We ended our 3,000 km report of the Tata Bolt long term review saying that it is a sort of a car which may not sweep you off your feet at once but will grow on you with time. Having served us for the past 8 odd months, the Bolt 1.2-litre Revotron petrol variant finally bids adieu, but not before leaving us very impressed.
While majority of its initial stint involved highway runs, the Bolt had to deal with unforgiving Pune city traffic in its second stint. The City drive mode (default mode) summons enough grunt to help you keep pace with the flow of traffic. As we learnt, Eco is not the ideal mode to be in when you are ambling around town. It simply beats the purpose by forcing you to down shift more often than what is acceptable.
As we said earlier, the drive modes of the Revotron petrol engine are not a part of a marketing gimmick but they actually make the engine much more flexible. That said, the mode buttons which are located on the lower part of the centre console are poor in ergonomics as it’s difficult to swap between the modes without taking your eyes off the road. If you want to execute that quick overtaking move by easily switching to Sport from Eco, the mode selector buttons should ideally be placed on the steering wheel.
We do have one serious grouse with the Bolt petrol – the fuel economy. While the engine is refined, flexible and all, it is only good for an urban fuel efficiency of 9.5 – 12 kmpl (drive hard and it will dip even lower) which is definitely on the lower side. If you are a regular city commuter, you will feel the pinch during your monthly budgeting sessions.
Apart from the ill placed drive mode buttons, the Bolt scores high on driver ergonomics. We have had several of our friends experience the Bolt for the first time and every single one of them had very positive things to say about the hatchback’s comfortable interiors and a vastly improved dashboard design, layout and quality (over the Vista).
However, we couldn’t get over the serious lack of storage space for water bottles. The summer definitely highlights how glaring an omission this is from Tata’s interior design and package teams. We also are a bit disappointed with the projector headlamps illumination spread at nights.
We love the Bolt’s Harman touch screen infotainment system’s easy of use, functionality and audio quality. Another thing which we will miss is the Bolt’s excellent automatic climate control system which is a boon on very hot days.
The Tata Bolt’s high ground clearance and soft suspension makes for brilliant ride quality which we can’t appreciate enough. The car manages to isolate the occupants from unwanted vertical movements at all speeds. The suspension is soft but the damping is competent enough to offer good straight line stability. The Bolt is not a driver’s car but it didn’t came out as a sloppy handler either.
And for those who are skeptical about Tata products’ infamous niggling issues, we are happy to say that in its 8 months with us, the Bolt proved to be very reliable and free of any noteworthy quality issues. Despite spending most of its time traversing half decent roads, there are no squeaks or rattles whatsoever.
So, coming to the important question – Is it really worth buying? We would readily say yes because, it is a well built and richly equipped product at an attractive price point. The Tata Bolt’s VFM quotient is arguably the best in its class so it really deserves much more attention from the prospective buyers than it’s receiving as of now.