Tata Aria launched at Auto Expo, price a mystery

Tata Aria was launched at the Auto Expo 2010. Let us say this loudly  – it is an MPV, not an SUV. A large MPV, but still not an SUV.

Tata Aria launched at Auto Expo, price a mystery
Photo: Tata Aria MPV front

But MPV or crossover, the large wheels and optional all-wheel drive and traction control mean the Tata Aria will be a very capable MPV on Indian roads.

So the Indicruz is finally here – as the Tata Aria MPV! There was a huge crowd around the Aria at the Tata Motors pavilion at the Auto Expo 2010, making it impossible to get a few good photos of the MPV.

First impressions? Innova-beater, for sure. Looks huge, we think the Aria is quite a bit longer and a bit wider than the Toyota Innova, India’s most popular MPV.

Tata Aria launched at Auto Expo, price a mystery
Photo: Tata Aria, front three quarter view

We are obsessed about looks of new vehicles in India, and have not always been very charitable towards cars from Tata Motors. So let us see if we can be nicer about the Aria’s design.

Best looking? From the rear three-quarter view. It is from here that the cut-and-slash lines make the Aria look quite modern. Almost right out of the designer’s computer. From the front, on the other hand, while it looks impressive and the grille is not as bad as we first thought, it is still a busy design. The Manza-likeness of the front of the Aria does not help.

Tata Aria launched at Auto Expo, price a mystery
Photo: The Aria's interior looks like a straight lift from LandRover. Good!

The Tata Aria looks quite long and sleek from the sides, and interiors look to be of a high quality. The design is squarish and boxy inside, but in a professional way – very reminiscent of Land Rover designs.

The Tata Aria offers 3 rows of seating, though as expected, the third row is a bit tight. This is common to most MPVs, so not many would mind.

It is likely that the Aria will be powered by the 2200 cc VTT diesel that produces 140 bhp in the Tata Safari Dicor.

The Tata Aria will be the company’s most expensive car in India when it is launched.

Safety features of the Tata Aria include six airbags (wow!) and optional four-wheel drive. Stability control, cruise control and automatic climate control are standard.

We think Tata calls the Aria a crossover because of the optional all-wheel drive and stability control which are not features normally offered in MPVs, especially in India.

Other interesting features are opposing wipers, like in the Honda Civic. A gimmick, but nothing to complain about. All wheels of the Tata Aria have disc brakes, a first for MPVs in India. And did we say that all the wheels are 17 inchers? If all works as expected, that should give the Aria a brilliant ride on Indian roads.

At this point, there is no conclusive information about the price of the Aria, as well as expected launch date. The MPV has been under extensive testing for a long time, so we  do not think the actual launch would be too far away.

Another factor which we are not clear about now is the price. Would Tata position a low-end version of the Aria to directly compete against the Xylo? Then that would be priced really cheap – if they do. On the other hand, pre-Auto Expo guessing has placed the price of the Aria at anything from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 13 lakh. We are still in the dark about this.