Why would I avoid it?
- Poor low-end performance
- Narrow shoulder room for three at the back
Forget the Nexon, the Harrier or the notable Safari 2021; this little munchkin might just be the most important model for Tata Motors in years. It’s the all-new Punch, a micro SUV that’s here to take on the likes of the Swift, Grand i10 Nios, Triber and so on. It will also compete with raised hatchbacks like the Ignis as well as VFM champions including the Magnite and Kiger. Obviously, Tata has to play on a crowded field of varied body styles at different price points and a good look at the Punch will tell you the brand is well prepared. In this review, we’ll cover all the crucial things like performance, space, quality, and refinement, so let’s get going.
Engine and performance
The Punch is pretty straightforward on the front of the drivetrain. There is no diesel or electric option for this micro SUV although there will be an electric punch eventually, that’s for sure. Right now you get a 1.2-liter gasoline engine with a five-speed manual or AMT transmission and that’s about it. It’s the same naturally aspirated ‘Revotron’ engine we’ve seen in the Altroz and Tiago. Here it develops 84 hp of power and 113 Nm of torque, decent figures for the category.
While not the most refined or freest in its class, this Punch’s engine delivers strong mid-range pulling power and is surprisingly eager to deliver the ‘punch’ on the top end as well. . However, it lacks torque below 3,000 rpm, and low-end progression is quite poor, often resulting in slow take-offs. It’s not something you want in a city car that works ideally at low and medium revs for the most part. The Punch starts to get more fun as the speed increases and as long as you keep it above 3000 RPM and between traffic lights and main city streets, you’re fine. It’s just that the curb weight of around 1000 kg and a low low end can sometimes make driving unsatisfactory, especially when fully loaded.
There are two driving modes on offer – City and Eco, although it’s best to leave it in City mode by default if you want the Punch to feel energetic. Speaking of which, he managed to complete the 0-60 km / h sprint in 6.47 seconds and the 0-100 km / h in 15.23 seconds in our performance tests using specialized timing equipment. . Its 14.76 second speed pickup time to get 20-80 km / h in third gear isn’t too bad either, but then it gets significantly slower as speed increases and if you’re up to speed. top speed. For example, it took 22.12 seconds to cover 40 to 100 km / h in fourth position, almost five seconds less than the Swift. The five-speed gearbox is smooth and the shifting action is quite light as well. We also like the lightness of the clutch pedal, but then it’s completely devoid of feel and would be difficult for many users to modulate.
Driving and handling
The Punch drives like a real Tata vehicle. It might sound like an obvious statement, but the fact remains that all Tata cars have a certain feel in the way they drive and react to your inputs and this little crossover drives similarly to other members of Tata’s SUV lineup and they do. are all larger vehicles. It’s something we love the most about Punch – there’s an underlying sense of maturity and sweetness in the way it deals with big bumps and sharp-edged potholes. The suspension is surprisingly quiet and very well tuned, as we found out on our journey through the choppy and choppy streets of Mumbai. As long as you’re driving at city speeds, the ride quality is extremely smooth and smooth, so much so that it makes you feel like you’re driving in a much bigger car.
Sure, at highway speeds it does wobble and wobble a bit mainly because of the smoothness of the car’s suspension, but again, it’s not to the point of being uncomfortable and it doesn’t. is not unusually loud. When it comes to handling, the steering has a fair amount of weight, but it’s not progressive as you move back and forth – you might doubt the car’s positioning as you lock more and more. . Overall grip, on the other hand, is more than enough for the power offered and the Punch commendably sticks to its line with virtually no reluctance.
Interior space and quality
The Punch might have been built at a price, but its interior is nowhere near as basic as one might expect given the expected price range. It’s cleverly designed and for a Tata the layout is quite ergonomic with everything that comes handy. We think many buyers would be amazed if they had a cabin with cool touches, a modern dashboard with a floating touchscreen, and decent plastics at this price point. We love the strength of the air vents when you adjust them and the quality of the seat padding. The window switches and the glove box also operate with a certain amount of weight which we believe is lacking in many cars in this segment. We just wish there was a dedicated switch in the center of the dashboard to lock and unlock the doors. Currently, central locking only works via the driver’s side door handle, which is hardly practical.
Access to the cabin is extremely easy thanks to the elevated entrance and also thanks to the doors opening 90 degrees. Once inside, finding the right driving position is quite easy thanks to the height-adjustable seat and the tilt adjustment of the steering column. The glass area is quite large and the visibility is superb too, which means it is only a matter of seconds for any experienced driver to get started and be perfectly comfortable maneuvering the Punch in heavy traffic.
The Punch hardly takes up any space on the road, but you’d be really surprised at the space and level of comfort it offers rear passengers. With the front seat adjusted to my position (I’m 5’8 ”), I had plenty of legroom and headroom to be comfortable. Best of all, the seat itself is well contoured and has great support under the thighs. What’s not so good is limited shoulder space, especially if you have more than two people in the back. Plus, rear storage space is minimal – there are map pockets behind the front seats and slim door pockets and that’s it. There are no AC vents on the back and although you have an armrest, it lacks integrated cup holders.
Features and equipment
The Punch has a lot to brag about when it comes to equipment. All the basics are covered – you get air conditioning, steering wheel controls, power folding mirrors, touchscreen infotainment system, alloy rims, rear view camera with steering lines, front fog lights, lights rear LED, dual airbags and ABS with EBD. In addition, the premium Creative trim adds many useful features such as automatic headlights, cruise control, rain sensing wipers, projector headlights, cooled glove box, puddle lamps, etc. water, engine start and stop function and much more. It only lacks the LED lighting at the front and a dedicated switch for central locking.
Micro SUVs aren’t exactly all the rage in today’s market, but if there’s one vehicle coming up that can shake things up in the space under Rs 10 lakh, it’s the new Tata Punch. Let’s get right to the point: this is a truly impressive compact vehicle that focuses on style, ride comfort, features and functionality. Of course, the engine could have been more fruity at low revs and also, we would have liked the steering and gearbox to be more immediate, but these flaws are by no means ruptures. Tata targets several segments with the Punch and if the brand manages to fix it aggressively (read: between Rs 5.5 and Rs 8.5 lakh ex-showroom), nothing prevents this micro SUV from becoming a huge success.
Kapil Angane Pictures