The Nano is one of the most compact cars sold in India. It is surprisingly spacious considering its small footprint and a boon to drive through congested roads and narrow streets. The Nano though does have its share of drawbacks and since its launch about five years ago, the car has been constantly evolving.
The most recent change included an updated engine, more comfort features like a standard music system with Bluetooth connectivity and twin glove boxes, reworked clutch pedal position as well as better accessibility to the power window switches to name a few. The car has improved considerably but then we still complained about the lack of power steering when we drove the updated Nano in 2013.
The car is mostly driven in the city but the heavy manual steering does require some effort, especially while parking. This is one reason why the car didn't do well in the comprehensive hatchback test we did a few years back.
2014 Tata Nano Twist XT in India
Looks like Tata Motors has been taking customer and media feedback seriously. We say this because the Twist, the newest variant in the Nano range, features the power steering. The steering column mounted unit is electrically assisted making it the first car from Tata Motors to feature electric power steering technology.
The system developed by ZF Lenksysteme (ZFLS) comprises a brushless motor and a dedicated ECU that is placed under the dashboard. We drove the car around Tata's test track, and found the steering feel and effort a contrast to the earlier model. The steering weight has been optimised well and doesn't feel too light. The Tata Nano Twist now requires little effort to turn at parking and slower speeds while assistance reduces as speeds increase and this adds to the feel. The steering also boasts an Active Return feature, the system basically straightens the steering as soon as the wheel is released (like after taking a U-turn). We didn't find it to be any different from other power steering equipped cars. Tata claims that this self-centering system gives drivers more confidence and improves stability at higher speeds.
The car's tight turning radius of 4m remains the same while the steering wheel itself has slightly grown in size for better control. The inclusion of the power steering is a step in the right direction but we would have liked to see the feature being offered in lower variants too. As of now, the Nano is available in three variants namely - Nano, Nano CX and Nano LX, the Twist will be offered only in the new XT trim.
The Twist also offers a few newer features on top of the standard features offered in the LX variant. The features include a new Damson Purple shade (six colour options in total), a new instrument cluster that offers a different layout including a driver information system that includes trip meter, average fuel economy (the car we tested was driven only around the high speed track and obstacle course and returned 11kmpl according to the system) and a distance to empty feature.
The engine hasn't been updated and still features the same, 624cc, 2-cylinder petrol unit. Fuel efficiency also hasn't changed, the ARAI claimed figure being 25kmpl. The Nano twist XT is priced at Rs 2.36 lakh, ex-Delhi, just Rs 14,000 more than the Nano LX.
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