Tata Bolt

The name Bolt, reminiscent of the world’s fastest man and massively powerful feats of nature. And now, even more impressively than both, is a Tata that you actually want to own.

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The Tata vehicles of the past were cheap, and that was about the only merit they were worthy of. This new Tata Bolt, though, is more than just a cheap alternative to other cheap alternatives. It actually has some substance to it, with the biggest improvements being in the interior.

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Stepping into the new Bolt you are greeted by a neatly laid out, and coolly lit interior. The infotainment system is all new, and is characterised by its ease of use rather than a cutting edge display. It is also a triumph in mobile connectivity, with the Bluetooth connection being particularly fast. The sound system itself is also better than you’d expect from this level of car.

The standard features list is immense, especially on the top of the range XT models. There is the touch screen infotainment system, and even air con as standard. The safety features are equally impressive, with ABS, stability control and Driver, passenger and also side impact airbags as standard. The list of features just carries on and on.

The engine is also somewhat a surprise, with the Bolt boasting a zingy 1.2L turbo petrol motor, which produces 66kw and 140nm of torque. The performance is nothing ground breaking, but it is nippy and the car never feels strained, even at highway cruising speeds. The drive is also much more refined than previous offerings by the marque. At speed is quiet and comfortable and around town it has enough power to pull itself around with aplomb. A stand out feature is the selective drive modes, eco and city modes, which as far as I could tell, save fuel by simply limiting power and throttle response.

As a package, the Bolt far exceeded my expectations, and seems to be ushering in an era of really convincing offerings from Tata. There are issues, such as the interior plastic quality, but hard interior plastics are part and parcel with small cheap cars. Then there is the price, because at R167 995, it is more reasonably priced than affordable, but when you consider what your money gets you, it starts to make sense.

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My only real qualm is with the styling, because it looks like every other Tata ever, that is to say, not nice. It Looks so bland and unimaginative, and that is especially a shame, because the car underneath the styling is actually really rather good. So if you don’t care about looking good, and need a good affordable car, you can’t really go wrong with the new Tata Bolt.

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