With the Zest sedan launched at Rs. 4.64 lakh for the base petrol trim, Tata Motors is looking to gain ground from rivals like the Honda Amaze, Maruti Dzire and Hyundai Xcent.
The new Tata Zest is available in both petrol and diesel guise. While the petrol cars get the new 1.2-litre Revotron motor, the diesel versions get the familiar 1.3-litre Quadrajet motor in two states of tune – 74bhp and 89bhp. The lower powered diesel motor is only available on the base XE trim. Transmission duties are handled by a five-speed manual gearbox and importantly, Tata has provided an automated manual transmission option (AMT) on the diesel car. There are five trims available – XE, XM, XMA, XMS, XT – with the petrol car skipping the XMA (AMT-equipped) trim.
The new Zest sedan gets dual-tone interiors, 15-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured wing mirrors (with LED indicators), door handles and bumpers, and LED tail-lamps, standard across all variants.
The base XE variant gets tilt adjustable power steering, air-conditioner with a heater option, front power windows, manual central locking and foldable key. However, certain features like an audio system have been given a complete miss. For safety, the base trim gets only an engine immobiliser.
Over the XE, the XM gets a ConnectNext infotainment system from Harman with four speakers and four tweeters and a remote control for the music system. There's radio, Bluetooth, USB, aux and iPod connectivity, and audio and telephony controls on the tilt adjustable steering. There's rear power windows, electrically adjustable wing mirrors, remote central locking, adjustable head rests, projector headlamps, front and rear fog lamps, chrome weather strip on windows and chrome garnish on the front fog lamps. The XM variant also gets ABS with EBD on the safety front.
The XMA trim is available only with the 89bhp 1.3-litre diesel motor mated to a five-speed AMT gearbox and it gets the same features as on the XM. Tata may consider adding airbags on this trim later, based on feedback.
The XMS adds height adjustment for the driver's seat and dual airbags up front. This makes the XMS the most affordable car in the segment to get ABS and airbags as standard.
On the top XT variant, the infotainment system gets an SD card reader and a touchscreen that has automatic temperature controls on it and which doubles up as a graphical display to aid reversing. You can also view photos via USB and SD card, and there's voice recognition too. There's a rear defogger, fully automatic temperature control and rear parking sensors. LED daytime-running lights feature only on this trim.
Tata has done well to provide alloy wheels and LED turn indicators integrated on the wing mirrors across all trims. Safety kit like airbags is also available at a price no rival matches. The top trim is quite well loaded for the value, offering a reversing graphical display, rear sensors and a touchscreen for the infotainment system, among other features, at an aggressive price. The automatic diesel sedan is the most affordable one in India and this should definitely give Tata an edge over competition. Hopefully at a later stage the carmaker will add safety features like airbags to this trim.