2012 Tata Nano
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When Tata Motors launched the Nano in 2008 it was one of the most ambitious car projects for the car maker and most awaited car that India had ever seen. The Nano project started right from the year 2003. The low cost car was also the cheapest car that money could buy and hopes were floating very high with it. Initially the bookings were big and stayed big for some time until things began to look rather steep. The Nano also was bagged down by a few cases of cars failing and wiring or electrical defects. People began to cancel their bookings and the Nano was in trouble.
Engineers from Tata Motors have now reworked on the Nano and here we have the 2012 Nano which is now supposed to be free from all the glitches that it was supposed to have. Read on to know how the 2012 Tata Nano really is different to its predecessor as we drive it to find out if it should be your first car.
The Tata Nano has been designed by Italy's Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering and yes it looks cute. The petite Nano actually has a tall stance. The face is best defined by the cat eyed headlights that flushes in with the sloping bonnet line. Integrated turn lights in orange complete headlamps cat eye look.
The bonnet has a soft curve shape on it and infact this is the boot of the Nano as the engine is placed at the back. The front windshield is placed at an angle and has a single arm wiper that does the job. The front bumper on the Nano houses a pair of fog lamps on the top end LX variant that we drove along with Air dams placed on the lower part of the bumpers.
The side profile of the Nano is significant because of the side air dams placed on the lower portion of the rear door panel to feed air to the engine that’s in the rear end of the Nano. The side fenders with a soft bulge on them are tall and mate with the large front quarter glass on the Nano.
The Nano has large doors with a good deal of glass area on it. The sides of the Nano have the running footboard which is prominently shaped and appears like sporty side skirts on it. As mentioned the rear air dam is placed just below the rear door and has a black color grill in fiber. The Nano drives on 4Bx12inches wheel size and has different tyre specs for the front and the rear. 135/70 R12 on the front and 155/65 R12 mounted on three lug nuts on the rear made by JK Tyre do their job on the 2012 Tata Nano. The 2012 Nano Lx comes with full face wheel cover that offer good aesthetics to the overall look of the car. You have the door handles and the wing mirrors in body color along with the front and the rear bumpers on the Nano Lx that we drove.
The rear of the Nano looks typically Tata with Christmas tree tail lamps and a large rear windshield with a stop lamp placed on it. The rear boot lid is fixed and cannot be opened like other cars and can be accessed from inside of the cabin. The rear bumpers house the air dams and ventilator that help in cooling the rear mounted engine on the Nano. A large air dam on the rear bumper around the rear number plate takes out the heat from the engine.
The Nano has its exhaust mounted in the center of the rear bumper. We would like the inclusion of a rear viper on the 2012 Nano, at least on the top end Lx variant, however it was absent. A cute little tail spoiler sits on the rear windshield on the 2012 Nano giving it a sporty touch. You have the prominent Tata monogram in chrome in the center of the rear lid. The 2012 Nano now comes in 10 color options of which 8 are new shades. We don’t think any other car in India which has so many color options to choose from. The 2012 Nano Lx and Cx also comes with tinted glass and two wing mirrors (the passenger side wing mirrors were absent on the earlier Nano). The passenger side door now gets a key hole on the 2012 Nano Lx which again is a welcome inclusion.
The 2012 Tata Nano has a good built quality, infact we find them better built than the earlier lot with higher grade of paint quality and weld assembly for this segment. Not much to complain on the exteriors of the 2012 Nano, they are stylish, trendy and practical and now comes in so many color shades to choose from and not forgetting the far improved build quality and fit finish .
The Nano is not a big car for its price; in fact we find its cabin roomier than the likes of Maruti Alto to an extent. The 2012 Nano Lx gets a beige interior theme, the dash now is a beige affair. The 2012 Nano retains the three spoke steering. This steering feels good to grip, height adjust is not available and we also missed out on the inclusion of power steering to some extent but that’s not a big deal as it is very easy to maneuver the Nano without the power steering. The steering is placed at a slightly lower angle as compared to other cars.
The Nano has a centrally placed Speedo console that has the meter calibrated to 120Kmph and a digital trip meter on its right. Below the meter is the AC vent that can be opened or shut individually as and when needed. The 2012 Nano Lx gets a heater and AC unit which has a three speed blower speed. The Speedo and the AC unit on the 2012 Nano Lx gets silver housing which is a very welcome inclusion as compared to the standard black panels on the older Nano. Keeping in line with the beige interiors the 2012 Nano Lx also gets a nice looking and up market like beige fabric seats, the 2012 Nano also gets tillable backrest on the front seats along with adjustable see thru headrests. Front seats are comfortable to sit and the visibility is good while seating on them. Head room and leg room is not at all a problem in the Nano.
A glove box is still not included on the Nano. The center console houses the front power window buttons and a twin can holders along with the gear shifter which also gets the silver treatment on the knob. The door panels get the beige treatment along with fabric inserts and door knobs and arm rests in black.
The rear seats now get integrated head rests which are rounded in shape as compared to flat ones on the earlier Nanos. The rear seats can seat two passengers comfortably with good amount of leg room and head room. The Nano is very cleverly designed and even 6 footers will feel at home in its cabin.
The beige interior in the 2012 Nano makes the cabin feel roomier and much larger partly also because of the large glass area. The rear seat back rest can be folded down by simply pulling a single rope conveniently instead of two ropes on the older Nanos. An 80liter boot is what you have on the Nano which is enough for a car this size and segment. A parcel tray makes its way in here which can hold some light weight stuff while on your drives. There are map pockets on the door pads and also a small groove on the lower side of the front seat to store flat stuff.
The boot which is in the front stores the spare wheel and also houses the fuel tank lid along with the air filter and brake system reservoir. Yes you need to open the bonnet to fill in petrol at the fuel bunk and this issue should have been sorted by Tata Motors on the 2012 Nano.
All said and done there is a big improvement in the overall cabin quality and the materials used in here. The beige color theme is a very welcome addition along with the much better quality fabric on the 2012 Nano.
Engine – Drive – Suspension
First thing you notice when you open the doors of the Nano is the ease of entry. The wide opening doors go a long way in welcoming the entrants. The 2012 Nano is powered by the same 624cc Twin cylinder MPFI Petrol engine but now makes 3 PS more. This twin motor now makes 38PS @5500 RPM (35PS on older Nano) and has 51 Nm of torque @ 4000RPM (48Nm on older Nano). Tata Motors also claims a much better fuel efficiency that of 25.4kmpl on the 2012 Nano as compared to 23.6kmpl on the older Nano as per ARAI test figures.
Start the ignition of the Nano and you hear the purr of the twin cylinder engine. The exhaust note is very different to what you get to hear from the other cars. We are told that the starter motor and other key components on the 2012 Nano are also of much better quality. At idle the Nano has a nice calm ambience to it.
A new twin layer of insulation coat mat has been laid on the engine cover in the cabin and this has helped a lot to reduce the in cabin noise and also the in cabin heat emitted from the rear mounted engine. The other big improvement on the 2012 Nano is the super chilling instant freezing AC unit that is in fact better than the Maruti 800 or the Alto. The three speed blower does a mighty fine job in lowering the in cabin temperature even on warm sunny afternoons.
Shift to the first gear and the Nano chugs ahead riding on its twin cylinders. The cable operated gear shifting is not as smooth as direct shifters but never the less a big improvement over the older ones. The four speed gearbox is fine tuned for in city driving conditions with gear ratios closely put together.
The pedals are set closely to each other but don’t pose as a big problem. The power delivery is good and a big improvement over older Nanos, thanks to improvement in the overall engine power. The 2012 Nano makes you forget at times that it is a twin cylinder powered car and relentlessly cruises ahead especially over the 30kmph mark. The manual steering is a bit hard to handle at standstill but on the move it is a smooth operator. The 2012 Nano feels very spirited in its drive up to the 75-80kmph speeds, braking is also good for a car of this size and the upgraded JK Tyres also help in maintaining sanity at all speeds.
The suspension on the 2012 Nano is softened to some extent and now feels much better when driven over rough roads.
The 4meter turn radius is the smallest turn radius on any car running on Indian roads and it helps a lot when driving, parking or turning on any road conditions. The overall dimensions of the Nano help a lot in getting through traffic or busy roads. Cruising at high speeds of 90kmph is a piece of cake for this cut car and so is overtaking. The exclusion of the fifth gear is felt though not very much. The independent suspension on the Nano works flawlessly and the ride quality is bettered as compared to the older Nano. The ride quality is softer thanks to the new suspension tune and tyres.
To sum it up, in the first innings Tata Motors did not get the best of the market with the Nano. But, the car honcho has now ironed out all the flaws and added some icing to the cake by increasing the power and the looks. The suspension is retuned bettering the ride quality; the cabin now looks far better and brighter.
The Nano now has a Standard warranty is for 4 years / 60,000 kms-whichever happens first. Service intervals are at 1000 kms, 5000, 10000 and thereafter, at every 10,000 kms. The older Nano came with an 18 month warranty and this increase in warranty and support should enhance the USP of the hatchback in a big way.
The 2012 Tata Nano is the perfect car to own if you want your very first car and yes Tata Motors also has some attractive finance options to get your Nano at as low as Rs. 15000 of down payment, not forgetting the ten color shades to choose from.