"All cars have their own purpose"
Before coming to the tata zest review, one statement I would like to make is that if ford was selling the 1.6 petrol ford fiesta classic or the new generation 2014 fiesta while I was in the market to buy a car I would have bought either one of those and this thread wouldn't even exist.
Tata !!!! Why tata ? said my friend
Are you mad ? said my colleagues
Why don't you go for a maruti ? said my well wishers
Tata zest is a waaasssttttte car !!!! said my neighbours driver whom I thought of taking to the showroom to book the fiat linea.
Tata zest can't hold a candle to the honda jazz sir, why are you cancelling the honda jazz please rethink ? said the sales advisor of honda cars after I told my decision to him.
Tata makes cars out of garbage and screw them to run as a car said my FNG mechanic
These were the statements made by many when I said I was looking to buy a tata zest.
Now many of you would be thinking why I used fiat linea and honda jazz as options and why did I go for a zest which is way cheaper than fiat linea.
This is something you will come to know once you read this review.
By the time I paid the booking amount of the zest
- I had test driven almost 10 cars of various segments
- I test drove the zest for 3 times from 3 different dealers
- My blood pressure increased by 4 units
- I gave headache and heartache to all my friends and relatives (depending on how they took the news)
- My parents gave up on me that I was going crazy .
Sorry to keep you waiting and let's get started.
Before 2013 I never thought I would even own a car.
Yup , you read it right.
Though I learned how to drive a car I wasn't sure of ever owning it.
In my family no one even knows how to drive and I was born to drive.
The car I first drove was a 230 grams toy car that I used to zip across the walls and floors of our house in my childhood.
It all started when my uncle was looking to sell his santro and offered to sell it to my dad.
My dad didn't know that I already was ripping the hell out of different cars of my friends on our roads and hesitatingly accepted as it was an old car and any damage to it won't bring much of a heart pain to anyone as he felt I would be learning to drive a car.
And the first car came to our house in march 2014.
Fast forward october 2014, we covered tirupati, nagarjuna sagar, coastal andhra including vijayawada,machilipatnam and godavari districts, alampur, wargal, medak, warangal, ramappa, laknavaram, mahanandi, kalahasti and all local places in and around hyderabad.
My dad was so sad and said many times "had I known you would drive so well, I would have bought a new car". Twist in the plot
While returning from tirupati in oct 2014 towards hyderabad we had crossed cuddapah when there was a particular 4 lane stretch where an auto was stopped in the slow lane. I was hitting 80 kmph continuosly when I saw a buffalo jumped on to the road and I didn't expect it to come on to the highway, but it did.
I hard breaked the car and honked but the car didn't stop as anticipated and the buffalo hit perpendicularly while it was in running over the left headlamp of the car and its horns made a big crack on the windshield and it rolled/somersaulted in air 180 degrees grazing the left side doors and fell on the road.
I had to hit the buffalo and didn't even try to swerve as I would hit the auto if I took a left and hit the divider if I took a right. The car slowed to 55 kmph after hitting the buffalo. You can understand the impact both the buffalo and car took.
We all were safe and no one was hurt.
The santro took the beating well with the left headlamp gone kaput, left bumper broke, cracked windshield and the left doors got jammed due to the impact. We continued on to the journey with one headlight till hyderabad in the same condition. We got it repaired and used the car well.
The last long trip in the santro was to vemulawada in 2015 and it performed flawlessly.
Santro was reliable and inspite of being 13 years old car it would go on at 90 kmph all day long. Even if we didn't use it much the car would still go on and on and on and all it needed was a twist of the key.
This made me firmly believe that my next car should have strong build quality and have good brakes and airbags.
It took almost 6 months to buy a new car and in this time I test drove many cars and spent many sleep less nights, hours of discussions with my near and dear and lots of research online.
You will see me comparing the santro with these cars, that's because I was looking for its replacement. No offence to any owners and the opinions are my own. My requirements from the new car
- Should be abuse friendly, as I would be the one abusing it
- Strong build quality, which is an absolute must given our increasing traffic conditions and risks associated with it.
- Good ride quality, as most of the roads I drive are either undulated, broken or potholed thanks to the ongoing metro rail works in hyderabad.
- Good music system, the santro didn't had a music system and I didn't even care to install one as I usually prefer to drive in silence, but my priorities changed.
- Powerful enough for our expressways, which is one area where the 3 cylinder engine of the santro fell short.
- ease of maintenance and reasonable priced spare parts.
- spacious and comfortable. Nissan Sunny
Space Space Space
The petrol sunny was very poor in performance and had one of the worst gear ratios I have ever seen. It had good low end torque but beyond the 3rd or 4th gear the engine was dull.
The diesel sunny had very negligible turbo lag and the car was very driveable.
Pathetic after sales and skinny dealer network along with delicate build and soft suspension set up of sunny made me do away with it. Tata zest AMT
Though one doesn't feel the pressure of using the clutch, the car is not fun to drive, had massive turbo lag. The gearing is difficult to tackle on inclines and the car would roll back inspite of accelerator inputs. Wagon r
Another hatchback of the same segment as santro and didn't feel like an upgrade. Honda Jazz
Poor low end torque of the petrol, stinginess of quality and features from honda and its inability of handling bad roads when compared to the linea and zest.
Me and my dad really loved the jazz due to its all rounded nature and wanted to ignore these short comings and go for it.
Jazz was overpriced by honda for what they were offering to the customers.
The SV variant of jazz had almost the same features of the xms variant of zest, but after offers and discounts by both honda and tata, the difference in price was a huge 70,000 INR. Had it been give or take 10,000 INR we would have bought home the jazz.
The t jet petrol had insane turbo kick and acceleration and was a super VFM
considering the discounts fiat was offering.
Since the linea would be used mostly in city, the t jet was not that fun as it was very rare to cross the 2000-2500 rpm mark. The difference between the economical diesel linea and t jet was just 40,000 rupees.
The diesel linea had massive turbo lag, needed lots of gear shifts the turning radius was something one needs to get used to.
The ride quality was light years ahead of all the cars I have driven and the build quality was superb. You can literally feel it to move like a tank on the indian roads.
I wish they should have corrected the gearbox and make it slicker. Toyota etios
We hear some wars were waged for years. Here is one war that is the longest to have made in this buying process. It is the etios vs zest war. The etios was a strong contender till the day before I booked the zest.
The petrol was superb, I scared the hell out of the SA when he saw me overtaking vehicles in the etios. This car is a gem. It had space, huge boot space, durable and reliable and is cheap to maintain.
The first thing was toyota was charging a premium for this car, the car was very delicate and the usual knick and knacks and dents would be a pain on this car. I had to get all accessories done again separately even after paying more than the zest. The petrol owners complained that it was not fuel efficient and there is this air-con issue which was being brought to notice.
Many complaints that airbags were not deploying hit the final nail in the coffin. Ford Figo aspire
The petrol aspire is a proper commuter car and is just there to do its job. The difference between the variants of zest and aspire variant to variant was ranging from 50,000 INR to one lakh for the top variant !!!
The aspire was not spacious like the zest in the rear seat and ford has made a mass market car for india. If it were some other manufacturer I wouldn't have cared, but it is ford we are talking about and I was seriously disappointed with the ride and handling of the aspire after looking at fiesta classic and new fiesta.
I am not including other cars as they are not worth the mention.
We got the best deal for our santro due to exchange bonus by tata and various discounts.
Test drove it 3 times from 3 different dealers, and didn't like the revotron.
I said to myself that these must be test drive cars and are usually neglected a lot.
The NVH levels were good and the car was very comfortable.
The ride quality was good and it handled bad roads very well.
The music system was excellent.
I went for the xms variant as I didn't find the touch screen that important for the music system and the features I would be losing were not that substantial.
The difference was almost 60,000 rupees.
But it ticked all the boxes and so I went for it as this was keeping in mind a family car and not only for me in particular.
Stay tuned to this thread when I come back with my driving experience, pics and important observations.