Tata Altroz First Drive Review: The Brand-New Contender In The Premium Hatchback Segment

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The all-new Tata Altroz was first showcased in its concept form, called the 45X, at the 2018 Auto Expo. The company then debuted the near-production version earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. Now, Tata Motors is all set to introduce the Altroz in the Indian market in January 2020.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

The Tata Altroz is the first premium hatchback offering from the Indian car manufacturer in the country. The hatchback will debut the brand's all-new ‘Agile Light Flexible Advanced' (ALFA) architecture.

This new platform will be used on all future small and mid-size products from Tata Motors. The new premium hatchback from Tata Motors will rival the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Toyota Glanza, Hyundai Elite i20 and the Honda Jazz.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Ahead of its launch in the Indian market, we got a chance to test out the all-new Tata Altroz on the streets of Jaisalmer. The Tata Altroz impressed us with its looks, features and the premium feels inside the cabin. However, how does it feel to drive and does the Tata Altroz have what it takes to out-perform the current segment leader, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno. Let's find out!

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Design & Styling

The Tata Altroz is the second product to feature the company's ‘Impact 2.0' design language - first debuted on the Tata Harrier SUV. The new design language offers a sharper, aggressive and premium look to the models from the brand, compared to the older products.

Starting off with the front, the new Tata Altroz comes with a sharp downward sloping bonnet, giving it a shark-nose design. The front fascia also comes with clear swept-back projector headlamps, which flank a sleek blacked-out grille.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

There is also a thin strip of chrome, running across the entire width of the front, which along with the chrome ‘Tata' logo, adds to the premium feel at the front.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

The front bumpers come with high-mounted fog lamps, with the integrated LED DRLs. The central air intake is positioned towards the lower part of the front bumper, finished in black. The front design although completely new does manage to carry forward certain aspects of the iconic Indica hatchback of the past.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

The side profile of the Tata Altroz is characterised by an upswept window line; this gives the hatchback a more sporty forward-tipped stance. The window line does taper towards the rear and comes finished in black elements. The side profile also comes with flared wheel arches, housing the stylish 16-inch standard dual-tone laser-cut alloy wheels.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Another interesting feature on the side profile of the Tata Altroz is the absence of the rear door handles in its conventional position. The handles for the rear doors are now integrated with the C-pillar, giving the hatchback a clean and sporty profile.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Moving on to the rear profile of the car, the smoked taillights are instantly the centre of focus. The wrap-around taillights with the blacked-out theme at the centre of the boot lid, add to the sporty nature of the premium hatchback.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

This sporty theme is further accentuated by the small roof-mounted spoiler at the top of the rear windscreen, with the integrated braking lights. There is little to no chrome on the rear, apart from the Tata logo and the ‘ALTROZ' lettering positioned at the centre of the boot lid.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Interiors & Practicality

Before moving to the cabin of the Tata Altroz, there is another very unique feature on the hatchback — 90-degree opening doors. The Tata Altroz hatchback is the first car in the segment, which features a complete 90-degree opening on all-four doors.

This allows for improved ingress and egress of passengers, while also offering better practicality to load stuff in the cabin space.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

The cabin of the Tata Altroz itself offers a new-level of premium-ness, not seen in any other Tata hatchback before. The dashboard is offered with good premium soft-touch materials all around, the fabric upholstery also feels premium, as well as all the knobs and buttons on the centre console.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

The centre console is largely made up of a seven-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system. This system is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The dashboard also comes with a range of ambient lighting all-around, adding to the premium feel inside.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Other features also include a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel with mounted controls for the audio and others. The three-spoke wheel comes wrapped in nice leather as well.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Behind the steering wheel is a semi-digital instrument cluster. This includes an analogue speedometer, while all other remaining part has a digital display. This offers multiple information to the driver, including the tachometer, range, distance-to-empty, gear indicator; among others.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Being the widest car in its segment (1755mm), the Tata Altroz also boasts about offering immense space for passengers, both at the front and rear part of the cabin.

The large seats, covered in premium fabric upholstery offer a comfortable position. The driver and front passenger also get sliding central armrests, which adds to the comfortable seating position. There is also plenty of room for the front passenger to stretch his legs.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

However, the same cannot be said for the rear. The rear seats do offer a decent amount of lateral space, although the headroom and legroom do come short, especially if you are over 6 feet tall.

The Tata Altroz does come with a flat floor at the back, which does make it easier to sit three-people at the back, however, for a comfortable drive; we recommend just two passengers. The rear passengers also get a central armrest, along with AC vents at the centre.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Moving to the final part of the car, the boot. The Tata Altroz comes with a decent 345-litre of luggage space. This is sufficient for a car its size, although not class-leading. The Altroz does not offer a split rear seat. Having said that, the rear seats do fold down entirely to extend the luggage capacity to 665-litres.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Here are the overall dimensions of the all-new Tata Altroz:

Length (mm) 3990
Width (mm) 1755
Height (mm) 1523
Wheelbase (mm) 2501
Ground Clearance (mm) 165
Boot Space (litres) 345

Variants, Key Features & Safety

The Tata Altroz once launched in the Indian market will be offered in a range of five variants: XE, XM, XT, XZ and XZ (O). Each of these variants is offered with a host of features and equipment; many of which are either class-leading or segment-firsts.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Key Features On The Tata Altroz:

  • Metal-finish Interior Door handles
  • Mood Lighting Around Central Console & Driver Footwells
  • Fabric Seats With 3D Embossed Upholstery
  • 15-Litre Cooled Glove Box
  • Umbrella Holder In Front Doors
  • Multiple Drive Modes (Eco & City)
  • Electrically-Adjustable & Foldable ORVMs
  • Wearable Key
  • Follow-Me Home Headlamps
  • Automatic Climate Control
  • 4-Speakers By Harmon
  • Fast-USB Charging
  • Customisable Infotainment Screens
Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Safety Features On The Tata Altroz:

  • ABS With EBD
  • Corner Stability Control
  • Dual Front Airbags
  • Reverse Parking Sensor & Camera
  • Auto Headlamps
  • Cruise Control
  • High-Speed Alert System
  • Engine Immobiliser
  • Anti-glare IRVM
Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Engine Performance & Driving Impressions

The Tata Altroz is powered by two engines: 1.2-litre three-cylinder Revotron petrol and 1.5-litre four-cylinder Revotorq diesel. While the petrol engine has been borrowed from the Tiago, the diesel unit is carried forward from the Nexon compact-SUV. Both engines, however, have been updated to comply with the upcoming BS-VI emission norms from the start.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

We got a chance to test out both the engine options on the Tata Altroz. Starting with the petrol, the 1.2-litre (1197cc) three-cylinder engine produces 82bhp at 6000rpm and 113Nm of torque at 3300rpm. The diesel engine, on the other hand, comes in the form of a 1.5-litre (1497cc) four-cylinder unit churning out 90bhp at 4000rpm and 200Nm of peak torque between 1250 and 3000rpm.

Both engines are further mated to a standard five-speed manual gearbox. Tata will not be offering an automatic variant of the Altroz initially, although it is planned to go on sale at a later stage.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Talking about its driving impressions, the Altroz being compliant with BS-VI emission norms does offer good levels of refinement. Both engines offer sufficient levels of power, making for comfortable cruising even on the highway. However, the petrol unit does start to feel out of breath at a particular point, leaving the driver wanting more.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

City driving is where the engines shine the most. The light-clutch further allows for comfortable driving even under heavy stop-go traffic conditions. Overtaking is easy around the city, while it does struggle out on the highway as the gear shifts aren't the smoothest, leaving the driver unable to easily perform quick shifts as well.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

The suspension on the Tata Altroz is suited for the highway at slightly higher speeds. It is a bit on the firmer side, which although makes cruising easy, isn't the best for Indian city roads. Braking on the Tata Altroz is good, with little to no complaints.

However, where the Tata Altroz shines is in the ride and handling department. The new ‘ALFA' platform on the premium hatchback offers excellent balance at all speeds. The car can easily go around corners, without breaking a sweat.

The steering response is sharp, with quick changes in directions being made quite easily as well. The car feels extremely sure-footed both at low and high-speeds, including when one goes past the triple-digits.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Here is a quick look at the technical specifications on offer with the Tata Altroz:

Variables Petrol Diesel
Engine (cc) 1199, 3-cylinder 1497,4-cylinder
Power (bhp) 86 @ 6000rpm 90 @ 4000rpm
Torque (Nm) 113 @3300rpm 200 @ 1250rpm
Transmission 5-MT 5-MT
Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Pricing, Competition & Colours

Tata Motors is yet to unveil the pricing of the new Tata Altroz hatchback in the Indian market. Prices for the Altroz will be revealed at the time of launch, which is scheduled to go on sale in January 2020.

Once launched in India, the Tata Altroz will compete in the premium hatchback segment. It will rival the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Toyota Glanza, Hyundai Elite i20, Volkswagen Polo and the Honda Jazz.

The Tata Altroz is offered in a range of five colour options: High Street Gold, Skyline Silver, Downtown Red, Midtown Grey & Avenue White.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

Fact Check

Here is a quick fact-check of the Tata Altroz, against its main rivals in the segment:

Specification/Model Tata Altroz Maruti Suzuki Baleno Hyundai Elite i20
Engine 1.2-Petrol/1.5-Diesel 1.2-Petrol/1.3-Diesel 1.2-Petrol/1.4-Diesel
Power (bhp) 86/90 82/74 82/89
Torque (Nm) 113/200 113/190 113/220
Transmission 5-MT 5-MT/CVT 5-MT/CVT/6-MT
Starting Price (Rs) NA* Rs 5.58 Lakh Rs 5.52 Lakh

*The prices for the Tata Altroz are yet to be revealed.

Tata Altroz First Drive Review: Driving Impressions, Performance, Handling, Mileage, Features & All Other Details

DriveSpark Thinks

The Tata Altroz makes for an excellent family car. The stylish new design is definitely a head-turner, which is matched by good space inside the cabin. The seats are comfortable and there are plenty of features and equipment on offer. Performance too is on the positive side, although, there are a few areas where it could be improved.

All that is left to see now is the pricing of the Tata Altroz in the Indian market. If priced right, the Altroz could see itself eyeing the top-spot of the premium hatchback segment.

Reporting by Promeet Ghosh; Writing By Rahul Nagaraj; Editing By Jobo Kuruvilla

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Read more on: #review #tata motors
Article Published On: Monday, December 16, 2019, 17:14 [IST]
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