We get up close to what will be Europe's cheapest car in our exclusive studio shoot
10 December 2009

Autocar’s Steve Cropley was given a sneak preview of the Tata Nano Europa this week when it came into our London studio.

The European version of the world’s cheapest car was first seen at the Geneva motor show earlier this year and it has been eagerly anticipated ahead of its expected release date of 2011.

See our exclusive Tata Nano Europa studio pics

The Nano was launched in India earlier this year and retails for less than £2000, but due to the increased cost of making it ‘Europeanised’ (more creature comforts, improved crash test safety) it is likely to cost from £4000 - £5000 in the UK.

It will be powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which will produce around 60bhp. The Europa will get a five-speed manual ‘box (the Indian version is four-speed) to allow for longer gearing, improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions.

It features an all-steel body, with an overall length of 3300mm. This makes it around eight inches longer than the original Mini, but far shorter than any contemporary European supermini. The show car rides on 14-inch alloys.

Under the skin, all-independent rear suspension features, while Europa models will get ABS, traction control, electric power steering and twin airbags.

Boot access has yet to be decided – Indian Nanos are strictly four-door, but a full-size hatchback is till possible.

And what does Cropley make of the Europa? “There’s one certainty: it will change the way car prices are viewed when it hits British showrooms – for substantially less than a Hyundai i10 and around half the price of a Smart.”

Our Verdict

Tata Nano

Cheap and undeniably cheerful. Unbelievable value, if only you could buy one in the UK.

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Join the debate


10 December 2009

Next (Original) Mini perhaps? I'd have one.

10 December 2009

Yeah, I bet if this was a KIA you wouldnt even be bothered to write about it, much less have this as your main article.

I forgot, you guys in England would rather have a car from a 9th rate automake like TATA if it has "That look" than a sensible car that will actually run everyday from a world class manfacturer.

10 December 2009

HyundaiSmoke - It doesn't matter which manufacturer conceived it - what's important is the concept and that definitely merits reporting. We all know you worship at the altar of Hyundai-Kia and you are welcome to do so, but there's no reason to begrudge another manufacturer developing a radical competitor such as this.

10 December 2009

I think that is a bit harsh HyundaiSmoke, no order of importance:

1) the nano will have the reliability of Hyundai and i am sure also will achieve at least 5 stars in crash testing

2) it will be cost effective to buy and own, this cost efficiency will be at least the same as Hyundai and i fully expect it to be greater, not sure what the i10 sells for?

3) TATA own Jag and thus we are helping out are fellow countrymen and women; this is not a Jag (true) but in a way it helps Jag and that has to be good.

4) India is in the common wealth and so we are helping out are Indian brothers and sisters in the process - which is all good.

so if you are saying that we can have a car that matchs Hyundai on all the most relevant aspects and to add into the equation it looks better! we are onto a winner!!

if Hyundai cannot compete as TATA have matched them on all other aspects and beaten them on cost/cost of ownership and looks; well Hyundai have to start producing cheaper cars and or ones that look better.

I think if they sell this car with customisation options and it handles half way right, i think it could well be the true new "old" mini! i just hope they allow/plan customisation options.

10 December 2009

Are you all mad? Like the i10/Picanto/Getz bunch, this thing is garbage. A lowest common denominator device for people who don't like cars, or can be bothered to think about them.

Utter rubbish.

10 December 2009

I would prefer this to a Smart or an i-car. Looks better too.

10 December 2009

"I think if they sell this car with customisation options and it handles half way right, i think it could well be the true new "old" mini! i just hope they allow/plan customisation options."

Surely that would be defeating the whole object of the exercise - cheap basic transport rather than a "lifestyle" statement.

Hopefully this will not become another Autocar "lack of soft-touch plastics, and hard surfaces in out-of-reach places" diatribe - which has been driving up the cost of European cars, unnecessarily. The price has already gone up 150% to Europeanise it.

10 December 2009

I hope the launch of the Nano in Europe will bring sense into the brains of the European carmakers. An IQ starts at £10k and for all the so called design brilliance the end result is WHAT?? I hate the fact that every car maker and so called auto experts in Europe think that every one wants to drive a Mini. So all of us are supposed to buy cramped three door cars with a hard ride,dashes of chrome here and there, lots of 'soft' plastics, and accept a ludicrous price tag for the same.

If all the big names in the Auto industry can make a better car at £4k, Great, why dont they just go ahead and make one?!!

10 December 2009

This car actually looks attractive. I certainly hope it drives well.

10 December 2009

couple of observations:

will this pass the european 'Elk' test - the one that defeated the original Merc A-class? a car that is taller than it's wider, with a narrow track? four-up in this looks like a recipe for a turnover in a heartbeat, even if it is fitted with massively intervening ESP.

the VW Up!, due out in-market the same time as the European Nano, 2011, is at 11' 6", only half a foot longer. it's expected to sell at around €8k. which would you rather have, a VW for a grand or two more or a tarted-up micro car from India that retails at equivalent £1,300 there?

the 'Europa' name. doesn't Lotus/Lotus's current owner have the rights to that?

if this Nano thing does actually come to market would expect European-based competition to smother it, with at least the Dacia range being made available in RHD by Renault pretty smartish. again, which would you rather have, a pukka European engineered car, like the Logan or Sandero, at around £6k, or this Nano?


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