Tata Zest is a new compact sedan created by Tata Motors under its Falcon programme. The car was revealed at Indian Auto Expo 2014 along with its hatchback version, the Tata Bolt. The car was launched in Indian markets on 12 August 2014, after which its hatchback version will be launched. The diesel version of Tata Zest will be fitted with 1.3-litre quadrajet diesel engine which is already being used on Indica Vista and Manza where as the petrol version of Tata Zest will be powered by a new 1.2-litre turbocharged, 84 bhp engine.

The Zest is based on existing platforms on which Vista and Manza are built. The car will be built by Tata Motors at Fiat's Ranjangaon factory. (Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Zest )

What Will You Like?
  • Stylish back with neatly integrated boot. 
  • Muscular front grill from a deviation from the normal Indica design.
  • Contemporary interior styling, with good quality material.
  • Good quality music system.. Front seats are very supportive.
  • Panel gaps are totally even throughout.
  • Low end torque (Which means better drivability in city) is really good in the petrol Turbo charged engine.
  • Very good ride and handling.
  • Affordable automatic transmission for diesel (read it as Fiat engine)
  • Multi driving mode will really help the people looking for economy.
  • Ride and handling is surprisingly good.

What Could Have Been Little Bit Different?
  • The head light assembly still resembles Vista.
  • Top end variant is not there in AMT.
  • Mid end torque in the Revotron engine is not that linear.

Exterior
The first glimpse itself will give you a fresh thought about this new launch with the new grill and first-time-in-the-segment, projection head lamps. The DRL and the fog lamp assembly chromes act as an icing on the cake. When you come to the first quarter on the sides, the wheel arches are given a muscular curve and that very well placed on the big 15 inch wheels . (Personally I like the spokes in the Revortron variant but some people like the diesel variant alloys.). The B-pillar black strips are very good quality ones. The curves on the doors are clearly visible and it continues the design principle in the front. Come to the last quarter and there this car scores even better. The boot integration is neatly done. Come to the back you will be surprised to see such a simple yet elegant design. I would say it is one of the best in sub-4 meter cars. The LED tail lamps are neatly done and the chrome blends with the overall design.

Interior

When you get in, you will be seriously surprised as the quality of the interiors are a notch ahead of any of the Tatas in the market. The dashboard quality is good, I would say, it is at par with the Dzire/Swift. But with the contrast colour on the dash board and door pad, the interiors look more fresh and spacious. The dials deserve special mention. The quality of the dials are best in the segment. With brightness adjustment in picture, that is something which you would never get over. The front seats are really comfortable and you will not get tired on long rides. Come to the back and you will be surprised to see the leg room. I am 6.3 feet tall, and when I adjusted the driving seat for my height and when I came back to the rear seat, I had lot of leg room and I could stretch my legs without any issues. 

One thing which is lagging in the interiors are enough storage spaces. There are no big bottle holders or back seat pockets. The dead pedal will be sorely missed and for long drives, this is really discomforting. 

How It Drives?

I drove Revotron, and I was really surprised to see the low end torque drivablity. The momentum pickup is clean and quick. Even though it has a turbo and it kicks in at 1500 RPM, but still the city drivability would not bother you.

Tata engineers are really made it smooth, as I was able to go to 55 KMPH in first gear and 80 KMPH in second gear before it touched the red-line. This means that overtaking would be a smooth affair for you. 

The other point to be noted is the Braking. In our test drive, we could validate that 80 to 0 happened under 50 meters, in straight line. And in curvy braking as well, the car behaved perfectly fine. 

Handling and Suspension

The suspension is not hard and thus good for Indian roads with speed-breakers. 

The cornering and handling is the part, that made us to say “Wow” and at this price point that really means something. Under sub 4 meter we have a now a (superior) competitor for Swift/Dzire for handling. 

Infotainment

If we don’t mention about this in the write-up, then that is an insult to this car. The 8 speaker (4 speaker and 4 tweeter) Harman system is awesome. If you have a good bit rate music file, the system doesn’t disappoint you. The touch is also good at this price point.

Apart from infotainment, the automatic climate control integration to the touch system is a smart move that Tata engineers have done. 

Couple of points that could have been better for infotainment system are-
  • Could have gone with the capacitive touch screen.
  • The voice recognition understands only sets of commands, and requires training. 

Couple of Other Points to be Noted

  • Zest uses ABS 9.1 from Bosch and that helps to reduce the torque from Engine in case if there is a drift in any of the wheels.
  • When you put your mode in Eco, not only the engine is tuned for economy but also the A/C compressor runs with lesser load to increase the fuel efficiency.
  • The NVH levels are best in the segment

How Does Zest Compare with Competitors? 

  • Zest is the clear winner if you are looking for a petrol Entry level Sedan.
  • In case of Diesel, if you are looking for mileage, then you can trade it on Amaze, else you can go with this.
  • For boot space all the main competitors are of almost equal size, but Amaze’s loading bay is little bit convenient. 
  • If you want a diesel and city driving is easy, then you have two options , either go with Zest AMT or go with Amaze.
Overall, Tata really Zested me with this car. Now it’s your turn, are you ready to be Zested. 


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[ "God's own Garage" are a series of blogs, primarily authored by Anumod Thomas, who is an avid automobile enthusiast, a keen reviewer and an accomplished Software Engineer. A person who can make an instant impression with his big frame and even bigger heart, you can reach him on Facebook or +Anumod Thomas ] 

[All pictures are from Tata Website]

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