Car Reviews

Tata Punch overview, take a look at drive | Autocar India

Written by Meera

Trendy on the surface, sensible on the within, Tata’s new sub-compact SUV may simply be a game-changer.

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What’s it?

Described by Tata Motors as a product with ‘the agility of a hatchback and the DNA of an SUV’ and marketed as ‘sub-compact SUV’, the Punch is an fascinating new addition to the carmaker’s line-up. The three.8m-long Punch plugs the dimensions and phase hole between the Tiago NRG cross-hatchback and Nexon compact SUV, and by advantage of its Rs 5.5 lakh-9.39 lakh (ex-showroom) value is probably going to attract patrons from throughout segments.

Tata can be going to lengths to drive residence the purpose that the Punch’s SUV classification isn’t a misnomer. The Punch is a front-wheel drive-only mannequin, however has been designed to tackle the worst of Indian roads which might be typically as extreme as gentle off-road trails.

Flat bonnet, split-headlight set-up establishes household ties with Harrier and Safari.

The Punch is constructed on Tata’s new ALFA structure and, like its platform sibling the Altroz, is anticipated to attain huge on security. There’s one petrol engine with guide and AMT gearbox choices for the second and an EV spinoff can be within the works.  

What’s it like on the surface?

Designed on a clear sheet of paper, the Punch has been conceived to be an SUV from floor up. The flat concave bonnet (raised on the edges) and its cut up headlamp structure with the LED Daytime Operating Lamps atop and projector headlamp cluster beneath set up sturdy household ties with the bigger Tata Harrier and Safari. Uniquely, the gloss black grille is an enclosed panel with a tri-arrow-shaped opening for the horn behind. The decrease half of the entrance bumper is black plastic, and it options a big air-dam (cut up by the quantity plate) sporting tri-arrow design components which has now change into a signature styling trait on trendy Tatas.

Enclosed entrance grille panel has distinctive tri-arrow openings for the horn.

The Punch has a purposeful stance; and whereas the good 16-inch diamond-cut alloys are engaging, they don’t fairly fill out the huge squared-out wheel wells. Its thick facet cladding, black pillars and roof break the monotone, and just like the Altroz, the Punch’s rear door handles are tucked within the C-pillar. Some would possibly discover the Tata’s rear design as a bit tame compared to the aggressive entrance, however the cool-looking round tail-lamps with ‘Y-shaped’ tri-arrow LED components actually do assist the Punch stand out. Like different Tatas, the Punch additionally sports activities some enjoyable Easter eggs so that you can uncover, just like the one-horn rhinoceros’ motif within the rear windscreen (and glovebox), in addition to Tata lettering within the elongated tail lamp bezel.

‘Y-shaped’ LED components within the hind lights look engaging.

View it in mild of different compact SUVs, and the Punch is far smaller in dimension. Measuring 3,827mm in size, 1,742mm in width and with a wheelbase of two,445mm, it has the identical footprint as one thing like a Maruti Swift. Nonetheless, the Punch’s 1,615mm is at par with a Tata Nexon and the excessive roof and upright pillars do assist with that SUV-like look.

Rear door deal with is mounted on the C-pillar just like the Altroz.

Tata’s seriousness to determine the Punch as a succesful SUV is obvious in its advertising communicate which highlights its 190mm (unladen) floor clearance, 370mm water wading capability and a bunch of off-roading angles.

Has easter eggs like this one-horned rhinoceros motif on the rear windscreen and within the glovebox for homeowners to find.

What’s it like inside?

The contemporary and youthful exteriors are complemented by an equally fashionable and exuberant inside. To begin with, ingress/egress are a breeze, even for the aged, due to its doorways which divulge heart’s contents to 90 levels (just like the Altroz) and its total excessive seating. The layered dashboard design is enjoyable to have a look at, and so are its rectangular air-vents. Contrasting white panels, textured plastics and different supplies not solely look interesting, but in addition really feel fairly upmarket. The free-standing touchscreen, local weather management buttons, steering in addition to the part-digital instrument cluster are shared with the Altroz premium hatchback.

Ingress/egress is a breeze with doorways which divulge heart’s contents to 90-degree and high-set seats.

The entrance seats are good to be in, though the cushioning is a bit agency, and tall drivers will discover thigh assist to be restricted. What’s good is these seats are high-set to start with, and the seats might be jacked up additional to fit your necessities. Its low window line and XL-size door mirrors additional improve facet and rear visibility, and the reversing digicam with adaptive pointers make life simpler whereas parking in tight spots.

Cheerful interiors with good high quality supplies and a number of other shared bits with the Altroz premium hatchback.

Regardless of its compact measurement, rear seat house is akin to the pricier Kia Sonet when it comes to knee room in addition to shoulder room. Two six-footers can sit one behind one other with some room to spare, and what provides to consolation is the house beneath the entrance seats to tuck their ft. Rear headroom is in satisfactory provide for all however the tallest of occupants, and what’s good is that the Punch additionally will get adjustable rear head restraints in addition to a centre armrest. A flat ground does add to the consolation of an occasional third passenger right here, nevertheless, the automobile’s slim width makes three abreast right here a good squeeze. There’s no rear air-con vent both. It’s vital to herald {that a} Nexon is roomier with extra leg, head and shoulder room, ought to cabin house dictate your alternative of Tata SUV to purchase.

Satisfactory seat for six-footer although slim cabin makes house for 3 tight.

Having the premium knitted roof liner, just like the Tiago hatchback’s, would have added to the Punch cabin’s sense of event. And whereas its 7-inch touchscreen is function full of Android Auto, Apple Carplay, a crisp 6-speaker Harman system, in addition to (non-obligatory) linked automobile options, its contact interface and its responsiveness may have been slicker. Different tools that the top-spec Punch packs in are automated projector headlamps with LED DRLs, rain-sensing wipers, cruise management, electrical folding mirrors, local weather management, cooled glovebox, rear wiper and washer, 16-inch alloys, fog lamps with cornering operate and a safety alarm, to call just a few.

7-inch touchscreen is feature-packed. Sound high quality from the 6-speakers is crisp.

Storage areas for smaller gadgets like cupholders are in ample provide, the segmented glovebox is very large and all of the doorways can simply swallow massive bottles after which some. There’s only one USB charging provision and two 12V energy sockets for entrance occupants. Rear passengers then again get two entrance seatback pockets, in addition to a storage space with cupholders between the entrance seats. At 319-litres (366-litres if measured until the roof), the Punch’s boot is sort of the dimensions of a Maruti Brezza’s boot, and homeowners additionally get the flexibleness to fold down the rear seat to accommodate extra cargo.

Cruise management and auto headlamps and wipers are a few of the premium options which it packs in.

How does it drive?

The Tata Punch makes use of the identical three-cylinder, 1.2-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine because the Tiago, Tigor and Altroz, however the engine has been modified for this utility. Tata Motors has reworked the air consumption with a ram air system, aiming to reinforce drivability. The engine makes a modest 86hp and 113Nm of torque, however issue within the Punch’s 1,035-kilo kerb weight, and the output comes throughout as greater than affordable.

Three cylinder engine is far smoother than its BS4 iteration.

Enhancements to the engine and the swap to BS6 emission requirements have resulted in a smoother energy supply and customarily the unit feels nicer than in its older iterations. The 1.2 Revotron unit is sort of {smooth}, though it nonetheless isn’t as refined or vibe-free as Maruti’s Ok-series engines. The engine sounds grainy and there’s some three-cylinder thrum too, however to be truthful, it solely will get actually vocal over 4,000rpm the place you’ll additionally hear a whine from the engine bay.

What’s good is that the engine performs its each day duties with relative ease and its brief gearing (first and second) makes it fairly user-friendly, so it’ll effortlessly shut gaps in site visitors. Undertake a sedate driving type and it’ll even carry out the occasional freeway duties satisfactorily. However demand for brisk efficiency and the engine feels out of its consolation zone. Fast overtaking manoeuvres will warrant cautious planning and you have to to work its gearbox to make progress. And whereas on that subject, the TA65 5-speed guide transmission is sort of effort-free in its operation, however shifts aren’t butter-smooth like different vehicles it competes with. Fortunately, its clutch is mild and simple to function.

Gearbox is mild and simple to make use of, however is not butter-smooth in its operation.

Although flat-out efficiency isn’t going to be a deciding issue for patrons, the Punch accelerates from 0-100kph in 16.44 seconds, and it rolls from 20-80kph in third gear in a lazy 17.26 seconds. To place it in perspective, that’s virtually 5 and Four seconds (respectively) slower than a Maruti Swift.

The guide iteration is supplied with an engine start-stop function which switches off the engine when the automobile involves a halt so as to save gasoline whereas idling. This technique is gradual to reply, therefore you have to to depress the clutch and await the engine to restart earlier than participating a gear, else the system will get confused and the engine stays off.

Engine start-stop function is a bit gradual to reply on start-up; accessible within the MT solely.

The opposite transmission possibility is the Marelli-sourced 5-speed automated guide transmission (AMT), which first made its debut within the Tiago hatchback. Inside metres of driving this AMT, it feels much more refined in comparison with some older-gen models. The creep operate is a bit keen, however may be very simple to get accustomed with, and it’s notably helpful in stop-go site visitors. The gearbox performs with relative smoothness as AMTs go, and shift shocks or pause between gearshifts are fairly properly contained. First time auto gearshift customers and beginner drivers will definitely recognize its ease and comfort. There isn’t a hill-hold function on supply, so it’s advisable to make use of the handbrake earlier than beginning off on an uphill climb to stop it from rolling again.

AMT gearbox is comparatively {smooth}; tends to shift to highest gear on the earliest.

This AMT tends to upshift to the best gear on the earliest (within the curiosity of gasoline economic system) and paired with this non-turbo engine’s unhurried efficiency, it encourages drivers to adapt a laid-back driving type. Erratic throttle responses will confuse this gearbox, leading to annoying pauses whereas the transmission decides whether or not to shift to a decrease gear or proceed in the identical gear. One other peculiarity is that whereas progressively slowing down from fourth gear, it sometimes continues rolling on the identical pace and feels just like the automobile is ‘working away’, thus compelling you to depress the brake pedal even tougher to manage its deceleration.

House owners could take guide management over the gearbox by way of the tiptronic mode, helpful whereas driving downhill for extra engine braking; nevertheless, even on this mode the gearbox upshifts routinely. Curiously the AMT solely revs to about 5,300rpm, which is 800rpm decrease than the guide’s rev restrict.

Each the transmissions get Metropolis and Eco driving modes, and whereas throttle responses really feel marginally duller in Eco mode, pedal to the metallic driving reveals a better efficiency delta between these two modes, notably within the AMT model. The latter sprints from 0-100kph in Metropolis mode in 19.98 seconds, which is Three seconds faster than in Eco mode. Rolling acceleration occasions from 20-80kph and 40-100kph reveal related outcomes with Metropolis mode being faster than Eco mode by 2.5 and a pair of.eight seconds respectively.

Drives with the maturity of a way more costly automobile.

The Punch’s journey and dealing with stability are spot on – Tata has actually nailed it . There’s an underlying toughness to its suspension, which shines whereas tackling tough and unhealthy sections of street. It flattens street imperfections with a way of maturity like a a lot heavier automobile, and its stability at excessive speeds is superb. The steering of the Punch is mild, constant and correct, and never overtly sharp just like the Altroz’s unit. Its taut construction, mild kerb weight and  fantastic steering really feel make it fairly pleasing round corners. And whereas driving fans will likely be left eager for stronger engine efficiency, a majority of homeowners will likely be happy with its total packaging. Its brakes really feel pure and progressive, and its braking efficiency may be very confidence-inspiring.

Distinctive to the AMT model of the Punch is a Traction Professional mode, which basically detects entrance wheel slippage and asks for permission to activate by way of a immediate on the touchscreen. As soon as permission is granted, the driving force must press the brake and accelerator pedal on the identical time, and the system will intelligently apply the brake to the wheel with low/no traction, whereas the one with traction simply pulls the automobile out of the sticky scenario.

Corners with confidence, however driving fans will likely be left eager for stronger efficiency.

Make no mistake although, whereas the Punch is definitely extra succesful than different hatchbacks at this value because of the Traction Professional function (AMT), with its raised journey peak and tall stature, it’s nonetheless a front-wheel drive automobile, therefore it should not be subjected to circumstances meant for four-wheel drive automobiles.

Ought to I await one?

A hatchback with SUV pretensions isn’t uncommon at present, however the Tata Punch differentiates itself from the tribe with a few of the attributes you’d really affiliate with the SUV physique type. It’s received the elevated seating and ample floor clearance you’d anticipate, but in addition boasts of a reasonably powerful construct and, as we skilled, even some potential in difficult circumstances.   

In different areas too, the Tata has so much going for it – it’s fashionable on the surface, cheerful on the within, packs in satisfactory house and practicality, in addition to an inexpensive tools record. Engine efficiency isn’t thrilling and its AMT gearbox may have been a bit extra intuitive, however these are prone to meet the necessities of a majority of patrons.

Priced between Rs 5.5 lakh-9.39 lakh, the Punch is pricey for what it provides, and serves as a pricier different to hatchbacks, just like the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, in addition to non-turbo compact SUVs like Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger. 

About the author

Meera