Tata Motors has been with their tail up lately with a string of products that have done extremely well. Starting with the Tiago followed by the big hits like the Hexa and the Nexon and recently the Harrier and the Altroz, all of these products have taken Brand Tata to a higher level. The Altroz was Tata Motors 1st Premium Hatchback segment model that made some good impact when it launched early last year. The Premium hatchback segment has been abuzz lately and Tata Motors wants to add some fuel hot segment with the performance version of the Altroz with a turbo petrol heart. We get behind the wheels of the latest version of the Tata Altroz the i-Turbo to know if it really is Intelligent Turbo as it’s name suggests, read on to know all.
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 will also see a sedan and a Mini SUV coming next. This platform also makes the Altroz ready for electrification when needed.
So what’s new?
First and foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room for the Altroz i-Turbo that happens to be the turbo boosted 1.2l engine which now pushes out 110PS of power as compared to its naturally aspirated sibling which delivers only 90PS. Torque output has also significantly gone up from 113NM on the naturally aspirated petrol engine to 140NM on the i-Turbo which automatically translates to better driving performance (more on that later). Sadly, the i-Turbo comes only with a 5-speed manual transmission for now. We would’ve liked to see an automatic transmission at least as an option read as DCT Automatic. But, the good news is Tata Motors is working on a dual-clutch automatic transmission and can be expected to be seen in the future updates of the Altroz.
Coming to the exteriors well visually, there’s nothing significant that differentiates the normal Tata Altroz from the i-Turbo. It is exactly the same handsome looking car except a tiny badging on the lower right side of the boot which says I-Turbo. Also, there’s a new body colour on offer namely – Harbour Blue which looks damn neat and is an instant attention grabber from what we experienced! And in our humble opinion – the Altroz looks absolutely stunning in the all-new colour scheme. One thing that sticks out like a sore thumb was the ancient looking radio antenna. Come on guys, you could have given a nicer looking shark fin antenna which would’ve enhanced the overall look of the Altroz even further. Never the less the Altroz which was only launched last year looks very fresh in appearance, has loads of road presence and stands out from among the competition.
Changes on the inside are also very subtle. Step inside the car and you will be welcomed with well appointed interiors. The cabin area on the Altroz has always been vast and roomy which has been largely appreciated. The Altroz comes with a updated 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 now 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.
The connected technology also comes with voice commands developed to understand Hindi, English and even Hinglish (Hindi + English) language as well with ‘what 3 words’. The What3words is a step-by-step navigation feature. This feature also analyses the driving patterns and provides feedback as well as remote commands as well and natural voice commands for its customers. So, 70+ commands can be given in English, Hindi as well as Hinglish. We did try a few voice commands in Hindi and IRA responded perfectly obeying them.
Remote Commands include – remote lock/unlock, remote horn, distance to empty check, remote lights On/Off. The security features included on IRA are, panic notification, find my car, emergency SMS, stolen vehicle tracking, intrusion alert and remote immobilization. Location based services include, geo fencing, valet mode, share location, nearest service station, roadside assistance, time fencing. You can also check live status for airbags, brake system, powertrain, drive score and service due.
The Altroz i-Turbo also gets two extra speakers on its brilliant Harman sourced audio system. The other big change to the Tata Altroz i-Turbo in the interior is the addition of a black and grey colour scheme and leatherette seats with perforation.
Engine – Drive – Transmission
As mentioned the Altroz i-Turbo is powered by Tata Motors first Turbo Petrol engine. This is a BS6 1.2 Liter 3-cylinder engine makes 110PS of power and hits out 140Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. On the go the turbo engine feels pretty confident and peppy. First things first the engine has a nice meaty roar to it that should make many petrol heads grin. The engine feels refined and power delivery is good once the turbo spools in. The Altroz i-Turbo is fun to drive in traffic conditions and comfortable too due to the super light clutch. The steering is tuned on the heavier side giving a strong feedback. The gear shifts are slick and positive though we would have loved a 6-speed transmission here and also a DCT is sorely missed but never the less the manual tranny does its job flawlessly.
Coming to the ride quality the Altroz i-Turbo offers an excellent ride and comfort which qualifies as one of the best in its class. Rear seat comfort is excellent and very reassuring. At high speeds too the Altroz i-Turbo behalves very maturely offering a calm and composed drive quality. Cabin comfort is pretty neat and the new IRA voice command system adds to it. The Altroz i-Turbo gets disc brakes in the front and drum at the rear. Brake bite is also pretty neat offering a reassuring stopping feel. The Altroz i-Turbo also comes with 185/60 R16 sized tyres that add to the overall drive quality.
Tata Motors with the introduction of the i-Turbo model of the Altroz have answered the demand for a more powerful petrol variant which is the current trend and need of the hour. The car always was a show stealer in terms of looks and styling. The new engine addition to the lineup gives the buyers one more option to choose from and not look elsewhere. The car comes with the unique IRA connected car feature too adding to the value package. The car offers excellent drive quality and not forgetting has 5-star rating from Global NCAP which should seal the deal for you if you are looking for the safest intelligent turbo premium hatch.
Words – Amit Shelar, Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar
Drone Footage – Amit Shelar