In an intriguing move, Tata Motors has homologated BS4 versions of the Altroz after launching the premium hatchback with BS6 engines
The Maruti Baleno rival was launched in January 2020 with BS6 compliant petrol and diesel engines right from day one. As per the automaker’s filings with the government (see pictures), the BS6 versions of the Altroz hatchback were homologated in January 17, 2020, while the BS4 versions were homologated a month later, on February 19, 2020.
With just a little over a month left for BS6 deadline (April 1, 2020), Tata’s move to homologate the BS4 versions is baffling to say the least. The BS4 vehicles cannot be registered at RTO after March 31, 2020.
The difference in emission levels between the BS4 and BS6 standards is huge, especially when it comes to diesel engines. They required additional components such as a sophisticated diesel particulate filter (DPF) to be able to meet the new emissions target. This makes BS6-rated diesel engines significantly more expensive than their BS4 counterparts.
The government is in the process of making BS6-grade fuels available across the country by the deadline. While using BS6-spec fuel on a BS4-spec engine doesn’t inflict any considerable damage, running a BS6-spec engine on BS4-spec might lead to pre-mature clogging of the DPF which significantly affect overall performance. This is the reason why several automakers are waiting till the deadline to introduce their BS6-compliant diesel models.
Why would Tata Motors homologate BS4 versions of Tata Altroz after launching the BS6 versions (link to official release) is anybody’s guess. As per the government documents we have accessed, both BS6 and BS4 versions the diesel engine has no change in power output.
The 1.5-liter motor delivers 66 kW (88.5 hp) in both BS4 and BS6 avatars. The petrol motor, however, puts out 62.4 kW (83.8 hp) in BS4 guise and 63 kW (84.4 hp) in BS6 guise. The BS6 diesel variants are heavier than their respective BS4 variants by 0 to 8 kg. The difference is reduced to 1-2 kg in case of petrol variants (of course, BS6 being heavier).
Speaking to a few Tata dealers, they confirmed that the both petrol and diesel Altroz which are being sold by them currently, are BS6. In that case, why did Tata homologate Altroz BS4 just before the deadline. Is Tata planning to launch Altroz BS4 petrol and Altroz BS4 diesel? If yes, what would be the price? Will they be cheaper as compared to the BS6 prices which the company announced in Jan 2020?
The Tata Altroz is the first product to be based on the automaker’s modular ALFA platform which will underpin a variety of vehicles in the medium term, including the production version of HBX mini SUV and a crossover that will slot between the Nexon and Harrier to take on the likes of Kia Seltos. The hatchback received 5-star rating for adult occupants and 3-star rating for child occupants in Global-NCAP crash tests. The automaker will launch a pure electric variant of Altroz in the coming months.