Behold! The production-ready Tata Altroz has finally broken cover. And let’s not argue; if one passes by, several heads will turn for at least a second glance. Whether that act comes courtesy of awe or ew is something that will remain subjective. As far as Tata Motors is concerned, the Altroz is “the Gold Standard of Hatchbacks”. It is set to launch in January 2020. But if you like it, you can book one right away with a minimum token amount of Rs 21,000 (~$293).
At the time of launch, the Altroz will be available with two engine-transmission options. Those looking for a petrol-powered variant will get the 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder mill that currently does duty in the Tiago and the Tigor. The engine will put out 85bhp/113Nm. On the diesel front, the Altroz will get a detuned version of the 1.5-litre motor that powers the Nexon. In the hatchback, it will produce 89bhp/200Nm. A 5-speed manual will handle transmission duties for both engines. And no matter which powertrain you opt for, the car will comply with BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) levels of emission norms. For the uninitiated, a BS6-compliant vehicle produces slightly less harmful emissions than a standard and comparable Euro 6-ready vehicle.
At a later stage, Tata Motors will introduce a more powerful petrol engine for the Altroz. That, like the diesel engine mentioned above, will be a less beefy version of the 1.2-litre turbocharged mill that is available in the Nexon. That should produce over 100bhp and around 140Nm of torque. Variants equipped with an automatic transmission are in the pipeline as well.
Compared to its two main rivals – the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and the Hyundai Elite i20 – the Tata Altroz is the widest and the tallest. However, it isn’t the longest (the Baleno is), and it has the smallest wheelbase (19mm and 69mm shorter than the Maruti and the Hyundai, respectively). At 165mm, the Altroz also sits lower to the ground by 5mm. As far as the boot space is concerned, the Altroz comes on top with 345 litres, which is 6 litres more than the Baleno and a whopping 60 litres more than the Elite i20. Finally, all three hatchbacks get alloy wheels up to 16 inches in diameter.
Trim Levels and Colour Options
Like all new-gen Tata models, the Altroz’ trim levels will consist of XE, XM, XT and XZ. Those who want a contrasting black roof will have to opt for XZ (O). And yes, the same nomenclature will be applicable for both petrol- and diesel-fed derivatives. As far as colour options go, a total of five will be available – Skyline Silver, High Street Gold, Downtown Red, Avenue White and Midtown Grey.
The standard list of features on a car always reveals whether the entry-level version exits to meet an attractive start price or for a segment of customers. In the Altroz, that list includes a flat-bottom steering wheel with tilt adjust, driver’s footrest, rear parking sensors, ABS with EBD, dual airbags, ISOFIX anchorages, headlamp levelling, two driving modes, central locking and automatic door re-locking. It seems the entry-level version should suffice for people who like to customise a car as per their taste.
On the other end of the scale, the range-topping variants will have a lot more to offer. So, features like projector headlamps, LED DRLs, a part-digital instrument cluster, mood lighting, cooled glovebox, a rear-view camera, automatic climate control, rear AC vent, auto headlamps and wipers, and a 6-speaker Harman-engineered sound system mated to a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. And yes, smartphone integration via both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be part of the package.
Expected Price Range
Tata Motors has always priced its models very competitively. And the same is likely to hold for the Altroz as well. But let’s not forget that the car will be BS6-ready. So, do not compare its price list, which is likely to start around Rs 5.5 lakh (~$7,668) and end at Rs 9 lakh (~$12,548), with the current (BSIV) prices of its peers.
As pointed out earlier, looks of a car are subjective. Tata Motors hasn’t played the conservative styling game, that’s for sure. Before the turbo-petrol mill makes an entry, Altroz’ diesel-powered variants are likely to find more takers. The non-turbo petrol engine doesn’t have enough oomph for a car that weighs over 1 tonne. As far as the list of features goes, the Altroz has an extensive one. That will surely entice customers enough to at least shortlist the newcomer, if not finalise. What’s your take on the Altroz?