes?
What is it?
The Bolt is a B-segment contender, which means it’s going up against a tough bunch of already well received cars such as the Kia Picanto, Chevrolet Spark, Suzuki Swift and the recently launched Toyota Aygo. TATA is targeting a younger audience, one that is style-conscious as well as tech-savvy.
About that styling
To be honest, the Bolt doesn’t look bad, in fact when you put it next to other, older TATA models the Bolt looks completely different and modern and I can tell that a reasonable amount of effort went into the design process. TATA’s designers have employed the use of a new design language called, The Humanity Line. From the front, the Bolt looks good, thanks to its modern look and swept back headlamps, which feature projection technology. The signature grille has also been redesigned and now features a chrome top line as well as a honeycomb design, instead of the horizontal slats found on other models.
The front bumper is also neatly sculpted and incorporates lower fog lamps - on selected models. The side profile has a thick character line and the rear C-pillars have been blacked-out, much like those found on the Hyundai i20. The rear gets chrome garnish above the number-plate housing. There are also styled rims on selected models, which complete the overall look of the TATA Bolt. The Bolt is as tall as the Vista however, it is longer and wider.
There are two things that one will notice when stepping into the Bolt; one is, the upper design of the dashboard closely resembles that of the Hyundai i20 and, secondly, the overall design doesn’t look bad. One of the main attention grabbers is the little LCD touch screen, which has been added to the centre console. TATA partnered with HARMAN for this and the results are impressive. The screen offers all infotainment functions such as Bluetooth audio, phone pairing and radio functions as well as climate settings. There’s also a voice command function and the system will even read out your SMSes to you while on the move. The Bolt also features USB and SD card ports so you can take your music with you.
The dashboard is finished in all black with silver and gloss black inserts for added style. There is a decent amount of seating space in the front and at the back. The boot can be considered slightly small (210 litres) but then again, this is a small car. I was impressed with the overall feel of the interior compared to that of previous models however there are still some niggly issues, for example, the front passenger seat is mounted quite high and cannot be adjusted lower. There are also some issues with rough edges on certain plastic panels.
Does the Bolt bolt?
TATA has developed an all new engine for the Bolt, it’s a 1.2-litre MPFi turbocharged unit known as the Revotron. Yes, that does sound like a Transformer but don’t get too excited. I really commend TATA for finally bolting on a turbocharger to one of its engines and although the 66kW and 140Nm sounds sufficient, the way in which it deploys its power is not as smooth as I would have liked. The power comes in from about 2000rpm but tapers off quickly leaving you out of puff in the higher rpm range. That said though, the little turbo motor does a fine job of zipping around city streets. TATA has also incorporated different driving modes which alter the cars driving dynamics. ECO mode is for economy driving and CITY mode sets the car up to deal with city conditions. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.
We took part in an economy run at the local launch and managed an impressive 5.2l/100km. TATA claim that drivers can expect anything between 5 and 7 litres per 100km depending on driving style.
On the launch we put the Bolt onto the Go-Cart track at Zwartkops raceway to take part in a little gymkhana. The car is quite fun to drive and thanks to design features it is well insulated with reduces road noise. I was impressed with the Bolt, it is a huge leap forward to TATA models of old and the company is determined to change the perception of the buying public. The Bolt is offered in two trim levels both featuring various equipment specifications and design elements and at a starting price of R132 995 for the entry level hatchback I would consider taking a look at this little car, you might be as surprised as what I was.
|Bolt Hatch XMS||R132 995|
|Bolt Hatch XT||R142 995|
|Bolt Sedan XMS||R142 995|
|Bolt Sedan XT||R152 995|
All models come with a 5 year/100 000km factory warranty, a 2 year/30 000km Service Plan and 5 year roadside assistance for peace of mind.