Bright and sunny Sunday. Picturesque lake adjacent to a manicured lawn. Fresh, clean air. And a brand-new car. It was time to #FollowTheGenX.
It was all happening at the Tata Motors Lake House in Pune over the weekend, as we were introduced to the GenX Tata Nano Easy Shift (thank you Indiblogger and Tata Motors!). Being a car buff, I immediately volunteered to drive the car, especially because I wanted to try the Easy Shift technology or Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT).
My team members Shubham and Lance dubbed ourselves The Nano Knights aka Team D before we hit the road, accompanied by GenX Nano project manager Pranav. As one of the few lucky ones to drive the car before everyone else, I’m grabbed the opportunity to ask Pranav a lot of questions about the car while I drove it around Pune.
My first glimpse of the GenX Nano Easy Shift was a mini-cavalcade of red Nanos- they call it Sangria Red and it’s a brand new colour. Then my eyes fell on the front grille, made of tiny infinity loops (called the infinity grille). When I opened the car door and peeked inside, I spotted lots of infinity loops… a very cute symbol.
Since I’ve never been inside a Tata Nano before, the spacious, roomy interiors were a pleasant surprise. The instrument cluster was right in the middle and there were plenty of information and entertainment options (more on that later). And then, the most important thing- the gear box. Being powered by Automatic Manual Transmission or AMT, the gear box is unlike any other I’ve seen before and offers a variety of driving styles in just one car.
Soon, I strapped on my seat belt, adjusted the mirrors and started the ignition while pressing on the brake. (No brake, no start- a smart safety feature in the car.). Then I glanced at my super tall team member Shubham. He’s all of 6 feet 3 inches but sat comfortably at the front (and in the back later) thanks to plenty of leg room.
Small in size, big on features
The GenX Nano is one cute and cool car. It’s got refreshed interiors with additional performance, entertainment and safety features, along with a whole new driving experience with what they call Easy Shift (Automatic Manual Transmission or AMT).
Despite being a small car, it packs in a lot of features, such as AmphiStream™ music system with CD, USB, Aux and radio inputs, Bluetooth, two glove compartments, front power windows, central locking… even the instrument panel is rife with features you wouldn’t expect in this segment, such as distance to empty, current driving mode and gear along with trip meter.
On the road- How would you like to drive today?
Once on the road, Twitter peeps threw #FollowtheGenX challenges at us. We stopped a few times en route to complete some of them, right from clicking selfies to shooting a dance video to head banging in the car!
— Shubham Choudhary (@shubhamtweets) May 3, 2015
— Shubham Choudhary (@shubhamtweets) May 3, 2015
I began shooting several questions at Pranav and he patiently answered all of them. Most of my questions were about AMT- the various driving modes and how to use them. I started with Automatic mode and once I got used to it, I switched on Sports mode by simply pressing the S button on the gear box. I immediately felt a very slight “kick” as the ride became peppier, zippier and a lot more FUN. And as I floored the accelerator, I knew this was a great city ride.
Then I switched to manual mode to get better control of the driving experience. Now while the GenX Nano has first, second, third gears and so on, you don’t need to move the shift around like you would do in an “ordinary” manual car. All you do is gently nudge the gear shift upward to go to a higher gear and tap it down to go lower.
If you’re confused at any time, glance at the instrument panel. It will tell you what the car is up to, including what mode and gear you are driving at. And if you slow down due to traffic or otherwise, the car switches to a lower gear automatically. Yep, really!
Few of my favourite things about the GenX Nano:
New looks: The Sangria Red is just the perfect shade of red for Nano GenX. It’s close to the colour of wine and hence the name is apt! Also, there are specific matching interiors to go with the various body colours so your car looks classy!
Steering wheel: The smooth responsive accurate steering wheel is hands-down my favourite feature. There just aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe this.
Easy Shift: I absolutely LOVED the Sports mode on the AMT and the manual mode was a wonderful delight to drive as well. Still can’t believe I drove “manual” without a clutch. 😀
AmphiStream™ music system with Bluetooth™: Pairing my phone with the car’s system was easy-peasy, and I could make and receive calls and play music, yay!
Creep function: I’ve stopped at a traffic light, and it turns green. Now instead of releasing the brake and immediately pressing the accelerator to get moving, all I did was release the brake and the car rolled forward. Would make driving during Mumbai’s peak hours piece of cake.
Fuel efficiency: 21.9 kmpl (ARAI figure). Need I say more?
Infinity sign all over: The little infinity sign from our high school math makes an appearance throughout the car, like a signature of sorts and adds an instantly smart look to the car. Nope it’s not geeky!
Bookings are open for the GenX Nano Easy Shift and is due to launch in the next few weeks. Do test drive the car and share your experience!