By the end of its brief stint in our fleet, this Tata impressed us quietly.
I ’m lucky to have a short daily commute of just 10km to the office and back home, so it’s only fair that the diesel cars in our long-term fleet are best left to my colleagues who rack up more miles than I do. Happy to go petrol without burning too big a hole in my wallet, I plumbed for the Tata Zest in its last stint with us.
Three weeks on, the Zest has hugely impressed me by its ability to tackle roads that vary from bad to very bad on my daily office run. During the monsoons, Mumbai roads crumble by the hour, but that didn’t deter the Zest, which tackled the worst surfaces with aplomb. The long travel suspension and beefy dual path dampers provide an outstanding ride, which cushioned my spine like no other car. It’s not just brilliant suspension, which soaks up the road, but also the light steering and high seating position that took the edge out of tackling Mumbai traffic.
The spacious cabin won fans at home, and the Zest’s large doors and tall stance made getting in and out easy even for elders. Interior quality surprised quite a few of us, with comments like, “I can’t believe this is a Tata car” doing the rounds. The best piece of kit in the Zest is the Harman audio touchscreen system with eight speakers. It’s easy to use, and the acoustic quality is really good.
The last outing for the Zest was as a support car for our Chevy Trailblazer shoot, not far from the company’s Talegaon plant. The roads were terrible – great to test a brute of an SUV with 240mm ground clearance. But how did the Zest manage? Really well, actually. We took it down a muddy track through ruts and ditches, and it coped brilliantly without grounding the underside – the Zest easily wins the ‘Bad Road Baadshah’ title for me.