Tata Zest Test Drive in Bangalore

Tata Zest Overview

If you look at the top selling car models in India, four of them belong to Maruti Suzuki, three come from the second biggest passenger car maker in India, Hyundai, while Honda has two of its products in the list, too. That leaves just one more step to complete the top-ten stack – it’s the Mahindra Bolero that slots itself at fifth position (according to June, 2014 sales figures).

Interestingly, the cars that represent the sub-compact sedan segment from each of the manufacturers make the list – Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze, and Hyundai Xcent. So you can imagine the kind of potential that the sub-4 meter segment has. It is this lure of numbers that forced Tata Motors to rethink the game and come up with something much improved if it were to fight against the established players. After a considerable amount of time, Tata has finally been able to develop a product that can genuinely compare against the likes of Dzire, Amaze and Xcent. It’s called, Zest.

It may sound odd; in fact, quite a few of my friends and family members didn’t quite believe it – the perception against quality that Tata products have had so far is to be blamed. But the Zest is different; it has upped the ante for Tata Motors, and is a genuinely competent product in the segment.

Tata Zest Appearance

On the outside, the Zest will always be identified as a Tata thanks to its Vista-esque headlights, windows and outline. The front fascia of the Zest wears large light clusters with projector headlights and position lights, and a grille inspired by the Manza Hybrid concept which was shown at the 2012 Auto Expo.Over to the sides, the doors and windows are a-la Tata Vista. The C-Pillar and bootlid follow a similar execution as the Swift Dzire (wherein the car gets a visibly short boot section).The 18-spoke alloy wheels look pretty classy, and its visual appeal is unmissable

The rear of the Zest ends rather abruptly to adhere to the sub-4 meter length limit. Sharply cut LED taillights, a chrome strip and badging of the car, variant and engine type (transmission in this case) should help onlookers identify it with ease.In pure numbers, the Zest measures 3,995 x 1,706 x 1,570 (L x W x H in mm) and gets a wheelbase of 2,470 mm. The diesel AMT Zest has a ground clearance of 165 mm and a turning radius of 5.1 m. The car weighs 1,170 kg.

Tata Zest Comfort

If the exterior fit-and-finish adds to the contemporary styling of the Zest, the interior quality standards are a giant leap for a Tata vehicle. The cabin looks elegant, to say the least. The knobs, the buttons, in fact all controls are precisely placed. Mention must be made of the new steering wheel, which looks very good and is nice to hold. The cabin certainly is in the league of both the Dzire and the Amaze, but falls slightly short of the quality levels found in the Xcent. However, an area where the Zest truly stands out is its infotainment system.

Developed with audio experts Harman Kardon, this eight-speaker system is simply fantastic for an entry-level sedan. The top-end variant of the Zest gets a touchscreen infotainment system which has features such as display for rear parking sensors, for air-conditioning, for vehicle settings, and more. The entry-level variants also get the same system but without the touchscreen. Pressing a button on the steering wheel for a few seconds activates voice commands. Once activated, you can literally talk to your car! As I found out, the system easily recognises most Indian accents and 7 times out of 10 understood what I said.Check for Tata Zest price in Chennai at CarBing.

Tata cars are known for ample cabin space and the Zest doesnt disappoint. While the front seats are well-cushioned and the top-end variant comes with seat height-adjuster, the rear seats can easily accommodate three adults. And although there are cubbyholes all around, there is just one cup holder for the front two passengers near the gear-lever! But all doors do have water-bottle slots. The boot space, at 390 litres, is not the best in class and the rear suspension towers intrude the luggage area.

Tata Zest Engine


The Zest, when launched, will likely be the cheapest diesel automatic sedan in India and that is what will really work to the cars advantage. Powered by the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre Quadrajet engine, the Zest diesel is the second mass segment car in India to employ the automated manual transmission (AMT) gearboxTata calls it the F-tronic. The F-tronic works almost similar to a full automatic, just that it doesnt have a Park (P) function, so you must use the handbrake when you park the car. And unlike the Maruti Celerios AMT (called the EZ Drive), the F-tronic comes with three driving modesEco, City and Sport. Yes, the F-tronic changes gears itself but because it is an AMT, the gear-shift is not as quick as that of a full automatic unithowever, keep in mind that a full automatic diesel sedan costs upwards of R10 lakh in India, and the Zest will be far cheaper. Further, the F-tronic also has a manual mode if you want to have the best of both worlds.


Tata has developed a new petrol engine for the Zest and has named it the Revotron. It may be a 1.2-litre motor, but because it is turbocharged, its power and torque figuresat 89 bhp and 140 Nm, respectivelyare quite impressive. These figures reflect on the road too. The engine is smooth, quiet and when the turbocharger kicks in at about 2,000 rpm, the surge in power is apparent. Even this engine comes in three driving modesEco, City and Sport. The Revotron is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.To know more information on Tata Zest check Basna

Tata Zest Driving

There are two key areas where the Zest impresses. The AMT system is one, and the ride and handling department is the next.The Zest is no Fiat Linea or Ford Fiesta when it comes to handling, but it tries hard and does a rather good job. The steering has adequate feel and feedback, and its quite easy to precisely put the car through a corner at high speeds. The new EPAS (electronic power assisted steering) has a 98 percent auto return function, and it is responsive to operate irrespective of the speed.Thanks to the new dual path front suspension, the Zest irons out a majority of road bumps and potholes to offer a plush ride. Even when the car was not loaded to full capacity, the ride was not bouncy or stiff. Ride and handling wise, the Zest offers the best compromise in its segment.

Tata Zest Safety

The Zest XMA comes with ABS, but no airbags, not even a driver-side unit. The brake pedal could do with a bit more feel, however, at the limit and when called upon, the brakes of the car (discs at the front and drums at the rear) work very well in bringing the Zest to a stop.The 185/60 R15 Bridgestone tires provided good levels of grip, keeping in mind that our drive took place in rainy conditions.

Tata Zest Price in Chennai

Tata Zest Revotron 1.2T XE Ex-showroom Price is 5,54,386/- and On Road Price is 6,47,597/-. Tata Zest Revotron 1.2T XE comes in 6 colours, namely Venetian Red,Platinum Silver,Sky Grey,Pristine White,Dune Beige,Buzz Blue. Tata Zest Revotron 1.2T XE comes with Petrol Turbocharged MPFi with 1193 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 89 bhp@5000 rpm and Peak Torque 140 Nm@1500-4000 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 17.57 Kmpl . Tata Zest Revotron 1.2T XE comes with Manual Transmission with FWD.Check car loan interest calculator for Tata Zest at Fincarz.

Tata Zest Verdict

As I said, the Indian sub-4 metre sedan segment is interesting. And the Zest is Tatas first serious attempt at gaining a foothold in this segment. Be it design, engineering, handling or equipment, the car is so surprisingly good that, if priced right, it will be able to challenge the three superstar compact sedansthe Dzire, the Amaze and the Xcent. What Tata should now focus on is getting the customers to its showrooms. It is also time the customers take a walk into a Tata showroom and check out the Zest. As a famous auto journalist said at the party Tata threw in Goa during this test drive, Abki baar, Tata car.

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