Tata Bolt 1.2 Revotron Petrol | Long Term Review



Normally, we get mint new cars fresh off the assembly line for reviewing. This time we got our hands on the Tata Bolt petrol which had done nearly 18,000 kms on the odometer. The idea was to test the car for nearly a month as a primary car for daily commute. We tried to focus on the daily aspects of ownership of this top-end version offering from Tata.


Interiors
With the snarling traffic jams and far-flung suburbs expanding by the day, we spend a considerable amount of time inside our cars. So the experience inside the car matters in the long run.

The rugby-shoulder front seats are sufficiently wide and provide firm support. With height and recline adjustment, it is easy to find a good riding position. Also, the steering is tilt-adjustable adding to flexibility. We found the seating position is good for long drives with reduced driver fatigue.



The rear seats are standard design with firm and supportive cushioning. Third person may feel slightly uncomfortable due to the raised projection in the middle. The rear seats are can be folded in ratio of  40:60.


A sore point is that the front and rear doors are not able to hold one-litre bottles easily.


The buttons on the driver side door are having a premium plastic finish and windows open and close swiftly. The left and right side rear-view mirrors controls also are quick and precise.


We felt the ignition key position could have been better as the key almost touches your knee.


There is a fairly big tray under the front passenger seat which is a very useful feature for the long journeys to keep tools and other small stuff.


There is a cup-holder near the gear-knob along with the 12V electrical outlet. The cup-holder slot is not big enough to hold the bigger smartphones of today. We had to let the bigger phones lie flat near the gear knob base.


The glove-box is nice and big and it also has a dedicated sleeve especially for the user manual and the car documents.


The rear door has arm-rest with smooth fabric covering which adds to the premium feel for the passenger.


The steering wheel is ergonomically designed with contours for a good grip. The centre part of the wheel is fairly large with a big Tata logo.


Instrumentation


The dials and instrumentation are in bright text against a dark background which makes it very attractive to look at. The central portion displays very useful information such as instantaneous fuel-efficiency, average fuel consumption, odometer, distance-to-empty, time, ambient temperature and trip meter.



The AC vents are found at their regular places. However, the AC vents do not shut fully. We found this a bit inconvenient as it would not let you close the air flow as per the driver or passenger's convenience.


Climate control is soon becoming a standard feature in many new cars. In the Bolt, the Auto mode adjusts the fan speed and cooling power suitably to quickly bring the cabin temperature to the set level. 

Those who prefer manual adjustment won’t be disappointed either as the buttons are easy to use and the touchscreen displays temperature setting and fan speed at all times. There is also an Economy Auto mode which helps in lowering impact of air-conditioning on mileage.


Exteriors



Though the car was launched almost two years ago, the looks are still fresh and contemporary. The wide smile grille from the Indica family is retained. Solid character line runs along the sides. The rear is also nicely designed with uniquely shaped rear tail-lights.



Handling, ride-quality and noise insulation
The ride quality is stable but the softer suspension setup means that one gets a boat-like feeling on uneven roads. There is notable body roll around tight corners. This can be attributed to the higher ground clearance which also helps in avoiding scraping the base on big speed-breakers and deep potholes.

The noise insulation is achieved to a good extent in the Bolt. We found that the cabin felt pretty quiet even at busy, noisy traffic junctions. The alloys are simple yet look elegant. The top-end XT version which we got with us had 15-inch alloys whereas all other versions come with 14-inch rims.


Engine and performance
The turbocharger does take some time to come into effect. We felt that the power delivery and acceleration is not smooth and linear in the lower gears. The clutch is light which prevents fatigue for the driver.

The brakes help in quick stopping in emergency situations assisted by the ABS with -Electronic brake-force distribution and Corner-stability control. Though we took some time to get to used to the long travel of the brake lever. 

The fuel-efficiency can be maximized by using the Eco mode. The Sport mode increases the throttle response and adds to the excitement a bit. However, we felt that the City mode was the best for regular traffic in both the city as well as on long highways.


Closing words
We really liked the Bolt as our regular commuter car. The car is competent both on highways and city traffic. It takes on all types of road with relative ease. The top-version has lots of features which make driving an enjoyable experience. 

Though the sales charts are nothing to write home about with Maruti and Hyundai doing large numbers in the premium hatchback segment, yet one cannot find anything in these chart-toppers which the Bolt does not offer. With the taxi aggregator business being looked at with keen interest, there is chance that this might cause current owners a bit of loss of premium value. 

But, after having this car for nearly a month now, we feel that it will be a rewarding experience for the owners who are looking for a complete and solid overall package.


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About Samir

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