The GenX Nano gets a five-speed AMT transmission, which Tata likes to call Easy Shift. Like its elder sibling, this one is also sourced from Magneti Marelli and is deemed to be the biggest USP for the hatchback.
Frankly, I never had very high hopes from the AMT Nano – the engine is tiny with just about enough power to keep it viable. The addition of the auto transmission means more transmission losses and more importantly gearshift-lag in an already slow car. But drive it in its natural habitat (city roads) and the GenX impresses with the convenience it offers.
Slot the car in drive mode get off the brake and the ‘creep’ function takes over. Basically the engine gets enough fuel to keep moving at crawling speed; letting you negotiate the bumper-to-bumper traffic effortlessly. This is a standard function in the conventional automatics, but here in an entry-level AMT, it is kind of a big deal. It works well on the flat roads, but not so well on the gradients; there is hardly any torque and the car starts moving backwards without throttle input.
At city speeds drivability is good. Torque delivery is smooth and there are no jerky moments, the gearshifts do take time but not in a way that would be a cause of bother. One can feel the gearshifts though; it is like someone is manually disengaging the clutch and shifting the gear on your behalf. Adding to the comforts of having an automatic are the inherent dynamics of the Nano – it is extremely small, has a tall-boy driving position, gets a super-light power steering and offers turning radius of just four metres. All these together make the Nano the best city car by miles and the short trip around Pune city through few of the most clogged roads turned out to be a breeze.
On the flipside, if you are in a hurry the Nano is not much of a help. Floor the throttle and it takes too much time to select the right gear and then there isn’t much power, so the opportunity of quick overtake is already lost by the time the car starts surging forward. It does have a Sports Mode that makes things marginally better, but planning your every move is critically important. The transmission also offers the opportunity of manually changing the gears, however I would advise not fiddling with the same.
The GenX Nano AMT uses the same 624cc engine to deliver 37bhp and 51Nm of torque. The AMT has five-speed ratios as compared to the four-speed manual, so all the transmission losses are negated by the extra ratio. It has ARAI rated efficiency of 21.9kpl and with the new bigger 24 litre fuel tank, it should have a respectable range of over 350km in real world conditions. Other mechanical changes include moving the engine radiator to the front and a new exhaust system for better thermal management.
Tata seems to have worked on the suspension and the ride quality has improved compared to the previous car. The suspension feels firm and does manage to flatten all the potholes and speed humps, also the lateral movement has reduced and passengers on the rear seats will feel more comfortable. The car rides on the 12-inch JK Tyres, wherein the profile of the front tyres 135/-70 is marginally lesser than the 155/-65 profile at the rear.
I won’t comment much on the handling. The tyres provide sufficient grip though Tata needs to upgrade the brakes. It does require some effort to bring the car to a standstill especially with full load.