For the Aria to compete as a luxury crossover, Tata has loaded it to the gills with features. There’s a GPS-based navigation system, cruise control, Bluetooth pairing for five phones, reversing camera and screen, sliding second row seats, electrically retractable rearview mirrors, glovebox chiller and even rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights. Unfortunately, the GPS system is quite rudimentary and you would have to be a brave man to use cruise control in our traffic but there’s no denying the pampering here.
The interior fit and finish is also clearly the best seen on a Tata product yet. Plastic quality is much improved, pieces of trim fit together better, the rotary headlight switch feels solid and even the stalks are nice and chunky. However, quality standards still lag behind other Rs 15 lakh cars, the Innova included, and it’s easy to spot quality blemishes. Small things like the seatback trim which gets dog-eared when folded, the wavy and imperfect rubber beading and the quality of the gear knob should really have been improved. And there are a few ergonomic nightmares too – the driving position isn’t ideal as the steering is too close to the driver and the pedals are too high. What makes it worse is the narrow footwell and
no place to rest your clutch foot. Also, you keep hitting the steering-mounted audio controls unintentionally and, in the absence of an unlock switch for the doors, the locks are inconveniently placed. Okay, we maybe unfair in the way we always subject Tata cars to such close scrutiny but when
you consider the sticker price, it’s quite natural to whip out your magnifying glass.
What you will really enjoy is the sheer size of the big and airy cabin. The design of the dash is very functional and the leather seats are very wide with lots of support. Like all Tata cars, the seats feel slightly hard but this is better for long drives. ∆ There is plenty of space for front seat passengers, and the addition
of armrests makes sitting on the large seats even more comfortable. However, a serious omission is powered seats, a feature we really think the Aria should have come with, especially for its top-of-the-line variants.
There, however, is plenty of room for rear seat passengers and the flat floor makes it easy to move around. Leg-, shoulder- and headroom are superb and the ‘H-point’ is quite high, which is great for comfort. You can adjust the angle of the middle seat backrest and you can slide it fore and aft for more legroom.
The third row is very cramped for adults and only good for children. The seatback is very vertical, you are sat crouched and legroom is not great either, which is surprising for such a long car. The smaller Mahindra Xylo or even Tata’s own Sumo have much more comfortable third rows. That said, there is decent space in the rear for luggage, with all seats in place. What’s also good is the large and flat loading area you get when you tilt and flip the seats forward. However, tumbling the seats is not as easy as we would have liked and the absence of a running board will make it hard work for elderly people to clamber inside.
Storage space for odds and ends is quite generous. You get two gloveboxes (one of them is cooled), massive door pockets and lots of cubbyholes (the one ahead of the gearlever is useless though). Tata has gone over the top by giving seven roof-mounted boxes and a provision for a drop-down TV screen as an accessory would have made more sense.