A bright red Tata Bolt slipped quietly into our long-term fleet the night before we were to leave for the Auto Expo. And though it wasn’t summoned for the 3,000km roundtrip to New Delhi right then, the Bolt has had a busy run up until now as a frequent camera car for our outstation shoots, besides getting on with the daily grind as my commuting tool.
Introduced as a fitting replacement to the Vista, the Bolt has been in the market for well over a year now. That said, these twelve-odd months haven’t exactly been easy on this car. Despite the best of Tata’s efforts, the Bolt isn’t selling in big numbers. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped us from having one to run through our long-term regime.
Our top-spec XT variant isn’t powered by the more popular (and efficient) 1.3-litre turbo diesel engine, but a quieter 1.2-litre petrol unit which also happens to be turbocharged. Now despite the force-induced goodness from the turbo, this engine is only a tad more powerful than similarly sized naturally aspirated motors. However, the upshot here is the supplementary torque in the bottom-end and the mid-range that comes in handy in stop-and-go traffic.
Petrol engine aside, our top-spec Bolt XT is well loaded although at nearly Rs 7.50 lakh on-road Mumbai, it ought to be. Other than the usual assortment of features (Read: power windows, fog lights and alloy wheels), there’s climate control, electric wing mirrors and a very well laid-out touchscreen infotainment system. I really like the brilliant 8-speaker audio system that’s undoubtedly way better than what the competition has to offer, when it comes to sound quality.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to the build quality and fit and finish, however, it’s too early to gauge our Bolt’s long-term reliability. Keeping the odd squeak from the rear seat base aside, the Bolt has behaved the same ever since its arrival and if I’m honest, it feels fairly solid and well put together so far. That said, the next couple of months might tell a different story as I’m looking forward to making a couple of long trips, besides spending a lot time driving in the city.
Tata Bolt XT Petrol
Date acquired: February 2016
Odometer reading: 7866km
Distance travelled: 3650km
Fuel efficiency: 12-13kmpl
Faults: Apart from the squeaking rear seat base, none.