Tata Nano – the most fuel efficient petrol car in India

There is no denying it – from even before it was unveiled, the Tata Nano has been a headline-grabber. The story of the Nano began to take root when Ratan Tata announced his vision of the “small car” – the car which would mean every Indian family would now have a safer, happier and more affordable way to commute. Since its launch, though, in spite of its awesome fuel efficiency, skeptics have invariably challenged the Nano’s qualities when it comes to power, mileage, size (or lack thereof) and comfort, especially in comparison to other fuel-efficient cars in the segment. But just how well does the Nano fight back? Let’s see.


Though many of its features are aimed at reducing costs rather than improving performance or comfort, the Nano has one thing to boast of – it is undisputedly the petrol car with the highest mileage in India (typically varying from about 24 to 26 km per liter).

The Nano has a rear-mounted engine, in contrast to its peers like the Maruti Alto and the Hyundai i10. This feature of the Nano’s is aimed at decreasing complexity and reducing weight, with respect to the transmission and the drivetrain. The engine itself also packs less punch, delivering 38 bhp, which is outmatched by its bigger rivals.


The Nano is smaller than its counterparts in the small car segment, but this is not really a great boost towards improving maneuverability as the Nano is devoid of power steering (again a step towards making the car easier on the wallet). This is not to say that steering is difficult; the car has a neat turning radius of 4 meters, less than both the Alto and the i10. Tata Nano’s base model comes without an air conditioner or power windows, but these are available on the Nano LX (notably causing its price to shoot up to around Rs 2 lac). The Nano has a neat, compact appearance, and the interiors, though not bespoke, are classy enough in their own right. The centrally located instrument cluster is a nice touch. When it comes to space, the Nano can seat only four, whereas other hatchbacks can accommodate five passengers. Airbags are not fitted on any variant of the Nano, but this comes as no surprise, really, as this happens to be the case with most small cars. Other creature comforts like leather upholstery and a CD player are also absent.


Given the small engine of the Nano, its top speed of 105 km/h seems commendable, although it takes in excess of 30 seconds to reach 100. The car comes with a four speed manual gearbox.

In the end, the Nano delivers on its promise of being inexpensive and superbly fuel-efficient. This is not a car designed for winning races or competing in endurance rallies, but it still holds its rightful place as one of the most accessible and economical cars in the world.




-by Abhishek Neeli

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