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Hitting over its weight- Tech News, first pillar

There is really something to be said for taking digital detox. Or in my case, the default detox by ‘deducting’ most of the automatic coverage from our NewSound Aman. I went into the printer of the Tata Punch ‘Micro’ SUV without much idea of ​​what it would look like. No size estimation, no positioning or guessing of power output. Nothing. Instead I got a pleasant surprise – the best.

Traditionally, Tata had set up a Mumbai printing press near his home, with easy access to highways and shooting locations. Except this time, it all went out and an off-road transport was built to showcase the capabilities of this powerful mini SUV. Perspective: It is 3.8 meters long, smaller than some hatchbacks, has only front-wheel drive and uses a naturally-anticipated petrol engine. What the hell is this by-pass? Slightly as I found out.

Based on the Punch Alpha architecture, this is the smallest SUV ever produced by Tata Motors.  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Based on the Punch Alpha architecture, this is the smallest SUV ever produced by Tata Motors. Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

What is it?

However, what is a ‘micro SUV’? The way Tata mounts it, there’s a punch slot below the Nexon, which is already a 4m subcar for that interesting tax relief. You ask, how small can anyone make an SUV? In the case of punches, about 20 cm. It is 3.8 meters long but still has an impressive amount of space, usable boot, light weight and some capability. The engine options are limited to one: the three-cylinder, 86hp / 113Nm petrol unit we saw earlier in the Altros hatchback. The punch is light, however, and this quickly becomes clear. It is a high-powered vehicle based on the (mostly) safety and ergonomic benefits of the Altros’ all-alpha architecture. You can get it in manual or automatic transmission (AMT) flavors, with four variants (Tata needs to call them ‘people’) and an optional package for each of them.

Although a small and tall vehicle, the punch looks well proportioned;  The 16-inch wheel arches fill well.  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Although a small and tall vehicle, the punch looks well proportioned; The 16-inch wheel arches fill well. Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Design: Minimal, perspective

Thanks to the slightly longer bulb, the punch is a well-executed, proportionate design. The pictures speak for themselves; The punch has a less enhanced complexity – it seems to my eye – that it fits very well into an EV. It is not more than true; The Punch platform was designed to be electric, and maybe in the near future we will see a Tata Punch EV. The top-of-the-range 16-inch wheel arches in the range we tested are well-filled, with plastic covers around the car, and the LED DRL looks purposeful and inclined.

The interior of the punch has an honest and likeable atmosphere.  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The interior of the punch has an honest and likeable atmosphere. Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Interior: Honest, surprisingly spacious

I am not the biggest fan of the interior of Tata cars. I always thought they were managing the opposite in an attempt to get rid of the ‘premium’. To this decision I include Nexon, Harrier, Altrose and Safari. Strangely the punch is not like that. It’s an exit from the design language on the inside. A strange silver lining has gone through the dashboard and my pet looks: ‘piano black’. It’s all plastic with a gray-white texture, but looks like fabric from a beautiful and matte, white bit fabric. It’s pretty much like a defender when it comes to trying to take advantage without panicking. I think it’s honest, I like it.

The cluster of semi-digital devices is a direct lift from the Altros.  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The cluster of semi-digital devices is a direct lift from the Altros. Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The top model range in the range includes a seven-inch floating island LCD infotainment screen and a seven-inch TFT in the driver’s bin for various info displays. It looks a bit ugly but the work is done. The seats are comfortable for my small frame and have a dead pedal. Our test vehicle allowed the driver’s seat height to be adjusted, and I was finally satisfied with the driving position with the adjustment of the steering wheel.

The front seats are arranged for the occupants of the rear seat height but have an amazing number of rooms.  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The front seats are arranged for the occupants of the rear seat height but have an amazing number of rooms. Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The back seat is something that makes things amazing. At 5’9 I adjusted the driver’s seat to fit in my own driver’s seat and sat in the back, wondering about the leg room and the general comfort. Unlike some other cars the bench is not cut and there is support under the thigh. The main room is also generous. The unfortunate middle passenger may not be so unlucky as the floor pan is almost completely flat. There is no rear AC ventilation, however. Like the Altros, the doors open up to 90 degrees. With 190mm (unbroken) ground clearance it is very easy to connect and enter and this should be a good vehicle for senior citizens or those with mobility challenges.

The Punch's 366-liter boots can easily fit three bags, but the upper lip requires lifting them up.  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The Punch’s 366-liter boots can easily fit three bags, but the upper lip requires lifting them up. Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Equally surprising is the 366-liter boot, which is certainly useful and should easily swallow a bag or three. You have to lift them up as the lips are loaded. Overall, a lot of practical room for a 3,827mm long vehicle.

A word about technology

The punch actually hits faster than its weight, or we think it’s lined up below the nexon. The IT system follows the general Tata tradition but has clearly stabilized over time. There was no wireless smartphone connection, but as soon as I connected my iPhone to the USB port, Apple CarPlay came into being, and even in the other version of AMT we got, everything worked on the later connections. However, the interface is rough and basic, and there are little story icons that make things nice and bold.

The UI of the entertainment system is largely basic, but it works well.  Image: Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

The UI of the entertainment system is largely basic, but it works well. Image: Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

There are a few other tools that are reasonable, however. The AMT model has a ‘Traction Pro’ model, although I suspect it can do a lot to dispel the tendency of AMT vehicles to spin on gravel. There is also ship control, ABS with EBD and corner security control and a reverse camera. As is now mandatory for all new cars, dual airbags are standard. Tata Motors’ IRA-linked car kit is only available as a range of top-of-the-line options.

On the way: a comfortable ride, chops off the road!

I had previously sampled this engine at the Altros and it did not impress me. The naturally anticipated engines in this ball park are almost always boring and tiring to get past. The punch, which weighs approximately 1,030 kilograms, feels thin and on the road. Starting with the manual version, we were amazed at the pep that the engine delivers, and the punch feels like an easy car to drive as a result. Much of the credit goes to the exemplary suspension setting, which is plush but does not roll over. The car feels stable at three-digit speeds and does not take long to get there. There is noise on the road and it is not a silent vehicle for less than one million rupees but it is acceptable.

The Tata Punch is relatively fast, up to three digits, and the running quality is exemplary.  Image: Tata Motors

The Tata Punch triple speed is stable and the running quality is exemplary. Image: Tata Motors

There are drive models: ‘Eco’ and ‘City’. Essentially, the ‘Eco’ mode darkens the thrust so that the engine cannot reach its worst level. In a half push everything gets worse but you can’t go fast. It’s a good compromise, and I can’t believe I spent three sentences talking about the ‘environmental’ mode. In the default ‘City’ mode, it is a standard NA engine and you expect a high quality hatch. Never mind, the fat torque curve helped increase to 113Nm. With three people in the car, the punch was able to easily speed through the Oford Dimo ​​track.

Punch will amaze many with its difficult road capabilities.  Image: Tata Motors

Punch will amaze many with its difficult road capabilities. Image: Tata Motors

In this SUV we have to talk about ‘sport’. I didn’t think the off-road representation would be anything more than a tactic, but in reality it is: Tata Punch can take a much tougher path than you think. Significant rocky slopes are windy and the lateral stability at extreme angles is excellent and the water dropping ability is a healthy 370mm. You may not win this Baja 1000 but the Hindmata 1000 is definitely in the range (maximum out-of-town readers, please ask your amphibian friends about it). Even with the front wheel running, the punch was able to easily penetrate very slippery, slippery parts. The 190mm high ground clearance (without cover) allows nothing to be scratched, even on some large rocks. Surprise me!

The Traction Pro model can be added to the AMT model, but in practice it is not as exciting. On our driving day I was not able to get used to the shifting location and I found the AMT to be as annoying as most automated manuals. Nice to have a choice though. My choice is the manual.

Verdict: For match lunch

Tata Motors expects Punch to suppress hatchback sales as well as some of the competition: Maruti Suzuki Vitara Briza, Renault Kigger and Nissan Magnite. I go magnet driving every day and I like it a lot, but Punch rides better. I believe the package is very accurate with a bunch of features and equipment, competitive functionality, attractive space and amazing rough road capabilities.

Prices for the Tata Punch range from Rs. 5 to Rs. 8 (showroom).  Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Prices for the Tata Punch range from Rs. 5 to Rs. 8 (showroom). Image: Tech 2 / Thushar Berman

Punch starts on October 20th and we know its prices. Its price should be lower than the Nexon but consider Tata’s own hatchbacks so that they do not become irrelevant. I expect Rs. 5-8 lakhs (showroom) for this range. Optional packaging adds an extra layer of flexibility for those who don’t need the whole nine yards. I like to go a little further, coming in the form of a turbo petrol engine and EV. Since it is based on the new Alpha architecture, I also keep an eye on Punch’s defensive ratings. I would generally recommend it to anyone in the market for a high quality hatch, perhaps as a shortlisted member for the average sub 4m SUV.

Tata Punch in numbers

Length: 3827 mm.
Height: 1615 mm.
Wheelbase: 2445 mm.
Engine: 1.2-liter, 3-cylinder petrol
Power: 86 hp
Torque: 113 Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual / 5-speed AMT
Price: Rs. 5-8 lakhs (Estimated showroom)

Also read: ‘Not a hatchback’ – Why is Tata Motors abandoning its attempt to establish the Punch as a real SUV?

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