2014 Tata Zest 1.2L Petrol Revotron Road Test Review
Tata Zest is an Indian Car, with European build quality and not to forget with an Indian price tag!
The first thing which I would like to point out at this time would be that, when Tata Motors went across the country with their Revotron Marketing they brought in a small isolated cabin equipped with an I-Pad and good stereo headphones and made us to listen and visualize the next generation Revotron Petrol Engines! Well, honestly I forgot the visuals but I paid close attention to the engine noise which came out of the speakers, to my surprise it was the same! I honestly thought, they would do what other car manufacturers do to the engine noise, but they haven’t its exactly the same engine note which I heard the day I heard the Revotron on the I-Pod and the day I heard the petrol engine note!
We did road test the 2014 Tata Zest XT, which was petrol top-of-the-line variant. The 2014 Tata Zest petrol as we know now comes with Revotron Engines which is designed and developed by Tata Motor’s. These new radical petrol engines are efficient and would serve as a platform to power Tata’s next generation cars starting with the 2014 Tata Zest and the 2014 Tata Bolt. The good thing about this particular engine is that, its petrol and its turbo-charged and its efficient. You do get two driving modes one is the Eco Mode which gives better fuel consumption figures and the other one is a Sport mode which makes the car more responsive and gives the car better acceleration and top end grunt. The not-so-good part is that it does not offer performance of a GT variant because this is designed for city and high way use only.
The 2014 Tata Zest is completely all new, the design integrated is different and the whole approach towards the design development and finish has been massively changed. Tata’s build quality is also best amongst the rivals, panel gaps are not an issue this time and we should say that this is massively reworked and re-engineered product out from Tata. At the front, you find that this has design clues from the Tata Vista but when you take a closer look the new 2014 Tata Zest gets a new redesigned bonnet with strong character lines then it gets double barrel headlamps with integrated indicators. The radiator grill has been redesigned and now features a honey comb radiator grill with chrome strips. When looked slightly below, the bumpers are redesigned to accommodate a larger air-dam and fog lamps with Day-Time-Running- Lights (DRL’S). The elements at the front are redesigned, and it is a perfect blend of chrome and colour.
The side profile does get interesting, with strong character lines which run from the front fender to the rear quarter panel is strong, and does signify great detailing. The B Pillar is blacked out, which adds to the character of the car. the light chrome strip which runs on the B Pillar is elegant. The side profile is matched well, there is not too much of anything or everything, it should be said it is nicely done. There is an eight spoke alloy wheel, featured on the car which stands out. The detailing on the alloy is worth mentioning, since the alloy gets the sun ray’s effect. The rear tail section gets wrap around tail-lamps. The tail lights work good, but it does look massive and out of proportion at the rear. The same front end theme is carried forwarded at the rear, with just a simple chrome strip joining the ends between the tail lamp cluster which is elegant. As I earlier said, the tail lamps are functional but the thing is it is a bit huge and looks definitely out of proportion. The rear bumpers get dual colour treatment and integrated SONAR detectors for reversing and also an integrated third stop light. The interesting feature at the rear is the, rear defogger instead of boring horizontal lines Tata’s have gone in for a box effect which enhances the rear section of the car. Cheers there then!
Taking about the interiors of the car, the cabin inside the Tata Zest feels airy. The whole new design language which Tata talks about is carried inside. Once inside the car, especially on the driver’s side you do feel that the controls are at reach, which includes the power windows buttons which are placed quiet near. The 2014 Tata Zest gets a premium cabin with touch integrated Harmon Audio system, this doubles up as an AC controller, which is interesting considering the price at which the is offered. Beneath the touch screen multifunction the conventional Air-Con vents are placed. The dashboard quality feels better, but there is a huge scope for refinement, but the car feels just perfect enough for an everyday commute. The steering wheel gets audio controls and call accept and call disconnect features. Again when looked inside, the 2014 Tata Zest offers a balanced mix of Chrome and Black making it elegant inside as-well.
The front seats are designed well, the seats do offer a good lumbar support. The front left side seat offers, a retractable storage bin which is a thoughtful feature. Both seats get adjustable head restraints however, the front seats do not offer an arm rest which would be missing especially on the highways. The rear seats, do offer good balance between comfort and functionality. The rear seats get adjustable hear restraints which can be adjusted according to a person needs. The ease of ingress and egress is adequate, it is balanced well.
As discussed earlier, the 2014 Tata Zest is offered in three engine options which are the 1.2 litre Revotron petrol and the 1.3 litre Quadrajet Diesel engine with 75PS of power output and then the 1.3L Quadrajet Diesel engine with 90PS of power output. . The Petrol power is derived from a 1193cc four-cylinder Turbo-Charged engine which delivers 90PS of peak power at 5000RPM, maximum torque figure is at 140Nm between 1750RPM and 3500RPM’s. This gets a 5 speed manual transmission with three driving modes. The car is default selected to City Mode, which offers a balanced ratio between power and fuel economy. The second mode which is the Eco Mode, offers drivers more fuel efficiency with a different ECU map. This mode does offer decent performance, and the engine does behave quiet differently which is slightly towards the fuel efficiency curve in the ECU map. The final stage, which is the Sport mode offers instant acceleration and better pick up. The car behaves differently and you do sense the instant change in acceleration and power delivery when modes are changed instantly.
We did drive the 2014 Tata Zest 1.2L Turbo and we did feel impressed. When used in the city, the car did manage to pull out 10km/L in start stop city traffic in Bangalore. The car drives quiet, cabin road noise is minimal and sound insulation is well done. On the highways the car gave us a decent fuel consumption figure of 18KM/L at decent driving with speeds of 80km and 100km. The whole thing on the highway behaves differently, the car is well-balanced and offers great driving dynamics up to speeds of 140Km/Hr. the suspension is tuned properly for Indian road conditions. Wind noise at speed excess 120km/hr is to be refined, even with concealed windscreen wipers the noise can be heard.
Ride height of the car is adequate; the petrol Zest offers 175mm ground clearance, while the Diesel does offer 165mm ground clearance. The suspension is balanced well for both City and Highway conditions. Uneven road humps can be a bit of issues of driven reckless, as the front bumper does tend to scrape.
Over all the 2014 Tata Zest is a good car, it offers functionality and equipment at great prices. Build quality of the car has seen a massive improvement, the only thing this misses out are leather seats and rear air-con vents. Never the less, the Air-Con in the car is quiet powerful and does tend to maintain cabin temperature in an effective manner, when used the cabin does cool in the lowest possible time. The 5 inch Harmon Audio system has to be praised, it offers excellent audio quality and has no match and this is first in segment. The petrol engine is powerful, but balanced to achieve fuel efficiency. In my mind, there is no doubt that this car offers great value for money and can be compared with any European Car of its category and this will just demolish its competitors in terms of price, and equipments offered. If there I have to critic, the rear tail lights do look a bit out-of-proportion. Rest is fine!
Alternate Options: Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent. Maruti Suzuki Swift
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- Build Quality, Efficent Petrol Engine
- Rear Tail Lamps look out of proportion, Petrol Engine has limited performance to achieve maximum fuel efficeny!
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