The Aria is a familiar name to those who’ve been following what Tata Motors have been doing for over a decade now. The first automobile from the Tata stables to be called the Aria was a lovely two-seater convertible concept car which was displayed at the Geneva Motorshow ten years ago. The next year, in 2001 Tata Motors displayed the Aria Coupe concept and that was the last time we heard of a Tata product called the Aria – until now! Tata Motors have christened their new Crossover vehicle, the Aria which internally was referred to in hushed voices as the X2 platform (the X1 being the Vista platform). Some may be more familiar with names for the Aria such as the Xover (crossover) and the IndiCruz since the Xover concept made its debut at the Geneva Motorshow in 2005. In 2006, Tata Motors once again displayed a derivative of their Xover concept, albeit with a pick-up style cargo bed and called it a Cliffrider – which was clearly a lifestyle vehicle. And between then and now, what they’ve been working really hard at, in the last five years is some real mile-munching to create a vehicle that is today their flagship product and a technological tour-de-force for Tata branded passenger automobiles.
The first Tata vehicle to wear the Aria badge was this lovely sports car concept ten years ago.
The Tata Crossover Concept from the 2005 Geneva Motorshow is the root of the Aria project.
The Aria is a very significant product for Tata Motors, not just for the Indian market, but for their key export markets in Europe as well. A closer look at the pictures of the Xover and the Cliffrider will tell you that the final lines and quite a bit of the exterior detailing of the Aria were frozen back then. However, it is good to see Tata Motors finally launch a seven-seater MPV – although the Aria is a lot more than just that thanks to all the four-wheel drive underpinnings and is a true crossover in every sense of the word. It can seat seven people in comfort like an MPV, have fairly car-like driving dynamics and still take on some of the rough stuff like an SUV – the best of all worlds really. The last time Tata Motors displayed an MPV wearing the ‘T’ badge; it was the Calypso way back in 1993. A product that was ahead of its time back then but was never launched, which is quite sad, since it would have jump-started the people mover segment a long time ago. Tata Motors were quite kind to let us have a go at the Aria to bring you readers this review. So do keep reading to see whether the Aria really does live up to its tagline of offering the consumer ‘The Finesse of a Sedan with the muscle of an SUV.’
The Tata Calypso concept in 1993 was Tata's first attempt at an MPV. Sadly it never saw production. (Picture Source: Car & Bike International Magazine - January 1994)