LAUNCHPAD Tata Nano’s latest version gives it a more upmarket feel but the car awaits further updates to sort out mechanical issues

The Tata Nano, when first launched, held a lot of promise. After all, it was (and still is) the most affordable car on sale, a tag that appeals to the majority of car buyers here. But the small car hasn’t quite lived up to all the hype. Tata has been consistent in giving the car minor updates, but they’ve mostly comprised cosmetic changes. Now, the carmaker has decided to reposition the Nano and target the urban youth with this as an attractive first car.

When the Nano was updated in 2012, it was given a marginal bump in power and torque, reworked gearing, revised suspension with a front anti-roll bar and changes to the intake and exhaust systems. It all added up to a tangible difference to the way the car felt. However, this time around, there have been no mechanical changes whatsoever, and that’s disappointmenting.

We had really hoped this was the year Tata finally gave its plucky little people’s car a power steering system, which we hear is now coming in October. Instead, the company has slightly bumped up the steering wheel’s diameter to reduce the steering effort required, but it still feels too heavy at parking speeds.

So what’s different? The new car comes with chrome strips at the front and the rear, the updated rear bumper gets additional perforations to keep the engine cool and it’s being offered in two new colours as well – Royal Gold and Dazzle Blue. The Dazzle Blue version gets an optional all-black interior on the LX variant for a sportier appearance.

In a bid to make the Nano feel more like a conventional car and at the request of customers, Tata has now added dual glove boxes on the CX and LX trims. However, these fill up the two big recesses on the dashboard, and have a much smaller capacity. It would perhaps have been wiser to include just one glovebox, rather than two because now there’s no space to dump a small bag. There’s also a four-speaker audio system on the LX that, impressively, supports USB, aux-in and Bluetooth streaming.

The ergonomics have also improved slightly with the power window switches now placed behind the gear lever, while a 12V socket occupies the space ahead of it. Tata is certainly taking the Nano seriously by giving it updates annually — something very few manufacturers can claim to do. The latest version does see a step up when it comes to equipment and styling, and the most affordable car in India now feels more upmarket. However, these updates have not addressed some of the more crucial mechanical issues with the car. It remains to be seen whether this year’s updates are enough to change the Nano’s fortunes.

Price Rs. 2.17 lakh (est, ex-showroom, Delhi)

L/W/H 3099/1495/1652mm

Wheelbase 2230mm

Engine 2-cyls, 624cc, petrol

Power 37bhp at 5500rpm

Torque 5.2kgm at 4000rpm

Transmission 4-speed manual

Kerb weight635kg

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