It has been exactly a year since the Tata Altroz was launched in the Indian market and now it has got itself an update, it’s called as the Tata Altroz iTurbo and on the face of it, there’s not a lot that has changed. But if you look closer, there are some small changes that the car has got and one very big change. We take a closer look at the Altroz iTurbo to find out what’s new and how it is to drive.
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Let’s start with the changes on the outside. Well, there aren’t any. This version of the Altroz looks exactly like the version of the Altroz that was launched a year ago and that’s not a bad thing at all because the Altroz is a fantastic-looking car even today. However, it now has this new colour option called as Harbour Blue. Personally, being someone who likes cars in blue, Tata has got this shade of blue spot on. The only other change that there is on the iTurbo variant is the fact that there is an iTurbo badge at the boot lid and that’s about it.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Once you are inside the Tata Altroz, you see the next set of updates which are more than what you get on the outside. Being inside the cabin is a familiar feeling as the design has remained identical and that’s not a bad thing as the cabin looks really nice. What’s different though is that now the interiors have a different colour theme going on. It’s a lot lighter, it makes the car feel spacious and as a result, the cabin feels a lot more premium than before.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
You get a new driving mode in the Altroz iTurbo. The naturally-aspirated engine powered variant offered City and Eco mode whereas the iTurbo variant offers the City and Sport mode which can be toggled through a small button that is placed behind the gear lever.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
You also get a new ‘Xpress Cool’ button which is, well, self-explanatory as it is supposed to express-cool the cabin. Being winters, I haven’t really tested that feature so we’ll have to take Tata Motors’ word for it. Other changes include new leatherette seats and the infotainment system has been updated as well.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The big change is that Tata Motors has brought the iRA system from the Tata Nexon to the Altroz, which means that it now has a lot of connected features on offer. This includes features like Geo-fencing, live location tracking, remote lock/unlock, and so on. What you also get on the iTurbo variant are two extra Tweeters inside the cabin for a better music experience. Lastly, the change that I really like is the fact that now the Altroz understands more voice commands than before. This includes voice commands in Hindi, English and also Hinglish and that’s a good touch.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Before we move on, let’s take a quick look at how the rear seat experience was. There is nothing that’s changed over here but to give you an idea of space, after setting the driver’s seat as per my height, which for reference is 5’10”, I had ample space at my disposal. There are big compartment spaces, a rear AC vent, a 12V power socket, a drop-down armrest, adjustable headrests and the seating position is very comfortable. Additionally, the Altroz has a flat floor so you can have three people seated abreast at the least with no problem at all.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Now let’s come to the big change that the Tata Altroz has got. As the name suggests, the Altroz is now turbocharged. It gets a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine that, thanks to the magic of turbocharging, makes 110 PS of power and 140 Nm of torque.
This iTurbo engine is only available in three variants of the Altroz – XT, XZ and the newly introduced XZ+ variant. Having said that, you can continue to buy the Altroz with the naturally-aspirated petrol engine as well. But now, let’s get to how the iTurbo feels like to drive.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
It feels fantastic! You see, the strongest point of the Tata Altroz has always been the way it drives and I am referring to its ride quality with the plush suspension setup and how graceful the car feels in all driving conditions.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Now, with the addition of this more powerful engine, the Altroz feels complete. The engine is highly refined and the manual gearbox feels a lot more refined than before as well. As a result, the entire drivetrain feels smooth, and when combined with the lovely chassis that the car already has, you get a very capable hatchback. It doesn’t feel particularly sporty in terms of straight-line acceleration, but with its high capability around corners and the new iTurbo engine with the stronger mid-range power, this Altroz is a fun car to drive.
The absence of an automatic gearbox, however, is something that should have been available right now. Tata says that it’s coming, but that is going to be sometime in the future. There’s no optional sunroof too and that’s a miss.Tata Altroz iTurbo. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
So at the end of the day, the Tata Altroz iTurbo continues to impress and it fills the gap of a performance-oriented petrol hatchback that you would want from Tata Motors. All that’s left to see is the kind of pricing that this car comes at which is set to be announced on January 22, 2020. But given how the pricing strategy of Tata Motors has been over the past few years, I’m sure that the iTurbo will be aggressively priced as well.
Having said that, the Altroz is a better version of the car that we already love and it is important to remember that this is a 5-star crash test safety-rated car and that is a very big achievement in itself. Perhaps, this is all the reason to buy the Altroz in the first place. Everything else that the iTurbo is offering, is an added bonus.