Tata Altroz First-Drive Review: Premium Hatchback Worth Its Buck?

Tata Altroz First-Drive Review: Premium Hatchback Worth Its Buck?

Auto Reviews

Camera person: S Aadeetya | Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

The premium hatchback segment in India has become a two-horse race, with Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai being the names at the forefront.

But Tata is now hoping to make this a three-way battle with its upcoming Altroz, which is the production-ready version of the 45X shown at the 2018 Auto Expo.

The company has been mostly focused on SUVs lately with the Nexon and Harrier making big strides against its competition. So, can the Altroz offer similar headway and get people’s attention, when they’ve got the Baleno or the i20 to choose? We drove the car a few days back and here’s our first-drive review.

Also Read : Tata Motors 45X Hatchback Named ‘Altroz’ to Rival Hyundai’s i20 

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Tata Altroz Petrol Specifications:

  1. Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder
  2. Transmission: 5-speed manual
  3. Power: 86PS
  4. Torque: 113Nm
  5. Safety: ABS, EBD, dual front airbags, disc (front), drum (rear)
  6. Features: 7-inch infotainment screen, front & rear fog lamps, ambient lighting
  7. Boot space: 345 litres
  8. Fuel tank: 37 litres

Tata Altroz Diesel Specifications:

  1. Engine: 1.5 litre four-cylinder
  2. Transmission: 5-speed manual
  3. Power: 90PS
  4. Torque: 200Nm
  5. Safety: ABS, EBD, dual front airbags, disc brake (front), drum brake (rear)
  6. Features: 7-inch infotainment screen, fog lamps, ambient lighting
  7. Boot space: 345 litres
  8. Fuel tank: 37 litres

Design

The front design of the grille, extending up to the headlamps, will be familiar to those who know what a Tata car looks like. It has that typical smiling face or “humanity line” as Tata calls it. The textured finish on the grille, with the Tata badge, looks muscular with the inclusion of projector headlamps, with the day-time running lights (DRLs) running through below it.

The size of the bonnet has been kept to a minimum, ensuring the manufacturer could heavily focus on making the car spacious.

Front grille on the Altroz looks familiar.
Front grille on the Altroz looks familiar.
(Photo: The Quint)

But it's at the back, where things get interesting with the addition of curves and pillars which make it look taller than its actual stature. The door handle has been moved to the quarter panel, something we've seen on the Swift and Chevrolet Beat and that gives a two-door feeling to the car.

At least the car looks different from the back.
At least the car looks different from the back.
(Photo: The Quint)

Tata claims that 77 percent of the Altroz's length has been left for passenger space and it's very hard to argue when you step inside and get to experience it yourself. The dual-tone finish on the dashboard has been made with high-quality materials, which is expected from a premium hatchback.

Side profile of the Tata Altroz.
Side profile of the Tata Altroz.
(Photo: The Quint)

Having said that, there are gaping holes between the layers of the compartment, which is slightly jarring to the eye.

Power & Performance

The Altroz comes in two engine variants, petrol and diesel, and you’ll be pleased to know these are BS6 compliant, making them future-ready. The petrol variant sports a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed gearbox. The diesel option comes with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, also mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

Diesel variant gets a 1.5-litre four cylinder engine.
Diesel variant gets a 1.5-litre four cylinder engine.
(Photo: The Quint)
This is where it’s worth pointing out that Tata isn’t launching the automatic variants of the Altroz for now. They are most likely to be introduced at a later date.
Rain sensing wipers and defogger light at the back.
Rain sensing wipers and defogger light at the back.
(Photo: The Quint)

In terms of the drive performance, out of the two, the diesel variant was our pick, with the right amount of power and torque on offer, to keep you rev-happy on the roads. We were also surprised by the low in-cabin noise of the engine, ensuring you have a pleasant driving experience. You can choose between ‘Eco’ and ‘City’ mode, and we’d highly recommend using the latter for better drive coverage through city traffic.

DRLs below the headlamps on the Altroz.
DRLs below the headlamps on the Altroz.
(Photo: The Quint)

On the other hand, the 1.2 petrol model cries for more power, forcing you to accelerate aggressively, which takes a toll on mileage. The unit we drove also felt a bit noisy from the inside, and we’re hoping this issue isn’t common for the petrol option in general.

With its heavy structure, the car manages to handle bumps and speed breakers without causing any discomfort to the people sitting inside. For Indian roads, that is always welcome.

More Features

The Altroz is feature-loaded as well. You get the top variant with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

7-inch screen but only on the top variant of the Altroz.
7-inch screen but only on the top variant of the Altroz.
(Photo: The Quint)

You can also use the physical buttons to navigate through the screen. It gets cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, a reverse camera, rear AC vent, front and rear fog lamps as well.

Rear AC vent on a hatchback is an added bonus.
Rear AC vent on a hatchback is an added bonus.
(Photo: The Quint)

The top variant gets 16-inch alloy wheels, while the other models come equipped with 15-inch wheels. But Tata will allow buyers to customise their variants with additional sets of packs that can enhance the appearance of the car, without splurging on a higher range model altogether.

16-inch alloy wheels on the top variant of the Altroz.
16-inch alloy wheels on the top variant of the Altroz.
(Photo: The Quint)

The car lets you adjust the height of the steering, as well as the height of the driver’s seat. Altroz carries a ground clearance of 165mm and offers a 37-litre fuel tank, out of which three to four litres are kept for reserve.

What Do We Think?

So, this is the new Tata Altroz, a premium hatchback that is launching soon in the Indian market. Tata hasn't announced the pricing yet, but we're hoping the company manages to undercut the segment and with no automatic variant on offer, that will be a no-brainer.

Should you buy the Altroz when it launches?
Should you buy the Altroz when it launches?
(Photo: The Quint)

The Altroz has Tata design imprints and it has tried to give the car a futuristic look with the use of curves and cut-out pillars. Having said that it gets a spacious cabin, which can easily fit in three people at the back thanks to the use of a flat-floor design.

The Altroz will be competing against the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and i20 from Hyundai. We've mostly seen SUVs launching off late, but we feel the premium hatchback segment is one that deserves attention and we're glad that Tata is coming out with the Altroz right now.

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