Tata Zest Diesel AMT: Long-Term Review
The Zest XMA automatic undergoes a minor surgery as it goes for its first service after joining our long-term fleet. Read on to know what we had to replace
10 months into driving our Zest diesel AMT long term vehicle, the Tata has formed an endearing relationship as my daily driver. I have driven it for over 3,500km, mostly to office and back through Pune’s painfully slow-moving and often erratic traffic, with the AMT gearbox taking the stress out of my 20km-long to and fro commutes.
After the first showers of this year’s monsoon, some problems came to surface. The engine was sounding slightly gruff, gearshifts weren’t as smooth as they used to be, and the tyres were squealing a lot upon braking. A quick inspection at the authorised service centre pointed out the problem - the brake pads had worn out and needed replacement. Since the Zest was due for service in a month’s time anyway, I decided to turn the vehicle in for an early service.
The overall cost of servicing the Tata Zest worked out to be Rs 10,434 (after taxes) for the major service which we requested. The extra amount paid, about Rs 5000, was incurred for replacing brake pads, coolant, wheel balancing and alignment (see picture for bill details). Know more about Tata Zest service schedules and costs here.
Post the service, the car has returned to its original glory. The brakes have fresh bite and the gears shift just when you want them to. Mileage figures continue to hover around the 15kmpl mark, which is decent, but newer compact sedans in the market like the Maruti Dzire and Hyundai Xcent promise to offer better efficiency.
Driving the Zest in the rain has thrown light on some other issues that I didn’t know existed. The headlamps, for instance, are not the brightest, and feel inadequate, especially during squalls post dusk. Also, it appears, the windshield wiper blades need replacing - the current units are unable to cope with heavy rains.
One of the things that I have begun to appreciate in the Zest is its rear seat space. Out for a dinner night, my friends preferred to travel in the Zest instead of their proper midsize sedan. The Zest’s back seat feels surprisingly more spacious and my three friends sat behind without brushing shoulders. Post rains, Pune’s roads are riddled with potholes but as the Zest sailed smoothly over it all the rear seat occupants were all the more impressed with it. While the pliant suspension did the trick for them, it was the high ground clearance that put me at ease.
Cementing the big sedan experience was the Harman infotainment system. Usually during my long, solitary drives the audio quality of the system is utilised only to tackle calls. However, this night the crisp quality was soundly appreciated. Pairing to my Android phone is buggy at times but once connected, it works flawlessly.
The Zest is set to leave our long-term fleet now but it has already been replaced by Tata’s newest offspring, the Tigor. Comparisons with its bigger sibling are inevitable and though the Tigor appears to be a strong package, there’s one limitation that sticks out immediately - it doesn’t give me the comfort of an automatic just yet. Wondering what was our opinion when we first got our hands on this car? Read here.
Date acquired: September 2016
Total km to date: 22,500km
Costs: Rs 10,434
What We Like: Ride quality, Rear seat space, Audio system
What We Don’t: Insufficient storage spaces, Inadequate headlamp illumination
Words: Ajit Menon