Tata Aria, Still Worth It Now? A Quick Review

Tata Aria Front

Tata Aria has good road presence.

The Aria was first launched in 2010 at the Indian Auto Expo as a 4×4 MPV-SUV-Sedan blend. Tata said the Aria will start an all new segment and had high hopes for it. But in a price sensitive market like ours an MUV for 15.5 lakhs didn’t make sense, even if it had four-wheel drive and came loaded with top of the line features. To get back lost ground Tata put on their thinking caps and came up with the Aria 4×2 version, with some creature comforts and more importantly the heavy four-wheel drive system dropped to cut costs. Well lets face it, most of these cars will be rumbling through the concrete jungle throughout their life and even for a light bit of going the off beaten track the high ground clearance and suspension will cope.

Tata Aria side view

The side profile is typical MPV, but its a strong construction with hydroform chassis with strengthening bars.

Looks

The Aria is a handsome brute of a car with muscular lines and flared wheel arches. Front of the car with the trapezoidal headlamps and prominent grille lend presence to the car, as well as a brutish charm. Front and rear design is in tune with the rest of the Tata Family (typical headlight and tail lamp design) but in the Aria everything is dialed up to a bit more brawny and stylish.

Tata Aria rear

Rear design is in line with the rest of Tata family.

 

Along the sides it’s a typical MPV affair with body coloured door handles and 16 inch wheels borrowed from the Tata Safari. 17 inch Alloy wheels are available for the top end variants only. A sporty touch to the rear being the twin exhaust pipes which get the chrome treatment in case you miss them, set low in the rear bumper.

Tata Aria dashboard

Interiors of the Tata Aria feel premium.

Interiors

Inside the car we are greeted with a beige dashboard and faux wood inserts. You get a dashboard that looks a bit similar to Land Rover/Ranger Rover cabin with the rectangular air vents, but it’s no surprise as JLR has helped out in the fit and finish department of the interior plastics. Feel of the cabin is better than present Tata interiors, but there is scope for improvement.

Tata Aria interior

The AC vents are similar to the ones on the Range Rover SUVs.

Two places where you won’t have any shortage in the Aria, is leg room and cubby holes (33 in number, yes we counted). Middle row is the best place to be, which gets dedicated AC vents and Sofa like seating.

Tata Aria parking brake

Brakes of the Tata Aria are a bit weak for a car this size.

Third row passengers might have to double up a bit, but it certainly isn’t a bad place to be, as even they get AC vents and the rear three-quarter glass panel can’t be opened. The best part is ingress and egress, you simply walk into the car.

Tata Aria cubby holes

You won’t have shortage of space in the Aria.

Audio system provided has 2 DIN stereo with USB as well as AUX support and has decent quality. The steering is rake adjustable and the driver seat can be raised or lowered. The ORVMs are electric adjustable though, you don’t have to meddle with stalks to set them to your preference.

Tata Aria LCD screen

No reversing camera, but Aria gets an Ultrasonic reversing system.

Reverse camera gets a miss but there is an Ultrasonic Reverse Guide System instead, to guide the behemoth into tight spots. All rows can be folded flat, even the front passenger seat, for additional room when you’re pushing your pet baby elephant in. Overall, you get a premium feel when you get into the Aria, something that isn’t often associated with Tata.

Tata Aria Dials

The dials are easy to read and offer multiple information.

Ride and Handling

When I first saw the car, I was intimidated by its size. Its length got me thinking how will I drive this thing, as I am used to hatchbacks (My daily ride is a Maruti Swift). Well I was pleasantly surprised as driving this car turned out to be a piece of cake, with the high seating position enabling you to see the road properly and not be dwarfed into the driver’s seat ( I am 5’5, for you to get a mental picture).

Tata Aria side mirror

Side mirrors offer a good view.

The mirrors are large providing a good view of whats behind. The gear lever is easy to reach and with the oodles of low-end grunt available from as low as 1700 rpm from the 2.2 Dicor Safari engine, drivability is easy. The engine has peak power of 140 bhp redlining at 4000rpm and 320 Nm of torque.

tata-aria4x2-engine-bay

The 2.2 Dicor engine is borrowed from the Safari but has been extensively reworked.

It’s not like the engine is lifted straight from the Safari and dropped into the Aria. It has been extensively reworked to decrease vibrations when idling as well as on the move. The engine gets new mounts, a cast aluminium sump, Dual mass flywheel and various other stuff to lower NVH levels significantly. Wind and road noise is also low and you can have a conversation in the car without raising your voice.

Tata Aria dash steering

The steering wheel is nice and chunky to hold.

When driving big SUVs and MUVs especially of Indian origin, you don’t give much emphasis to cornering, as its generally a scary experience with too much of body roll. But the Aria delivers another pleasant surprise in this department too. Suspension is on the harder side to keep body roll in check but its pliant as well, taking bumps and potholes in its stride with ease. You don’t need to slow down for potholes, which is a boon with the current condition of our roads. The brakes though don’t have bite and not confidence inspiring for a big car.

Tata Aria wheel

Alloy wheels are available only in the top end model.

In the safety department, the Aria has ABS standard, and optional ESP, EBD and Airbags.

Verdict

Tata Aria air con

Aria has a good air con that cools the cabin quickly with vents all around.

So final words, the Aria is a capable package, Tata have worked on a variety of areas where its weak. The panel gaps are uniform and narrow, you get a ribbed roof for aerodynamics, the chassis is hydro-formed, and doors get side impact beams for structural integrity, all of which add up to a really robust feel.

Tata Aria seat folded

The seats can be folded for extra room, helpful while shifting large goods.

The insides are also premium with easy to read dials and two LCD screens showing valuable vehicle related information. Ergonomic niggles like when you turn left you automatically switch radio stations as you press the steering controls and others can be solved easily in the Aria Mk II.

2015-Tata-Hexa-front

The Tata Hexa has a lower drag coefficient and a mature muscular look.

Concept version of the next-gen Aria, the Tata Hexa concept looks promising and now has a more mature front end. The Hexa concept will be the new flagship of the Tata family, showing its new design language. Some touches have been borrowed from its stylish upper class sister the Range Rover Evoque, like the front and rear bumpers. So we hope to see more JLR involvement in the new car like a Terrain Response system and a torque-on-demand 4WD system to market the Hexa as a serious offroader.

Tata Hexa SUV concept interior

Interiors of the new Hexa concept is more plush and luxurious.

The Hexa concept has a lower drag coefficient than previous gen which should help in increasing efficiency. An automatic option was missed in the Aria, but the Hexa rectifies this with a six speed automatic borrowed from GM. So Tata Hexa looks promising, but the Aria is not retired yet, its got plenty of fight in it left. So if you are in the market for a comfortable easy to drive, almost proper seven seater, check out the Tata Aria.

Tata Aria Review – Photo Gallery:

 

 

 

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