2019 Geneva - Tata Motors shines with an array of new models

The 2019 Geneva Motor Show closed curtains last week. As always, flying the Indian flag proudly there was Tata Motors with no less than four world debuts. Before you brush them off thinking them as just a bunch of new outworldy concepts that might never hit production, let us tell you two of those are launching right here in India this year. Yes, that's true. With the recently-launched Harrier also joining the party, Tatas sure had a good outing.


When Tata Motors unveiled the 45X Concept at the 2018 Auto Expo in New Delhi, we heard there was not one onlooker that wasn't stunned with what they saw. This then, ladies and gentlemen, is the production version of the very same car. Of course, the car is now much toned down and there are certain elements that would take time to grow on us. Crucially, the Altroz would plug a gaping hole in Tata's domestic portfolio that lacks a premium hatchback to rival the Maruti-Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai i20 and the likes.

The first in a series of new models to be built on Tata's ALFA platform, the Altroz features the car-maker's "Impact 2.0" design philosophy. Those of you familiar with that term would immediately recognize the smiling mesh grille that merges with the wraparound headlights and the split light clusters up front. The profile is trendy and features prominent cuts and creases. The piano black inserts along the steeply-rising windows and the boot-lid, while adding a touch of character, looks polarizing. That said, the Nexon did split opinions when it first debuted but looks funky and acceptable now. The Altroz might do the same a year down the line!

The interiors feature a mutli-layered dashboard with a freestanding touchscreen sitting atop the center console. Also visible is the part-digital instrument cluster and the chunky steering wheel, both of which could have been designed with a bit more flair. Being a Tata, expect the Altroz to offer abundant space for the occupants and their luggage. The Altroz is expected to be powered by two petrol and one diesel engines. The base variants might get the 1.2-liter Revotron petrol engine from the Tiago while the higher variants are expected to have the turbocharged mill from the Nexon in a lower state of tune. A 1.5-liter diesel is also on the cards, we hear.

With the Tiago, Nexon and the Harrier receiving thumbs up from the demanding Indian customers, the Altroz is treading the right path to success. We can't wait to drive one and see if the Baleno and i20 should be worried. 

Altroz EV

Also on display at Geneva was the full-electric version of the upcoming Altroz. While this car is not expected to launch in India anytime soon, what's clear is that Tata's new ALFA architecture is EV ready and this car might make it to production once the Indian market starts warming up to electric cars and charging infrastructure is established. In terms of looks, the Altroz EV features unique bumpers and wheels while the interiors also look a bit more upmarket with a Jaguar-style rotary gear selector.

While Tata did not release specifications of the car's electric motor, they did highlight the expected range of 250 - 300 kilometers and fast-charging capabilities of the Altroz EV with upto 80% charge reached in just an hour. How excited are you to see the Altroz EV making it to production?


One of the two premieres at the Tata stand that's launching shortly in India is the Buzzard. Before you dismiss the car for it's bizzare name, note that Tata would be rechristening the car before it launches here. And rumors are it could be called the Cassini. Sounds cool, no?

Viewed head-on, the Buzzard looks very familiar. That's because this is essentially the 7-seater version of the Harrier that was launched in India a few weeks back. To be priced and positioned as the brand's flagship, the Buzzard features the same "Impact 2.0" design language that's turning heads everywhere. At the front, the split headlight clusters and the smiling grille that fuses with the thin LED Daytime Running Lights give the Buzzard tons of character. The profile gets accentuated wheel arches and a powerful waistline for that big and butch look. Interesting elements include a raised window line for the third row and the roof rail bracket that drops down the sides like the original Tata Safari. Together with the rear roof spoiler and the sculpted tailgate, the Buzzard smartly manages to hide its bulk.

Based on the same OMEGA architecture that also underpins the Harrier, the Buzzard's cabin is also shared for the most part with it's smaller sibling. From the pictures released, the third row doesn't appear that spacious but we will reserve the judgement until we see and get into one in person. Under the hood of the Buzzard will be the same 2.0-liter Kryotec diesel engine in a possibly higher state of tune. Generating 170 horsepower compared to the Harrier's 140, the Buzzard will have a 6-speed manual or a Hyundai-sourced 6-speed automatic transmission options.

Slated for launch soon after the Altroz, the Buzzard will go head-to-head with arch-rival Mahindra's XUV5OO. Keep your fingers crossed!

H2X Concept

That brings us to the last - and possibly the most interesting - model on Tata's stands. Previewing a micro SUV codenamed 'Hornbill', the H2X Concept is likely to get into production within the next couple of years, we hear.

The "Impact 2.0" design language has worked wonders for Tata and the H2X Concept follows in the same footsteps. Be it the grille, the split lights with the striking tri-arrow pattern, the powerful surfacing or the flared wheel arches, the H2X Concept features elements that look very similar to the H5X Concept that previewed the Harrier. What makes the H2X Concept more attractive though is it's upright stance and boxy proportions that gives it a proper SUV look and feel. 

Being a concept, Tata has taken the liberty to play around with the colours and appointments in the cabin. Bright 'turquoise' highlights on the air-conditioning vents, seatback panels and center console, a steering shaped like an aircraft yoke and a single large screen with two 10.2-inch displays  and a massive glass roof look trendy but might not make it to production. 

To be built on the ALFA platform that the Altroz also uses, the H2X Concept is likely to lock horns with the Mahindra KUV1OO and upcoming micro SUVs from Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai. 

If Tata manages to "deliver exemplary performance, future-ready connectivity and outstanding interior room" as their press release states with looks and proportions that aren't far off this concept, we are in for a treat. Come on Tata, bring this on!

Joining these models was the Harrier that made it's European premiere, badged the Buzzard Sport. As the post title says, Tata indeed shone bright in the Geneva spotlight!


Tesla unveils Model Y, the last of it's 'S3XY' quartet of models

After a lot of hype and fanfare that lasted for months, Tesla finally lifted the veil off the Model Y. This compact crossover completes the American car-maker’s cheeky and much-publicized ‘SEXY’ lineup. Oops, make that ‘S3XY’ although the intention was always to have the ‘E’ instead of ‘3’ until Ford Motor Company put paid to those plans. 

If you don’t know already, the Model Y is the crossover-equivalent of the blockbuster Model 3. The Y not just shares platform and mechanicals with the 3 but also a ton of the sedan’s styling bits.

Clean, minimalist and, to some eyes, a bit bland and boring too, the Model Y looks every bit a Tesla. Head-on, the triangular headlights and the droopy flattened sheet metal panel in place of the grille clearly establishes the Y’s link with the 3. The only giveaway - for keen observers - is the slightly higher ride height to pass off as a crossover. In profile, the roof rises and sweeps down in one smooth arc, giving this compact crossover a coupe-ish look that’s much in vogue these days. A truly panoramic glass roof that runs end-to-end, the stubby boot with an integrated spoiler and a pair of darkened taillights that extend into the boot lid completes the design. If you were expecting fancy ‘gull wing’ doors like the ones on Model X, it’s time to curb your expectations.

The interiors, just like the Model 3, has nothing but seats, a steering wheel and a huge 15-inch touchscreen right in the center of the dashboard. From windshield wipers to the infotainment system, from navigation to air-conditioning, Tesla lets you do anything and everything with this screen and only with it. That’s not good, yes, but that’s how it is and it’s been working well for them this way. Nevertheless, loads of tech including Tesla's famous 'Auto Pilot' will be on offer in the Model Y.

Interestingly, Tesla has designed the Model Y with a capability to seat up to seven passengers with an optional third row seat. With that sloping roof, the headroom is going to be real tight out there for those in the last row! 

Both the base rear-wheel-drive model and the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model come in two variants each. At $60,000, the most expensive of those will have a range of 280 miles and a top speed of 150 miles per hour. With a claimed 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 3.5 seconds, it will reach there pretty quickly too. Click on the image below that lists crucial specifications for all the four variants.

Unlike the other three models that are built at the plant in Fremont, California, the Model Y will be manufactured at Tesla’s huge Gigafactory in Nevada. An upcoming plant in Shanghai will also build Model Ys to cater to the demand in China and other Far East markets.

Crossover coupes are all the rage right now and Tesla is smartly trying to cash in on the trend with the Model Y. Combine the trendy body-style with the incredible brand pull Tesla has, it’s not hard to imagine a swell order book and a long waiting list for the newest Tesla. Come on now, rush to Tesla's website with your deposits!


2019 Geneva - Pininfarina stuns with the Battista electric hypercar

When Pininfarina SpA, the legendary Italian design house that penned several iconic Ferrari cars over the years, decided to form it's own vehicle division under the ownership of Mahindra, not much was expected of them. While a series of teasers leading up to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show did raise hopes, not many still saw this coming. 

But, Automobili Pininfarina stunned the gathered audience when it lifted the curtains off the Battista. Named after the firm's founder Battista Pininfarina, the full electric hypercar is slated to go on sale in limited numbers starting 2020 when Pininfarina celebrates 90 years of existence.

The best part about the Battista is it's stunning design with just the right amount of aero elements all around. It has none of that busy look supercars these days seem to carry. Of course, the Battista doesn't have an internal combustion engine fed by a series of turbochargers to direct air to and from. But, that doesn't take away the fact this is yet another home run for the design house known for cars that stood the test of time like the Ferrari 275 GTB, Testarossa and F40.

The front end is characterized by a thin LED strip that runs the width of the car, connecting the headlights. The roof - along with the cabin that's located more to the front of the car - are shaped aerodynamically and features contrasting paint job. At the rear, distinct split tail fins with thin 'floating' taillight elements look striking with a carbon-fiber panel joining them to form a pop-up spoiler that aids downforce. This is a car that will turn heads wherever you go. Period!

Powering the Battista is a 120 kWh battery pack and four electric motors - one at each wheel - sourced from Rimac. Together, the powerpack delivers an astounding 1,900 horsepower and 2,300 Nm of torque. That's ridiculous, yes, but we aren't kidding!

Riding on 21-inch alloys shod with race-derived Pirelli P Zero tires, the Battista can zoom from 0 to 100 km/h in under 2 seconds. Top speed is claimed to be 350 km/h. For a car capable of such speeds, braking is of paramount importance. In the Battista, that's taken care of by specially-developed six-piston carbon-ceramic brakes from Brembo. 

Pininfarina claims a 450 km range on a full charge but expect that to drop drastically under full acceleration.

The cabin is driver-centric with two screens placed on either side of the steering wheel facing the person behind the wheel. While the one on the left controls the dynamics and performance, the screen on the right side controls media and navigation. There is another central screen right in between that keeps the driver updated with the vital stats on the go.

With a price tag expected to top USD 2 Million each and just 150 units planned, this car will be a rarity on the roads. And that's what makes the Pininfarina Battista all the more special, it's crazy power and torque outputs not withstanding!

Thank you Mahindra, the funds infused are being put to good use by your new Italian colleagues.

2019 Geneva - Alfa-Romeo Tonale Concept previews the brand's first compact crossover

At a time when it's main rivals from Germany and the UK are flooding the market with crossovers and SUVs to satisfy the exploding demands, Alfa-Romeo is waging a lone battle with the Stelvio. It's not hard to guess then the Italian luxury brand is struggling to grow and meet sales targets. 

But the scenario could change very soon. All the Italian car-maker has to do is to put the Tonale Concept you see in this post to production with minimal changes. 

Having debuted at the ongoing 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the Tonale - just like it's sibling, the Stelvio - is named after an Italian mountain pass. At 1,883 m elevation, the Tonale pass is not as high as the Stelvio pass, which indicates the Tonale's positioning in the Alfa-Romeo lineup.

Sporting attractive Italian design cues that Alfa-Romeo does to perfection so often, the Tonale Concept impresses at first sight. The fascia, with it's thin lights and the long vertical grille, is seemingly inspired by the Brera while the gorgeous 21-inch alloys decorating the wheels are an ode to the 33 Stradale. Things you would normally see on a concept - thin LED lights, exaggerated wheel arches, ultra-thin mirrors and flush-fitted door handles - are very much there. Remove them all and you'll realize this baby Alfa is a butch-looking crossover with spot-on proportions.

Inside, the Tonale Concept features back-lit panels, generous use of leather and Alcantara and a dashboard with a 12.3-inch display screen and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with a new version of Alfa's infotainment screen to keep the show-goers engrossed. Expect all of these to be toned down when the production model debuts.

Though Alfa-Romeo has been mum on the details, they have been generous enough to say the Tonale would have a hybrid powertrain under it's hood when it gets to production. Underpinnings are expected to be shared with the Jeep Renegade and the Jeep Compass with the Tonale likely to prioritize driving dynamics and luxury to meet the requirements of it's target clientele.

Whatever it is, we can't wait to see this in production. Even if it looks half as good as it does now, the folks at Alfa sure have a winner on their hands!