Tata Zest Preview
The Tata Zest compact sedan is the second car in the Pune based automaker from its new generation of vehicles. First shown just ahead of the Auto Expo, the Zest is a CS version of the Bolt hatchback.
It features a very similar design to that of the hatchback but includes a noticeable but quite decent looking boot. It makes use of the same engine, underpinnings, interior design as well as feature list from the hatchback.
he Tata Zest follows the same principle in terms with the Bolt hatchback in terms of design and overall appearance. The side profile remains the same up to the C-Pillar but thanks to the boot has a different appearance. At the back the lights have a similar design to that of the hatchback with a stubby boot lid.
Inside the interiors are exactly the same as the hatchback including the overall layout, features and upholstery. The list includes Harman touchscreen music system, gauges behind the steering wheel and white upholstery for the top spec variants and beige for the others in the range.
In terms of engines, Tata will offer this compact sedan with the 1.2-litre Revtron engine which is petrol powered and produces 84bhp/140Nm. The diesel engine on the other hand is the 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel. Transmission options include the five-speed manual as well as an AMT which is a first for Tata especially in this segment.
We expect that Tata will price the Zest in the range of 5.5 lakh Rupees to 7.6 lakh Rupees and it will have four petrol and three diesel variants. It will compete with the Grand i10 based Xcent sedan, Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Chevrolet Sail sedan, Honda Amaze and VW Vento.
n the run up to the Auto Expo, Tata Motors has taken the wraps off two new models – the Bolt hatchback (internally called the Falcon 4) and the Zest compact sedan (Falcon 5). The introductions are part of Tata Motors’ large-scale plans to inject desirability into its product range.
As you may be aware, the Bolt and Zest are built on a thoroughly updated version of the Tata Vista’s X1 platform. However, Tata has really made a huge effort to ensure these cars are not considered mere facelifts, but all-new cars. Comprehensive sheet-metal changes and new body panels make the Bolt look very different from the existing Vista; the Bolt’s glasshouse has been carried forward unchanged, and is the only real link to the older car’s design. Frontal styling is aggressive with a heavily sculpted front bumper, smart projector headlamps, and a new grille, and you can see a lot of influences from the Tata Manza Hybrid concept that was shown at the 2012 Auto Expo. There’s a thick character line down the side to liven things up and the rear gets blacked out C-pillars, but the big news is the departure from the tall, vertically stacked tail lights which is the original Indica signature, to a more conventional design, which does look more distinctive.
The Zest is the latest compact sedan from the Tata stable that will take on the Dzire, Amaze and Xcent. Here are five facts you need to know about it
The Zest (codenamed Falcon 5) is a sub-4 metre sedan based on the X1 platform that underpins the Manza and shares a common framework and chassis. It will take on the Honda Amaze, Maruti Dzire and the soon to be launched Hyundai Xcent when it is introduced in the second half of FY2014-15. It is 3995 mm long, 1695 mm wide and 1570 mm in height. While in profile, the Zest resembles the Vista /Manza duo, the front and rear styling are completely new as are several ingredients in the car like the petrol engine, suspension, steering and ABS and even the electricals have been overhauled. The interior template is same as the Manza but has been thoroughly re-worked as well to give the Zest a more premium feel.
ny mechanical changes?
The Zest has been extensively re-engineered since Tata Motors wants this car and its hatchback sibling, the Bolt to have a fun to drive character. The company says that this has been achieved by putting the car through its paces with ex-F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan at the helm. His inputs have made the Zest and the Bolt more enjoyable driving machines adds Tata Motors. The front suspension is all-new dual-path McPherson strut setup and the rear independent suspension has been tweaked as well. Tata Motors says that it isolates the cabin better from road surface undulations and improves handling characteristics. Tata Motors has also developed a new ABS system with Bosch to improve cornering stability. With suspension and braking covered, the steering was the final part of the re-engineering. This has been addressed by switching the hydraulic power steering with the easier to use electronic power assisted steering.
The Indian market is set to see a spate of launches in the sub-four-metre sedan segment over the next few months, with Tata Motors, Ford India and Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) unveiling entry-level products in the category in the run-up to International Auto Expo this week.
While Tata Motors introduced its new sub-four-metre sedan, Zest, powered by the company’s new Revotron gasoline engine, Ford India made the global premiere of sedan Figo Concept on Monday in New Delhi. Hyundai will unveil its compact sedan based on the Grand i10 platform on Tuesday.
Zest would hit the road in the second half of this year and would also be available in diesel versions. Ford declined to specify a launch date for the compact sedan but Ford India President Nigel Harris said, “It is close to production and would not take several years.”
Kumar Galhotra, vice-president, engineering, Ford Motor Company, said, “With the Figo Concept, we are showing that choosing a compact sedan does not mean compromising on premium design or smart solutions. The Figo Concept was envisioned with the Indian market in mind and created with global standards of design, quality and performance.”
The Figo Concept builds on the automaker’s compact car offerings in India. The company has already introduced a sub-four-metre SUV EcoSport last year, which has been a big success and currently has an order backlog of around 60,000 vehicles. Ford estimates compact car sales in India will double to two million vehicles annually over the next four years from about a million vehicles sold in the domestic market currently, and aims at consolidating its presence in the category with its latest offering the Figo Concept.
Tata Motors, on the other hand, is looking at rejuvenating its product portfolio with Zest by the second half of this year. Ranjit Yadav, president (passenger vehicles business), Tata Motors, said, “The car has been engineered for global markets, through global teams across India, the UK and Italy to set new standards in their respective segments. With this, the important part is that we would now be able to address petrol car market.”
Puneet Gupta, associate director, IHS Automotive India, said, “Excise duty on sub-four- metre vehicles at 12 per cent is less than half of that levied on larger vehicles (27 per cent). Manufacturers can reduce the length of the vehicle and introduce products at aggressive price points in the market. This has made such compact sedans an attractive proposition in India. The segment holds a lot of promise and all car makers be it Ford or Hyundai are exploring opportunities.”
Between April and December this year, as many as 169,724 entry-level sedans were sold in the country, which is an increase of around nine per cent over the 156,160 vehicles sold in the same period last financial year. Passenger vehicle sales fell six per cent in the period.
The growth in the entry-level sedan segment has largely been driven by the introduction of sub-four-metre sedans Amaze by Honda Cars India (launched in April 2013) and DZire by Maruti Suzuki. Honda has already clocked sales of 66,859 vehicles of the Amaze, which accounts for over 65 per cent of its overall volumes in the first 10 months of the financial year.
Maruti Suzuki has, in the meantime, sold 162,095 vehicles of the DZire, which is an increase of 23.6 per cent over the 131,177 sold in the same period last year.
Apart from the Zest, Tata Motors also showcased premium hatchback Bolt. Both Zest and Bolt are based on the company’s enhanced X1 platform, on which the existing Vista and Manza models are built. The new models will co-exist with Indica and Indigo. Yadav said, “Both Indica and Indigo are very strong brands and will continue to sell in the market.”
Zest would be available in both petrol and diesel versions, while the Bolt will come only with petrol engine. The diesel variant of the Zest will come with F-Tronic 90 PS-powered engine.
Tata Motors has been struggling to arrest slide in its car sales amid a prolonged slowdown in the domestic market. The company’s volumes in the passenger vehicle segment have dropped by 37% t0 155,571 units till December this fiscal. The new models, introduced after a hiatus of three years, are expected to turnaround sales for Tata Motors by the latter half of this year.