Tata Zest longterm review: Introduction
On my most recent thousand kilometre weekend round trip I got to bond with the new Tata Zest. You already know that we're mighty impressed by the new Tatas and that doesn't change. The car is comfortable, feature loaded and quite nice to drive. For this report though, I'd like to focus on the engine.
To begin with, kudos to Tata, they've engineered a very good motor that is potent and technologically up to date. But having spent extended periods in it on the highway and in the city, I have made a few observations. In town, I find the car perfectly manageable in Eco mode which blunts throttle response and cuts power a little. But once the road opens, the Zest starts to feel quite sluggish and deactivating Eco mode helps things a bit. But come across an incline or the need for a quick overtake and you simply have to shift to Sport. The jump from City to Sport is considerable and suddenly the Zest feels quick and willing. The issue is that shifting to Sport also makes the throttle super sensitive which gets tiring on a long drive as you're constantly focusing on keeping things smooth. It would have been nice if City mode had similar power but without such sharp throttle.
Another thing I've noticed is that the engine has a very weak bottom end. Let the revs drop too much and it will stall, often without any warning. It happened to me numerous times over the weekend try to cross a speed breaker in second and suddenly you find the accelerator doesn't respond and the engine is dead. Fortunately it starts immediately with the first crank of the key. This isn't an issue but you do have to be aware that a change in driving style may be required. And it's not just the Zest, the small capacity turbo petrol in the Ford EcoSport has the same characteristics. The only reliability issue thus far was when the earthing wire for the starter motor came loose and the motor refused to crank. It was an easily rectifiable problem but one that shouldn't have happened in the first place.
Mileage 2,618km Date acquired April '15
Starts Rs 7.99 Lakhs