The interiors of the new Alto800 are leaps and bounds ahead of the previous Alto, and have more space also. However, it is still basic when compared to competition and even the space isn’t sufficient.
The interiors on the Alto800 are definitely better than that on the older Alto. Plastic quality, fit and finish and even the feel of the materials is better, however some competition has even better quality. The Alto800 gets a new three-spoke steering wheel and also an all-new instrument binnacle as well. The new instrument panel looks better, but it could have been much better.
Even though most of the interior bits are a direct pick from other Maruti Suzuki cars, the interiors look better and even the seats are better than before. Still they aren’t very comfortable when compared to competition, as the knee room is a bit tight and headroom just ok. There isn’t enough of thigh support on the back seat and boot space is also decent. However, the access to the boot is poor.
Standard : The standard Alto800 is the base model and just like plain vanilla ice cream. It gets nothing, not even power steering or air conditioning, even the bumpers are black in colour.
LX : LX gets air conditioning, fabric seats and remote opening boot lid. Other than that it doesn’t even get coloured bumpers even on the LX model.
LXI : It is the LXI model that gets some of the frills, as it is the top of the line model. It gets power steering, body coloured bumpers, power windows. There is also an option to have airbag at an added cost, however passenger side ORVM is not available even on the top model.
Tata Nano is the most spacious hatchback in its segment, as it offers 21% more space than competition. This is the only hatchback in the A segment that can comfortable seat five large adults without any squeeze.
Tata Nano has been improving the Nano everything and we see this happen with every new model year vehicle. The interiors of the Nano have been enhanced, as it now gets remote keyless entry, twin glovebox, four-speaker music system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The parcel tray also gets privacy.
The space on the Tata Nano has always been exceptional. It can comfortable seat five large adults, and there is two point seat-belt for all the three rear passengers. The parcel tray now has speakers on and even the insulation on the inside has been improved. The steering wheel on the Nano is now lighter than before.
This is the same three-pot Suzuki engine that is being used for over 25 years and is one of the most tried and tested mills in the country. Improvements are made to it and even the carbon footprint has seen a reduction.
The same Maruti 800 engine is used on the Alto800 – three-cylinder 796cc petrol mill— that produces 48bhp and 96Nm of torque. Maruti Suzuki engineers have worked upon the engine to meet the Bharat Stage IV emission norms and also improve the performance. NVH levels of the engine are decent, but there is some amount of vibrations at idling speed. There isn’t much grunt in the engine and you will have to work your work through to extract performance out of it. On redlining, the engine does sound coarse. One can easily coast on the highway at a speed of 80-90km/hr in the top cog.
The five-speed manual transmission on the Alto800 is decent and the shifts are less rubbery than the previous Alto. However, there is still scope for improvement.
The 623cc engine might look insufficient on paper, but in the real world the power this twin-cylinder produces is more than enough.
The 623cc twin-cylinder on the Nano produces 37bhp of power, which is more than enough for daily city commute. Several people complain the sound resembles that of an auto rickshaw, well this is due to the fact that the Nano has a small exhaust as it is a rear engine and also that it a two-cylinder mill. The drivability of the Nano is brilliant and it doesn’t feel underpowered or you never run out of steam when driving in city. It is easy to drive even in congested city lanes. The Nano’s gearbox is also slick, and infact one of the best boxes from Tata’s stable.
The ride on the Alto800 has been improved over the previous Alto, but the 12 inch tyres do not help much. The handling isn’t something to boast about as the Alto800 is now more of a tall boy design.
The engineers at Maruti Suzuki have worked on the suspension set-up and improved the ride quality of the Alto800. The improvement is vast, but the difference can be felt. The 12 inch tyres and the 80 profile rubber is very less and doesn’t aid the suspension to iron out most of the bumps and one needs to avoid these bumps.
Being a tall boy and not so powerful engine, this hatchback isn’t built to drive around a track. Hence, one cannot expect great handling. But the characteristics and adaptive nature of the suspension makes it a decent handler. The Alto800 isn’t bad for the sort of ride it offers. The brakes are also decent and they bite progressively.
The Nano is a well-balanced hatchback that strikes the perfect chord of good ride and handling.
The Nano has stiff suspension due to its short wheelbase and high centre of gravity. This makes the ride a bit stiffer, and even the tyres are tad too smaller to dampen the shocks. The ride is a bit choppy, but that’s about it. It doesn’t feel that bad and the suspension does a good job still.
The Nano handles well, when it is completely loaded. The rear engine and rear wheel drive is a combination of sports cars and Nano gets a similar set-up. The 2013 Nano has a more responsive and lighter steering wheel that makes it easier to drive too.