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Tata Altroz DCA Review: Better Late Than Never

The Tata Altroz DCA is the most affordable DCT enabled vehicle in the market.

Tata Motors introduced the Tata Altroz premium hatchback back in 2020, loaded with a massive features list, a few segment-first custom packs, and an exciting design. The car brought plenty to the premium hatchback space, even as it missed out on an automatic variant, and a turbo-petrol unit. Then in 2021, the company addressed one of those topics and added a turbo petrol unit to the range. Nevertheless, many enthusiasts, as well as yours truly, rued on the fact that there was still no automatic gearbox on offer. Nevertheless, better late than never, as the company finally introduced an automatic transmission to its ultra-popular Tata Altroz, which was till now only offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox for its three engine options. The newest addition is a dual-clutch unit or DCA, as the company likes to call it, paired with a petrol engine.

Tata Altroz DCA: Gets A Brand-New Automatic Gearbox

Let’s get straight to the pièce-de-résistance of Tata. The new 6-speed DCT box is developed in-house by Tata, and is offered only with the naturally aspirated unit, and not with the turbo-petrol engine, as the former drives most of the sales for the company and is also the intended audience. But that does not rule out the possibility of adding the convenience of an automatic gearbox to the more powerful petrol unit. Our test vehicle is the 3-cylinder, 1.2L Revotron unit that develops 85 bhp @ 6,000 rpm and 113 Nm of peak torque @ 3,300 rpm. The company claims a fuel efficiency figure of 18.11 kmpl on the Altroz DCA.

Tata Altroz DCA: What’s It Like To Drive?

As you start driving the car, right away, the engine is surprisingly energetic but lacks the feel of ample power. Now, this may or may not be because of the 20-22 kg added over the manual versions, but nevertheless, it is certainly not a dealbreaker and is adequate – especially for city use. The engine, as we know, is quite refined, and soundproofed graciously. But it is the new 6-speed dual-clutch unit that certainly adds a lot of character to the overall performance of the car. Compare with other automatic gearboxes, this DCT is certainly far more exciting, but for spirited driving, the shifts on lower revs are slightly lazy and the gearbox takes its time to upshift. But this smoothens out once you get past the 2,000 rpm mark. The part-throttle responses are good and you’ll also like the low engine noise levels in the town. Tata says that this unit gets a planetary gear system with reduced components to make it more efficient and quicker, but if we compare it with the 7-speed DCT unit of the Hyundai i20 1.0L Turbo, then the Altroz certainly lacks the tenacity. But that doesn’t mean that this is slow either.

Tata Altroz DCA: The Tech Behind The New Gearbox

Tata claims that with their new gearbox, the shifts are quicker by 250 milliseconds than a conventional DCT unit, but we would take that statement with a pinch of salt and move on. The new gearbox also gets a wet mechanism to cool off heat generated instantly from the frequent gear shifts when you creep at traffic signals. Tata says this is perfect for the Indian conditions, and would also result in less noise, and wouldn’t wear out as quickly compared to the dry one resulting in better drivability. The Shift-by-Wire technology helps in negating any lag in the power delivery, but what we miss here are paddle shifters, which would have certainly made the car far more exciting to drive. 

Tata Altroz DCA: How Is It For Long Drives?

Driving on the highway is pleasurable too but an additional rumble right at the bottom end of the rev band would have helped. The tauter suspension setup is apparent, and it does manage to smoothen out road anomalies at higher speeds as it works its way through bad patches of roads. The motor is receptive best between 2,500-4,500 rpm. However, the only element seeming out of sync is the steering as the feedback is slightly delayed and the car tends to roll at corners. The brakes, however, impart self-assurance. One thing this engine-gearbox combination misses out on are the different driving modes, and we believe the Sport mode would have made the car more dynamic. 

Tata Altroz DCA: Has Anything Changed In Design?

In terms of design, the Altroz DCA remains unchanged and that is not a bad thing at all. What is new is the Opera Blue colour which looks really cool and adds a sense of freshness to the overall look of the car. The DCT badge at the rear is the only differentiating element here. The Altroz DCA Dark Edition available on XT and XZ+ gets the usual dark treatment, with blacked-out wheels, darkened chrome all-around an all-black interior theme. The Altroz continues to be a handsome-looking hatchback, be it a new colour or any of the old ones. 

Tata Altroz DCA: Cabin Is Still Tech-Loaded

The cabin of the Altroz DCA retains the black & grey colour combination. That, along with the perforated leatherette upholstery on the seats, the cabin of the Altroz DCA still feels premium and appealing. Tata will offer the DCA unit option on XM+, XT, XZ, XZ(O), and XZ+ variants, and so the car will come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 7.0-inch part-digital instrument cluster, keyless entry with push-button start-stop, automatic climate control, iRA connected car tech, rain-sensing wipers, and leatherette upholstery to name a few. A new addition to the Altroz DCA is Auto Park Lock, a new safety feature, that automatically engages the park mode while exiting the car, even if the driver forgets to do so.

Tata Altroz DCA Verdict: Does It Have What It Takes?

The Tata Altroz DCA is available in seven trims, including the Dark Editions, with prices ranging between ₹ 8.10 lakh and going up to ₹ 9.90 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Now, the Altroz is the only car in the segment to offer DCT after the Hyundai i20 as other competitors, such as the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Toyota Glanza, and even the Honda Jazz are equipped with either AMT or CVT units. The i20 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit with DCT is the sole competition to the Altroz here, but an expensive offering with its ₹ 9.76 lakh to ₹ 11.48 lakh price tag, offered in four trims.

VariantPrice (ex-showroom, India)
Altroz XM+ DCA₹ 8.10 Lakh
Altroz XT DCA₹ 8.60 Lakh
Altroz XT #Dark DCA₹ 9.06 Lakh
Altroz XZ DCA₹ 9.10 Lakh
Altroz XZ(O) DCA₹ 9.22 Lakh
Altroz XZ+ DCA₹ 9.60 Lakh
Altroz XZ+ #Dark DCA₹ 9.90 Lakh
ModelPrice (Ex-Showroom)
Tata Altroz DCA₹ 8.10 lakh – ₹ 9.90 lakh
Hyundai i20 DCT₹ 9.76 lakh – ₹ 11.49 lakh

Nevertheless, the Tata Altroz DCA is a more compelling prospect than the Hyundai i20 DCT as the base and top-spec versions are affordable by ₹ 1.66 lakh and ₹ 1.60 lakh respectively, making it the most affordable DCT enabled vehicle in the Indian market. Lots of features on offer and a 5-star crash test rating for the Altroz makes it a well-rounded package, and with the growing demand for DCT vehicles in the segment, Tata hopes that this trend will catapult the Tata Altroz DCA as the most preferred vehicle in the market.

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