Tata Nano AMT Short Review

genex-nano-2 genex-nano-11-large Had followed the pre-launch buzz about the Nano automatic from the time it was mentioned in the Auto Show in January 2014. Was hoping Tata would keep the price reasonable. Several months later finally after the launch was done I signed up on the Tata Nano Website for a Test Drive. Tata representatives called within a couple of days and organized the test drive. It took a couple of back and forth calls to schedule the time but finally it was to be done around 8 PM in the evening. The sales representative was very enthusiastic and interested in explaining the features of the Sangria Red Nano that was brought for the Test Drive. One point he kept repeating for me and for my father was to not use the left foot but to use only the right foot for both acceleration and braking. It was okay for me as I have spent 6 years driving an automatic Honda Civic, it took a few hundred meters for my father who has never driven an automatic to get used to it. But he managed just fine.


I started off and had to do a turn in the middle of our street to go out of the colony. The power steering made the turn very easy (I compared this with the manual non power steering Gen 1 Nano owned by my Father In Law which took some effort to turn). Starting off from a stop was decent and the acceleration though slow was adequate. Had to keep expectation in check as other cars I have driven recently have easily another 50+ BHP.  


AC was cooling rapidly even before we covered 500m and was on blower setting 1 ! In total got to drive around 3 km of the XTA. This included one steep flyover. Didn’t feel the car struggled at that time with me, my father and the sales guy in the vehicle. On flat surface however did wish it had a bit more power but for the city traffic. For a relaxed drive felt it was more than enough. Headlamps were more than adequate. Like any unfamiliar car the brakes took some time to get used to but once you got familiar with it it was easy. Horn was a pathetic bleating sound from the single horn but still enough.

My Father with Nano after the TD

Throttle response was a bit better with the S mode. Manual mode was fine but figured best would be to put in Auto mode and drive peacefully (instead of using the AMT like a manual). Having the ability to use the 1st gear for a steep incline in manual mode is definitely useful. Didn’t get to try it however. Read about the AMT vehicles rolling back a bit before starting on inclines – some changes in driving style may be needed but for a new driver to get used to it should be easy. More power and better brakes would be welcome but will have to compromise on that as there is no other option at this price. For city only driving felt the car with AMT is brilliant. Interiors have improved over the original Nano. Sound of the engine is not very apparent in the cabin.  The exhaust note has changed from an auto sounding note to something that sounds a lot more muted. Likes:

  • Easy to drive in traffic with AMT
  • Turns with the power steering are very easy and will be a very nice car for city traffic. I have driven the non power steering version and feel power steering is a must and really feel Tata should have launched it with Power Steering right at the beginning.
  • Amazing AC(probably the best across segments). Very quick cooling even at the first blower position
  • Great Interior Passenger Space
  • Good seating position and easy to enter
  • Folding Rear Seat (sorely missed on earlier version)
  • Openable rear hatch (sorely missed on earlier version)


  • Waiting period of 8-12 weeks (on a minimum)
  • Low on power(may be difficult to take steep roads with full load of passengers) Sufficient for flat roads.
  • Mileage may not be all that great (real world expect around 14 to 15 with city traffic and full auto mode)
  • Lack of all Safety features
  • Not so powerful brakes(drums only)
  • Luggage space (hatch) is only for city use(groceries etc)
  • Fuel filling still needs bonnet to be opened.
  • Limited color selections(for me at least). Felt they should have a lot of bright cheerful colors. Right now only the red, blue, purple are bright colors. Will not be caught dead in the pink (called Persian Rose).

My FIL who had bought the first gen Nano(as a second car) when it first came out went ahead and sold it in the end of August and booked an XTA Silver. He was been told it will take 2 months. He waited for 2 weeks and then was struggling a bit at home without the second car called up the Tata dealership and was not able to get a confirmed date of delivery – cancelled the automatic booking and went in for the GenX with power steering and Openable Hatch. He is pretty happy with it.

Requesting anyone here has family/friends driving GenX Nano XTA/XMA to please provide their inputs.


PS: For those wanting a long detailed test drives read the reviews here Team-BHP / Indian Autos Blog / Motorbeam I had earlier posted about Mr. Thomas Chacko and his Mano Et Nano trip around India in a Tata Nano. Do read this in case you think the Nano is a sad excuse of a car. You will be amazed where the Nano has reached ! The book “Atop The World” by Mr Thomas Chacko is now available. . PPS: First Two photos are from the Tata Nano Website.

Tata Nano Superdrive

“The epic Tata Nano Superdrive will flag off from the Tata Motors plant at Sanand on the 2nd of June. Nine Tata Nanos will circumambulate India on three different routes on an enchanting 26 day long voyage and will visit 36 cities, covering an incredible distance of more than 15,000 Kilometers!

Each route has been named after a colour namely The Saffron Route, The White Route and the Green Route keeping with the theme of the trans-national adventure.

Along each route the Nanos will transverse through diverse terrains in extreme conditions be it mountains or plains, in dry or rain, in the most harsh terrains that can be the most grueling test for robustness, durability and reliability for any car. The peoples car of India will touch upon people and places by visiting prominent landmarks, historic places, Malls, etc at each city it visits. Everyone will get a chance to get a first hand experience of the Nano its exciting features and its exceptional capabilities.

The Nanos will be driven by winning customers and media personnel on pre-defined routes to experience the Nano in real-world driving conditions. On each route, accompanying the cars will be bloggers and photographers.

The Tata Nano has been a triumph of Indian ingenuity and the Superdrive commemorates a successful first year of sales of the Tata Nano which has already made its place in history books.”

I think Tata is using this event to prove that Nanos are reliable and sturdy vehicles. Would be fun to watch how it goes.

Accessorizing The Nano

If you are planning to buy a Tata Nano and want help deciding how to accessorize it-read on…

A lot depends on the trim level you plan to buy. If you go in for the base version, you spend less on the car upfront and have money to spare to accessorize. You could also go in for a middle-of-the-road variant as well and accessorize accordingly. If you can afford the top of the line variant and still are not satisfied with the accessories, you may want to look at a costlier car :-).

The 3 variants details known as of now are (Source: MotorBeam.com, Vicky.in):

Tata NANO at the Auto Expo 2008
Image via Wikipedia

Base ( On Road Price  Approx: Rs. 1,10,000)

    Seat Belts (ELR Front, Static Rear)
    Engine opening through rear bumper
    Speedometer and Odometer
    High mounted Rear Stop lamp
    Centrally placed exhaust
    Only Driver’s seat adjust-sliding and reclining
    Fixed front passenger seat
    Folding Rear Seats
    2-Spoke Steering wheel
    Grey bumpers and interiors
    Driver side outside rear view mirror

CX(Adds the following on the Base)( On Road Price  Approx: Rs. 1,30,000)

    HVAC (Air conditioner with heater)
    Tinted Glass
    Both Driver and Co-driver seats slide and recline
    2 tone grey interiors and seats
    Optional Metallic paint.
    Hopefully the CX gets body colored bumpers.

LX (Along with the features of Base CX Adds the following)( On Road Price  Approx: Rs. 1,60,000)

    Front Power windows
    Central Locking
    Front and Rear fog lamps
    3-Spoke Steering wheel
    Moulded door trim with fabric inserts
    Floor console with glass holder
    Anti-Glare inside rear view mirror
    Sun-visors on both sides

You have to define your vehicle budget as the first step. Based on that you

Tata Nano
Image via Wikipedia

can determine what you need to or what you  can add on as an accessory. Also decide if you have that sum all at once or if you need to spread it over a period of time.
For an all-at-once deal you could either spend it all on ICE and interiors, exteriors or on performance options or on a mix of it all. For a bit at a time you may want to do the exterior at one time, interior at another etc.


Factory installed options (must do at booking time):
The stop start technology is a must have in addition to getting a diesel if this is at all given as a factory option. This would improve mileage by a great deal. As of now only the petrol’s will be launched.

Must have exterior list:
Get exterior rear-view mirrors to make sure you are aware of what traffic is there outside. A single one shouldn’t cost more than Rs. 500. (Required on all models from Base upwards)

Must have interior:
Music system and a set of 4 speakers. This on a minimum would cost you around Rs. 8, 000.


Waiting for the Tata Nano

Why should you buy the Tata Nano ?

The Tata Nano fits the budget for a small first/additional car. Taxes and insurance will not add much to the overall price of the car.

It is a definite improvement in safety and convenience over a two wheeler


It is the best size for crowded city streets and for peak traffic.

It gives good mileage (supposedly around 20 km/l)

It will be easy to park due to its size.

It will be easy to maintain due to the wide reach of Tata dealerships.

It will have reasonable maintenance costs since the input parts itself are capped within the 1 lakh mark.

The cost of parts for the Nano will come down drastically after around 2-3 years with mass volumes appearing. (I am very curious to know what kind of warranty would be provided by Tata for the Nano. An extended warranty, if provided, would have me signing up for it even on day one. I have the benefit of the extended warranty on our current cars and have seen the benefits. I’ve also seen the amount of money one can burn if you don’t have the extended warranty.)

If there is an option with an auto transmission it may be the best option for a driver not comfortable with driving in the city or novice in driving

Most cars depreciate almost the second you sign the papers paying your advance amount for booking it. In this case the Nano due to its high demand will not depreciate as much as other cars and as soon as the others. As it is most used car dealers are worried about being able to sell used cars at prices between INR 80,000 to 2,00,000 as most people when given that kind of budget may take a serious look at the Nano instead of a used car.

You will be able to buy a new car for around 1.25 -1.5 lakhs and still be able to spend even up to 30,000 rupees in accessorizing the cars. I am waiting to see a pimped out Nano with oversized alloy wheels and low profile tyres blasting out tunes painted in garish colors and with all possible spoilers and extra fittings in chrome added to it!