Tata Motors launches Bolt, prices start from INR 4.45 Lakhs

After an extended period of lull, Tata Motors came back with a bang with the launch of the Zest compact sedan, its first all-new model in years launched under the 'HorizonNext' strategy. With the Zest proving to be a big success, Tata Motors launched the much-awaited Bolt hatchback today in what would be the Pune-based manufacturer's yet another crack at the hot premium small car segment. 

As always, Tata Motors has nailed it when it comes to pricing. Retailing between INR 4.45 Lakhs and 6.06 Lakhs for the petrol variants and INR 5.50 Lakhs and 7.00 Lakhs for the diesel variants ex-showroom Delhi, the Bolt is a superb value-for-money offering that has the potential to snatch sales from established competitors like the Maruti-Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i20 and Volkswagen Polo. Four trim levels are on offer - XE, XM, XMS and XT. 

The Bolt is essentially a Zest minus the boot. Despite obvious similarities with the outgoing Vista, the car looks young and stylish which is commendable. The signature Tata grille, together with the smoked headlamps with inbuilt projectors and the power bulge in the hood, gives the Bolt an aggressive front end. The silhouette could well be mistaken for that of the Vista's, save for the blackened C-pillar that creates a 'floating roof' effect. At the rear, the 'christmas tree' taillights are now gone, replaced by sleek flame-shaped lenses that gives the Bolt a strong character. Adding a sporty touch is the rear spoiler and the black plastic insert in the rear bumper.

Like the Zest, Bolt's interiors are a big step-up vis-a-vis the Vista. The design, layout, fit and finish of Bolt's cabin would be amongst the best in segment, a fact we can definitely lay claim to having experienced the Zest. If the Vista's interiors were a compromise compared to competing models from Volkswagen and Hyundai, the Bolt's no longer is. As always, expect the interiors of the Bolt to be extremely spacious with generous leg room and width in both rows that can easily accommodate five full-sized adults. Unlike the Zest that featured dual-tone interiors, the Bolt gets the more sporty 'java black' theme inside.

All variants of the Bolt feature air-conditioning, an electric power steering with active return function, remote fuel lid and tailgate opener, a tachometer and a Driver Information System with gear shift indicator and fuel-efficiency readouts. While that might not seem generous, the top-end Bolt XT's kit definitely will. Amongst others, it has central locking, power windows, electrically-adjustable rear view mirrors, automatic climate control, rear seats with split function, driver's seat height adjustment, Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Corner Stability Control (CSC), speed-sensing door locks, smart rear wiper and airbags for the driver and front passenger. 

A highlight of the Bolt's cabin is the first-in-segment 'ConnectNext' infotainment system developed by Harmon. It has four speakers, four tweeters, multiple playback options including AM/FM, USB, Aux-In and iPod, steering-mounted audio and phone controls, speed dependent volume control, full Bluetooth connectivity with phone-book access, call logs, call reject with SMS function, conference call and incoming SMS readout, smartphone-enabled navigation system and touchscreen-aided climate control system. That's not all. It also lets you play videos and view images through USB and SD card when the car is stationary and features voice command recognition too. Now, that's entertainment!

The 1.2-liter turbocharged 'Revotron' petrol engine that made its debut in the Zest powers the Bolt too, with a maximum power output of 89 bhp at 5000 rpm and a peak torque of 140 Nm between 1500 and 4000 rpm. As in the Zest, the engine features three drive modes - City, Eco and Sport, in what is a first-in-segment feature. The diesel variants have the familiar 1.3-liter Quadrajet mill that produces 74 bhp at 4000 rpm and a peak torque of 190 Nm between 1750 to 3000 rpm. Both engines are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The popular Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) could make an appearance in the Bolt diesel a few months down the line.

Those with sharp memories would still remember the buzz generated by the Zest and Bolt at the 2014 Auto Expo in New Delhi. Though it has taken a year for the Bolt to go on sale, it still has a lot going for it. The biggest challenge for Tata though would be to make potential customers look past the Tata badge and the Indica baggage. Are they ready to get, set, Bolt? We wish they are.

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