For a long time I have been planning to write this review,but due to various reasons (known and unknown to me)its been delayed for more than a year.So I am writing my ownership review of my Zest based on the past one year of use and 21k km.
I am sharing my views about buying experience,the vehicle review,problems faced,and the service experience of the car. Why Zest
I have been using my fathers Zen Estilo, 2008 model,and it was doing its duty without any hiccoughs.The priorities then were a cheap(in our budget) car with good fuel efficiency. Now that she is 6 years old and covered around 65000 km,I was looking for a better car. The priorities have been changed now towards safety and comfort rather than economy.Since the Estilo wont fetch much in second hand market and she was in a good condition, the decision was taken to keep her as a second car.
I have fixed my budget at around 8L and started the hunt.
I was mainly looking for a compact sedan.Air bags and ABS
were a must and a wide rear seat where i can fix the child seat plus enough space for two adults.
The cars considered where Swift Dzire,Honda Amaze,Hundai Xcent,and Tata Zest.
The Zest XT QJT covered all the above points plus an excellent music system by Harman and it is least expensive than the others.
Few positives of Zest compared to the competition
- Harman system with touch screen
- Climate control
- Projector lamps with LED ring
- Speed sensitive auto door lock
- voice command
- 185 section tyres
- rear seat space
- good road pesence
- Head lamp activation on flip key
- Good NVH levels
- 333 Silver warranty pack
- Price almost 40k less than other top end models
- Service interval of 15k km(free till 45k km)
- Crash tested (as per Tata)
- corner stability control
Also I was very much aware of the infamous Tata service.So I was glued to the TAI
ownership reviews of Zest and waited almost 3 months for the initial reviews.The official test drive reviews and ownership reviews were positive except a few points, and I thought of moving ahead with my choice. BOOKING
Called Mohandas Motors,Thiruvananthapuram for a test drive, tried both petrol and diesel versions.Opted for diesel version and got a quote from them.The insurance quote was around 25k which was too high.Searched outside and got a quote of 15k(with discounts),and informed the sales executive about the same and i told him that I will get the insurance from out side.He refused ,saying that it is mandatory to take insurance from them.Wrote a mail to Tata and they called me back explaining the benefits of their insurance.Later the sales executive called me and offered a new quote of 19k bumper to bumper insurance and I agreed to pay the booking amount for Quadrajet XT -Dune beige. THE BUYING EXPERIANCE
The sales executive Mr Santhosh informed that the waiting period will be 2-3 weeks.The vehicle reached at the dealer 2 weeks after booking.I did a small PDI based on the check list from TAI
, transferred the full amount to their account next day.They took three days for PDI and temporary registration.On 31st december 2014,our car was delivered.The delivery process was extremely smooth,they were ready with all documents for me to sign,paid for the essential kit which included floor mats and mud flaps,also opted for AMC gold.They conducted a small ceremony and the keys were handed over,and the vehicle features were explained by sales executive. The whole process was over in 30min.I received a box of chocolate,a tissue box and a pouch to keep the documents.Since I lost my camera with pics of delivery,I am not able to upload any photos. THE CAR
Tata wanted to change their image with Zest,and they have achieved it to a certain extent. Its a good car with refreshing looks,nice interiors and good features too.No cost cutting is evident anywhere.
The exterior design is quite attractive,it has good road presence.Zest is almost as tall as our Estilo.The road view from the drivers cabin is good.
Only the XT has DRL and the LED ring around the projectors,which gives a distinct identity to the car.
The tail lamps are quite attractive at night with two led strips running along
185mm Bridgestones adds good grip.
The interior is pretty nice. Plastics are of good quality.The steering wheel is small and good to hold.The steering controls and the indicator stalks have a nice and long lasting feel to it.The horn pad is very hard,needs a firm press.
The fog lamp and defog switches are placed at the bottom of center console,needs to take off the eye from road to activate these,they should have placed it to a better accessible position.
There is only one cup holder in the entire car,which is a poor design.
The cover for the 12v power outlet is flimsy and came off with 8 months of usage.
The Harman system is the star in this car.The sound quality is very good,with 8 speakers all around.It sounds better when you pump up the volume,and the sound never cracks even at full volume.Bluetooth pairing with phone is hazzle free,but some times it requires manual pairing.The phone book can be accessed through steering control or you can use voice command to call a person.The call quality is good.
Voice command can also be used for temperature setting,fan speed,song and FM selection.
Reverse parking distance is displayed on the screen.Climate control is also linked to the touch screen.Touch screen is resistive type.
While driving I find its better to use the manual controls or voice commands than the touch screen controls for less distraction.
The MID shows 4-5 degrees higher temperature readings.
The climate control does a good job,but takes around 15 mins to cool down the cabin when parked under sun. Fan speed beyond level 2 is pretty much audible (the air flow is also strong)
If you park the and lock the car for a long time(several days),there is a battery saving feature-the car does not respond to remote key.You have to manually unlock the car and then the remote key starts working again. THE DRIVE
1st gear is low,no need to press the accelerator to move forward from stand still.Turbo lag is not that evident compared to its competitors.Once you reach around 1800 rpm,the car surges ahead.You need more gear changes to keep the engine in power band.Even if it has 90ps power, you don't feel that quick,may be due to the weight of the car.The clutch was extremely light when purchased,now it has become firm.The steering is light and responsive.It has an active return feature.Parking is very easy.Zest has good high speed stability,the car is felt always under control under legal speed limits.The grip provided by the tires are good. On curves,due to the height of the car slight body roll is present.The car has a heavy planted feel.No under body scrapes till now due to good ground clearance.The breaking ability is good ,under emergency breaking,the car stops without any drama. NVH levels are very well controlled.
Suspension is good,no complaints.Gear shift is good and precise,but a bit sluggish.There is a gear shift indicator,but it displays the gear only when the clutch is fully released.The fog lamps are very weak,I think the DRL 's are brighter than fogs!
Milage figures(based on tank full method)
The milage figures till first oil change was around 20km/l with 90% AC mostly on highways.
After oil change mileage dropped to 18.5kmpl,again with 90% ac but with more short trips.
The best I achieved was 30 kmpl (on MID)on a short trip of 8.5 km,and 22.5kmpl on a tank full. PROBLEMS FACED AND SERVICE CENTER REVIEW
The service was fully done at Mohandas Motors,Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala
which is around 75 km away from my home,and I had to visit them often for the following listed problems.The service definitely needs improvement. 1)Faulty head light alignment
Both high beams were not focusing on to the road from the beginning.The car was taken to them at least five times for this.As per them they have replaced both the headlights under warranty but somehow they have misplaced the Lt low beam projector lamp,now the high beams are OK but the low beam is not focusing properly,and spring for loading the bulb is stuck inside.I am fed up of this and stopped complaining as every time they say that they have taken a photo and mailed it to TATA, but they are not able to resolve this issue,or create new problems while solving it. 2)Mud in engine bay
The MIB kit was installed during the first service.Even after this, there was mud entry in to the engine bay.This was pointed out but as per the S.A, they are helpless about it.So I did a DIY job by pasting a vinyl sheath over the wheel cladding which solved the problem temporarily.Meanwhile I saw a post in Team bhp about the position of the MIB kit(fixed horizontally),and I had doubts regarding the position of the MIB kit(vertically fixed) they have fixed was faulty.I wrote a mail to TATA about it and few days later the A.S.S called me to take the car for inspection.The service head admitted that the MIB kit was not blocking the mud entry completely but he assured that the position of the MIB kit was correct.To solve the issue he pasted some venyl sheath on the inner side of the wheel cladding,and there is no mud entry till now. 3)Steering rattling
A rattling sound was heard from the steering while going through rough roads from the beginning but as per the A.S.S service head," it is present in all Zest's and it is due to the heavy steering parts which are fixed with plastic clips, so this issue cannot be solved even if the steering is replaced".This is not solved till now. 4)Faulty wheel alignment
I noticed uneven wear on the inner side of the front tyres at 10k km, due to faulty alignment. Now I am doing wheel alignment at an out side shop. 5)Accident repair
An Alto had scratched against the Rh side door and the door handle was also damaged,and there was a hair line crack on the Rh tail light.The SA promised to deliver the car in a week after the body work,painting and replacing the door lock and tail light,but it was delayed for one month due to non availability of spare parts.A complaint was raised to TATA, and after this, they delivered the car without replacing the tail lamp,promising that they will replace the tail lamp when it is available with them.But I found that the new door lock was also faulty.They replaced both the lock and the tail lamp after three weeks.
They have damaged my flip key while car was at A.S.S. Some one might have forcefully folded the key,now when the key is unfolded,it doesn't lock in to its position.
They have also broken the clips of the power window combination switch on the driver side which would come out of its socket while operating the power window.They fixed it later.
The painting is good,no mismatch 6)Rusting
After the above work i noticed rusting on the boot lid,where it is coming in contact with the rubber beading of the rear glass.I suspect they might have kept car outside under rain for one month which might have caused rusting. 7)Playing mix and match
After every service they will leave something inside the car for me to play mix and match!Once it was a screw removed from door pad,and then few rubber bushes and clips.I am yet to fix a rubber bush which i got from near the wiper arm (finally you defeated me
Lack of middle level supervision is evident.Service advisers wont check what the workers have done to the car nor they review the work before handing over the car to the customer after service.The overall attitude is "somebody's car ,why should I bother".The whole scenario changes once you raise an issue to the Tata feed back call,and after that some urgency is shown.So overall I rate the service as average.
Zest is a quality product and its a stepping stone for TATA for making good or better cars.Every one was against my decision on buying a Tata but I believed in their ability to make quality VFM
products and to provide an improved service. My car had a few niggles,and the service center was not up to the mark in solving those issues.A good product and quality service is the success formula for any car and TATA needs to improve in providing quality service.And yes,I do enjoy driving Zest.