3 years ago, I gave a test at the Tardeo RTO. I was stuffed and crammed into a car, then made to sit in the driver’s seat and asked to stop and reverse the car. I did as I was told. I passed. I had a driving licence. For the years after that, I spent my commuting time in the city observing cars. Sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, supercars (The city has many. It even has its own club of owners of very expensive cars. And they do rallies. Just like owners of very old cars. Vintage is the word.)
In the meantime, I used my driving licence several times. Not to drive or wield it at a traffic cop but as a proof of identity. It was added to my neatly-kept ID wallet with other ID proofs: PAN card, Passport, Aadhaar card.
I’ve thought about buying a car, several times since then. Why?
-To explore green places, forts, waterfalls off city limits – Bhandardara, Shivaji’s forts (every single one), Panchgani, Koyna Dam, Karnala Bird Sanctuary
-To experience road rage, road bullying, car breakdowns etc.
-To learn new road names, galli names, junction names, names of highways and flyovers.
– To study Mumbai’s suburbs! I’ve always been a SoBo girl and my travel to the burbs has been limited to visiting them via train and taking the rick.
-To be able to stop and give way to pedestrians. I’ve always been on the other side.
-To drive on my favourite flyovers. And the sea link. And the Mumbai-Pune expressway. And the brand new Eastern Freeway. The famous Palm Beach Road. Oh, and the JJ flyover. I love the JJ flyover. Its sharp curves. Its view of the old residential buildings and the minarets, all tightly packed together above an even more dense market.
-To participate in car rallies and treasure hunts.
-To drive to Pune… on weekends. And visit my grandmother.
-To map new places. On OpenStreetMaps.
-To judge how accurate the traffic layer on Google Maps is
-To blog and make YouTube videos for my channel, The Report Live 🙂
I’d love a large car but it seems so out of place on the congested roads of Mumbai. And parking. I bet parking is tougher with large cars. Besides, it’s not like I can afford a large car.
Tata’s launching a new car called the Bolt. It looks like a sturdy hatchback. The best part is the storage space at the back of the car. Good for travelling.
How do I know? I visited Phoenix Market City at Kurla the other day to check out the BOLT (actually, I am participating in a contest to win the Bolt. Sssssh!)…
Here are my observations (Please note, I am an automobile noob):
It isn’t too large and seems like a good car for the city because it will be easy to manoeuvre and not too big to add to the city’s traffic woes.
Leg space is good for a compact car.
The seats are comfy. I learnt they are called rugby seats. Supposed to be super comfortable for the shoulder and neck.
The side rear view mirror looks sleek with a light indicator on it.
The doors have lot of cubby hole storage spaces and they are quite roomy too. I could fit my wallet, glares and cellphone in the neat space.
The steering wheel is futuristic. It has three bars with touch screen innovations on them.
And, the car also doubles up as an entertainment booth of sorts. It has a touchscreen infotainment device by HARMAN. Perfect for days you’re stuck in a traffic jam or waiting for someone in a parking lot.
Here’s a photo I took of the touchscreen device
I also liked the fact that the car comes with smartphone navigation by MAP MY INDIA. So you don’t need to worry about installing a GPS device separately. I’ve heard great reviews about MMI’s maps and the voice command recognition makes it easier to use.
If you’ve seen the Bolt ads on TV, the jingle says MultiDrive, a feature Tata is promoting as being exclusive to the Bolt. Simply put, just like you have modes on your cellphone (Airplane mode, meeting mode, outdoor mode) and camera (beach mode, indoor mode, low-light mode), the car has modes for driving. That’s perfect for driving noobs like me.
3 speed buttons: S E C
The S option stands for SPORT which releases the throttle and gives a burst of speed to the vehicle, when turned on.
The E option stands for ECO which lets the vehicle run efficiently on normal speed.
The C option stands for CITY which allows the vehicle to run at a lower throttle release on city roads.
I appreciate the thought that has gone into providing these options, especially since I am a layperson when it comes to knowing the intricacies of car engineering. And yet, I want to be able to comprehend and make informed choices.
A view of the insides of the car
I was briefed about the REVOTRON 1.2 turbo charged MPF petrol engine but I plan to test drive the diesel version because it would prove more economical in the long run.
One of my concerns was the durability of the outer body and the safety installations of the Bolt. My uncle recently suffered a very serious road accident which is why safety has been on my mind.
The attendant at the Bolt stall said the Bolt has 9th gen airbags by BOSCH, which is supposed to be the best in the business. Besides the dual airbags, the car also has corner stability control for extra safety.
The Bolt’s best features, summarized
I stepped out to inspect the front facade of the Bolt and checked out the blackened out headlamps. Thought they looked pretty smooth. The trapezoid grill net in front adds to the beauty of the beast.
It has alloy wheels and the back view of the bolt has a curve that would put Jennifer Lopez to shame J
The collapsible back seats can fold over to provide space for luggage. Thank God for that.
I’ve taken a few selfies with the car. My brother’s disapproval was the only thing that dissuaded me from hugging the Bolt. I settled for a driver’s seat pic.
Things I got to do at the Bolt arena:
1. Take lots of selfies.
2. City in the car without the keys. Le sigh.
3. Win a digital Bolt clock for my study table.
4. Register for a test drive.
5. Take an augmented reality photo with the awesome Narain Karthikeyan.
And because the devil is in the details. Here is a specs chart of the Tata Bolt
|Specifications||Revotron 1.2T||Quadrajet 1.3|
|Type||Turbocharged MPFi with MULTI-DRIVE(Sport, City, Eco)||Common rail direct injection|
|Fuel, Emission norm||Petrol, BS IV||Diesel, BS IV|
|Capacity, cylinders||1193 cc, 4 cylinder||1248cc, 4 cylinder|
|Max power: PS@RPM||90 @ 5000||75 @ 4000|
|Max torque: Nm@RPM||140Nm @ 1500-4000||190Nm @ 1750 -3000|
|Transmission||Manual, 5-speed||Manual, 5-speed|
|Kerb Weight (Kgs)||1095-1125||1132-1160|
|Brakes (Front, Rear)||Disc, Drum|
|Wheels &Tyres||Steel – 175/65 R14, Alloy – 175/65 R15 (Set of 4)|
|Suspension – Front||Dual-path McPherson Strut with Coil Spring and anti-roll bar|
|Suspension – Rear||Twist beam with Coil Spring and Shock Absorber|
|Steering – Type||EPAS ( Electric power assist steering)|
|Turning circle radius (m)||5.1|
|Fuel Tank capacity (litres)||44|
|Dimension (mm)||L-3825, W-1695, H-1562, WB-2470|
|Ground clearance (mm)||165|
All writing and photographs are an attempt to win a car :p