• Mar 25, 2009
Click above to watch video after the jump

Now that Tata's tiny little Nano is officially on sale, a number of media outlets around the world have found themselves behind the wheel, pouring over the positives and negatives associated with driving such an inexpensive vehicle. Interestingly, most of the reviews we've seen have been highly favorable. As it turns out, the World's Cheapest Car is just that – a real car. And it's a surprisingly decent one at that according to a motoring journalist from Autocar India who captured his initial thoughts on video.

We got a good chuckle from the reviewer's assertion that if the Germans had built the Nano, they would have added too much stuff to it and made their version just as expensive as the MINI, while if the Americans were behind the Nano, we would've priced it right below the competition and took away its striking price point. Is that funny because it reinforces stereotypes or because it's true? Click past the break to watch the video in full and decide for yourself.



[Source: Autocar via Jalopnik]
Video:



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 69 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a pretty impressive achievement.

      The statement that it'd cost 4K GBP when it got to the UK was a surprise. i thought I twas supposed to be about $2K USD, but he's saying it's acutally almost twice that in India (1900 GBP) and four times that if imported to the UK. Would you pay north of $8K for this? That's nuts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's really great news! This is gonna be a big hit for the world and i see it is already on www.tataforum.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      I canno't believe how flat it took that corner. I mean for something as... "awkward" as that, it's just fantastic...
      Lotus have anything to do with that chassis?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks as cheerful as an Beetle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      did that nano just do a power oversteer through that switchback turn??
      • 5 Years Ago
      screw the new beetle, this is the new beetle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well transportation for the Masses in India anyways.
      • 5 Years Ago
      4000 pounds for this? There are decent used Mercs for that price.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Tata Nano can be a great way to reduce pollution and help the environment, let me explain.

      Posters like Asuka and others have been complaining about the damage to the environment that the Nano may inflict. But think...

      Americans, Europeans, Indians, Chinese all need to get from point A to point B conveniently.

      Currently the Americans use cars like "trucks", SUVs, Hummers etc. I live in Las Vegas, I know. The average gas mileage of these cars is maybe 20 mpg.

      If Americans switched to the Nano with its 50 mpg, they would immediately reduce their consumption to 40% of current (by a factor of 2.5).

      This solution, everybody driving the Nano does not deny anyone the convenience of getting from A to B conveniently.

      So suggestions to Indians of forsaking the Nano will have more credibility if Americans and Europeans first switched from their SUVs to the Nanos.

      As for Asuka claiming that billions are being spent on public transit, that is rather naive. Those billions have more to do with Obama paying off his political debts. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We will have to wait for actual evidence that Americans have significantly increased their use of public transport, rather than some budget statistic.

      Jayanta















      • 5 Years Ago
      While I appreciate the engineering and design feat this car represents, I don't like it. It is solving a problem of mobility for a lot of people with low income, but in the bigger picture, it's really not solving the issue.

      So, a lot of people are able to afford this, other brands come out with competing vehicles and suddenly everybody has a car. The roads haven't been designed to handle this much traffic, jams become usual, more emissions go out into the air, parking becomes a problem.

      The real solution would be to come up with an alternative for mobility, design excellent and affordable public transportation that gets our indian friends from point a to point b without causing any of this problems. Then sell the technology to other countries.

      As much as I love Automobiles, I don't believe they are the future.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A5, I know I was unreasonably harsh on you & I apologise. But what gets my goat is that so many ABers come here & make fun of the need for people from developing countries for personal transportation. And being a developing country & India, it invites even more scorn.

        Please realize that this is from a private company. Govt hasn't had any role in this. Public transportation in India needs a lot of improvements. How do I know? I'm from there. The fact that people are craving for some transportation means like this shows how inept the govt has been in meeting transit needs. People don't want to wait for government to improve public transit anymore as it hasn't done in the past 60 years.

        Private transportation would always have a place, no matter how good public tranpsportation is. Every time I go back home, I wince when I see a family of 3 going on a scooter. Mind you, they are not poor. They're lower middle class people who take care of their families & have all the dreams & aspirations every family has. A small pothole or rain slick road is enough to tumble them from their scooter & enough to inflict some injury. Even a cheapest car costs many times a lower middle class person's income. However, a car like Nano IS affordable for a majority of people. Would I wait even a second if I can get my wife & child to travel safely & comfortably in an affordable car rather than a scooter? Heck no, no matter how noble the environmentalists' ideals may be. I'm sure you would do the same thing as well.

        India is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Roads as well as modern subways & bus services are coming on board at a very very rapid pace. Economy is improving (even in this global crisis). People are making a lot more money & Indians save a lot too. The new middle class wants move upscale very very fast. Tata is catching onto this sentiment.

        Make no mistake, this is a seminal moment for Auto companies in the developing world. This is the Model T for this century.

        asuka, The west can't dictate to others what they should do. You say that West is moving towards mass transit. Really? How fast? I don't see massive public transit systems being built. I still see west buying 20-30 million new cars every year.

        Lead by example, okay? And what makes you think that India isn't investing in public transit? Have you heard about the rapid commissioning of metro systems currently going on in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc?


        • 5 Years Ago
        Wobbly_ears, I gotta side with Tourian A5 on this one.

        As to your request that I, as an American, sell my car and take public transportation: I'd love to. Implement a decent public transportation system that gets me where I need to go in an efficient manner and I'll take it in a heartbeat. Such a system doesn't exist for me so I'm stuck with a car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't really see Dr. Anji Reddy or Azim Premji as carbon copies of westerners.

        I think the reason these cars are being made is because there is a demand for them and someone saw they could fill it. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not a question of who is copying whom.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Er, lemme get this straight. Judging by your name "Tourian A5", you have an A5. So it's okay for you to have an A5, but unacceptable that others have a car? Do you know how incredibly selfish that sounds? Why don't you put your money where your mouth is, sell your car and only ride public transportation then?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wobbly_ears, you guys really ARE reading off talking points. I've seen the exact sequence of your (non)rebuttal ("Hypocrites!" + "Oh yeah? Well what is the West doing about mass transit!?!") regarding the Tata Nano on many different blogs. I hope Tata is paying you well for such a public display of fallacy and illogic. The developed world IS leading by example, spending billions and billions and billions on its transition to green technology and mass transit. Look at the recent US budget: there's a hundred billion dollars in mass transit infrastructure and alternative energy development spending alone. How about the Netherlands? Personally, I live in a city that moves millions of people a year by subway and hybrid bus, and there are many other first world cities that do the same (New York, Paris, London, Washington, DC, Tokyo, Hong Kong, etc.). So please, drop the ad homonyms, let go of your baseless "I don't see the YOU doing anything!" retort, and just be honest: you want your cheap cars, and you don't care what social or environmental impact they will have. At least I could respect the honesty in that reply.
        • 5 Years Ago
        brn,

        As to your request that Indians not buy an affordable car and take public transportation: they would love to. Implement a decent public transportation system that gets them where they need to go in an efficient manner and they will take it in a heartbeat. Such a system doesn't exist for them so they're stuck with this car.

        Did you see what I did there?

        Btw, move closer to work, you can take the bus. No need to live in the 'burbs.

        Asuka:
        Hypocrisy is the apt word for the sentiments expressed by you & others here. I repeat again, lead by example. Don't put all the burden of the world on the frail shoulders of the developing country while you sacrifice nothing for the mess of the environment YOU have created.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thats because, in India, the working class that this car was developed for, will still struggle to come up with this 1 lakh ($2000) to spend on a car. This is with technology that quite frankly, came straight out of the '80's. If it takes 30 years for this technology to become cheap enough to be affordable for most Indians, how the hell can someone develop something clean and green and eco friendly for the same cost? Sure, in the US, people can afford a $30,000 Volt or hybrid, but there? Most people struggle for a nano, much less a real car, much less a high tech advanced car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        While this car is an upgrade for most Indians, they also have an opportunity to develop differently than we (the rest of us who pissed away most of the resources) do.

        Like China, India has the brain power, resources, and ability to develop totally differently. It is a bit unfortunate that the people at the top are copies of their western counterparts and can't think outside the box either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Cheers to that.
        I was thinking the same thing - this is not really progress - this is an effort to move india towards the north american model for transportation where everbody uses personal transit and the whole continent is designed around the car. The only possible outcome of this is suburbia which is failing as we speak....bad plan.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What's with all the jinoism wrapped up in this car? The moment someone makes a legitimate critique of this car, the Indians come out of the woodwork and start in with the "hypocrite defense" (an ad homonym that doesn't rebut the argument at all). Its like you guys are reading some kind of Indian nationalist talking points. Its so 20th century.

        The reality is the environment can't handle another billion drivers. That may not be fair, but its true. The developed world is working to clean up its mess and move towards mass transit. If India wants to prove that it can play with the big boys, it should have leap-frogged this antiquated technology. Instead, its decided to adopt the West's castoff policies.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Asuka- some more advice for you: referring to a debate point as a "talking point", suggesting that many people are arguing the same point, calling it "nationalism, jingoism" or an "ad hominem argument", and stating that you've seen it argued that way many times before does NOTHING to make the point less valid. Pointing out the flaw(s) in the argument might begin to do that, and you haven't done a very effective job of that. You are admitting you are a hypocrite when you say "it isn't fair, but...". Who are you to suggest that admittedly unfair policies should be the burden of developing countries for the "greater good" when the average US citizen is not moving to public transport, and will likely never do so because of the car culture in the US?

        - In NO WAY is the US "casting off" individual vehicles in favor of public transportation, and you cannot show me where those "billions and billions" (and billions?) are going to provide this for the average US citizen because it is not true.

        - Developed countries are in a far better position for government and private industry to invest in green technology and public transportation infrastructure. As we move to greener technology and alternative energies, this technology will eventually become cheap enough to migrate to developing countries.

        - The fact of the matter is that developing countries like India and China WILL move forward with these cheap vehicles regardless of your elitist, and YES, HYPOCRITICAL whining. And they will do so for the same reason that people own vehicles here: good public transportation does not exist, they want the freedom of their own vehicles, and private industry is providing a product in response to that need. I don't see the AVERAGE new car buyer in the US opting out of a vehicle purchase in favor of public transport, or even in favor of a hybrid, and you cannot expect that the average person in a developing country will, either. Public transportation infrastructure and individual vehicle ownership are not mutually exclusive, just like here in the US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I haven't read all the comments, so maybe I'm not the first to say it, but rather than the Beetle, this car reminds me more (in spirit) of the 2CV.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it's great. The joke about the Germans and American's isn't a joke - it is true.

      They'll sell lots of them when they come to the US, even if the price doubles or triples.
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