New Tata Aria 4x2
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We had reviewed the Tata Aria 4x4 some time back and at that time we had liked the SUV + Crossover + MPV + Sedan thinghy that Tata Motors had got on to the Aria and the vehicle did really well in our test review. Tata Aria is in for a big comeback and this time out goes the 4 wheel drive Adaptra system and a few gadgets and equipments and in comes a big price cut and we have here is the new Tata Aria 4x2 (2 wheel drive).
We drive this latest version of the Tata Aria 4x2 which should bring in the cash registers for Tata Motors to see how good it is and try to figure out if it could out do the Toyota Innova in its own game. According to some rumors the new Tata Aria 4x2 received some final touches and re-engineering at Jaguar, a rumor that Tata Motors cleanly refuses to accept even now. The reason for this rumor to start in the first place is the superb exteriors and engineering that’s on the Aria.
Exteriors – Design
First things first, the exteriors of the 4x2 Tata Aria is identical to that of the Tata Aria 4x4 and there is just about no change to any of the vehicles shape or body panels which is a good thing keeping into mind the huge price cut that the Tata Aria 4x2 has got. Tata Motors has something called as the Indiva prototype which it showcased at the Geneva in 2006, from the Indiva that was shown to the final production ready vehicle the Aria has truly come a long way. It’s a huge MUV/SUV when you see it at first sight. It has the aggressive front end. This into your face of the Tata Aria houses the wrap round headlamps with integrated turn indicators and very welcome projector headlamps even on the base Pure varient. Tata calls these headlamps as Dual Barrel Headlamps.
The front has the Tata family face grill with a very corporate looking chrome strips and the very familiar Tata logo on it. A large wrap round bumper houses the round fog lamps, the base variant Tata Aria Pure 4x2 has no fog lamps, this bumper has the air dams which are in black that makes the bumper a two tone thing. The bonnet to me resembles something like the VW Beetles round bonnet and I must again add here that the front of the Aria is huge and aggressive perfectly suiting the vehicle and giving it a good road presence. The sides of the Aria have the muscularly shaped body panels with a lot of glass area on. Side of the Aria has a very striking design especially the 3rd row fixed glass that has the perfect curve very much like that on the Honda CRV. Lot of chrome detailing on the door frame and also on the door molding add the classy touch to the sides. The base Tata Aria 4x2 Pure variant gets a bit of less chrome detailing on the sides and all across but never the less looks classy with the blacked out door pillers. The wheel arches have the muscular looking fibre panels that make the Aria look much broader. The tyres are a meaty lot, 235/65 R17 on the top end Prestige with a very fresh looking 5 spoke alloys which again help in making the Aria look broad while the Pure and Pleasure versions get the 16incher tyre profiles with steel rims. The wing mirrors are the best in the segment and are also electrically adjustable but not foldable and have integrated turn lights on them same as that on the Tata Aria 4x4. The rear of the Tata Aria 4x2 isn’t as exciting as the sides and the front.
Here things are more flat and the family Tata tail lamps are here but in a much larger dimension ala the Tata Aria 4x4. The rear bumper is also very flat with tiny stop reflectors mounted in them. Things look much better thanks to the twin silencers which are in chrome and a chrome strip that runs across the boot lid just above the number plate making the rear more exciting. The rear of the Tata Aria 4x2 gets the wash wiper and defogger along with a central stop lamp. A thought that came to my mind this time again that the Aria resembles the Mercedes-Benz R Class when seen from some profiles which is also a very good looking crossover. Proportions on the Tata Aria 4x2 are all XXL, 4780mm in length, 1780mm in height and 1895mm width to be precise identical to the Tata Aria 4x4. The ground clearance as expected from a SUV/MPV is also perfect at 200mm that helps in a big way to run through rough patches or even rocks at times. As mentioned the rear defogger and wash wipe are standard across all Tata Aria 4x2 varients of the Aria. Fit and finish on the outside continues to be very up market which means there is no cost cutting or quality drop on the Tata Aria 4x2 as compared to the Tata Aria 4x4 versions.
Interiors – Cabin
Get in to the Aria, well getting in isn’t that difficult, well having a foot board would have made things easier. A dual-tone cabin welcomes you; a mix of black with fake wood inserts is what the cabin is colored of. The instrument cluster is a rather simple affair similar to the 4x4 Aria; dials in a mix of silver, white with red needles on them do their job to the core. A 4 spoke flat type steering wheel is large in size but suits the large proportions on this vehicle. This steering can be adjusted for height but not for reach. On steering control buttons for cruise control and Bluetooth voice commands are removed while buttons for, audio/music with a huge Tata logo on the centre are present on the top end 4x2 Prestige variant and the other two variants have to do without the steering mounted control buttons . The steering would have looked better if it had a touch of chrome or a dash of wood insert on it at least for the top end Prestige variant. The centre console houses the LCD screen for the MP3/radio control display. Satellite navigation Bluetooth telephony has been omitted on the 4x2 Aria but the display screen remains the same with an soft blue backlight. Below the screen is the MP3/FM unit that is a single CD player. Under this is the AC unit control dials.The plastic quality on the Aria 4x2 feels as good and rich as the 4x4 version and its good to see that there is no quality compromise on the 4x2 version of the Aria.
Being an MPV/SUV the Aria has lots of storage bins, pockets and can/bottle holders spread across the cabin area. Note worth is the twin glove box of which the top most being internally cooled and lighted and having a nice auto closing door to it. The lower glove box is the normal type. The AC vents are rectangular type on which flow on for the individual vents can be shut when not needed. AUX and USB port is available and more than welcome. The gear shifter is very different to other Tata vehicles in shape and has a nice feel when gripped. Moving to the seats, the Aria 2x4 has fabric upholstery.
The Driver’s seat has the manual adjust including height for the top end Prestige version while the other two don’t have the height adjust. Front seats are nicely shaped and offer good support to the under thigh and lower back same as that on the Aria 4x4. Cushioning is hard but that’s what is also recommended by the Orthopedic, isn’t it? Individual foldable arm rests for both the front seats offer good support and convenience during long drives, these front seat arm rest are only on the top end version of the Aria 4x2. The middle row seats are very comfortable; the back rest of this row of seat can be adjusted at 3 different angles to suit your comfort level. They got head rests, folding arm rest and are of 40-60 split folding types. This row seats can also be pushed forward or back to suit your posture and leg room. The third row seats are basically meant for only two passengers and are of 50-50 split types, here the leg room is lesser, never the less this is the seat which is most preferred by kids. Let me mention about the AC vents, 4 vents for the centre row (2 in the centre and 2 on the door pillars) and 2 for the 3rd row passengers. Both the centre row and the 3rd row seats can be folded fully extending the boot area on the Aria. Look up and you see not one nor two but 7 foldable storage bins that are placed across the roof line from the 1st row to the 3rd row. So many bins were not needed; 2-3 would have been more than enough I feel. Leg room, head room and shoulder room is abundant and the feel is very cozy once in the cabin.
Engine – Drive feel
The Aria 4x2 uses the acclaimed DICOR 2.2ltr CRDI engine that’s same as that on the 4x4 Aria. This engine has always been a very capable unit that has 140PS of power on tap generating a massive 320NM of torque in transition. This is a 32bit 16valve engine that uses Variable Turbine Technology or VTT as Tata calls it. A brand new 5 speed gearbox that’s code named MKII is mated to this unit. The Aria also boasts of Dual Mass Flywheel that according to Tata Motors helps in minimizing vibrations and thus helping in the NHV levels in the cabin. The suspension setup is taken care by the independent double wishbone at the front and a 5link suspension at the rear. Fire the engine and you notice the improved NHV levels that Tata has managed to get into the Tata Aria, the engine noise not heard at idle nor are any vibrations felt. Engage the 1st gear and this huge vehicle moves ahead instantly. The power delivery is quick and linear. What is also improved here is the absence of the engine whine that was heard on other Tata SUVs while accelerating. Remember this is the same DICOR unit that also chugs the Safari too but there is a drastic difference in the way the engine behaves and feels in both the vehicles. Due credit also has to be given to the all new gearbox on the Aria. The Aria surges ahead seamlessly in a very polished manner and quickly. Pick up is good with perfectly matched gear ratios that are tuned for quick acceleration.
The overall ride quality is very impressive. The suspension setup on the Aria can handle the potholes and bumpy roads rather well. The ride quality is very good and the suspension is tuned on the softer side to enable it to soak up the bumps. The steering feels a bit heavy, but the feedback is good. There is a bit of body roll due to the XXL proportions but when you are driving in the 4X4 mode the body roll is at the least. If you are driving mostly on the tarmac then the 4x2 Aria is for you as the absence of the 4x4 system also enhances fuel efficiency. Turning and cornering in the Aria is inspiring and so is the parking thanks to the reverse camera that helps you perfectly park this beast. The all wheel disc brakes boosted by ABS with EBD and ESP make the braking on the Aria very reassuring.
The Aria running on the 2.2 Dicor engine and having to move nearly 2.8tons does a fairly good job of returning with figures of close to 11 kmpl while the 4x4 Aria gave around 9.5km to a litre of diesel.
The Aria 4x4 brought with is a big change in the approach from Tata Motors, it changed the way buyers will see Tata cars. The only thing that worked against it was the pricing, but now Tata Motors has had a second go with the 4x2 version of the capable Aria and it is bang on targeted at the Toyota Innova that rules the segment. The Aria has more features and space than the Innova and others in the MUV segment. Fit and finish is hugely improved over earlier Tata products and the 2.2 DICOR engine now feels a lot different. The Aria 4x2 prices start at Rs – 11.61 lakh for the base Pure version and Tata Aria 4×2 Pleasure is priced at Rs. 12.61 lakh while the top end Prestige version is priced at Rs. 14.26lakhs all Ex Delhi.
Installation Front, longitudinal, all wheel drive
Type 4cyls in-line, 2179cc, CRDi, intercooler
Compression ratio 17.2:1
Valve gear 4valves per cyl, DOHC
Type 2 Wheel Drive
Chassis and Body
Wheel Base 2850mm
Five speed manual
Ground Clearance 185mm
Tyres 235/65 R17
Spare Full size, alloy wheel
Front Independent, double wishbone, coil springs
Rear Non independent, coil springs, 5-link
Type of power assist
Front 302mm ventilated discs
Five-door MUV, body on ladder frame chassis
2125kg (4x2), 2220kg (4x4)
7.5J x 17 inch
ABS with ESP