In our daily commute and hustle, swapping gears can take a lot of time and effort that not everyone can afford. An automatic takes the edge off and makes driving for most demographics easier. However, making a perfect engine and gearbox combination is easier said than done. Most manufacturers have specific formulas and vary either due to restrictions on the cost of an attempt to cater to the enthusiasts. Tata has thrown its hat in the ring with its first-ever dual-clutch transmission. In a segment that mostly sees AMTs and CVTs, a DCT feels like a breath of fresh air.
The DCA version of India’s premium and safest hatchback is equipped with several segment-first features. These include a wet clutch with active cooling technology, machine learning, shift by wire technology, self-healing mechanism, and auto park lock.
The 6-speed DCT gearbox is paired with the same 1.2-litre Revotron engine, producing 86 bhp of power and 113 Nm. Drive the new DCA variant, and it’s pretty hard to realise you’re driving a dual-clutch. The gearbox in practice shifts with the same vigour as an AMT and rarely ever feels like a dual-clutch.
This was quite a letdown to me, and I doubt it’s something most new drivers would notice, but it’s something I simply couldn’t ignore. The gearbox could definitely do with better tuning as it lacks the haste that most DCT gearboxes in and around the segment possess. Keep in mind that the Altroz is catered to the masses who would appreciate this gearbox, but anyone in the mood for some spirited driving would be left wanting a lot more.
During our test, we spent very little time in stop-go traffic and more on the highway and twisty roads where the Altroz showcased fuel efficiency figures of 11 kmpl.
Put your foot down, and the engine screams in protest, and it only goes to show that this hatchback prefers its proving ground to be the concrete jungles instead of an open highway or ghat section. The Altroz is a very comfortable car to drive and gets a host of comfort features such as premium leatherette seats, auto headlamps, 7-inch touchscreen by Harman, 7-inch TFT digital cluster and rear ac vents.
These make this interior comfortable, and I can totally see myself comfortably spending hours in this cabin. A key highlight was the 8 speaker system by Harman that really brings your music to life, and I would say this is probably the best in its segment.
The Altroz we were driving featured the all-new Opera Blue colour, which looks relatively rich in person and really accentuates the beautiful lines on this car. Ride quality has always been an area that Tata excels at, and the Altroz is no exception with its soft and supple ride quality. Starting at Rs. 8.10 lakhs and going up to Rs. 9.90 lakhs. The Altroz is quite a tempting proposition for anyone in the market looking for a well-rounded premium hatchback. However, I hope Tata tunes the gearbox for better performance, or the DCT doesn’t do a great job of justifying its hype over most conventional automatics.