First Impressions: 2012 Tata Nano

15/12/2011 - 03:08 | ,  ,  ,  ,  ,   | Kaustubh Shinde

2012 Tata NanoThe Tata Nano, once upon a time the cheapest car in the world, may not have been as successful as Tata Motors hoped for. Controversy was once its byword, politicians, environmentalists and rival car companies had complaints even before it landed in showrooms.

As the Nano waded through controversies, it was met with intense criticism as a handful of Nanos went up in flames. Despite the company reassuring customers of its robustness and offering free checkups and safety tool fitments, the Nano was not a safe car to the eyes of the general public.

Tata has managed to put that ghost to rest, but the aftermath of the disaster is giving the little wonder and its parents sleepless nights.

With so much idle capacity at the Sanand plant, Tata Motors realized that the customer’s fancies were fast moving away from the Nano and on to new products in higher segments.

Thus, Tata Motors decided that they need to rejig the Nano to improve sales.

2012 Tata Nano front

The boffins at Tata Motors started working on minor tweaks that would pull prospective customers to the showrooms. Discreetly, the 2012 Tata Nano – a car they claim has significant improvements over the outgoing model, was announced a few weeks back.

2012 Tata Nano front fascia

We have already given a list of all the changes on the new Nano before. But I am sure that was not enough so we decided to give you the full monty – a comprehensive review of the 2012 Tata Nano.

2012 Tata Nano front three quarters

The 2012 Nano is available in a range of eight colors such as Papaya Orange, Neon Rush and Mojito Green. Our car was Pearl white and the top-end (LX) variant. If you look beyond colors, there are hardly any changes to the body.

But then look closely and you will find distinct changes.

2012 Tata Nano OVRM2012 Tata Nano outside mirror

The 2012 Nano comes with larger passenger side (and driver side) ORVMS which was absent earlier. Ours, being a top variant, had a body coloured mirrors. The middle variant (CX) gets a black one and the base model is still devoid of this useful feature. The angle of the mirrors can only be adjusted from outside but they provide excellent visibility.

2012 Tata Nano head lamps2012 Tata Nano engine ducts2012 Tata Nano tail lamps

The front features the same leaf-shaped headlamps which lend the Nano a cutesy look. The trapezoid fog lamps future add to the charm. The trademark smiley face really stands out in the parking lot. The single windshield wiper is enough to clean the entire screen.

2012 Tata Nano side profile2012 Tata Nano wheels

Moving to the side profile, you will notice the huge intake ducts for the engine to breathe (this is a rear-engined car remember). The diminutive side of side profile is really amusing to on-lookers. The new hub cap design is aesthetic and adds to the overall charm of the side profile. The radials are tubeless  with 135/70 R12 in the front and 155/65 R12 in the rear.

2012 Tata Nano rear2012 Tata Nano spoiler2012 Tata Nano brake lights

Coming to the rear, the Christmas tree tail light cluster hints at a typical Tata design and is reminiscent of the Vista, Indigo Marina and the Indica. A small spoiler pops from the roof which is then joined by a small stop light. A unique central exhaust pipe completes the rear profile.

2012 Tata Nano fog lamps2012 Tata Nano bonnet2012 Tata Nano wiper

Although, externally not much has changed, the Nano can draws attention (especially from kids) in traffic. Parking it next to the school we realized how much the kids like the Nano. For some reason, our Nano reminded a toddler of Casper - the friendly Ghost!

2012 Tata Nano rear profile

And that really sums up the external design of the Nano – it’s small, it’s cute, it can draw attention and no doubt a people pleaser.

Tune in tomorrow for the interior review followed by the driving impressions.

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