We’ve been chatting with this red little Bolt for a while now, and we’re done exchanging niceties and greets. What was I thinking when I asked for a Tata Bolt? Because I simply wanted to drive this new offering, which on paper had almost everything to offer yet was criticised by many because to the downers of its previous gen incarnations. The Bolt is already widely recognised as a stepping stone to the Indian automaker’s next generation of vehicles.
Our Tata Bolt is plastered and wet with unpleasant muck after a severe heavy rain, but it does not appear to be all that bad. Instead, it appears to be a rally car that has recently done numerous circuits through a slick and difficult mud track with tight curves, a puddle, and a few of sharp turns. In actuality, we had just driven 700 kilometres on a highway for the sole purpose of meeting someone who had severely damaged his knee.
Perhaps the justification wasn’t as convincing, but the true goal was to drive the Tata Bolt for a long distance to see if it would give up in the middle of the journey, forcing us to return to our initial location, or if it would put its feet down in confidence and battle everything that came its way. The Bolt, on the other hand, astonished us in a number of ways.
There was a nice stretch of decent tarmac ahead of us for around 120 kilometres. The diesel Tata Bolt is equipped with a 1248 cc Quadrajet engine that produces 75 PS and 190 Nm of torque and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The initial grunt, especially below 2000rpm, isn’t as remarkable, but when the tacho needle reaches mid range, it’s the genuine deal. It’s a Fiat-sourced engine, but it seems quite well-tuned in the Bolt. This isn’t a tarmac scorcher, but who needs one when all you have to do is keep gulping down more and more kilometres with ease and confidence?
This hatchback is more of a highway cruiser, with a robust mid-range band that comes in handy when overtaking and navigating traffic. While the suspension remains comfy with milder settings throughout, and the steering response isn’t as crisp and precise as its European competitors, it isn’t so ambiguous as to be a deal breaker. It comes with 175/65 R15 tyres, which have proven to be the correct choice while driving on rough roads and pothole-infested terrain.
Rains and corrupt government officials can cause chaos at any time, and when they combine their wicked forces, we end up with incredibly terrible roads. Our sight range was nearly limited to 100 metres due to the rains, which also made potholes almost undetectable due to their filling with water. We were able to avoid some, but we also found ourselves driving on a lot of them, which took a toll on the suspensions and tyres, but to our amazement, we had no problems. In fact, there was no unnecessary noise within the cabin, demonstrating the Bolt’s outstanding build quality.
We found our injured friend in the safety of our own home. He was taken aback because not many people come so far to inquire about someone’s well-being, and we were taken aback by the Bolt because not many people play hard when the going gets tough. Overall, we are pleased with the Tata Bolt’s good behaviour.