It has been two years since the all-new Tata Altroz came to the Indian market. Last year, Tata added the turbocharged petrol engine to the premium hatchback and this year, on the second anniversary of the product, the Altroz received automatic transmission. This is not like any other automatic transmission that Tata Motors offers in India. It is the first-ever dual-clutch automatic from Tata Motors. Tata claims it to be one of the most advanced dual-clutch automatic transmissions available in the Indian market. We drove around the new Altroz DCA to verify the claim.
What are the changes in the new Tata Altroz DCA?
Tata did not use this opportunity to update the Altroz. Since the product cycles of Tata products are longer than the competition, nothing has changed in the car in terms of looks. Tata now offers a new Ocean Blue shade that really stands out. But that’s about it. Yes, you do get a tiny badge saying “DCA” in the rear but that’s all.
Also read: Tata Motors launches XE+ variant of Altroz premium hatchback
On the inside, everything remains exactly identical to the manual version of the car. But there is a new gear shifter in the middle. Also, the button behind the transmission that works as “Eco” mode with the standard version of the car and as “Sport” mode with the i-Turbo variants gets a new job with the Altroz DCA. It is now the door lock/unlock central button. Ignore these two changes and you will not find a thing missing from the vehicle.
Tata Altroz DCA
Tata offers only the 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated engine with the Altroz DCA. It generates a maximum power of 83 PS and a peak torque of 113 Nm. The dual-clutch transmission work without a hiccup. It shifts up when needed, downshifts in a blink whenever there is extra pressure on the pedal and works like a charm at cruising speeds.
The transmission is developed for the Indian conditions. That is why it uses two wet clutches and is also the first dual-clutch transmission to get a planetary gear system. There are other tricks like self valve cleaning, a smart cooling system that sends fresh oil to reduce the temperature and it learns the driving patterns as you continue using the vehicle.
All these techs mentioned above translates into fewer moving parts and cooler temperature inside the transmission. Overall, the technologies increase the life of the transmission and ensure almost zero breakdowns.
Does the new Altroz DCA feel underpowered?
It totally depends on the situation. If you keep driving inside the city limits where the speeds do not cross the 70-80 km/h mark, it does not feel underpowered at all. The DCA works perfectly with shorter initial gears that allow the Altroz DCA to accelerate without any sign of lack of power.
However, if you’re cruising on the highways and suddenly want to overtake the other vehicle travelling at 90 km/h, the absence of power will be noticeable. While it does not take much time to downshift, the engine generates a maximum of 83 PS and we all know how heavy the Altroz is compared to the competition. That reduces the in-gear acceleration. But if you continue driving it, we are sure the transmission will learn the pattern to deliver the power when required. Or you will learn how to overtake safely in such a situation with low power.
The DCA works flawlessly though. We did not spend enough time checking the transmission’s self-learning abilities.
The naturally-aspirated engine also allows the Tata Altroz DCA to be more fuel-efficient. During our drive in hot weather conditions and with the climate control system switched on all the time, the display indicated a fuel efficiency of around 13.6 km/l after a 76 km drive. We drove through the city traffic and a very busy expressway where we mostly tested the gear shifts of the new transmission.
Should you buy the Altroz DCA?
It is the most affordable dual-clutch automatic transmission available in the market. The closest competitor – Hyundai i20 DCT is more than Rs 2 lakh more than the base version of the Altroz DCA. The likes of Baleno and Glanza only offer AMT, which are not as refined. If you want a smooth automatic option to go about your daily life, the Altroz DCA can be a perfect choice for you.
However, if you prefer fuel-efficiency over-refinement, the Baleno and Glanza are better choices. But we really hoped Tata offered the turbocharged petrol or the diesel with the DCA. As dual-clutch automatics are extremely exciting to drive, the naturally-aspirated engine of the Altroz does not do justice to the set-up.
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