Tata Altroz Racer Review: What’s In A Name?

  • Jun 16, 2024
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The Altroz now packs in more power and more kit!

Tata Altroz Racer

The Tata Altroz Racer, a premium hatchback based on the Tata Altroz, gets some unique design elements and a more powerful 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine. While the standard Altroz competes with the likes of the Maruti Baleno, Toyota Glanza and Hyundai i20, the ‘Racer’ version has only one direct rival, the Hyundai i20 N Line. 

Who should consider buying the Altroz Racer and why? 

Exterior

The Altroz’ design has aged gracefully since it debuted in 2020. One generally expects a manufacturer to introduce a facelift within four years of launch, but Tata Motors has not done so. The design is identical, save for a few unique touches to make the Racer look sportier than the standard Altroz.

Tata Altroz Racer

These changes include a black bonnet, black roof, side skirts and a larger spoiler. Smaller details include ‘Racer’ badging on the front fender, racing stripes and dual exhausts (that are sadly hidden away under the bumper). It features the same 16-inch alloy wheels as the standard Altroz, just finished in a dark tone. 

Tata Altroz Racer

We’d have liked to see the design differentiated by sportier bumpers and a newer alloy wheel design. Tata could’ve also considered going a size up for the alloys and lowering the ride height for a true hot-hatch look. 

Tata Altroz Racer

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For those who think this design is a little too much for their taste, Tata has hinted towards the possibility of this engine being made available minus the visual upgrades as well. That’s something you’d have to wait for. 

Interior

On the inside, it’s familiar territory once again. Expectedly, all the highlights of the Altroz — including easy ingress/egress (thanks to the 90° opening doors), spacious rear seat and solid build, have been carried over as is. Interior quality continues to remain a highlight. Tata has used some clever textures on the dash and door pads to elevate the experience. 

Tata Altroz Racer

The Racer features an all-black cabin theme that is contrasted with orange accents. You’d find it generously used around the AC vents, and the gear lever area as well. Look closely and you’d find orange ambient lighting and orange stitching on the black leatherette seats. The orange and white accents on the seats and the ‘Racer’ embossing on the headrest all show attention to detail. 

Technology

The Altroz was always a well-loaded vehicle. With the Racer, Tata Motors has added some more features to its kitty.

Tata Altroz Racer

Feature highlights:

Keyless Entry

Push-button Start Stop

Electric Sunroof

Cruise Control

Automatic Headlamps

Rain Sensing Wipers

Automatic Climate Control

Rear AC Vents

New additions:

Features

Notes

10.25” Touchscreen

Same unit as the Punch EV/mid-spec Nexon. Great resolution and clarity. Gets wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Paired with a 8-speaker sound system that has fantastic audio output. 

7” Digital Driver’s Display

Features a digital tachometer on the left, fuel and temperature gauge on the right. Central screen displays a host of information.

Small issue: Menus are laid out in a vertical orientation, while buttons to toggle them are in horizontal (left/right). 

360° Camera

Displays 2D/3D view on the touchscreen. Makes it easy to park and maneuver in tight spots. Helpful while changing lanes too. Video output is clear and lag free. 

Front Seat Ventilation

Button still awkwardly placed on the side of the seat. 

Safety

The Altroz Racer gets a host of safety features as standard. This includes:

Six Airbags

ABS with EBD

ISOFIX Child Seat Mounts

Electronic Stability Program

Traction Control

Hill Hold

Tata has not equipped the rear seats of the Altroz with load sensors. This means the rear seatbelt reminder chimes every time you start the car even if the seat is unoccupied. You’ll have to keep the seatbelt buckled to prevent this from happening. 

Tata Altroz Racer

The Altroz secured a 5-star rating from GNCAP in 2020. Do note that crash test norms have become stricter since then. 

Drive

Powering the ‘Racer’ is a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine borrowed from the Nexon. Output stands at 120PS and 170Nm, which should have some eyes light up with excitement. To top it off, there’s a 6-speed manual gearbox to go with it. 

Tata Altroz Racer

However, the Altroz Racer isn’t as ‘racy’ as the name or these numbers might suggest. 0-100kmph comes up in a claimed 11.3 seconds, which isn’t going to get your heart rate up all that much. For reference, both the i20 N Line and Fronx Turbo have quicker 0-100kmph times. In-gear acceleration feels delayed too, as the engine takes a split second to respond even when you bury the accelerator pedal into the floor. 

Tata Altroz Racer

Where this engine actually shines, is long-distance touring. It breaks no sweat maintaining triple digit speeds. Overtaking at these speeds is a lot easier than the regular ‘non-turbo’ Altroz too. The 6-speed gearbox ensures that the engine is at a lazy 2000rpm at 100kmph. That said, the gearbox feel itself could’ve been smoother.

Tata Altroz Racer

Tata Motors has equipped the Altroz Racer with a hydraulic clutch. The clutch action is light, and the bite point is quite early in the travel. You might feel like you will end up stalling the vehicle in the first few drives. However, once you get used to this, it’s actually quite smooth and quick — whether you’re going through gears on your commute, or upshifting at the redline. 

Tata Altroz Racer

You’d enjoy the Altroz on those quick-paced weekend getaways. What makes the experience better is the ride and handling package. 

Finally, Tata claims to have worked on the exhaust note of the vehicle. It might sound slightly louder from the outside, but there’s no raspy sound to enjoy from behind the wheel. 

Ride and Handling

There have been minor tweaks to the suspension’s damping settings, and the power steering software. There’s no night and day difference between a standard Altroz and the Racer. Most definitely not something you’d be able to pick up on in a test drive or two. But, that’s no bad thing.

Tata Altroz Racer

The Altroz has always offered a good balance between ride comfort and handling. The Racer is simply ever so slightly tuned to handle better. We had the chance to get a few hot laps around India’s latest circuit — CoaSTT in Coimbatore. We’re happy to report that the Altroz Racer feels at home being driven hard. It’s quick to turn in, stable and predictable, if not an absolute handling dream. 

Tata Altroz Racer

Out in the real world, you’d be happy with the comfort the suspension has to offer. Broken roads don’t unsettle the cabin too much, and neither do expansion joints on the fast express highways. 

Verdict

Tata’s Altroz has always had strong sensibilities of space, comfort, and safety. The new features simply up the experience and do better justice to its ‘premium’ hatchback tag. With the ‘Racer,’ there’s now a layer of fun to its personality. It might not be the quickest hatchback out there, but it sure is THE petrol Altroz to buy. 

Tata Altroz Racer

Tata Altroz Racer Video Review

Tata Altroz Racer
Tata Altroz Racer
Rs. 9.49 Lakh
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