Tata's new small car (Kite) seen testing near Pune

After years of lying low trying to strike a balance between flopped new launches and an increasingly dated line-up, Tata Motors made a strong comeback with the launch of Zest last year, it’s first all-new model in years. While the compact sedan continued to evoke positive reviews from the critics and the public, the Pune-based Indian brand followed it up with the Bolt premium hatchback last month. While one might expect Tata Motors to give their sales and marketing team a breather and let the Zest and Bolt settle in, that’s hardly the case. The folks at Tata are getting ready for their next and, possibly, an even bigger launch.

Spotted testing last week on the outskirts of Pune, this small car is expected to be the long-awaited replacement for the ageing Indica that, despite all odds, is still clocking good sales every month. Apparently shot at triple digit speeds in pitch darkness, the pics are expectedly of lower quality and doesn’t reveal a whole lot of details. But, we know that Tata has finally ditched the infamous ‘christmas-tree’ taillight cluster that Indicas have become synonymous with. Smaller, trapezoidal units have come in their place and, at first glance, the car appears to be wide and proportionate. If reports in other automotive websites are to be believed, this new small car codenamed ‘Kite’ is expected to borrow styling cues from the ‘Megapixel Concept’ that was displayed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. If true, ‘Kite’ could end up being the most stylish Tata we have seen.

Tata’s 1.2-liter turbocharged ‘Revotron’ petrol engine that debuted in the Zest is expected to be the mainstay of the Kite range while a new, three-cylinder common-rail engine is rumored to be in the works for the diesel-loving populace. Spacious interiors that could easily accommodate five well-built adults, a tough chassis that could withstand abuse, a comfortable ride quality that could tackle the worst of Indian terrain and low cost of spares and servicing are the virtues that made Indica so popular. If Tata is smart, they wouldn’t fiddle with those virtues and ensure the new car carries them forward. If the Zest and Bolt are anything to go by, Tata has made significant strides in the build quality, interior appointments, fit and finish. We expect the Kite to follow that trend and come across as a well-rounded product capable of challenging the high-selling Suzukis and Hyundais. 

Just like the Bolt and Zest, the ‘Kite’ hatchback would also be joined by a compact sedan to replace the Indigo eCS.   

When the going got tough and Tata’s new launches didn’t take off, it was the Indica, the Indigo eCS and the thousands of cabbies that bought these cars that kept Tata’s cash registers ringing. A tough job is at hand for the upcoming Kite twins then. Let's wait and watch how they fare.

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