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Tata Nano - the Indian cheap car for 1,500 EURO in the driving report

Makarand Baokar
The Indian cheap car Tata Nano
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Let's be honest. The Tata N ano had been quite astonished before anyone saw him. A car for 100,000 Indian rupees, then the equivalent of 1,700 euros excluding taxes, a real car? And now that it is on the streets of Pune for the first time, it is amazing again - because it offers much more space inside than you would expect from the outside. Four adults will find enough space in the simple and sparsely furnished car. And they are housed on seats that are thin and flat, but still quite comfortable.

Quality better than feared

The quality of the plastics in the interior is better than feared, the carpeting, on the other hand, looks very cheap. Because the tailgate cannot be opened, the backrests of the rear seats have to be folded down in order to get to the rear trunk (there is also a small one at the front). It holds 135 liters, with the rear bench seat folded down it is at least 500 liters of cargo space. Tata works - for the European version - on a tailgate made of glass to make loading the rear luggage compartment easier.

Two-cylinder in the rear of the Tata Nano

The access to the engine of the Tata Nano is even more complicated. To do this, a cover must first be removed, which is fixed with six wing nuts. Instead of looking at it, we prefer to start the two-cylinder in the rear. The aluminum unit runs pretty rough and hardly sounds better than a lawnmower. But none of the expensive ones. Although the interior is pretty well soundproofed, the two-cylinder sound is almost spared. The fact that this engine gets a grade of four at best in “Behagen” does not go unnoticed by the occupants: You can constantly feel how the 35 hp engine struggles, and the vibrations become violent at full acceleration. It's frustrating.

Inconspicuous four-speed gearshift

The four-speed gearshift, on the other hand, does its job inconspicuously and pleasantly, although you have to shift frequently. Because especially the first and second gear are translated briefly, andat 5600 rpm the limiter kicks in relentlessly. Those responsible for Tata are very clear on one point: They are not particularly interested in the Tata Nano's acceleration from zero to 100 km /h. What counts in such a city car is the value from zero to 60 km /h. We determined 10.1 seconds for it. The measurement result for the sprint to 100 km /h should be hard to beat: 32.6 seconds. Anyone who drives a Nano needs patience.

At home in Indian city traffic

On the test track in the Indian city of Pune, where Tata Motors is based has, the 3.10-meter car was not able to arouse enthusiasm. It looked out of place. Quite different, however, in domestic city traffic with a lot of stop and go. It belongs there, you can feel it quickly. The engine power is sufficient for this, as is the driving behavior. The small turning circle of eight meters simplifies maneuvering, parking is easy with such a short car anyway.

The Tata Nano weighs only 635 kilograms

Interesting: Even without power assistance, the steering is very smooth, because hardly 300 of the 635 kilograms that the Nano weighs weigh on the front axle. Feeling comfortable in Indian city traffic is therefore not difficult with the Tata Nano. It is completely different outside the city limits, where the cheap vehicle wobbles due to its short wheelbase and high center of gravity. The seats, which offer virtually no lateral support, are of no help here, which is why the driver finally closes ranks with the B-pillar when cornering - involuntarily, of course. As much as the Nano leans in bends, understeer is limited.

Top speed is 105 km /h

The four Drum brakes do slow down, but they are certainly not of a very gripping nature. All in all: The little Tata Nano is quite bumpy on the bad Indian roads, but you can't call it completely uncomfortable. The maximum speed is 105 km /h, the consumption in practice is 3.8 L /100 km. For a better weight distribution (60 percent at the rear, 40 percent at the front), the Tata engineers packed the spare wheel and the tank under the bonnet, left a bit of trunk space there and installed the battery under the driver's seat. In order to correctly assess the ability of the Nano, which requires too many compromises, without ESP, ABS and airbag, you have to know that the next cheapest car in India is around 1,500 euros more expensive.

Tata Nano from 2011 also in Europe

The most expensive version for the home market costs 3,000 euros and, in addition to air conditioning, offers electric windows at the front and central locking. The Nano is to emigrate to Europe in a different configuration: a little longer and with a wider track, improved handling, a 934 cubic centimeter three-cylinderwith almost 60 hp, which enables a top speed of 150 km /h, plus disc brakes, airbags and a higher-quality interior. And all of this from 2011 - for less than 5,000 euros.


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