I’m a spoilt driver, and by spoilt I don’t mean I drive around in an Audi A8 or a BMW 7-series. No, I’m spoilt by something much simpler — power steering; I’ve never driven a car without it. So when I decided to take the Tata Nano home for the weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The Nano was quite easy to manoeuvre on Mumbai’s crowded roads. I actually had a blast squeezing into gaps that most cars couldn’t dream of fitting into. Another plus was the incredible amount of space in the cabin. The first reaction I got when I offered to drive a group of friends to a movie was, "All of us are going to fit in that?" Boy did their perception change! In fact, they loved the comfortable seats, and how effectively the air-con system cooled the entire cabin.
On rough roads though, the ride was quite bumpy, courtesy the tiny 12-inch wheels, and when you’re stuck in traffic, the heavy steering does wear you out slightly. In fact, after spending a few hours in the Nano, you want a massage for your forearms.
It’s a car that you need to get used to, but once you’ve got the hang of the snappy clutch, the Nano is relatively easy to drive. More importantly, it is also easy to park. What’s more, the ‘tall boy’ design and our car’s eye-catchingly bright paint shade are a huge advantage — you simply cannot lose this car in a large parking lot. I’d parked the Nano on the fourth floor of one of Mumbai’s massive malls and forgot where I had left it. But luckily, the Nano stuck out like a bright orange sore thumb (in a good way) in a parking lot full of plaid cars. It took me all of five minutes of looking around to locate it. Phew!
Despite having covered 5,800km, the Nano isn’t showing too many signs of age — and that’s saying something, considering this car is one of the most affordable in the world.
However, it would have been so much easier to drive if it came equipped with power steering. You spend a lot of time in traffic in a crowded city like Mumbai, and this often-taken-for-granted feature would increase the Nano’s appeal tenfold. Please Tata, put power steering on your Nano to-do list.
Price Rs 2.47 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Test economy 17.45kpl
Maintenance costs None