If I were a catholic and were to kneel before a priest in
the confession box and confess everything I know about the Tata Zest to him, my
confession would go like this: Father, I drove the Tata Zest the other day. It
looks stylish, the interiors are refreshingly comfortable, grabbing the
steering wheel gave me a great feeling, throttling it made me feel heady, the
car has plenty of exciting features and I loved driving the both the petrol and
diesel models. But Father, I am not too confident with the Tata quality
because…” I would then excuse myself and
walk out of the church unable to hold back my tears.
From far, the Zest reminds you of an existing Tata car, an
Indigo perhaps. I asked a taxi driver standing near me as to how he felt about the Zest. “This looks like an
Indica…what’s new about this car?” In the world of taxis in India, Tata cars
were once much in demand, but now it's more of cars like the Toyota Innova,
Maruti Dzire, Hyundai Santro, etc that offer better mileage with hardly any
maintenance. In the private world of passenger cars, Tata sales are slipping
like the vanishing monsoon clouds in India.
To be fair to the House of Tatas, the company has put in
several years of hard work behind the new Zest. It’s a sub-4 meter sedan. The company says that it exemplifies the
Horizonext themes of Designext, Drivenext & Connectnext for its passenger
vehicle business. These words mean nothing to an ordinary car buyer in India where
terms like mileage, durability, value for money, resale value, maintenance and
The Zest comes with a new styling but with loads of
carryover from one of its existing models. Projector headlamps are complemented
by chrome accents and day-time running lights. The rear LED lamps and a bold
chrome accent bumper make the Zest stylish from the rear too. It rolls on
sporty 15” alloy wheels.
More than the exterior, it is the interior which is really
“Wow”. It’s brand new and never seen before in a Tata car. There’s a
neatly-layered dashboard with dual-tone - Java Black & Latte. Integrated
within is an infotainment screen and Tata Motors next-generation 3-spoke
steering wheel. Let me tell you, once you grip this wheel with your bare hands,
you actually feel you are a zillion times smarter than F1 driver Narain
Karthikeyan who is the car’s brand ambassador. Not to miss are the wing-shaped
central instrument cluster Bezel, gear knob, precisely detailed air vents and
sculpturally designed console, connected in a single wing-shaped graphic.
There are plenty of chrome embellishments on the instrument
panel, vents, gear knob and on-door release handles. The centre console comes
with an exciting infotainment experience and a Fully Automatic Temperature
Control, finished in Piano Black, with a painted metal feel.
There is ample room for everyone in the car. The boot offers
decent space for all your travel bags. The Zest comes in both petrol and diesel
engine options. As we stepped into rain-soaked Goa to drive the petrol and
diesel Zest, we were confident that both would offer us enough delight in some
form or other.
The turbocharged multi-point Fuel Injected (MPFi) petrol
engine, Revotron 1.2T engine, delivers around 89 bhp of power @ 5000 RPM and a
peak torque of 140 Nm @ 1750-3500 RPM. The Revotron 1.2T has a water-cooled
turbo-charger which delivers great response.
The beauty about the petrol car is that it comes in three modes: Sport,
City and Eco. The throttle response in the Sport mode is mind blowing. On an
empty road, this car in this mode can make you feel like a race driver. The
diesel car comes with an F-Tronic technology-enabled, 5-speed Automated Manual
Transmission (AMT), with both Automatic and Sequential mode of gear-shifting,
developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli. Here too the power is around
89bhp and a fancy torque of 200 Nm. This AMT too has dual drive modes: City and
Sports mode. Needless to say, it’s the Sport mode which I loved the most.
The Zest comes with EPAS (Electronic Power Assisted System),
with speed sensitivity and ‘Active Return’ function – a first in the segment.
It also has the most advanced ninth generation ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake
Distribution) for improved braking efficiency. Ride quality is excellent which
can be attributed to dual-path suspension, coupled with a zero-pivot sub-frame
and anti-roll bar. Along with acoustic champions Harman, the company has
designed and engineered a brilliant audio and infotainment system.
The 5-inch touchscreen supports meaningful multimedia
experience while there is also advanced Bluetooth technology for smartphone
integration. The car comes with four speakers plus 4 tweeters. The system
enables smart voice recognition which understands user commands, SMS
notification and read-outs.
The Zest, in my opinion, may not be the segment best, but it
has definitely raised the bar for all future Tata car models!
Tata Zest Diesel
1248 cc, 4 cylinder, Turbo intercooled,
AMT with Shift Assist Manual
89 bhp@ 4000 rpm
200 Nm @ 1750 – 3000 rpm
Fuel Tank Capacity
Independent; Lower Wishbone; McPherson Strut with anti-roll bar
and Coil Spring
Semi-Independent; Twist beam with Coil Spring and Shock Absorber
185/60 R15 + Tubeless
Tata Zest Petrol
1193 cc, Revotron 1.2T, 4 cylinder, Turbocharged MPFi Petrol engine
Synchromesh with overdrive, 5 Forward +
89 bhp@ 5000 rpm
140 Nm @ 1750 – 3500 rpm
1115 – 1135 kgs
Independent; Lower Wishbone; McPherson Strut with anti-roll bar and
Semi-Independent; Twist beam with Coil
Spring and Shock
185/60 R15 + Tubeless
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