Saturday, April 04, 2009


One of my colleagues told me today that NANO is on display in the mall opposite to the office building. He couldn't even finish his sentence and already five of us were on our way to the mall. Everyone wanted to see what exactly is TATA NANO.

I have seen the reaction of people when they see a new born baby of a freind or a relative. That reaction cannot be explained in words. The reaction of people around NANO was starkingly similiar to that. Yes, it is true NANO is India's baby. Just like relatives of a new born baby try to match its feature within the kin, people were doing the same with our baby NANO. "It looks like Zen Estilo from a distance", "The back is just like Indica", "The centre console is like Spark"

An autorickshaw comes for a price of around one and a half lakh. Pulling out a real car in that amount is really a miracle that TATAs have performed.

You will fall instantly in love with this machine the moment you will see it. It is definitely the most cutest car available in the market. The cute headlights. The baby bonnet. The aerodynamic wedges in the rear doors. The tall height. The space ship style front seats. Oh my God! I have fallen in love it seems! This car would have sold for 3 lakhs only for its looks, but giving it away for half that price is charity it seems.

This is a rear-engined car. So the bonnet doesnt have the engine. Something we are used to seeing since we remember cars. The bonnet holds the stepny tyre which is another innovation. One more difference from conventional cars is that there is no petrol filler caps on either side. The petrol is filled in a pipe inside the bonnet. It will be quite a nice scene to see petrol being filled in the bonnet of a car in our petrol pumps.

The car is surprisingy spacious. Two adults can comfortably sit in the rear seats. Even three people were able to sit quite comfortably inside. Autorickshaws are supposed to seat three people and NANO definitely has more space than them. Not only there is ample space inside the car considering its size, but its amazingly comfortable.  

The front seats have a very futuristic shape even though they are very thin compared to other cars. But they looked sturdy and definitely helped in saving space in the car. The view of the road looked very clear from the driver side. The large pockets provided on the dashboard on the driver and passenger side to keep everyday luggage like grocery bags, school back-packs etc. were really admirable. The cluster meter is in the centre so that every one seated in the car can see the speed on which car is going. This will be a pain to husbands, as their wives will keep on nagging them "Oh God! Why are you racing so much? Slow down. You are driving a NANO not a Ferrari."  

I had seen the bonnet, so wanted to check the boot of the car too. I kept on looking for the boot lever but couldnt find it anywhere. I thought that the boot must be opening with a key, so got down off the car confirm it. But there was no keyhole in the boot. I checked the front seats thoroughly again. I saw that the battery was fitted below the driver seat. (Jumpstarting NANO in case of battery discharge would be a pain). The tool kit was fixed below the front passenger seat. These space saving innovations deserve a salute to the TATA engineers. But still I couldnt locate the boot lever.

I sat on the rear seats for some inspiration. I saw a small plastic loop on the far top right side of the seats. I saw a similiar loop on the left side. I told one of the observer to pull the loop on the left side while I pulled the right side. VOILA, the seats folded and we saw a small boot below the parcel tray. I dont think there are many cars in the world with such a procedure to open the boot.

This kind of boot is definitely cost saving but has some serious disadvantages. In case of an accident, the denting of the dicky panel will be very difficult as there are no dicky lifters which open it an enable working on it. The dicky panel would be needed to cut out and then repaired. For fitting it back welding would be required. This will make the finishing pathetic and every NANO with even a slight rear damage will have to lose the original company seals which is a big let down. 

Now for some more negatives:

1. The quality of plastic used is very cheap. "Made in China" toys use better plastic. The head light lever and wiper lever looked as if they will break with slightest of forces. 

2. There is no glovebox. Where will the owners keep their car papers?

3. Tyres are too small. Slighty bigger tyres were desired.

4. The speakers looked odd and seriously out of place on the dashboard.

5. My left knee touched the dashboard while pressing the clutch. This problem will be faced by tall people who have the habit of reclining the seat ahead.

I have still not driven this car so cannot comment on the pickup, clutching, braking, suspension, A/C etc. Will try to test drive it soon.

All said and done. Nano is definitely the most amazing car to be launched in our times. Making something like this at such a cheap price is a big achievement for the TATA Motors and for our nation as well. This car will revolutionalise the Indian automobile market (Two wheeler and Used Car included) and to some extent the International market as well.

Thanks, Mr. Ratan Tata for keeping your promise. Shame on you Ms. Mamta Bannerjee for depriving people from experiencing this engineering marvel for so long!

Before finishing, two Nano jokes.

1. A Sardar's Nano was not starting. He opened the bonnet to check the engine. Definitely he couldnt see any engine in the bonnet. He remarked, "Oye teri. Now I know why Nano is so cheap. The bloody car doesn't have an engine!"

2. Two high maintainence Gujrati girls discussing:

"Why did you dump your boyfreind?"

"Oh Him! Uske pass Nano chhe." (Take help of a Gujrati friend if you havent understood the joke!)