Review: New Tata Aria
Tata updates its flagship model and even drops its starting price. It's all there in our review...
Few years ago, Tata showcased it's first crossover MPV, the Aria, with much fanfare. It proved to be a decent product with lots of space, great ride and surprisingly decent dynamics. But an ambitious price tag without any major upgrade in general quality hampered it's popularity.
Tata wants to make amends.
While it still is working on providing upmarket build quality, it is trying to lure customers with more value, better equipment and a marginally reduced price.
On the outside, not much has changed except for smoked glass headlamps and clear lens taillamps. But a lot has changed inside starting with the under the bonnet. The engine is now a 148bhp, 320Nm, 2.2 litre diesel that it calls Varicor. Essentially its Dicor tech but now with variable geometry turbocharger. It has reduced the initial lag a bit, but it is still there. Power is enough for its size. Max torque kicks in at 1500rpm but you still have to work for it. The five-speed gearbox has rubbery shifts but throws are short. Unfortunately, there still doesn't seem to be any sign of the auto box that Tata showed at Geneva last year.
On the move, the sheer size comes into play. There is body roll, but the Aria manages to control it well, even when you push it through corners. Mechanical grip is impressive but not quite supported by the tyres. The 4x4 Adapterra system works better on-road with providing better grip than off-road. There is also the option of switching to 2-wheel-drive on the fly, which is a good touch.
The steering is a bit on the heavier side and strangely gets lighter as you go faster. But the weightiness helps while cornering as it allows you to better control the car with minimum inputs. Of course, we do not expect this seven-seater to be driven that way but it is good to know that it is capable.
Interiors are amazingly spacious, especially the big, front two seats. New this time around, is a tailor-made JBL system, which is quite nice. While the cabin is well insulated from vibrations, wind noise was a bit of an irritant on our test car.
The new Aria is available in three variants starting with Pure for Rs 9.95 lakh, Pleasure for Rs 12 lakh and the top of the line Pride for Rs 14.75 lakh ex-showroom. While the base looks like good value it does miss out on equipment. The marginal price drop and smart updates does make the Aria a better proposition. It is one of the most comfortable seven seaters on our roads right now. Plus its still a surprisingly capable drive. That's good enough to negate a few flaws.
4cyl, 2.2-litre, 148bhp, 320Nm, 5M, AWD, 0-100kph: 16.98sec, 30-50 (3rd): 4.0sec, 30-50kph (4th): 6.28sec, 50-70kph (5th): 7.87sec, 80-0kph: 28.72m; 2.65sec, city kpl:10.7, highway kpl: 12.4, Rs 9.95 lakh onwards
A proper seven-seater with oodles of space and comfort. Slightly lowered price makes it an interesting proposition now.