The Altroz iTurbo is a combination of power and performance

The Altroz is a striking looking hatchback with ample space offering an excellent ride and handling balance; a fly in the ointment was the sole petrol engine on offer. Now however, there is a new turbo-petrol which promises improved performance. So what is it like?

On paper it certainly delivers. Power is bumped up to 110hp while torque has risen from 113Nm to 140Nm. Coming to its performance, there is good news and bad. The good bit is that the extra power is certainly apparent — the car no longer feels underpowered. Demand more, however, and it will leave you wanting. The trouble is that, while performance is an improvement over the naturally aspirated unit, it is still not as strong as some other small displacement turbo-petrols. Also, the Altroz uses indirect or port injection, which is not as sophisticated as the direct-injection turbo-petrols of its rivals.

The Altroz iTurbo is a combination of power and performance

Riding the torque wave

Look at the Altroz Turbo as a more powerful version of the regular Altroz and it starts making sense. The turbocharger rewards you with a nice step up in power, which improves even at a high-ish 4,800rpm. At low revs there is some turbo lag but it is not excessive, and at around 1,800 rpm you get a nice shove. The strong mid-range and good part throttle response mean you do not have to use the 5-speed gearbox and can merrily amble along on a wave of torque.

The Altroz iTurbo gets two drive modes — City and Sport (the regular car has Eco and City) — and we recommend using the latter as the default. It is not snappy and feels quite easy to drive, though you will have to watch the fuel consumption because turbo-petrols can be quite thirsty. In terms of outright performance, while Tata claims a sub-12sec 0-100kph time for the car, a quick test by us returned a time of 12.68 sec in Sport mode. The vibrations are well contained at idle and you can feel the gentle rock of the three-cylinder engine, though it is not disturbing. Press down on the throttle, however, and the engine feels a touch coarse. Overall refinement could certainly do with some improvement.

Coming to the dynamics, Tata says they have made small tweaks to the suspension and steering setup. As with the standard Altroz, the ride and handling are excellent, the well-judged suspension along with the stiff and taut body shell enable the car to sail over bad stretches with ease, and deliver a confident and mature ride. Sharp ruts and potholes, too, are not a bother. The steering is nice and light at low speeds and has sufficient weight at higher speeds, but the diesel Altroz still feels a smidgen better, thanks perhaps to the extra weight over the front wheels. All in all, the road manners of the Altroz are certainly a high point.

The Altroz iTurbo is a combination of power and performance

Stand-out car

The Turbo petrol is available in top three variants including a new top-end XZ+ trim, which sees the addition of a few new features such as Tata’s iRA connected-car technology, What Three Words navigation, an express cool button, new perforated leatherette seats and a new interior colour scheme. On the Turbo version of the XZ+, there are also two additional tweeters in the sweet-sounding Harman sound system.

There is a lot to like about the Altroz such as the excellent dynamics, generous boot and comfortable cabin. It clearly stands out from its peers, and also boasts a 5-star Global NCAP crash rating. The turbo power definitely transforms the way the car drives but quite frankly this isn’t the hot-hatch we expected, especially as a follow on to the Tiago JTP. The engine isn’t as smooth and strong, and there is no automatic option — the DCT variant is coming later in the year.

However, over its naturally aspirated sibling, the iTurbo is definitely a big step-up and the extra performance is nicely in-sync with the car’s sporty character. And with prices ranging from ₹7.73-8.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the iTurbo is about ₹60,000 dearer than the regular petrol Altroz which is a fair deal for the improved performance.

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    Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 8:34:43 AM |

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