Tata Motors displayed the Zest which is a compact sedan based on the Bolt. Both the Bolt and Zest have been designed with inputs from Tata Studios’ in Pune, Italy and the UK. At the front, the Zest looks very similar to the Bolt. The headlights look striking and the new bumpers look good. The fog lamp holders also have DRLs (Daytime Running Lights) incorporated into them and these lamps are the only differentiating factor that separate the Bolt and Zest from the front. Rest everything remains the same.
Tata Motors have added a boot to the Bolt and hence the Zest was born. Usually, vehicles in the compact sedan segment look quirky and this is nothing new since the manufacturer has squeezed in a boot while staying under the 4-metre length limit. However, the design of the Tata Zest doesn’t look odd and most buyers won’t find a problem with it. The Zest comes with blackened B-pillars which look somewhat better than body-coloured pillars. Again, the Zest also gets neutral alloy wheels and nothing too flashy or bling.
The rear comes with a fresh set of taillamps which look amazing. Some people may find the Zest resembling the Maruti Swift DZire or even the Ford Fiesta from the side-rear quarters. However, we feel the Zest looks best from this angle while it looks a bit odd from the front quarters. Design has been the major reason why Tata Motors hasn’t been able to attract buyers to dealerships, with the new design language, this issue should be resolved as more people will now turn around to look at Tata vehicles, mainly the Bolt and Zest.
The interiors of the Tata Zest are again very similar to the Bolt and hence we really can’t complain much. The design influence from European cars is unmistakable and the way the top of the instrument cluster extends to the centre AC vents is very much like what is seen on the Fiat Linea. Quality levels inside are much improved from what we have seen previously in Tata cars and the company has gone the long haul, equipping the vehicle with a plethora of features. Connectivity options are at the forefront with the Tata Zest getting an interesting audio system which has been developed in collaboration with Harman. This unit offers all sorts of connectivity on the go.
We sat inside the Tata Zest and were impressed by the interior room. There is quite a lot of space inside the cabin and the seats are comfortable too. The interior design is vastly different from what we have been seeing in Tata cars and this is definitely a welcome change considering the old layout has now become a tad boring.
Underpinned by the competent X1 platform, the Tata Zest should offer a good balance of ride and handling. Tata Motors has opted for an electronic power steering which has been made in collaboration with ZF, this unit has self centring function and also learns the driver’s driving habit to become more involved in the experience. As with most Tata cars, ride quality should be exceptional so the Zest is a vehicle which can be used as a chauffeur driven car considering rear seat space is good.
Powering the Tata Zest is the 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel engine but the big news is the F-Tronic gearbox which is an automated manual transmission, offering the convenience of an automatic without costing as much. With 90 BHP and 200 Nm on tap, the Tata Zest should offer slick performance and the AMT version should become very popular as the Zest will be the only diesel car in the country in that segment to come with it. In fact the Tata Zest will become the cheapest diesel automatic available in India. The bigger news is the 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine which is a turbocharged unit and offers 85 PS of power with a class leading 140 Nm of torque. This motor is tweaked for drivability and the Zest is the cheapest turbocharged sedan in the country. Both engines will offer excellent mileage.
The Zest looks like a promising compact sedan and Tata Motors is optimistic that these new siblings will change the company’s boring image and get a fresh new impression for the automaker. After having a close look at the Tata Zest, there is no reason why it shouldn’t become a popular car in the sub 4-metre sedan segment. Do you think the Tata Zest has what it takes to become the best seller in the compact sedan segment, giving tough fight to the Maruti Swift DZire, Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent.