Tata Altroz Racer: A Spirited Hatchback or Missed Hot Hatch Opportunity?

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The Tata Altroz has carved a niche for itself in the Indian hatchback market since its launch in 2020. Now, the arrival of the Tata Altroz Racer injects a dose of performance and sporty flair into the lineup. This variant boasts a more powerful engine, cosmetic enhancements, and additional features, raising the question: Does the Altroz Racer live up to its “hot hatch” billing? We recently got behind the wheel to find out.

Tata Altroz Racer
Tata Altroz Racer

Striking Looks, But Time for an Update?

The Tata Altroz has consistently garnered praise for its attractive design. The Racer variant builds upon this foundation with:

  • Dual-Tone Exterior: The Racer sheds its single-tone color scheme for a bolder look with new dual-tone exterior options.
  • Sporty Accents: Dual white stripes running from the hood to the roofline and blacked-out alloy wheels add a touch of racing inspiration.

Despite these enhancements, the overall design language might feel slightly dated for some viewers, especially considering Altroz’s 2020 launch date. Additionally, the absence of LED lighting elements might seem like a missed opportunity.

A dash of visual excitement could have been further achieved by incorporating painted brake calipers to complement the blacked-out alloy wheels. While the Racer undoubtedly injects some sportiness into the Altroz aesthetic, room for improvement remains.

Engine Power Boost: More Speed, Not Necessarily Excitement

The Tata Altroz Racer’s most significant upgrade lies under the hood. It borrows the potent 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine from the Tata Nexon, generating 120 PS of power and 170 Nm of torque. This engine is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.

There’s a noticeable performance improvement compared to the previous iteration. The engine feels livelier and provides ample power for overtaking and highway cruising. However, enthusiasts seeking the raw exhilaration of a true hot hatch might be left wanting.

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The 0-100 kmph acceleration time, exceeding 11 seconds doesn’t quite reach the benchmark set by hot hatchbacks in terms of thrilling performance. Despite this, the increased driveability and readily available power cater well to drivers who prioritize a responsive and spirited driving experience.

Striking a Balance Between Comfort and Handling

Tata has implemented subtle tweaks to the suspension and steering response of the Altroz Racer, aiming for improved cornering capabilities. While the handling feels slightly more balanced compared to the standard Altroz, the difference is relatively minor.

It’s important to note that even the regular Altroz offers commendable stability and handling. These adjustments haven’t compromised ride quality, and the Altroz Racer maintains a smooth driving experience, ensuring passenger comfort remains a priority.

Premium Cabin with Feature Enhancements

The Racer variant elevates the interior experience of the Altroz with a focus on premium materials and advanced features:

  • Blacked-Out Theme: The interior is dominated by a sleek all-black color scheme, accentuated with orange inserts on the dashboard.
  • Contrasting Stitches: Orange contrast stitching adorns the steering wheel, front center armrest, and seat covers, adding a touch of vibrancy.
  • Themed Ambient Lighting: Mood lighting enhances the interior ambiance, further elevating the premium feel.

These elements combine to create a more sophisticated and modern cabin environment compared to the standard Altroz.

In terms of technology, the Racer incorporates several improvements:

  • Upgraded Touchscreen: A welcome change is the inclusion of a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This replaces the older 7-inch unit, offering a better display, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and a more user-friendly interface.
  • Digital Driver Display: The Altroz Racer boasts a new 7-inch fully digital driver’s display, capable of mirroring maps for enhanced navigation convenience.
  • Segment-First Ventilated Seats: The front seats feature ventilated technology, a first-in-segment feature that provides an additional layer of comfort, especially in hot weather conditions.
  • Safety Focus: Safety remains a priority with the inclusion of six airbags and a 360-degree camera with blind view monitoring, ensuring comprehensive driver assistance.
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Room for Improvement: Exhaust Note and Transmission Options

The Altroz Racer comes with a dual-tip exhaust setup designed to enhance the driving experience. While it offers a slightly improved sound compared to the standard model, it remains barely audible, both inside and outside the vehicle.

FAQs

Q: Is the Tata Altroz Racer faster than the standard Altroz?

A: Yes, the Altroz Racer features a more powerful engine, resulting in improved acceleration and overall performance.

Q: Does the Tata Altroz Racer offer an automatic transmission?

A: Currently, the Altroz Racer is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Tata might introduce a 7-speed DCT automatic transmission in the future.

Q: What are the key features of the Tata Altroz Racer’s interior?

A: The Altroz Racer boasts an all-black interior with orange accents, a larger touchscreen infotainment system with wireless smartphone connectivity, a digital driver display, ventilated front seats (a first in this segment), and a 360-degree camera with blind view monitoring.

Q: How does the Tata Altroz Racer compare to other hatchbacks in India?

A: The Altroz Racer competes with other premium hatchbacks in the Indian market. It stands out with its powerful engine, feature-rich interior, and focus on driver assistance features. However, some competitors might offer a more modern design language or a wider range of transmission options.