The entry level segment of cars in India sees a mighty battle between two automotive giants in the country—Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors.
The Alto 800 has been a preferred choice for many over the years and has been the reigning best-seller in our country for a long time. Tata thought it could capture the market, launching a very affordable car, that would fall under the price tag of a motorcycle.
The Tata Nano was born. The car did give many people the opinion of it being a cheap car. Was it true? What if it was a rumour that spread like wild fire that made people believe in something that was not at all true? What if the Tata Nano is not just value for money, but something way more than that?
Let's take a look at these two entry level hatches, and put them to a real world test.
The Tata Nano is designed to keep costs down. It has a small bonnet, which carries the spare wheel and the gas tank instead of the traditional engine. It has no boot, which is again a cost cutting technique. The tall boy design however, offers good headroom and leg space inside.
The Alto 800 incorporates a Wavefront Design, a more traditional car look, compared to the Nano. It is a five door hatch with a working boot and the engine under the bonnet. Inside, despite the Alto 800 being a larger car, the interior is cramped and is a bit of a squish for the people in the rear seat.
Engine and Specifications:
The Tata Nano comes with a 624 cc, two-cylinder, liquid-cooled, power plant that produces 37 bhp of power and 51 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a four-speed gearbox. The overall weight of the car is 615 kg, while it has a ground clearance of 180 mm. The Nano rides on 12-inch tubeless wheels.
The Alto 800 has a 796 cc, three cylinder, liquid-cooled engine, that produces 48 bhp and 69 Nm of peak torque. This power plant of the Alto is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Riding on 12-inch tubeless wheels as well, the Alto has a ground clearance of 160 mm and a kerb weight of 695 kg.
The Tata Nano returns a mileage of 25.4 kpl, while the the Alto 800 returns 22.74 kpl. The mileage figures are certified by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
In terms of features, the top variant of the Tata Nano comes equipped with central locking, air conditioning, distance to empty and average fuel consumption meter, low fuel warning, MP3 music player, fog lamps, 4 speakers and power windows for the front.
The top variant of the Alto 800 too comes with similar features, although it misses out on the distance to empty and average fuel consumption display. It gets internally adjustable OVRMs, a 2 Din MP3 player, keyless central locking, 2 speakers and seat pockets.
The Alto 800 takes the win in terms of safety features since a driver airbag is offered with the top variant while the Nano has no such feature. Seat belts are present in both the models, while both don't have a seat belt warning light.
The Tata Nano offers much more space and marginally more features for its price, compared to the Alto 800. But where the 800 has the advantage is with its functional boot to store items and its three cylinder engine that has the stamina to stretch its legs on the highway for occasional journeys. In a battle for value for money, the Alto 800 takes the victory.