The first proper facelift to the Nano was due for a long time. Launched in 2009 it was riding the hype of being the cheapest car in the world and at least initially India was besotted. The cheap tag however became its curse and Nano soon symbolised a compromise--either it was your second/third car or you bought it because you could not afford anything else. Tata tried to undo some of the damage with the Twist a couple of years ago, adding features like power steering and a proper music system. The price also went up to shed some of that cheap tag but the success has been mixed at best. Six years on, the hype is long gone and Nano needs a serious makeover. Is the GenX what the doctor ordered?
Unlike in the K10 AMT or the Celerio where Maruti claims absolutely no compromise on fuel economy versus the geared versions, in the GenX Nano, Tata has accounted for a slight buffer. So the AMT version is a little less stingy on fuel than the conventional geared version. Yet, we found the car to be quite fuel efficient. The on board fuel guage gave us a best fuel economy figure of 19.5kpl when driving leisurely in city and 17.9 kpl flat out on the highway. For a petrol engine and an automatic these are good figures.
Thanks to the increasing traffic congestion in cities across the country--big and small-- there has been a gradual rise in demand for automatic cars over the last few years. The advent of AMT into the mix is expected to act as a catalyst to this. Positioned as a smart city car, an automatic version for the Nano makes perfect sense. Yet for all the changes, GenX Nano is not as hip as one would have liked. The small engine negates the many benefits of AMT. The car is now more refined and sure footed than before and the openable boot is a welcome addition. But Nano is fighting a negative perception and needed much more than just that. For one, it needs to untangle itself from the vicious cycle of pricing and beg, borrow or steal, if need be, a bigger engine and smarter clothes.