These exclusive Autocar pictures show the Tata Zest and Bolt, a compact hatchback and saloon which will go on sale in Europe after their planned launch at the Geneva motor show next week. The models will be sold through Tata's European network centred around Spain, Italy and Turkey, although the cars won't be on sale in the UK.
The Tata Bolt, a B-segment hatchback and the Zest, a compact saloon, are intended to inject more appeal into its model range. Both models are based on the previous Tata Vista’s X1 platform, but almost every body panel has been changed and both models have received extensive re-engineering.
The Zest is a booted version of the Bolt, but remains less than than four metres long to take advantage of Indian tax incentives to encourage the take-up of small cars.
For both models, Tata has adopted an electric power steering system developed by ZF. A new electrically assisted steering rack sits on a new subframe, the hard points of which have been optimised to minimise vibration through the steering column.
Other changes include new front suspension struts said to improve ride. A wider track is designed to improve stability.
The Bolt and the Zest both receive Tata’s new ‘Revotron’ engine. It's a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine which develops 84bhp. Tata says the engine has been tuned for drivability and almost 80 per cent of the max 103lb ft is available from 1000rpm.
Tata says it adopted a 'soft' turbo to aid throttle response and provide a linear power delivery. The Revotron unit also features a 'Sport' mode accessed via a button on the dash that sharpens the engine response.
The diesel Zest and Bolt use a Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre MultiJet engine. The Zest is available with an automated manual transmission.
The cabin receives an entirely new dashboard which has an improved fit and finish, a long-standing criticism of Tata's models. A touchscreen infotainment system developed in conjunction with Harman is offered, featuring voice-controlled operation, navigation and, in time, the ability to stream apps from a smartphone.
The launch of the new models signal the firm's intent to stem its plummeting sales, which are at an all-time low.
Ouseph Chacko, Autocar India