Tata Altroz DCA Automatic Road Test Review – Best Automatic is this?

Tata Motors launched their Premium Hatch the Altroz in 2019. The smart looking car model has been very well received in the segment selling in good numbers. It had everything going for it, a petrol, turbo petrol, diesel model too but something was missing on it and that was an automatic transmission option on its lineup. Now finally Tata Motors has got the Altroz with a Dual Clutch Automatic transmission which dubs as DCA ie Dual Clutch Automatic. We get behind the wheels of the latest automatic premium hatch in town that promises the gold standard of automatic, find out all on it in our review right here.

Food For Thought

The Tata Altroz began its life as the Tata 45X concept that was first shown at the 2018 Auto Expo at Delhi. The final production version Tata Altroz was first revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The name Altroz is derived from the Albatross bird known for its widest wingspan. The Tata Altroz is the second product to use the Impact design 2.0 philosophy and first model to be developed on the brand new Alfa architecture platform. The Alfa architecture that the Altroz is built on is also shared with the Punch. This platform also makes the Altroz ready for electrification (EV) when needed. The Tata Altroz is the safest Premium Hatchback with 5 Star safety ratings from Global NCAP.

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Exteriors

Well nothing much is different on the Altroz DCA, the premium hatch has always been a gorgeous looker and even after 3 years of it being around looks catchy and very sporty. What comes in with DCA model is a new color option Opera Blue the one you see here in our review and a special DCA badge on the tailgate. The Altroz looks very pretty from all the angles that you see it from with its unique face styled with the upward placed fog lamps, broad grille with the chrome underline, sharp 3D styled headlamps.

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On the sides the thick black insert that defines the large glass area, unique styled wing mirrors with chrome underlying it, sharp character lines on the doors and smoothly flexed fenders not forgetting the 90 degree opening wing doors. At the rear what stands out is the blacked out insert that defines the rear along with large classy tail lamps and the sporty spoiler. What we still miss on the exteriors is the shark fin antenna and maybe an electric sunroof which would surely add more glam to the already glamorous Altroz.

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Interiors

The Tata Altroz has always been known for its space and comfort in terms of cabin and interiors. The same well appointed cabin area is carried forward on the DCA version of the Altroz. The Altroz comes with a 7-inch infotainment system which supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, radio, Bluetooth telephony etc. We were first introduced to IRA Connected car technology in the Nexon and then the Altroz got it on the Turbo now which comes with its suite of features in the Altroz such as geofencing, find-my-car via a smartphone application, live vehicle diagnostics, intrusion alert and vehicle-crash notification.

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As mentioned the cabin is very well appointed with leather upholstery, faux metal inserts on the dash, steering, door pads etc. Clear and crisp instrument cluster in analogue cum digital read outs looks pleasing and sporty, flat bottom steering with height adjust and mfd buttons add to the comfort and convenience while the XXL sized 15 litre cooled glove box is highly practical and accommodating. What comes in the DCA variant is the automatic shifter that has metal inserts and is very nice to grip. Also the Drive Mode button placed behind the shifter is now replaced with the door lock unlock button on the DCA model.

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As mentioned space is abundant on the cabin area of the Altroz. Seating is very comfortable upfront with height adjust for the driver’s seat while at the rear you get adjustable head rests, flat floor and rear AC vents along with foldable arm rest on the package. The Altroz also comes loaded with features like automatic headlights, automatic rain-sensing wipers, and music system by Harman, speakers also from Harman to name a few.

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The Altroz comes with a overall boot capacity of 345 litres which again is highly practical. What we missed on the Altroz is wireless charging, ventilated seats, auto dimming mirrors. We love the Harman sourced music system on the Altroz which easily is the best in class for its sound quality and performance.

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Engine – Transmission – Drive

Powering the Altroz DCA is the 1.2L 3-cylinder Revotron Petrol engine that hits out 86PS of power and has 113Nm of torque on it. This engine comes mated to the 6-speed Dual Clutch Automatic transmission. Now Tata Motors have developed this all new transmission totally in-house and have tested it across the toughest terrains in India hence making it made in India made for India.

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Tata Motors say that the DCA transmission uses a wet clutch which helps in its cooling even in extreme conditions. This transmission also comes with a planetary gear system that reduces moving parts hence giving better performance. The DCA transmission also gets Machine Learning technology that trains itself as per the driving style of the driver to suit his driving style. Tata Motors also state that this DCA transmission gets Self Healing Mechanism which evacuates dust and other impurities from the transmission keeping performance to the full.

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How is the Altroz DCA to drive?

All said and done it ultimately trickles down to how does the Altroz drive with the DCA transmission on it. Well the 1.2L engine is pretty refined to start off with. Shift to the D and you are good to go. Driving ahead in good decent power, if you are looking out for an outright performance then this is not for you. What you get on the Altroz DCA is pretty leniar power which is more suited for your daily use. The gear shifts are super fast and thank the Shift by Wire technology that it uses. Typical to dual clutch transmission you don’t feel any shifts or jerks between shifts with all shifts happening rather unnoticed and in highly refined manner.

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The cabin is well insulated and we didn’t notice any tyre roll noise or vibrations. We did some good speeds with the Altroz DCA behaving more like a mature large sedan delivering high standards of refinement and premium drive feel that it is known for not forgetting its key USP that of driving without a clutch and gear shifter in busy traffic conditions and also on highways where it is a bliss. Braking is pretty reassuring and so is the steering feedback which feels lively at all speeds. The Altroz DCA does miss out on paddle shifters but then Tata Motors has reserved them for the Altroz Turbo DCA that’s what we can guess and hope for. But for now this the 12L Altroz DCA does drive real well in our daily conditions and is easily the best car in terms of drive quality that it offers.

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Safety

The Tata Altroz DCA comes loaded with a long list of safety features that include standard dual airbags, ABS and EBD, height adjustable heat belt, ISOFIX seat anchorage, corner stability control, rear parking sensor with camera to name a few.

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Competition check

The Tata Altroz competes with the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20, Toyota Glanza, Honda Jazz in the segment.

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Verdict

Tata Altroz had been missing out on the automatic transmission option on its model line up, better late than never Tata Motors have got it which further extends and betters the key virtues of the premium hatch. We loved the DCA transmission which is flawless in its shifts, the engine is also well suited for daily conditions. The car now has it all going for it with this inclusion making it a very intelligent buy in its class, can we see the Altroz Turbo DCA next?

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Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography, Video & Edits – Govind Gadekar

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