A few days after our trusty Tata Bolt petrol long termer bid adieu, the diesel version, also swathed in the same Venetian Red shade, filled its place. The hatchback had 15,000 odd km on its odo when it reached us.
So far, we added 1,000 km to its mileage. Even though the new car looks pretty much identical to the one it replaced save for darker alloy wheels and different license plates, it is a lot different in terms of feel. Here are our initial impressions.
Let’s start with the 1.3-litre diesel engine that produces 75 PS and 190 Nm of torque. The immensely popular Fiat MultiJet engine has been at Tata Motors’ disposal for several years now so the boffins had more than enough time to adapt it to the Bolt. So, it’s not surprising that the motor feels absolutely at home propelling the hatchback.
The clutch in our long-termer shows signs of premature wear and feels a bit funny and has an inconsistent bite point. Apart from that, we have no qualms with the way the motor and the 5-speed manual transmission work.
In fact, the 50 Nm of addition torque compared to the petrol variant makes a great deal of difference in real world conditions. The diesel Bolt is much more driveable and gets up to speed without breaking a sweat. The punchy mid-range comes in handy both in urban and highway environments.
While the Bolt diesel has an ARAI certified mileage of 22.65 kmpl, we were able to manage only around 17 kmpl so far and our usage pattern had an equal mix of city and highway driving.
As far as riding and handling characteristics go, the diesel Bolt feels pretty much the same as its petrol counterpart. The ride quality is good even when the road condition is below par, handling is predictable and steering has a nice feel to it. The braking system performs poorer than it should for its age but we have no way of knowing what the car was subjected to in its initial phase of life.
Having lived with the petrol Bolt for over 8 months, the spacious, comfortable and well-built cabin is a familiar territory for us. There are no rattles, squeaks or broken plastic bits. As expected, the Harman touchscreen infotainment system is top notch and the air conditioning is excellent.
This is the third time we are expressing our disappointment about the utter lack of storage solution for water bottles and we can’t stress enough on how glaring an omission it is. We hope Tata Motors introduces a model year update with decent pockets on all the doors sooner than later.
The Tata Bolt diesel emerges as an all rounder which performs as expected under usual circumstances. The time-proven engine is sure to give the owners a peace of mind.
We would be getting to learn more about the hatchback as we dial in kilometer after kilometer in the coming months. We are looking forward to it.