Back when it went on sale in 2008, the Tata Nano was heralded as something of a new Model T for developing economies. As the world's cheapest new car – and not by a little – the four-door Indian runabout was poised to usher in a new age of personal transportation to the world. But things didn't quite work out that way, and the discount rear-drive minicar has seen its sales fortunes undone by all manner of issues, from reports of fires and quality issues to protests at its assembly plant and poor public reception. But Tata Motors isn't giving up on the Nano just yet, having just unveiled a newly updated design and a compressed natural gas (CNG) model.
The new updates don't register as much more than a mid-cycle refresh, with small differences outside like a new rear fascia with mesh inserts and additional chrome trim. More meaningful updates indoors include a revamped center console and a new twin glovebox, updated upholstery, body-color trim bits and available extras that include remote keyless entry, a four-speaker AmphiStream audio setup with Bluetooth and USB hookups. Minor controls have also been relocated for improved ergonomics, and there's a slightly larger steering wheel to ease parking maneuvers. In addition, a range of new personalization kits are available, including things like body graphics, aero kits, different alloy wheels and contrasting roof treatments.
The conventional two-cylinder gas powertrain remains unchanged, giving 37 horsepower. The new bi-fuel Emax model runs on gasoline and, with the flick of a switch, CNG. The four-stroke, 624-cc engine features an aluminum head and block, and it offers 37 hp on gas and 33 on CNG, while the torque peak sits at 38 lb-ft under gasoline power and 33 lb-ft on natural gas.
Along with the revamped Nano, Tata Motors also rolled out updated versions of its Indica, Indigo, Safari and Sumo models.