Its been just over 2 months since I bought the Tata Aria. It was a tough decision since there were so many options in the market one will be spoilt for choice. I still did some research and narrowed down to six cars with Tata Aria, MS Ertiga, Toyota Innova, 2014 Mahindra Scorpio, Chevy Enjoy, Safari Storme. I expelled the Enjoy for its dated cabin and poor quality, next to go was the Storme just because it was so similar to the old safari, next in line to go was the Innova for its taxi image. I narrowed down to 3 options and then deducted the Scorpio because I already owned a 2012 Scorpio and this one was too similar. With the last 2 contender the Tata Aria seemed to be a better contender on parameter of space, practicality and goods on offer in the car.
One would be amazed by looking at its gigantic proportions with a close to 5 meters of length its definitely long. From the front you see a resemblance to other Tata products with vertically slotted sharp headlamps and the smiling grill being the prominent features in the front. Move on to the side and you’re bound to notice the huge proportions of the vehicle. Although the side is pretty much plain you have some design cues such as blacked out B & C pillars and Aria decal running on the side of the car. On the rear it’s the same familiar Tata look with vertical pillar stacked tail lamps with clear lenses. I would like to mention that the panel gaps are prominent in this car although not as drastic and one will be finding these in the bonnet shut lines and the hatch shut lining in the rear, all the other places have almost no panel gaps. The car is quite high and moving in and out of the car is a bit of a task. Also the ORVM are awkwardly designed and are about a feet excess to the car's width.
Interior quality is decent but not upto the mark of say a Toyota Innova. One can find some panel gaps although have to mention that the fit and finish is decent and you get a faint resemblance of a range rover dashboard. You get a lot of kit with the car as seen in the pictures which include one touch power down on all windows, Leather upholstery, 3 Rows of AC with independent controls, etc. One thing that might be a sore eye are the ergonomics of the car. For example, there are almost no cubby holes in the car, the twin glove boxes are so shallow that they cant even house the cars own user manual, front passenger footwell is intruded by the 4X4 transfer box, cup holders on the center stack are practically useless as you end up spilling coffee on your gear knob. One saving grace is the size of door pockets which are big enough to have a 2 litre bottle in them and even then have enough space for a harry potter book. Also the bolstering on these seats are not the most efficient and broad frame people will have a problem fitting in them. Middle row is very comfortable with good underthigh support and a reclining backrest and 4 AC vents to keep you cool. Last row is miserable with not enough space for even 5 footer although you have 2 AC vents and enough space for nic nacks. The rear hatch door houses a dedicated subwoofer housing with bracket and boot has an amplifier housing although it’s small, this housing can also be utilized to keep small but necessary things. AC vents are one thing that are in abundance and hence you get 10 AC vents. The armrest does not come in the base model and the one here is a custom made one.
Performance and Ride Quality
Tata tweaked the engine to make it more refine and up the power to 150 PS and so it’s a good cruiser. The power is there when you want if you keep it in 1500 – 3000 RPM range. Although in lower RPM it showcases a turbo lag. The NVH level of the car are decent considering it to be a single mass flywheel although higher models have a very good NVH level with a dual mass flywheel. The car gives a mileage of 13 in city with AC and 17 on highways with AC and these are good enough for a car in Mumbai. It cruises in peace at about 120Kmph but feels out of place and pushed hard at over 120Kmph. The ride is very leveled with only crater sized potholes filtering into the cabin. It feels at home on highways because car is about 2.5 tonnes it sticks to the tarmac on high speeds and does not wobble. Its sometimes strange to drive of these enormous proportions with this ease.
Many said that I was taking a wrong step in going for a Tata but it was a heart over mind decision and I don’t regret it, although the after sales are very poor and unpremium and regular services take a lifetime to get done let alone the change of parts and Tata is synonymous with poor reliability, but in all due respect I shall say that I will wait and see it for myself how this Tata delivers. Let’s just hope for good, Fingers Crossed.