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Tata Bolt 1.2 Revotron Petrol Review

The premium hatchback segment has been a steady performer for the auto industry with some of the action shifting towards the compact sedan and compact SUV/crossover segments. Nonetheless, the hatchback does garner enough demand for any auto manufacturer to not take it lightly.
Tata has been searching for the right products in this segment and the Bolt and Zest have been launched on a new platform while maintaining some elements of their Indica heritage.
The front of the Bolt gives enough evidence of the Indica legacy. Similar to the Vista and Manza, it looks big from the outside and can easily be put among the widest in the category.
Stylish projector headlamps and chrome bits on the front grill help it to stand at par with other premium hatchbacks. Two bold and perfectly parallel lines running along the side gives it a sporty, aerodynamic feel. Factory fitted alloys add to the athletic look. Ground clearance is ample and is pretty evident when viewed from the rear end. Door Pillars and rear pillars have been given a black finish much like the contemporaries Swift and Grand i10. Rear spoiler is understated and you could almost miss it.

Top version XT has two front Fog lamps and one rear fog lamp on the lower black plastic portion of the rear bumper. The doors are nicely proportioned with the windows providing ample viewing angles without the driver having to stretch too much. However, the doors do not feel entry level as one may perceive about Tata cars and match the standards of the international manufacturers.
Overall, Tata has done a good job to ensure that the Bolt does not fall short as far as exterior styling is concerned.
The interiors are a single tone finish with the body plastic and seat fabric having the same sober black shade and it gives a bit of a European feel to the cabin.
The plastic thankfully does not feel cheap which means that buyers looking for a premium top end version will not be turned off as they may have been in the past.
The AC vents are positioned at the top portion of the dash leaving a considerable space for the infotainment system. The top end XT comes with Harman system with LCD touchscreen and is a seriously loaded system. 

The instrumentation is not too cluttered and has the most frequently used controls such as volume, AC temperature, Fan speed controls within easy reach. A slight inconvenience may be caused by the location of the USB and Aux inputs which are a tad too low and could be difficult to locate during night.
The gear knob position is ergonomically perfect and a major relief for long distance driving.

The power windows are quick, smooth and responsive. The armrests on the all the doors are nice and wide and perform an important job of adding to driving comfort. Chrome finished door latches give a premium car feel.
The bottle holders are small and do not accommodate 1 litre mineral water bottles comfortably. Also, the storage space for your smartphone, wallet is a bit awkwardly located under the parking brake which means you reach out for your phone/wallet comfortably only  when the parking brake has been applied. The glove box is decently sized and a special slot for securing your car's documents is an innovative addition to it.
As we have come to expect from premium hatchbacks, the seats are adjustable for height and reclining angle and the headrests too can be positioned for driver comfort. They do provide good support on the lower back and on the sides, but they could have been truly international class had they been designed for good under-thigh support. A tall person can easily feel a small portion of the seat missing under his thighs.
The clutch, brake and accelerator are well positioned. The clutch travel is just enough to ensure foot comfort and does not necessitate lifting your heel above the floor.
Now, we come to a very important portion of the interior – which is the steering wheel. The Bolt comes with an Electronic Power Steering (EPS) which is like most of the EPS in the contemporary cars is light and effortless to steer. The higher versions have volume and other controls on the steering wheel.
Tata cars have always been able to handle the Indian roads with ease and the Bolt carries this characteristic in its DNA. Bumpy tar roads with repaired patches, uneven paver-block sections, small potholes and small rumbler strips are handled with consummate ease.
The suspension is slightly soft sprung considering the emphasis on comfort as it vies to compete in the premium hatchback segment. This translates into a comfortable ride quality in the city, though there is a marginal compromise of high-speed stability on the highways. It also becomes evident while riding on twisty ghat sections when you do feel the car is not really too eager to be thrown into the turns.
As we mentioned earlier, the EPS power steering is very light to operate though not the best in the business. Still, we felt that it has scope for better refinement in terms of precision and response.  
The noise, vibration and harshness levels (NVH) achieved by the Bolt under various road conditions are generally satisfactory if not extremely impressive.
The idea was to test the Bolt on a long drive under various road and traffic conditions. The route planned was Mumbai to Goa and back via the Pune-Satara-Kolhapur-Nipani-Amboli ghat- Sawantwadi route.
Mumbai-Pune Expressway
The car performs satisfactorily on the Expressway without any hitches. It may not outpace the other hatches outright but still it managed to climb the gradient at Lonavla with ease.  Tyre noise can be felt slightly more inside the cabin when running on concrete, though it is an issue with which most hatches and compact sedans struggle with including the likes of Honda Brio. Nevertheless, Bolt is a steady performer on wide expressways and cruise speeds of 120 kmph can be achieved without stressing the engine too much.
Pune Bangalore highway
This is a four lane highway with varying levels of traffic and road conditions. There are a lot of flyovers under construction in the 150kms stretch between Pune and Satara causing numerous diversions. Driving over these rough uneven patches was no hassle and the Bolt made easy work of them. The 175/65 R15 tyres provided enough grip over dusty, gravel-sprinkled roads. The AC provided with quick cooling under the hot afternoon sun and made the journey quite comfortable. Thankfully, the road from  Kolhapur onwards is a beautifully made four laned highway and we cruised at a nice pace while enjoying the landscape.
Nipani - Amboli ghat - Goa
We take right turn from Nipani in Karnataka to go towards Goa. The road from here onwards is a tarmac two lane road without divider. There was moderate slow moving traffic and also some big tractor trailers carrying sugarcane to nearby sugar factory. The road is twisty in some sections and even on these roads the ride quality did not suffer. However, due the high ground clearance and comfort-oriented suspension setup, the Bolt does not really inspire you to attack the corners at high speeds. It does have enough punch to overtake the slower moving buses and tempos ahead of you.
What impressed us most was the way it handled this type of uneven, unpredictable road. The ride quality ensured that we never really felt the harshness of the road and, though this section is nearly 120 kms, there was little fatigue for the driver as well as the passengers. Tata seems to have made use of all the years of commercial vehicle experience to come out with a vehicle which can handle city roads, expressways and village roads at the same time with panache.
The Bolt may not a handsome dude like a loaded top end Fiat Punto Evo or a stylish, well-suited up gentleman like the Hyundai Grand i10. However, it does establish itself as the hardworking, diligent, well-mannered new-age Indian who has found his own sense of style without trying hard to copy the West. Coming from the Indica lineage and familiarity of looks, the comparisons are going to be inevitable. However, a discerning car buyer would surely be delighted by the overall value-for-money proposition which the Bolt Petrol has to offer. 

1 comment:

  1. Why fuel economy is not mentioned anywhere?


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