Until now, the Nano has been marketed as a ‘common man’s car’. This approach, however, hasn’t really worked well for Tata. And the Nano, once past the initial phase, never quite managed to fulfil its potential as a mass market car. As a result,Tata is now shifting its focus and trying to tap into the urban youth with the refreshed Nano. For this 2013 model, Tata Motors has improved the Nano with a bit more equipment inside and garnished the exteriors with some mild styling tweaks. But, are these modest changes enough? After a short spin in the new car, we reckon they just may not be.
As for the changes, the new car comes with chrome strips at the front and the rear, the updated bumper gets additional perforations to keep the engine cool and its being offered in two new colours as well – royal gold and dazzle blue.The dazzle blue version gets an optional all-black interior on the LX variant, giving it a sportier appearance. In a bid to make the Nano feel more like a conventional car, Tata Motors has now added dual glove boxes on the CX and LX trims and an audio system on the LX that supports USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth streaming. The car gets four speakers – two on the dash and two at the rear. Ergonomics also see a marginal improvement with the power window switches now placed behind the gear lever and a 12V socket being added ahead of the shift stick.
While the added kit is a welcome move, we were disappointed to see no mechanical changes on the car at all. It has been almost half a decade since the Nano’s launch and despite complaints about the car’s heavy steering, the 2013 car still lacks power steering. Tata’s engineers have tried to take an easy way out by increasing the diameter of the steering wheel to provide more leverage and hence making it feel lighter to use. Even though this arrangement did help to a slight extent, it is a poor substitute for a proper, assisted steering wheel. Tata Motors really needs to develop a power steering unit for the Nano if they want to come even slightly close to the volumes they had expected the Nano to clock. Also, since the suspension wasn’t recalibrated, ride quality remains pretty much the same,which isn’t too bad, but, at times gets choppy with sharp vertical movements.
While the 2013 Nano is an improvement over its predecessor, it is by no means a new car as one might have expected. It is disappointing and disheartening to see that this revolutionary car hasn’t seen the evolution it ought to have. In a large way, the 2013 Nano still strongly resembles and reminds you of the original car we saw in 2009 and that sadly, isn’t a good thing.
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