The Tata Altroz’s fly in the ointment was the performance from the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. Don’t get us wrong, it was just about adequate for city use, but if you...
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Altroz iTurbo Review
Why would I buy it?
- Fantastic looks
- Spacious cabin
- Very good driving manners
Why would I avoid it?
- Ride quality can be more compliant
- Still not quick enough for enthusiasts
- Still misses out on a sunroof and wireless charging
The Tata Altroz’s fly in the ointment was the performance from the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. Don’t get us wrong, it was just about adequate for city use, but if you needed anything more from it, it just fell short. Now, Tata has plonked the turbo unit from the Nexon on the hatchback’s first anniversary. Even with the performance bump, the Altroz iTurbo isn't the most exciting hatchback out there. But what it is now is an extremely well-rounded premium hatchback that will appeal to an even wider range of audience.
Engine and Performance
Under the hood of the forced-induced Altroz is the same engine that you also see in the Nexon. A 1.2 litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 109bhp and 140Nm of torque mated to a five-speed manual transmission with an automatic option to be introduced later. Now, this is a significant bump in power when you compare it to the naturally aspirated 1.2-litre engine, but let’s look at the competition. So the Polo 1 litre TSI makes the same amount of power, 109 bhp but significantly more torque at 175Nm. The new i20 also gets a 1-litre turbo unit, but that makes a whopping 118bhp and 172Nm of torque. So compared to its turbocharged competition, suddenly the Altroz feels a little ordinary, but is it?
Not really, the bump in power is noticeable. The Altroz iTurbo responds very well the moment you dab the throttle. Acceleration off the mark feels brisk and the car builds speed quickly. The turbo means, the midrange is strong and drivability is a strong suit. The Altroz turbo also gets a sports mode which does sharpen the throttle response. Tata claims a 0-100kmph time of sub 12 seconds which isn’t the quickest but quick enough.
What could have been better though is the gear shift quality. The shift feels rubbery and the gear throw could also have been shorter to make for a sportier driving experience. The engine note too isn’t very pleasant, and more of a mechanical thrum. Refinement though isn’t an issue and the Altroz does well here. What is impressive though is that even with the significant bump in power, Tata claims that the Altroz iTurbo delivers a claimed fuel efficiency of 18.13 kmpl which is excellent but something we still need to verify.
Ride and Handling
Now talking about the ride and handling, Tata tells us that there are no major changes made to either the suspension or the brakes. Which means ride quality is still on the stiffer side. While small undulation and uneven patches aren't an issue, the Altroz does thud and crash over the ruts and sharp concrete joints. The steering too is on the heavier side and at slow speeds, it does press its weight. While there isn't too much feel, the heavy steering and the stiff suspension do make the Altroz a very neutral handler. It changes direction quickly and one can enjoy the twisties.
Interior Space and Quality
Now let’s take a look at the interiors. First up, ingress-egress is an absolute breeze. The dash design remains the same and it looks good and also has a nice clean layout. No soft-touch materials apart from the door pads. The 7-inch touch screen looks a little small now but works pretty well. The instrument console offers a bunch of information but it looks pretty boring, Tata could have at least added more colours to make it look better. You also have plenty of storage places all around which makes it very practical.
It’s ergonomically fine too, apart from two things. The stalks are a little too short and don't reach the fingers comfortably. And then there is the horn pad which again is too small and does not fall naturally to the thumbs. New for 2021 is those black and light grey interiors along with the perforated leatherette seats. Talking about the seats further, they are comfortable and offer good support even during long hours of driving. Even the view is nice and clear, thanks to the large windscreen area and the outside rearview mirrors deserve a special mention as well.
It’s when you sit at the back that you realise the Altroz is indeed a very spacious car. You have more than enough legroom and the thanks to the Altroz being a wide car three people can sit in reasonable comfort which is excellent for a hatchback. Even the boot space at 340 litres is pretty adequate for hatchback proportions.
Features and Equipment
For 2021 the Altroz gets a bunch of features added. Making its way in the Altroz is the new connected car technology. So you now have IRA or Intelligent Real-time assist. Now, this has been developed in India for the Indian market so the Altroz can understand voice commands not just in English, but Hindi and Hinglish as well. Apart from that, there is the seven-inch touch screen infotainment system linked to Harman tuned speakers and the Altroz Turbo variants get additional tweeters. Another new feature is the Xpress Cool which helps the cabin to reach comfort temperatures quickly by optimally setting the air conditioning to maximum cooling. You also get auto headlamps and wipers, cruise control, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, customizable infotainment theme where you can set up your wallpaper and turn by turn navigation in the instrument cluster, one-touch power-up windows and more.
However, it does have a few important things missing. The Altroz even for 2021 misses out on a sunroof. Now that isn’t a practical feature but it does offer feel-good factor and its something that users are demanding. The Altroz also misses out on the wireless phone charging feature which we think should have made it to the list.
The Tata Altroz Turbo finally gets the engine it should have always come with. It now finally has some go to match all that show. However, it’s still not the ideal choice if you are an enthusiast. The engine and gearbox work well but there is still room for better refinement and we’re still waiting for the automatic variant. On the features front too, the infotainment screen at 7 inches now feels small and there is no sunroof or wireless charging which should have been in the list of features. But despite all that we hope Tata prices the Altroz iTurbo competitively because it makes for an ideal family hatchback that is spacious, has the essential features and more than enough performance for daily driving and the occasional weekend sprint. Prices for the Altroz Turbo will be unveiled on 22 Jan and we expect Tata to price it between 8-9 lakh which should make it a very good value.
Pictures by Kapil Angane