This probably would have occurred somewhere in the globe a year or two back – picture a serious boardroom drama, with the design folks being present.
“Alright guys, settle down soon, we are planning to surprise the Indian automobile fellas; well, can’t drive everybody nuts neither can we shed the ‘Tata-for-commercial’ tag so easily, but let’s give a decent try.
We call this HORIZONEXT strategy, the focus is to be on the products intensely. We plan to build a car, a sedan for the entry level sedan segment and a premium hatch, with most of the goodies packed in it, and of course, guess what, with a superb price tag. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise – here cometh Zest and Bolt.”
(We would just limit this article to BOLT petrol variant as Zest is out of scope for this one). Hey, we are still in the boardroom meeting, reckon, the design folks are all ears to the lead voice.
“As I mentioned, get the interior done premium – it should look premium, expensive and rich, and best in the segment. It would include a super boosting music gig and infotainment system – we would call it ConnectNext, powered by Harman. It would have touch screen control for music, temperature and of course the voice controlled actions. So picture a lady using her slender polished finger tips to lower down the AC or to get her favourite radio station zooming in, all whilst driving.
Talking about drive let’s kick in few tweaks there – the key hole would be lighted, you know, so that people do not fumble to figure it out, you know that nice laced whitish light which looks super classy. And before I forget, the boot space should also come with those nice white lights, things get way easier with the trunk light whilst digging for things on a pitch dark road. The boot, let’s make that a petite 210 Litres, quite moderate yet efficient.
Now, with horizontal driver seat adjustments, we would also put in the vertical adjustment in place, but we would not make it such that it touches the roof of the car; just a few notches higher, in case the driver fancies a clear view of the road, especially if it’s a first time driver, that would come super handy. We’ll have legitimate leg space even when the driver seat is pushed to limits, but make sure the front passenger seat has a digging tunnel in the name of leg space; we want folks to stretch and enjoy the drive. The back seat head rest – let’s make it adjustable too, so along with the planned 60-40 split of the back seats, it should just be the match winner. And yes, the steering wheel should have adjustments too, goes without saying, as we have vertical driver seat adjustment.
Did I talk about the multi-driving modes yet, okay let’s come to that now – first in the class (Hatchback) driving modes introduced in Bolt, default would of course be City, Eco would be the fuel saver and the jet-set-go would be Sports.”
While we test drove the Bolt XT, all the modes indeed lived up to their features. Go Eco and the car literally looks super fit for budget drive, steady, fuel efficient and no rash driving. Adrenaline got a kick once we switched to Sports in the highway close by – to be technically correct, driving at say 60 kmph gives you a different feel altogether in each of three different modes. Switching to Sports brings back memories of the good old Road Rash computer game where we could ‘turbo’ charge in order to speed up, so it seems the turbocharged MPFi Petrol Revotron 1.2T engine does its job well. Bolt XT also comes with a dual airbag so safety part is taken care well, but the thing which shows up high, other than the multi-mode is the feather touch accelerator and the wonderful suspension. The feather touch control is so smooth, sometime one does not realise if it’s indeed being throttled, and probably because of the superb Sound Isolator working, it seems the world inside the car is cut out from the snarl of the traffic out on the road. Thanks to the bumpy Kolkata roads, we got a taste of the superb suspension and shocks. Specifications put it as Independent, lower wishbone, Dual-path McPherson strut with coil spring and anti-roll bar for the Front Suspension and Twist beam with coil spring and shock absorber for the Rear Suspension.
Worth a mention here is the 165 mm ground clearance, which is no less than standard. And we simply loved the sedan like gear shift knob. The one we drove, the petrol variant, is powered by a 1.2 litre 1193 cc 4-cylinder turbocharged multi-point fuel injection (MPFi) engine Revotron, which will churn out maximum power of 90 PS and have a peak torque of 140 Nm. Back to the design boardroom,
“Fellas, we would add in a ninth generation Anti-Lock Braking System ( ABS) with EBD (Electronic brake-force distribution) – let Bosch do this for us! And for super improved braking efficiency and as an added safety feature, we would top-up with corner stability control (CSC). CSC would ensure safety while negotiating real tight corners and ABS, as we all know, would ensure absolute safety in case of panic hard braking by sensing the wheel speed and prevents wheel lock-up during braking, thus maintaining directional control. CSC further enhances safety while negotiating tight corners.”
As we drove the XT variant, so the fifteen inch dynamic Alloy wheels with 175/65 R15 tubeless tyres looked very exciting and while managing a slit in the divider, we almost tested its 5.1 m turning radius promise. Last but not the least folks, the Java black interiors with superb leather finish are to die for. Bolt lettered and sewn in red on black leather gives a very elegant finish, probably the best in the hatch segment these days. There are smart rear wipers to brush off that extra rain from the rear windshield.
The icing on the cake for the Tata Bolt Revotron XT model is the price. The tentative price that we gathered from the Bolt folks at the Mani Square Mall arena is 5.5 Lakhs on road for Kolkata. If that’s where the buck stops, Bolt is sure to Get Set and Explore the Indian roads very soon.
(All images are clicked by PRB at the BOLT Arena, Mani Square Mall, Kolkata)