The Vista was a quantum leap ahead for a Tata hatchback, but it still lacked something that would pull in the buyers in the numbers. The Bolt, however, is all that and then some – Tata has retained only the basic shape of the Vista in the Bolt; all else is reworked.
It starts with the nose: the double-barrel headlamps now have projector lenses for the low beam. The grille has changed, as have the fog lamp recesses in the front bumper, which has a hexagonal grille opening below the front number plate. The large headlamps come to the fore from the front three-quarter angle, which balances the front and rear design well. The side indicators are now mirror-mounted, and the C-pillars are blacked out, which gives it a semi ‘floating roof’ effect. The wheels and tyres fill out the wheel wells much better, and there is a big change at the rear – the vertical tail-lamp stack has made way for a smaller unit. Enough effort has been put into the rear styling so that it doesn’t look like an afterthought.
The biggest visual change is on the inside: gone is the central instrument binnacle, replaced by one that is in the original place: in front of the driver. The steering wheel is a new three-spoke design that is reminiscent of premium cars and has audio controls on it. A bright beige panel runs across the width of the car, livening things up considerably. The fit, finish and quality of the interior has gone up considerably – we hope this remains on the production cars! The centre console houses a headunit that has been co-developed by Harman, and it offers voice recognition, touchscreen controls and satellite navigation. The steering assist is now electrical; developed by ZF, it will certainly offer better fuel economy and we expect it to better the hydraulic system under most conditions as well.
The biggest technological change is the new 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Revotron engine. This is a petrol engine, despite Tata being dubbed a diesel manufacturer. Power and torque figures are par for the segment, but we expect power delivery and efficiency figures to be among the best.
Tata has gone on record to say that they aim to be the best in the segments they are present in. That they are aiming for world-class products, rather than merely best in class. With the Bolt show car, they’ve managed to give it something that Tata cars doesn’t usually have: desirability. Should it retain that when it goes on sale, a lot of people are going to bolt to the nearest Tata dealer to book one. We will not have long to wait for the price – a Diwali launch seems imminent.