Say hello to Tata’s all-new sub-four-metre sedan, the Zest. In a bid to move away from the un-inspirational images of the Vista and the Manza, Tata Motors intends to change the image of its products and make them more desirable. Based on the same platform as the Vista, the Zest, like the Bolt hatchback, is extensively re-engineered and comes across as a promising prospect.
It’s difficult to mistake this car for anything other than a Tata, especially with its Vista-like silhouette. Almost every body panel has been changed and the car looks much sharper and more youthful. The new design incorporates an aggressive nose, a heavily sculpted bumper, stretched headlamps with projectors, a new grille that flows seamlessly into the headlamps and even a mild power bulge on the bonnet. It also gets LED daytime-running lights and a chrome strip bordering the grille.
Viewed in profile, the Zest boasts a thick character line, and it's even got a black strip on the running board and the lower side of the bumper to help reduce the visual bulk. The design of the rear is attractive as well. The rear windscreen flows smoothly into the stubby boot and the wraparound tail-lamps are, again, a distinctive feature. It continues to carry forward the high cowl of the Vista, which makes it difficult to get that rising window line or a tipped-forward stance that is a trademark of all good-looking sedans today. The 16-inch wheels add to the Zest's tall stance.
Step inside and you will instantly notice a huge step up in cabin quality. The design and the quality on both the Zest and the Bolt are nothing like what we’ve seen on Tatas before. There is substantial improvement in fit and finish and the entirely new dashboard lends a fresh air of design to the cabin. The driver-oriented positioning of the vents and the centre console along with the use of piano black, chrome and silver really lift the ambience of the cabin, as does the white leather on the dashboard and the steering wheel. Of course, this is the same car that made it to the Auto Expo and the interiors of lesser variants may not be as plush. There are very few bits that resemble what was once on the Vista, like the headlight and wiper stalks, and the door pads.
Tata engineers have spent a lot of time optimising the side bolsters, the seat base bolsters and even the cushioning. The front seats offer excellent comfort and feel snug. Move to the rear seats and it is as comfortable – there’s good headroom, and with the scooped out rear of the front seats, there’s even more knee-room than before. Tata has also improved the rear seat angle and contours of the seat, finding the right balance between boot space and rear-seat comfort.
It has a 360-litre boot, which is smaller than the Amaze’s 400 litres and it doesn’t offer space as efficiently either, since the suspension intrudes into the luggage space.
The car we had was a fully loaded variant equipped with projector lamps and a touchscreen infotainment system (developed in conjunction with Harman) that features voice controls and navigation. You also get Bluetooth connectivity, an SD card reader, USB and aux-in, along with a trip computer, power windows, power mirrors, parking sensors and climate control.
The Tata Zest will be available with both petrol and diesel engines. However, the talking point of the Zest is the new Revotron engine. It’s a 1.2-litre turbocharged, multi-point, fuel-injected petrol motor that makes 84bhp. Although this figure is lower than the Amaze’s 88bhp and Swift Dzire’s 86bhp, the Revotron’s USP is the meaty 14.3kgm of turbo-aided torque it makes right from 1750rpm, 11.2kgm of which is available right from 1,000rpm. So, you will have plenty of power to play with.
The diesel engine is the same 1.3-litre Multijet unit as seen on other Tatas. It will feature a variable-geometry turbo (VGT) that helps bump up power to 89bhp and 14.3kgm of torque. The Zest diesel will also come with the option of an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT).
Tata hasn’t announced the variants or prices for the Zest yet but expect it to hit showrooms in the latter half of 2014. It also remains to be seen how good it is on the road and how well it performs against its rivals, but Tata is clearly banking on the Zest to revive its fortunes. Now all Tata has to do is price it competitively.
2014 Tata Zest Production Spec Review
Tata Zest photo gallery
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