I wouldn’t want to be an automotive manufacturer in the current market scenario. What was once a sector that simply kept on giving is now halfway down the toilet, in the sort of shape that is making grown industry veterans present brave faces in public and sob helplessly into their pillows in private. There are a multitude of reasons for this slump (which I shan’t get into now), and although there’s been a bit of an upward tick in the last couple of months — with a few models doing well in particular — the industry isn’t quite out of the woods yet. The problem is compounded by the fact that manufacturers cannot simply take a step back and play wait-andwatch, since that would offer up the impression that they’re operating in a state of anxiety; they have to be seen to be fearlessly innovating and presenting new products, almost as if there was nothing wrong with the market — damned if you do and all that sort of thing.
The new Tata Altroz, therefore, has been unveiled at a time when it might be safer to be in the landmine removal business rather than in vehicle manufacturing. Here, I must digress a little and touch upon the car’s name which is derived from ‘albatross’. Although I understand that the intention was probably to convey images of size and majesty, ‘albatross’ also has a rather negative connotation, one of guilt, and of being a burden — at this point, that’s probably too close to the bone. Nevertheless, that’s the name that’s been slapped on its posterior, so deal with it, we must — and on the bright side, it helps that the Altroz looks rather good.
"This is a good-looking, spacious and comfortable car that deserves to do well"
First impressions are everything in the new car game, and Pratap Bose and his team have nailed it in terms of design, it must be said. The car is the first to use Tata’s ALFA (Agile, Light, Flexible, Advanced) platform, one that is fully scaleable and will be used for a host of other forthcoming models. There’s an undeniable family resemblance to the Tiago — in the way the headlights integrate into the slim grille — but that’s where the similarity ends. The Altroz has a much bolder front end, and the sweeping projector headlights look cool, sandwiching the honeycomb grille; below the headlights are foglamps, with LED DRLs built into them. The bonnet has a couple of neat power-bump type creases on it, and the nose is rounded off by a sharp air vent below the fog-lamps.
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