Print 89 comment(s) - last by InTheNameOfMys.. on Jan 14 at 12:15 AM

Tata Nano Standard, in "Dazzling Red"

Tata Nano Luxury, in "Lime Yellow"

A minimalist interior is the order of the day for the Nano, as this dash shot and cutaway shows.
The "People's Car" gets 54mpg, seats five.

While there is no shortage of news from the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the Auto Expo in New Delhi, India featured a unique new vehicle that might interest North American buyers wary of high gas prices -- and high vehicle prices as well. Tata Motors unveiled its interpretation of the "People's Car" -- a phrase that until now was the exclusive domain of German automobiles -- the $2,500 Nano.

With a length of just over ten feet, the Nano makes current "sub-compact" cars like the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris look like a 1980s-era Cadillac from the outside -- but nearly all of the interior space is devoted to the passenger compartment. Tata claims that the vehicle can seat five passengers, but the rear seat would undoubtedly become cramped, as the Nano is only a hair less than five feet wide. A highway trip would be a painful exercise, but Tata is targeting the car as an all-weather replacement for the motorbikes commonly used for family transit, so shorter trips with more passengers might be tolerable.

Power from the Nano comes from a rear-mounted 624cc two-cylinder SOHC engine, which produces approximately 33hp at 5500rpm, and 35lb-ft of torque at 2500rpm. Mated to a four-speed manual transmission and driving the rear wheels only, the Nano is in no rush to reach high speeds -- in fact, the more common 0-60 time was replaced by a "0-43" time of 14 seconds. The time to reach the stated maximum speed of 68mph was not given. This slow acceleration does let the Nano achieve excellent mileage -- estimates are 50mpg city and 60mpg highway. While other cars have exceeded these numbers, they don't share the Nano's low cost of entry.

The Nano will be available in two trim levels, "Standard" and "Luxury." The "Standard" is truly spartan, with vinyl seats, a single-color interior, black plastic bumpers and not much else. The "Luxury" lives up to its name by comparison, offering a list of features such as:

  • Body-colored bumpers
  • Fog lamps
  • Power door locks
  • Power mirrors
  • Air conditioning and heater
  • Dual-color interior
  • Fabric seats   

The sticker price for the Luxury model has not yet been announced. In addition to the two model choices, the Tata Nano microsite offers a range of accessories that can be viewed from the car builder, including pin striping decals, a choice of air scoop for the rear-mounted engine, and alloy wheels.

Despite the Nano's diminutive size, Tata is confident that it will be a safe vehicle, stating that it passes all current safety standards. With over 22,000 employees, a target production run of 250,000 units per year, and recent talks of purchasing Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford, Tata Motors could very well make this pocket-sized commuter car a reality in North America.

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Pimp my ride
By bighairycamel on 1/10/2008 12:30:04 PM , Rating: 3
Does it come with an option for 20" chrome spinners?

RE: Pimp my ride
By MrBungle123 on 1/10/2008 12:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think you'll need a lift kit for that.

RE: Pimp my ride
By DeepBlue1975 on 1/10/2008 12:36:58 PM , Rating: 2
You ask for way too much.
In fact, look at the small print: the luxury version is the only one that comes with a real steering wheel.

The standard one comes with a wooden steering like those used in pirate boats, and to propel the unit there are two short height people down the floor pushing the car with their bare hands :D

Should get its power from a crank like the original OLPC desing. :D

RE: Pimp my ride
By DeepBlue1975 on 1/10/2008 12:41:20 PM , Rating: 3
Seriously talking, I think it's a great initiative for a city car.
Why would you need anything bigger than that to travel among the congested town's traffic, to go shopping and the likes?

It's a perfect 2nd car to use everyday, while your main wheels stay at home and you take it just for weekend sightseeing and highway driving, as you can't take highway something which only attains a 68mph max speed. Not so much because of the speed but because of the time it would take it to reach that speed, so long it'd surely feel uncomfortable and unsafe to drive in such conditions.

RE: Pimp my ride
By FITCamaro on 1/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: Pimp my ride
By FITCamaro on 1/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: Pimp my ride
By Chris Peredun on 1/10/2008 1:09:34 PM , Rating: 5
The seats are probably padded with used toilet paper, the engine is probably made of melted down Hot Wheels cars, and the frame is probably made of plastic.

Hell the front seats look like fancy lawn chairs bolted down.

Funny, I had the same feeling when the rental company gave me a Cobalt.

Joking aside, it's got an all-aluminum engine and sheetmetal body. Frame wasn't stated, but if it can pass the crash testings at city speeds, it's surely some manner of metal. And I'd wager even if it's a "poor" car, it's a fair sight safer and more luxurious than the scooters it's aiming to replace.

And for $2,500 - I'd buy one for a city commuter, though I'd be more interested in removing the back seats in favour of a "wagon" style configuration as stated by Nightskyre.

RE: Pimp my ride
By Brandon Hill on 1/10/2008 1:17:41 PM , Rating: 3
Funny, I had the same feeling when the rental company gave me a Cobalt.

Now that made me LOL. :)

RE: Pimp my ride
By DM0407 on 1/10/2008 1:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Did he just use "lol" in the form of a sentence completing noun?

Same on you!

RE: Pimp my ride
By Polynikes on 1/10/2008 3:49:16 PM , Rating: 4
He was actually using it as a verb.

Same (sic) on you! ;)

RE: Pimp my ride
By ImSpartacus on 1/10/2008 4:47:00 PM , Rating: 3
"laugh" is a verb...

and "out loud" is almost an adverb since it describes how you laughed. No nouns in there.

RE: Pimp my ride
By FITCamaro on 1/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: Pimp my ride
By ImSpartacus on 1/10/2008 4:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. He's right though, it's a hell of a deal.

RE: Pimp my ride
By DigitalFreak on 1/10/2008 1:36:07 PM , Rating: 4
if it can pass the crash testings at city speeds

Who said they're doing crash testing? I think it's the India government's new form of population control.

RE: Pimp my ride
By subhajit on 1/10/2008 1:13:40 PM , Rating: 4
Well, I know you guys cannot even start to realize the importance of such a car in a country like India. But here are some specifications of the engine:
Nano has a rear-wheel drive, all-aluminium, two-cylinder, 624 cc, 33 bhp, multi-point fuel injection petrol engine.
The engine is Euro IV compliant.

The safety really really basic, but that's all you need when the top speed is 90kmph. It has
all sheet-metal body, it has a strong passenger compartment, with safety features such as crumple zones, intrusion-resistant doors, seat belts, strong seats and anchorages, and the rear tailgate glass bonded to the body. I also has tubeless tyres.

It does 23 km/liter.
A diesel version is expected soon.

RE: Pimp my ride
By PrezWeezy on 1/10/2008 1:40:20 PM , Rating: 3
I'd get one for my teen daughter just learning to drive. Then when she wrecks it I don't really care. And it can't go fast enough for her to get hurt anyway.

RE: Pimp my ride
By AlexandertheBlue on 1/10/2008 1:55:45 PM , Rating: 4
And it can't go fast enough for her to get hurt anyway

If only that were true.

RE: Pimp my ride
By Lifted on 1/11/2008 12:51:12 AM , Rating: 2
Tata's are just a POS with a low price. You'll be lucky to get 3 years out of it, and that's with thousands in maintenance.

RE: Pimp my ride
By FITCamaro on 1/10/2008 1:56:41 PM , Rating: 3
You apparently don't realize just how much damage can happen at 60 mph. Even 40 mph. Go look at some accident photos of crashes at 40-60 mph. And this thing probably isn't anywhere near as strong as an American car. I doubt it'd get a 1 star crash rating. Crumple zones don't mean its safe. Just that it folds up. And with it having no real front end, its going to fold up into you.

And its not always a matter of how fast you're going. If someone in an SUV hits you in one of those, you probably won't live through it.

RE: Pimp my ride
By xsilver on 1/11/2008 8:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
If everybody started buying monster trucks and started driving those around everyone driving a SUV would be complaining because of the safety hazard they pose (being so easily crushed by a monster truck and all)

And thats why everybody prefers to buy a SUV, because they'd rather hit someone in a hatchback and destroy them than be the one being destroyed in the hatchback.

I think certain parts of england banning SUV's and/or imposing increased parking fees for downtown areas can really give people incentive to change.

RE: Pimp my ride
By Arribajuan on 1/10/2008 3:44:04 PM , Rating: 3
The interesting thing here is safety, how well will this do in a crash?

RE: Pimp my ride
By Samus on 1/10/2008 4:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
Better than a scooter. Case closed.

RE: Pimp my ride
By martinrichards23 on 1/11/2008 5:51:23 AM , Rating: 2
When talking about safety, you compare to the best, not the worst.

When you fly do you tell your family not to worry because its safer than a biplane?

RE: Pimp my ride
By jtesoro on 1/11/2008 8:07:14 AM , Rating: 2
You would if your family regularly flies by biplane.

As mentioned before, this is meant to be a substitute for the ubiquitous scooter and motorcycle in India.

RE: Pimp my ride
By xsilver on 1/11/2008 8:17:29 AM , Rating: 5
When you drive, are you worried that your vehicle is not as safe as an Abrams tank?
Not being able to absorb mortar shells is always of concern ;)

RE: Pimp my ride
By Alexstarfire on 1/10/2008 5:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well, other than it only attaining 68MPH as a top speed it's not bad. Fot it to work in the States they'd have to get the top speed up to 80-85MPH. It'll be slightly more expensive, but shouldn't be too much.

If you guys want to look at safety just look at F1 cars and all that. They don't really have much space when it comes to safety, since they try to make the car as small as possible, but it has much better safety than any car we have on the road. Of course it costs a ton more, but that's not the point. The point is that you can have lots of safety even though there isn't much space for it in the car.

RE: Pimp my ride
By elpresidente2075 on 1/11/2008 2:08:07 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it costs a ton more, but that's not the point.

Unfortunately that is the point. You must pay for that extra safety. And pay you would, were it offered.

Fortunately (as many others have pointed out, including the article), this is designed to replace scooters and small motorbikes. In fact, it has a motorcycle engine in it. So, in essence it is little more than a go-kart that seats five. And has no roll cage. And is street-ready.

RE: Pimp my ride
By rudy on 1/11/2008 8:31:37 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, at least in the US a major driving force behind an auto purchase is safty, and you wont get that out of a tin can with a motor cycle engine. Anything hits you, probably even a harley and you are dead. This is why you see so many guys buying their bad driving wives SUVs. Sure she cant drive well but at least when she has an accident everyone but here will be dead.

RE: Pimp my ride
By PrasVT on 1/10/2008 12:40:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm you could probably mount one 20" spinner on the back like a jeep. Otherwise, I suppose you could raise the suspension lol.

RE: Pimp my ride
By Mitch101 on 1/10/2008 2:34:32 PM , Rating: 5
That might cause it to tip over.

RE: Pimp my ride
By ImSpartacus on 1/10/2008 4:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. I wish I had some votes left...

RE: Pimp my ride
By EglsFly on 1/10/2008 5:03:36 PM , Rating: 1
No NANO for me, I think I will stick with my EVO for now. :-)

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