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Tata Altroz iTURBO in CarToq’s first drive video review

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Tata Altroz entered the league of the hot hatchbacks in India with the Altroz iTURBO. Going up against the turbo-petrol offerings like the Hyundai i20 and the Volkswagen Polo, the Altroz iTURBO will go on sale on 22nd January. Before that, we drove the car around for a few hours to find out what is different in the iTURBO compared to the standard petrol variants of the car.

Looks different?

No, the Altroz iTURBO looks exactly the same as the standard variants of the model. There are no changes, not even the alloy wheels are different. The Altroz iTurbo gets a new Harbour Blue colour that will remain exclusive to the turbocharged-petrol engine powered Altroz. Also, there is a new iTURBO badge in the rear. Everything else remains the same. It is available in five colours and four of them are available with the standard Altroz models.

Drives different?

In short, yes. It is much more fun compared to the standard Altroz variants. Tata has used the same 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine to power the Altroz iTURBO. It is the same engine that powers the Nexon petrol but the output is different and it has been changed to suit the Altroz more. The three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine generates a maximum power of 110 PS and 140 Nm of peak torque. It is quite a leap from the 86 PS, 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine that powers the standard Altroz.

The turbocharged engine also produces more torque than the standard petrol Altroz that generates peak torque of 113 Nm. In all, it sure is a good power bump. Altroz is a heavy vehicle and the addition of the turbocharged engine is a welcome move. It now performs way better than the naturally-aspirated petrol variant.

Tata has added a five-speed manual transmission to the turbo-petrol engine. There is no automatic transmission available with the Altroz yet. However, the five-speed transmission does the job well. Since the gear ratios are bigger, you would not feel to shift as often. It delivers power at a wide range and it is a blessing in the traffic.

Now, if you feel like doing a 0-100 km/h every other day and if you live in a city where there are good roads and no speed cameras, the Altroz iTURBO comes with a Sport mode. This allows you to utilize the full power and torque of the engine. But, the Altroz iTURBO is the slowest in the segment. The i20 and the Polo TSI are quicker and that’s because the Altroz uses the port injection system while the rivals using smaller displacement engine get the direct injection system that generates more torque. The Polo TSI is the quickest of the three while the i20 Turbo is the second quickest. As per ARAI figure, the Altroz iTURBO returns a maximum of 18.13 km/l while the Hyundai i20 Turbo returns a maximum of 19.05 km/l.

There is minimal turbo lag and the power delivery remains linear all through. Even in the Sport mode, the Altroz may not surprise you with turbo kicks but if you really floor the accelerator, there is a chance that you will feel it.

The Altroz iTURBO is a well-balanced vehicle that can be used easily during the daily commutes as well as your weekend trips on the highways. However, if you’re fielding it in a drag race against its rivals, it may not come out a winner.

What’s more?

Tata has made a few changes to the cabin and has added a few features to make the Altroz iTURBO different from the rest. First of all, you will feel the more premium leatherette seats and new dual-tone grey and black dashboard. The size of the infotainment system remains the same but the firmware is new that allows new features like iRA. It enables the owners to interact with the car remotely through an app. The owner can lock, unlock, sound the horn, locate the car, disable the vehicle and lot of other features. However, there is no way to control the climate control system in the vehicle remotely. Tata is also added Xpress Cool feature that opens the driver window and sets the AC temperature to a minimum to cool the cabin quicker. Also, “What3Word” is enabled so that you can navigate anywhere by using only three words. The Altroz in the only car in the segment to offer Hindi and Hinglish voice commands though. Also, the Harman sound system gets two extra tweeters for a rich cabin feel.

Should you consider the Altroz iTURBO?

Tata is yet to announce the price of the vehicle. However, we are sure that they will manage to price it lower than any other turbocharged car in the segment. It will be a value-for-money product and is the only five-star safety rated vehicle in the segment. If you want an outright hot hatchback, the Altroz iTURBO may not be the best choice but it sure has become a much better vehicle with added power and added features.