Tata Motors showed two new cars at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo – the hatchback was the Bolt and the compact sedan was the Zest. The Zest like its hatchback sibling is based on the X1 Indica Vista platform but features a fresh design and new mechanicals. The Tata Zest goes up a gainst the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent in the compact sedan segment. Prices for the Zest range from Rs.4.70 to 8.07 lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi).
Exterior design of the Zest is almost exactly the same as the Bolt hatchback right up to the C-pillar. Since the Zest is a sedan, C-pillar on the Zest gains its own identity. Unlike the Indigo CS, this time Tata gets the proportions better while incorporating the boot under the 4 metre mark. Besides the base variant, the Zest gets projector headlights, a first in the segment. The Zest also gets LED daytime running lights giving it a premium feel.
The interior of the Zest is fresh and the bigger improvement on a Tata car. Quality of materials and overall design is a big step up from Tata Cars we have known in the past. The Zest like the Bolt features a good quality Harman music system with Bluetooth, USB and Aux inputs. Higher variants even get a touchscreen infotainment system, a first in the segment. Rear parking sensors, dual tone interiors, and comfortable and spacious seating are positives you can note from inside the cabin.
The Zest is powered by the same engine specifications as the Bolt. Performance from the diesel however improves due to a variable geometry turbocharger compared to a fixed one in the Bolt. The 1.3-litre diesel Zest develops 90PS of power and 200Nm of torque and comes with a choice of two gearboxes. A 5-speed manual unit is standard as well as an AMT, which again is a first for a diesel car in India. The petrol mill is the newly developed 1.2-litre Revotron engine developing 85PS of power and 140Nm of torque. The petrol engine offers a multi drive mode – Sport, Eco, City – Sport mode is when you need a burst of power, eco mode for excellent fuel efficiency, or city mode for the perfect balance between the two.
Tata reports an ARAI rated mileage of 17.6kmpl for the petrol and 23kmpl for the diesel. The Zest comes with a good mix of engine and gearbox choices, is a spacious and comfortable car and comes with a lot of features. Ride quality is also excellent. The Zest can be a good alternative to traditional compact sedan choices in India.
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Space, ride and features
Lack of stowage, soft seats
The Zest is a big step up for Tata Motors be it design, interior look and feel or quality. The new 1.2-litre turbo petrol works well and with an AMT transmission for the diesel variant, Zest now becomes the cheapest diesel automatic one can buy. It is definitely worth a look in.