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    Tata Altroz Racer First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Ninad Ambre

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    Tata Altroz Right Front Three Quarter
    Tata Altroz Right Front Three Quarter
    Tata Altroz Right Side View
    Tata Altroz Right Rear Three Quarter
    Tata Altroz Left Front Three Quarter
    Tata Altroz Left Front Three Quarter
    Tata Altroz Front View
    Tata Altroz Dashboard

    Why would I buy it?

    • Engine response
    • Features
    • High-speed stability

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Mild design changes
    • No automatic option

    What is it?

    Left Front Three Quarter

    The Tata Altroz Racer, as the name suggests, is a racier version of the standard hatchback with a more powerful engine, cosmetic changes, and additional features. This signature orange with black accents is a good-looking colour combo, but the white-black and grey-black combinations look better. I don't have qualms in mentioning that differently styled alloys would have been a refreshing update instead of the darker shade. Also, the racing lines livery could have been optional.

    Closed Hood/Bonnet

    The 'Racer' doesn't have drool-worthy styling, although the updates have been tastefully done. It gets new side skirts and an extended spoiler on the roof to add to that 'racy' appeal. Then, a 'Racer' badge has been provided on the front fenders to differentiate it from the regular Altroz. There are blacked-out badges and an 'i-Turbo+' badge on the tailgate to denote a more powerful engine under the hood.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Is the cabin of the Altroz Racer any good?

    Dashboard

    The Racer is based on the standard Altroz but with improvements in terms of features. So, getting in and out is still a breeze thanks to the wide-opening doors and high roof clearance. You'll be greeted by a roomy cabin with good-quality materials inside. There is good all-around visibility and a nice sense of spaciousness, and the driving position is comfortable too. All controls are within easy reach and there's ample storage space throughout.

    Rear Seats

    The second row offers comfortable seating for two adults with enough space to squeeze in a third person if needed. Even for someone of my height (5'8”), there's sufficient knee room, shoulder room, headroom, and a nicely reclined backrest for a relaxed ride. The leatherette seats up the premium feel inside the all-black cabin and the ambience has changed thanks to orange dashboard highlights, including the accents and orange lighting.

    Infotainment System

    The new features on board the Altroz Racer include a nice high-resolution 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment, which supports wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Then, there's a fully digital instrument cluster, which is very exhaustive in terms of information and yet clear to read. The car also comes equipped with amenities such as automatic AC with rear vents, cruise control, and an eight-speaker sound system. Its safety kit includes six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS with EBD, and a five-star GNCAP rating. However, the entry-level R1 variant misses out on the front grille-mounted camera for the 360-degree camera with blind view monitor, seven-inch fully digital driver’s display, wireless phone charging, air purifier, and a voice-activated sunroof that the top-spec R3 Racer variant gets.

    Sunroof/Moonroof

    Nevertheless, automatic climate control, rear vents, rear defogger, and a rear wiper with a washer are standard features. Right from the entry-level R1, the Racer boasts leatherette seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a front sliding armrest. The R3, in addition, gets first-in-the-segment ventilated front seats, which customers looking for a premium hatchback will appreciate.

    Is the Altroz Racer good to drive?

    Engine Shot

    The Tata Altroz Racer uses a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine that we've seen on the TataNexon. It makes 118bhp and 170Nm of torque and only comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Tata's product development team mentioned that the air intakes are from the standard Altroz, but otherwise, the powertrain is from the new Nexon and helps up the game in terms of performance. The dual-tip exhaust, which you see in the pictures, provides a sportier note compared to the regular version of the hatchback. It's not loud but puts a mild smile on your face every time you rev it.

    Front View

    The thing that I was concerned about was the engine performance but I’m glad Tata Motors has worked on it in comparison to the i-turbo. And when I say that, I don't just mean the power output, pops and bags, or even the 0-100kmph sprint times. It's the driving feel from a properly tuned engine with good power delivery and impressive throttle response. The older Altroz i-turbo didn't manage this well but the carmaker has now made amends with the Altroz Racer. The power delivery in this i-turbo+ feels linear, lacks flat spots, and doesn't feel jerky.

    Gear Shifter/Gear Shifter Stalk

    With the new hydraulic clutch, the action at the pedal is quick but the gear shifts still feel notchy. The automatic could have eliminated this and we hope the carmaker will introduce a DCA with this soon. Nevertheless, thanks to the readily available torque from lower rpm, the car gets going without having to make frequent gearshifts. It allows you to rev till around 5,500rpm where it gets noisy and feels unrefined. However, you'd mostly be at low rpms as the turbo lag isn't prominent. It easily does 80kmph in fifth gear at around 2,000rpm and 100kmph in the same gear at 2,500rpm with high-speed cruising easily doable. The claimed 0-100kmph sprint is 11.3 seconds, but Narain (who co-developed the car) managed to do it within 10.15 seconds.The product team mentioned there is no major change to the suspension and handling of the Racer as compared to the Altroz.

    Right Side View

    There remains a slight firmness at low speeds but still deals with our uneven road conditions without a fuss. The ground clearance with the side skirts continues as is at 165mm, again, not scraping anywhere we went. On the race track, Narain gave it the stick, yet the body roll remained well within limits, and the Racer remained planted even at triple-digit speeds. The responsive steering has been calibrated for a connected feel, is light, and weighs up nicely at high speeds. Though more than three lock-to-lock turns continue, it is quick to respond and doesn't add to the effort while parking the car. Furthermore, the carmaker hasn't equipped the Racer with rear discs and despite that the existing set-up manages confidence-inspiring braking.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Should you buy the Altroz Racer?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The Racer is a go-faster version of the Altroz and provides buyers with more than outright performance, drivability, and on-road stability. The positives of the Altroz, such as the spacious cabin, compact footprint, safety, and more, continue with more delightful features. The entry-level R1 variant of the Altroz Racer is priced at Rs. 9.49 lakh (introductory ex-showroom, pan India), the R2 costs Rs. 10.49 lakh, and the top-spec R3, Rs. 10.99 lakh. So, it's not very expensive, and in fact, undercuts its direct rival the Hyundai i20 N Line by a margin. It is a good hot hatch proposition for enthusiasts and premium car buyers alike.

    Pictures by Kapil Angane

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