Tata Altroz 2019 Petrol & Diesel: First Drive
- Dec 9, 2019
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The Maruti Baleno is a pretty sorted hatchback. It packs ample features, charming looks and a reasonable price tag. The only thing missing from the Maruti hatch was solid quality, a thing Toyota is known for worldwide. So naturally, when the Oval T decided to get its hands on the Baleno, expectations were high.
However, all it did was add 10 new badges to the car and called it the Glanza. But, it also cleverly dialled in a longer warranty and a lower price. Reason enough to pick it over the Baleno? The car we tested was the Glanza’s G variant, which is the only one in the lineup to get the new 1.2-litre DualJet mild-hybrid engine.
Is that a Glanza?
This is the first question you will probably be asking when you spot one on the road. There is no point in wasting time here. You have all seen the Baleno, haven’t you? It’s cute, curvy and the G variant gets projector headlamps but misses out on LED DRLs. However, it does get light guides instead. The wheels are the same 195/55 R16 dual-tone alloys. The least Toyota could have done is swapped them out for new ones. But no. Finally, eight of the 10 Toyota badges are on the outside - one on the front grille, four on the wheels, and three on the boot.
Same same, but different
The other two new badges are on the inside, one on the steering wheel and other on the infotainment startup screen. The dashboard is all-black with silver accents, which makes it look premium. And while the texture of the plastics feel rich, the quality isn’t what we have come to expect from Toyotas. The seat upholstery in this G variant is fabric and what you see in the pictures are accessory covers. Sadly, you do not get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and UV protect coating on the windows as they are reserved for the higher variant.
What you won’t miss though is convenience. The G variant comes packed with creature comforts like a large touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic climate control, height-adjustable driver’s seat, steering mounted controls and well-tuned music system. The only thing missing here is automatic headlamps and a reversing camera, which are present in the V variant. These features keep the driver happy even in a long and tiring commute, leaving very little to be desired.
The back seat passengers will have a good time as well. While they have ample room for their legs and knees, the headroom might feel like a squeeze for taller passengers. Also, the Li-ion battery pack placed under the front-passenger seat robs a bit of legroom. The soft cushioning coupled with a relaxed recline angle keep things comfortable during longer journeys. However, the addition of rear AC vents, or at least an armrest could have been Toyota’s way to take better care of their customers. Another grievance we have with the cabin is with its insulation. Sounds from the underbody often creep into the cabin and you also get a lot of road noise on highways.
Playing in favour of the Glanza is its practicality. There are plenty of storage spaces inside the cabin which takes care of all your knick-knacks. The boot offers 339 litres of storage space which easily holds your weekend luggage. However, the high loading lip can make you feel like a powerlifter.
Like the Baleno, the Glanza comes standard with dual-front airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA), ISOFIX child seat anchors and rear parking sensors. The reverse parking camera is offered in the top-spec V variant and can be installed as an accessory in the G variant. It hasn’t been crash-tested by Global NCAP yet and hence there are no crash test scores yet.
‘Smart’ hybrid power
The G MT variant of the Glanza is the only one in the lineup to get the BS6 compliant, 4-cylinder, 1.2-litre DualJet Smart Hybrid engine. Like the other 1.2-litre motor, this engine too is very refined. It cranks without any buzz and there’s barely any sound or vibrations below 3000rpm.
The engine won’t surprise you with its acceleration but offers nice and linear power. It does hesitate a bit below the 1000rpm mark, but picks up very cleanly after that. This DualJet engine (as Maruti calls it) makes 7PS more than the standard 1.2-litre engine. This, coupled with the torque assist from the hybrid system, enhances low-speed driveability. There is also a nice graphic in the MID which shows you the battery charge percentage and when the engine is getting an assist.
Want to have some fun? Rev past 3000rpm and it comes alive. The Glanza takes 13.19s to reach 100kmph from a standstill and the engine feels rev-happy no matter where you are in the band. Also, the tractability allows you to keep it in 3rd or 4th gear inside the city. This reduces the number of times you have to shift gears. And the times you do have to shift, you’ll be happy to know that the throws are short and the clutch relatively light. Talking numbers again, it takes 11.24s to go from 30-80kmph in third gear, and 20.52s to go from 40-100kmph in fourth gear. While these too might seem a bit slow, the taller gearing aids efficiency big time. The Galanza manages a tested mileage of 17.13kmpl inside the city and an impressive 24.25kmpl on the highway.
The Glanza is clearly set up to navigate the urban jungle with ease and comfort. The suspension damping feels just right to cushion you from speed breakers, potholes or broken roads. It rides quite flat as well and even stabilises after a bump pretty quickly. In fact, it's only when you hit a bump or pothole at a speed that you would find the ride a bit harsh.
Inside the city, the Glanza offers easy navigation. Up to 60kmph, the steering offers ample feedback and is light enough to not strain even the most delicate of wrists. But as the speed increases, or you hit a highway, body roll becomes apparent. It’s not off putting for the passengers but hampers the handling. The wheels start to fight for grip if you approach a corner fast and makes enthusiastic driving a bit nervous. And while the brakes have a nice progressive feel inside the city, the tested 100-0kmph braking distance of 44.58metres is on the higher side.
Better than the Baleno?
Time then to talk about the longer warranty and the lower price. The Maruti Suzuki Baleno comes with a 2-year/40,000km warranty. The Glanza, on the other hand, gets a 3-year/1 lakh km warranty as standard. This can further be extended to 5-years/2.2 lakh km as well. And for the two being exactly the same hatchbacks, the extended warranty reflects Toyota’s approach in offering peace of mind of its customers. As for the price, the Glanza’s G variant is identical to the Zeta variant of the Baleno. But, Toyota’s hatchback costs Rs 65,000 lesser than Maruti’s. Additionally, the Glanza also comes with Toyota’s renowned ownership and service experience.
Considering these two factors, this G variant of the Glanze becomes a no-brainer over the Baleno’s Zeta variant. Even as a standalone premium hatchback, the Glanza is not only spacious and comfortable but also packs a refined engine and ton of features for the price, offering you excellent value.
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