Aria is one of the most ambitious project by Tata till date. It was an attempt by Tata to upscale its brand name which was known mainly for the Indica’s and Sumo’s.
Tata called the Aria a Crossover which could do the duties of both SUVs/MUVs and a sedan car. Aria launched in 2010 at the Indian auto expo was only available in 4 wheel drive configuration and had a starting price of 15.5 lakhs on road Goa.
Being a bit over ambitious with the pricing the Aria ended up selling in modest numbers and always played second fiddle to the Toyota Innova, its nearest rival.
Tata has introduced the two wheel drive variants and a lower cost Pure variant which is only available in the 4×2 configuration. The pleasure and Prestige variants have same features as available on the four wheel drive variant but minus the 4 wheel drive.
Team GoaOnWheels drove the Pleasure variant of the Aria which has similar features and price as the top end Innova V variant, lets find out more on the Aria Crossover.
The front of the Aria is the most striking part with cab forward design giving it macho looks unlike a van. The double barrel headlamps, lower bumper housing the twin circular fog lamps and a large air dam look superb and gives the Aria the much needed aggressive look. The grille is traditional Tata with the Chrome finished Tata logo embedded onto it.
Camouflaging the length of the car are the blackened out pillars from the Side and also roof panel which swooping into the D- pillar. Also evident are the large ORVM with turn indicators. The ORVMs can be electrically adjusted and folded with a touch of a button.
The 2 chrome strips running through the side one just below the window and another on the doors enhances the looks of the car.
With chrome strips above the number plate and twin exhausts, the rear of the car is kept simple with vertical tail lights. The sparewheel is located under the car and the tail gate opens upwards giving access to the rear boot. The rear also gets rear wash wipe, defogger and parking sensors. Another striking feature of the Aria are the large dual Elliptical exhausts.
The interiors of the Aria are well laid out and all the controls fall in hands easily. The interiors are the best found in any Tata vehicle so far both In terms of design and finish. The pleasure variant gets black & beige interiors with wood inserts and beige fabric upholstery.
The central console houses the multi-information display on the top which also pairs up as a screen for the rear parking sensors. It also has an integrated 2 DIN music system with CD/MP3 player with AUX-IN and USB ports and controls for the air-con. The music system has six speakers and it also has provision to house a sub-woofer in the boot.
The instrumental cluster is simple and houses the Tachometer and speedo at the two ends with all the warning lights and other information displayed in the centre. A striking feature is the park brake on warning which is displayed on the central console as an when the handbrake is engaged. The steering wheel is finished in a shade of black and has audio controls on the wheel. The door finish gets wood inserts and chrome door handles.
With the abundance of space in Aria, the large glass area allows for good clear visibility. The middle row gets an AC vent in front in between the two front seats and also 2 pillar mounted vents. The third row too gets 2 pillar mounted AC vents and in addition there are 2 more vents in the boot.
A smart touch is the blower speed buttons which are mounted on the roof above the middle row. The blower speed can be varied using these buttons thus cooling the large cabin is easy. There are 3 reading lights in the cabin and one each in the boot and glovebox.
Space and flexibility
The front seats are large and have very good bolstering which are comparable to top notch cars. The Driver seat also features lumbar support and height adjustments and finding a comfortable driving position is not difficult. The addition of armrests makes sitting on the large seats even more comfortable.
The middle row has 60:40 spilt which are placed at a good height and the central tunnel doesn’t intrude much. There is good amount of head room and generous width which makes sitting three abreast easy.
The centre armrest makes the back rest a bit firm for the centre passenger and under-thigh support isn’t the best in class. There is good amount of legroom which can be further improved by sliding the middle row back.
In fact sliding the middle row back liberates acres of legroom and one can easily stretch ones legs. The seats also recline individually for more comfort. The adjuster though is oddly placed over your shoulder.
On a whole what one gets is a very comfortable place to be in on long drives. One can go mile munching without being fatigued. The doors open wide but you do have to climb to get in like most SUVs and older people might find it difficult especially due to the absence of a floor board.
Move to the third row of seats and things change dramatically. The rear seats have very little head room, thigh support is almost equal to none and legroom is tight even when the middle row is in its forward most position. All this translates into a serious no-no for adults considering the length and wheelbase of the car. The access to the rear seats is decent. However, tumbling the seats is not as easy as we would have liked, but with a little of practice one does get a hang of it. The last row is meant only for kids largely.
As far as storage space is concerned the Aria has loads of it. One can stuff a lot of things on the different cubby holes the crossover is equipped with. At the front there are twin gloveboxes. One of them is cooled which can help to keep the water/soft drinks/BEER cool on trips and also has a light embedded into it which helps a lot in night to easily fetch the cans.
Door pockets are generous and can hold full size bottles. There are cup holders even for the third row passengers. Then there are the Aria trademark roof mounted storage boxes seven of them in total, and a google holder for the driver. There is sufficient space for luggage with all 3 rows of seats in place which can be expanded by folding the 3 and the 2nd row to form a humongous loading bay. Another smart touch is storage space embedded into the boot floor to keep the tools and other small loose things.
Comfort & Convenience
The Aria is equipped with a 2 DIN integrated music system with 6 speakers, which plays CD and MP3. It also features a speed sensing volume controlling device, a USB port for external storage and an auxiliary input jack for portable music players such as IPods. The system also has an in-built Bluetooth connect which allows you to pair up to 5 mobile phones.
That is not all; you can operate the music system as well as the phones without taking your hand off the steering thanks to the remote switches provided on the Steering wheel.
The Aria’s infotainment system also provides the driver with a range of useful information such as inside/outside temperatures, distance the car can travel on available fuel, instant and average fuel consumption, and other alerts related to performance and efficient control of your Aria. To top it all the system is absolutely secure as it is equipped with an Anti-theft protection feature.
The Aria gets Keyless entry with remote integrated key. The follow me home (Approach lights) remain on for few seconds a very vital in dark area’s or parking lots.
The Aria gets the same engine which also does the duty on the Safari. The 2.2L DICOR (Direct Injection Common Rail) diesel engine produces 140 Ps of power and a modest 320 Nm of Troque. Tata Aria’s power and torque answer most questions concerning the cars capabilities and performance. High speed and acceleration can be easily achieved with the help of 2.2 L VTT DICOR mill and five-speed manual transmission (Mark II gearbox). Apart from delivering amazing power and torque, the engine ensure fewer emissions and enhanced fuel efficiency. The powertrain is also well supported by 16 valves (4 valves per cylinder) that ascertain more power and torque with better fuel consumption.
The 2nd & 3rd gears, in particular, offer great flexibility and will prove to be vital tools in the city. On the open road, make judicious use of the accelerator and one can make swift progress on the expressways.
Mid-range is really punchy, making highway overtaking an effortless exercise. If you are at over 2,000 rpm, there isn’t even a need to downshift. The engine is rather free-revving right upto 4,000 rpm. If you insist, she’ll go on to 4,900, but you’ll do best in up shifting at 4,000 rpm (even when driving spiritedly). This is the point at which the engine makes peak horsepower.
The gearbox does its job really great and requires very less downshifts when in traffic, the throw is shorter than in other UVs (say, the Innova). The gearshifts are smooth and there’s not much to complain about. Apart from the gear lever there is very little vibration in the cabin. Noise levels are also good.
Ride & Handling
The best thing which all will love is its crossover feel when driving this machine. The driver seat offers a commanding view of the road like n SUVs but surprisingly it is very easy to manoeuvre and you don’t feel the like you are driving a very big car.
The steering is a bit too forward for our liking and it doesn’t adjust for reach but can be adjusted for rake. The steering isn’t the best to hold and lacks feel but is light enough and does its job well. The rear view mirrors are huge and offer good visibility. Aria gets reverse parking sensors and considering the size of the car they are a necessity rather than a luxury.
Up the speed and the things are much different, the steering is accurate and weighs-up well. There is some amount of body roll but it is expected from a car of this size, but it is well under control and the car turns into corners enthusiastically.
The tyres offer good grip and the body control is decent. One has to understand that this is a big car and thus the best way to drive it is in a relaxed manner. All four wheels have disc brakes coupled with ABS and EBD, this offer good stopping power and the car comes to a halt without a fuss. The brake pedal though has some amount of dampness and feels a bit mushy
The low speed ride is plush and the suspension absorbs all the road irregularities well and there is very little vertical movement. The sharp bumps are felt but only when you hit them hard. Lower the speed and they too are absorbed well. At higher speeds too the suspension does it job well.
Sharp bumps do filter in and there is vertical movement on undulating surfaces but it doesn’t affect the stability of the car and the car feels stable even at triple digit speeds making it a fantastic cruiser. The suspension of the car gives you freedom to take the cars on terrains which most cars are unable to go as long as the surface is tight and there is no loose gravel or slush. What adds to the feel good factor is the good amounts of insulation in the car which allows very little road and suspension noise to filter in.
Fit finish and Quality
We must say these are by far the best interiors on a Tata car, the dashboard is made up of good quality plastics and some of the switches are good too. But overall it lacks the quality one associates with a car of this price.
Fit and finish isn’t great either, there are many panel gaps and it doesn’t feel as good as some of the rivals. The built quality isn’t the best and the way the tailgate shuts reminds us of the Indica, it just lacks the feel of a premium car.
There are some flawed ergonomics such as oddly placed rear seat recline adjuster, the steering wheel is placed too far in front, Seat tumbling operation isn’t d best and there is no switch to lock all the doors.
1) Puddle lights which turn on upon opening the doors are useful at night
2) Illuminated key slot
3) Pillar mounted AC vents
4) Loads of storage space
1) Audio control on the steering wheel are oddly placed and are easy to press accidently.
2) No dead pedal for a car meant to be a cruiser
3) Third row seats are cramped
Lets start with the positives first, the car is good looking, has good amounts of space. It rides well in the city and is stable on the highway. Despite its size it is quite nimble in town and overall handles well. The engine has enough grunt and is refined. This being the 2 wheel drive the Pleasure variant is priced at 14,93,313/- on road Goa which is on par with the competiton.
What lets the Aria down is the fit and finish. The quality isn’t the best in class. Then the third row of seats are bit cramped and strictly meant for children. To sum up the Aria is a very good attempt by Tata Motors with loads of features and technology, but considering todays demanding customer and competition the company will have to work on the areas of concern.
GoaOnWheels Test Card Rating (Out of 10)
Ground clearance: 200 mm
Weight: 2720 kg
Engine: 2179cc DICOR, BS IV
Torque: 320Nm@1700 rpm
Suspension front: Independent double wishbone with coil springs
Suspension rear: 5 link with coil springs
Brakes front: ventilated disc
Brakes rear: Disc
Tyre size: 235/70 R16 or 235/65 R 17
Tank capacity: 60 ltrs
A Special thanks to Auto Industries for allowing us drive the Tata Aria