You first watched it as the 45X concept at Auto Expo 2018, and then afterwards in near-production form at Geneva 2019. What you see here is that the final version of this Tata Altroz which will eventually go on sale in early 2020. Like the premium hatchbacks it moves up against, the Tata Altroz steps just a litte beneath 4m (3,990mm to be exact ) to be eligible as a’small car’ and yet promises big car levels of space, refinement and relaxation.
The Altroz isn’t only big in size so far as hatchbacks move but it’s also a huge deal in Tata’s travel as a carmaker. Together with OMEGA arc (that underpins the Harrier), the ALFA arc will form the cornerstone of a ton of fresh Tatas at the time to come. The modular architecture can support a whole assortment of body designs which range from 3.7m to 4.3m in length, and has been developed with electrification in mind. Doors that open 90 degrees along with a flat rear floor are some of the characteristics that are going to be common for cars, SUVs and MPVs built on ALFA arc.
The Altroz also happens to be the first Tata to get BS6-compliant engines. On offer are 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol and 1.5-litre turbo-diesel motors, each allied to manual gearboxes. For the time being, we have got our hands on the models that will be available at launch, and there is lots to discuss.
How’s the Tata Altroz Design?
Tata Motors has been on a hot streak so far as exterior design goes and, to our eyes , the Altroz takes the story forward with pizzazz. Sure, the shape is standard hatchback however, the numerous stylistic flourishes in your body work cohesively to elevate the total appearance of the car.
The shark nose-like front finish, the slick grille finished in black, and the large and swept-back headlights which are lined by a band of chrome give the Altroz its face. Some might see the arrangement as a modern interpretation of the original Indica’s’smiling grille’, but Tata designers certainly didn’t mention as an inspiration. High-set fog lamps (also home to the LED DRLs) and an elegant atmosphere dam on the bumper are different elements of interest .
The upswept windows arrive underlined with a black embellishment that begins thick at the front and tapers towards the rear, in effect, providing the illusion of a vehicle with a sporty tipped-forward stance; a bit Lamborghini Diablo meets mass-market hatchback.
The large wheel arches give the Altroz suitable volume also, but even the slick 16-inch’laser-cut’ alloys do not seem quite big enough. What’s sure to be somewhat polarising is that the placement of the rear door handles; they sit on the C-pillar rather than from the traditional position on the doorways.
Tata’s designers have also gone to get a dual-tone motif for the Altroz’s edgy tail end. The spoiler, tail-light surround and upper portion of the bootlid come finished in dark, and seem quite sporty. Buyers also have the choice of a black roof for the entire effect.
In all, the Altroz has a’concept car for your road’ look about it, and that is a great starting point.
How’s the Tata Altroz Interior Design
Each of the Altroz’s four doors open to 90 degrees, and getting in to the front part of the cottage is very easy. First impressions once indoors are mostly favorable too. Sure, the dashboard layout is not quite as cutting edge as the outside, but you’ll enjoy what you see. The Altroz’s free-standing 7.0-inch touchscreen is set high up (and hence in clear sight), and also what adds some flavour here is the layered effect of the dashboard with textured plastics to the surface, a gloss finish for your center and light gray materials lower down. Turquoise backlighting (adjustable for intensity) for the raised centre console contributes to some vibrancy at night too. Material quality is good by class standards but there are places where the panel openings aren’t consistent, such as the surrounds for your glovebox. What you may enjoy, however, is your reassuring thunk on door shut.
Massive chairs means comfort front is well cared for, a sliding centre armrest on top-spec automobiles is a welcome addition, while the flat-bottomed and leather-wrapped steering feels great to hold. Frontal visibility is good too but the Altroz’s thick A-pillars do create blindspots, particularly on the other hand. What also takes some getting used to is the instrumentation. There is a class-first combo of an analogue speedometer and electronic tachometer but the squared-out dials aren’t easy enough to follow. The tacho’s triangulated needle end also highlights a motor speed range as opposed to a specific rpm, if this is something that you keep an eye on. The Altroz’s 7.0-inch digital screen also the educational multi-info display, and what’s nice is that navigation directions from a connected smartphone will be relayed here, reducing the need to look away at the main touchscreen.
Connecting a smartphone won’t be a bother either (unlike on the Harrier) using the USB slot positioned in plain sight at the bottom of the centre console. The Altroz cabin does score well on distance for small items too. There is another set of cupholders close to the gear lever, a sizable storage bay below the driver’s armrest and a 1-litre bottleholder, and even an umbrella holder on each of the front doors.
Getting onto the Altroz back seat is not quite as comfy as it is made out to be. Yes, the doors open wide however, the aperture between the seat and B-pillar is not the biggest. A comparatively high-set rear seat does assist here, which means that you get a pretty good view from the windows. The rear part of this Altroz cabin doesn’t feel as airy as a Jazz’s and doesn’t offer the exact same legroom that you’d get in a Baleno; however, you won’t have reason to whine on each count. There’s enough knee space for six footers to sit down in comfort, and it’s only in the event that you sit bolt upright will you locate headroom sufficient but no longer.
The Altroz is the widest car in the course and there is sufficient shoulder room to host three occupants at the back. What also makes life simpler for the center passenger is the flat floor, which, as stated, is a trait on all ALFA architecture Tata cars. The back seat works well as a place for two with the fold-down rear armrest positioned at just the right height. What does take away from the relaxation to a extent is the excess bolstering from the lumbar region; you will find yourself changing position frequently. A great inclusion here is a dedicated 12V charging socket.
The Tata Altroz gets a 345-litre boot that is marginally greater than the Baleno’s 339 litres plus a bit less than the Jazz’s 354 litres. The high loading lip will make it difficult to load thick bag however, the well-shaped boot means you can fit in plenty of things. The back seat backrest doesn’t split but it can be folded forward to enhance luggage distance to 665 litres. While luggage space is ample, we wonder whether it has come at the cost of gas tank capacity, which can be a meagre 37 litres. So to receive a decent selection, fantastic fuel efficiency is going to be crucial.
Drive modes and guide air-conditioning can also be part of this package. The XM-spec Altroz adds in power windows, a 3.5-inch infotainment system from Harman, power-adjust and folding mirrors and surrounding lighting in the footwell. The XT trim adds in more goodies by way of a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 7.0-inch digital MID screen, LED DRLs, push- button start, a reverse camera, cruise control and start-stop tech on the petrols. Range-topping Altroz XZ models go the distance with 16-inch laser-cut metal wheels, projector headlamps, auto climate control, auto lights, rain-sensing wipers, ambient light, and front and rear armrests. A contrast roof is a paid alternative on the XZ cars.
Uniquely, each of the trims can be provided with an add-on package that bundles in specific features. The Rhythm pack gives Altroz XE and XM buyers the option to update to the infotainment systems out of a cut higher. On the flip side, the Style pack brings in a comparison roof, stylised steel wheel and LED DRLs to the XM. XT buyers have the option of this Luxe package, where you receive a leather-wrapped steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat and rear centre armrest. XZ buyers may also spruce up the look of their automobiles with the Urban pack that includes diamond-cut alloy wheels, outside colour-coordinated detailing at the cottage and a contrast black roof. Tata Motors says it will present more packs and alternatives to the Altroz later on.
Where the Altroz does lag behind the curve is actually connectivity. There is no eSIM-based connected tech (it is in the pipeline however ), and even the 7.0-inch screen doesn’t work as slick as you’d like. The Harman sound system does deliver fair sound quality however.
There is much to like about the way the Altroz drives. The new platform excels immediately with a great ride and handling balance. There is a hint of stability to the ride however, the suspension nevertheless manages to consume the rough stuff at reduced speeds with ease. You feel nicely cushioned the faster you go and the huge highlight is high-speed stability. The Altroz feels comfy and sure-footed at triple-digit rates, and, correspondingly, works quite nicely as a machine that is secondhand. There is a confidence in the way the Altroz changes direction also. Turn-in is slick (better on the heavier diesel) and there’s a beautiful feeling of link in the steering. The electric steering is light when you want it to be at reduced speeds, but weights upward efficiently as you put in on speed.
Where the Altroz appears to be bit of a work in advance is when talking of the petrol engine. The Altroz’s petrol engine is basically an upgraded version of this Tigor’s 1.2-litre, three-cylinder unit. There’s dual variable valve timing and the compression ratio has also been bumped up. Resultantly, electricity is up to 86hp while max torque is 113Nm. The characters are par for the course for this class of automobile but overall performance does leave you wanting. Part throttle responses are agreeable as well as the engine is earnest at low speeds but that pep you get at a Baleno is simply missing, even at the stronger City mode.
A light clutch gets the Altroz simple to live with in city, but the 5-speed gearbox isn’t the slickest in the company. Quickshifts are not it is thing. The 1.2 engine does not have a lot to give towards the top end and revving the engine only draws your attention to the thrum in the three-cylinder engine. Auto start-stop also has the gas engine come to life with a bit of a judder.
In a sense, it is the diesel Altroz that feels like the complete package. The 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel is in the Nexon albeit at a lower 90hp and 200Nm state of tune. The electricity downgrade was chiefly to make the engine compatible with the 5-speed gearbox’s lower torque score. But not that you would feel any shortage of power. The diesel engine can feel somewhat reluctant in jelqing throttle driving, typical of our towns, but it is fast to settle into a rhythm too. You’ll prefer the easy access to electricity and the comfort with which the 1,150kg Altroz diesel gets to cruising speeds. Again, this isn’t an engine to wind hard; keep it in it’s comfort zone and you’ll can rake up the kilometres without much fuss. If anything, the motor does become gravelly past 3,000rpm and it isn’t quite in Hyundai gas land when speaking refinement. Interestingly enough, and also a point worth highlighting is that the gas evaluation cars were running on BS6 grade petrol brought from Delhi.
Of the other things, the diesel Altroz’s clutch action is light enough however, the 5-speed gearbox feels its finest using gentle inputs.
Should I purchase Altroz?
The Tata Altroz makes an immediate impression for how it looks. It’s got a display value that no other car in this course can match. The Altroz makes for a sensible family car also with a cottage that provides enough by means of space and relaxation. As an additional incentive, it’s also good to drive arguably the best dynamics among premium hatchbacks. And buyers who cover large distances will also find a fantastic match in the well-rounded Altroz diesel.
A peppier petrol engine, better refinement and a greater focus on connectivity are things on our wish list, and components that would make the Altroz simpler to recommend. What is a plus a question mark for the time being is fuel market. All said, the Tata Altroz has a few solid borders and has the potential to make its place in the premium hatchback segment. All that’s left is to get Tata to price it well. With a price tag between Rs 5-8 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom), the Altroz could only upset the apple cart.