Tata Bolt review: This is a car that will get noticed


tata-boltHypothetical situation – what if the Bolt did not have the Tata badge on it, would it make you look at this car a bit more keenly? Well you should.

The Bolt then is what Tata Motors hopes will bring about a difference in the way it’s perceived in the Indian market. The Zest sedan which came before the Bolt has already established the fact that Tata Motors can make a car that can stand up to the competition in the sub 4-metre sedan segment. 10,000 plus bookings for the Zest upto September 2014 is clear validation that the Zest has made its mark in the market. The agenda set for the Bolt however, is a bit more different and should I say, bold!

Tata Motors’ intentions for the Bolt are clear and daring, they want the car to appeal to those passionate about driving. They are looking to hook the enthusiast. Yes they’d appreciate the business those looking for a hatchback to commute in will bring them, but deep inside they are hoping it will set the segment on fire. So can the Bolt hope to do that?

Here’s a good question for a conversation starter, which do you think was drawn up first by Tata Motors? The Zest sedan or the Bolt hatchback, the chicken or the egg? Conventional wisdom has shown us that most sedans are afterthoughts post a hatchback. In the case of Tata Motors, the Zest sedan was the first step and then it was downsized to make the Bolt.

The Bolt will remind you, in many ways, of the Indica – it has that sort of familiarity in its form. At first glance the Tata Bolt looks like the portly Gujarati kid who’s been hitting the treadmills with a vengeance and has little tufts of muscle peeking out of his shirt sleeves. The Tata Bolt has got character, and that allows it to stand out. This is a car that will get noticed, there is no mistaking that positively glowing and well etched front face. The slight power bulge on the hood, the wrap-around headlamps and most of all, the bumper with the inverted smile and the scooped out recesses to house the driving lamps give it some serious aggression. This car means business and it looks the part too.

There’s a generous amount of interior room in the Bolt, more so than the Zest because of the hatchback profile.

The rear seat has also been modified to fit the hatchback mould, so the seats are a bit upright but offer decent support especially in the under thigh area beneficial on long drives. Ingress and egress are also comfortable and even if your knees aren’t as young as your heart is, getting into and out of the Bolt is no issue.

What is of interest to us though is the turbocharged Revotron petrol engine with its three driving modes and the manual transmission. With the coming reversal in purchasing trends, the petrol engine is going to play a larger role for Tata Motors products and the turbocharged petrol is poised to lead this change.

The Tata Bolt has tremendous potential if the customers just accept it as something Tata Motors has tried in an entirely new direction. To that effect here is an interesting bit of information I came across recently – apparently people way up the ladder within Tata Motors wanted to present the Bolt and the Zest as cars from an entirely new brand. They wanted to give the Zest and the Bolt the opportunity to thrive sans some of the baggage the Tata brand carries. Had they done that, I think the Zest and the Bolt would have had a far easier route map charted out for them today. The Bolt nonetheless shows us clearly that with a broader, more global view and lots of passion, positive change is imminent. The Tata Bolt is just a precursor of the things to come from Tata Motors in the future, and there is a lot more in store. On the Bolt though, there is still a lot more we have to share with you but for that we’re waiting to get even more intimate with it. We’re only just warming up to it!