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Johannesburg - The Bolt is Tata's new creation that intends to provide the Indian manufacturer with an all-new design language. It's a small and economic vehicle available as either a hatchback or sedan, just like the Indica/Indigo, but with a dash of extra style. Tata has also kitted out the Bolt with a few technological features to help it compete with other cars in the budget-B-segment.

A new look
The Bolt definitely focuses on style more than anything we have seen in the Tata lineup throughout the years, although it does share such characteristics with the Indica Vista as sweptback headlamps and a short rear overhang. The Bolt has door mirror indicators, chrome trimmings and 15-inch steel alloy wheels as standard on the XT.

The XT sedan is the only model with daytime-running LEDs (that look a little like a vampire's fangs). Less neat is the matte-black C-pillar, which is essentially a layer of vinyl that has been stuck to the paint. Viewed from a distance, this is not an issue, but up close it looks cheap and obviously synthetic. Without it the car would look perfectly fine.

On the inside
Things get better when you climb inside the Bolt. The cabin is basic in terms of finish and layout, but it looks tasteful. Most of the interior is composed of hard plastics, but is spruced up thanks to a classy infotainment system on the XT, user-friendly buttons on the rake-adjustable steering wheel (with voice controls on the XT), easy-to-use climate controls and fabric door inserts. What's more, all the controls feel hardy.

The cloth inserts unfortunately do not find their way to the rear doors, where hard plastic is in abundance, but thankfully the level of comfort is good and space is acceptable.

Storage compartments are rare and the ones that are there are small. This includes only one cup holder. The manually adjustable cloth-covered seats are comfortable on long stints, but an absent clutch rest can create discomfort.

The drive
Tata's all-new Revotron turbocharged 1,2 MPFi engine is a bold attempt at keeping up with the competition, and thanks to 66 kW and 140 N.m from 1 500-4 000 r/min, the Bolt feels punchy at low speeds. However, there are problems with the five-speed manual gearbox: first gear is extremely short, which is perfect for pulling away from intersections and stop streets, but second gear is much longer, which means that changing at low revs sees the vehicle bogging down. I also had issues with the throttle calibration, which sees the car accelerate for close to half a second after you're released the throttle; this can be quite disconcerting.

The Bolt shares its suspension setup with the Indica, which means it features a MacPherson strut suspension on the front and twist beam rear axle on the back; the setup is tuned for a very pleasant and comfortable ride. The 175/65 R15 wheels also don't kick up too much noise. Driving aids consist of ABS, EBD and corner stability control.

The modes
The switchable eco and city driving modes are one of the vehicle's more unique features, as the former manipulates the ECU to lower its power output and CO2 emissions. Eco mode is intended for highway usage, but works best at a constant speed only below 120 km/h because it drastically cuts the power. Changing between fourth and fifth gear will also be a frequent task if you encounter several inclines or corners. Driving the Bolt in eco mode in the right conditions will see you achieve an average economy of below 5,0 L/100km.

City mode is best used in congested traffic situations. It has more power than eco mode to provide you with a little extra boost should you need to grab gaps or blast through intersections, which is also made easier thanks to the electronically powered steering system.

The verdict
Despite not being an entirely new car, the Bolt is definitely a step in the right direction for the Indian manufacturer. With prices starting at R132 995, it's more than R20 000 cheaper than the more powerful but equally well-equipped Ford Figo. If the level of comfort is not enough to please would-be buyers, its frugal running should impress on a daily basis and even more so if you can adapt your driving style to its 66 kW engine.

The touchscreen Harman infotainment system is a very nice addition to the XT model and will keep you entertained during commutes. The infotainment system in the XMS should not be overlooked, however, and that model is perfect for customers who prefer traditional controls. The price difference between the XMS and XT is R10 000, the latter which also includes minor interior and exterior trim upgrades. As a result, the XT feels more premium while the XMS is aimed at first-time buyers and those who count their cents.

With the Bolt, Tata has improved one of its core products, and this is a welcome preview of things to come for the brand.

Latest Resutls for TATA Bolt

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Leather upholstery: -
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: -
  • Cup bottle holders: front
  • Lumbar support adjustment: -
  • Heated ventilated seats: -
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): -
  • Traction control: -
  • Stability control: -
  • Run flat tyres: -
  • Tyre pressure sensor monitor deflation detection system: -
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Driver knee airbag: -
  • Passenger knee airbag: -
  • Front side airbags: -
  • Rear side airbags: -
  • Curtain airbags: -
  • Airbag quantity: 2
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • Directional turning headlights: -
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: -
  • Start stop button: -
  • Engine auto Stop Start idle stop ecostop: -
  • Alloy wheelsrims: -
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: Sport, Eco, City
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Navigation: -
  • Cruise control: -
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • Voice control: -
  • CD player: Standard
  • Multi disc CD player shuttle: -
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: -
  • Auto dim interior mirror: -
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Auto dimexterior mirrors: -
  • Sun roof: -
  • Folding roof: -
  • Electric seat adjustment: -
  • Memory for electric seat adjustment: -
  • Daytime driving running lights: -
  • Xenon headlights: -
  • Highbeam assist: -
  • Frontfog lamps lights: -
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 677 km
  • Driven wheels: front
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 5
  • Gearshift: manual
  • Transmission type: manual
  • Gear shift paddles: -
  • Electromechanical parking brake: -
  • Limited slipdiff: -
  • Front tyres: 175/65 R14
  • Reartyres: 175/65 R14
  • Spare wheel size full: Standard
  • Length: 3825 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1695 mm
  • Height: 1562 mm
  • Wheel base: 2470 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 165 mm
  • Load volume / capacity: 210 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 210 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1125 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 1 575 kg
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 44l
  • Fuel consumption urban: 8.8 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption extra urban: 5.2 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption average: 6.5 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 154g/km
  • Emission control phase Euro EU level: 3
  • Power maximum: 66 kW
  • Power maximum total: 66 kW
  • Power peak revs: 5000 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 58.7 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 140 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1500-4000 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 140 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 124 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: n/as
  • Maximum top speed: n/a km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1193 cc
  • Engine size: 1.2l
  • enginedetailshort: 1.2T
  • Engine + detail: 1.2 turbo
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 5
  • Warranty distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 2
  • Service plan time (distance): 30000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 5
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Service interval (time): 1
  • Brand: Tata
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 59816120
  • MMVariant: BOLT 1.2T XMS 5DR
  • MMintrodat: 2015-08-01
  • Introdate: 2015-10-07
  • DuoportarecordID: TataBolt1h1

driving-impressions

DRIVEN: Tata Bolt


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