A Nano

The word Nano means something very small, it comes from the Greek word Nanos, which means dwarf. And in India it means the cheapest car in the world. Ratan Tata’s vision was to create a car that would cost Rs. 1 Lakh or $2500 to make. He called it ‘The People’s Car’. When the car launched in 2009 it was greeted with tremendous media attention but also skepticism in some corners. But the car has become popular and it caught our eye. Now we have a new member to the family.

Ironically we were looking at buying a second hand four wheel drive, something like a Pajero or Toyota Prada, Honda or Scorpio that would replace the Gypsy but they were all way too expensive and we ended up buying the smallest and cheapest car on the market. We did plenty of internet research on a   4 x 4 but the decision to buy the Nano came over eating crispy ghee roast dosais early one morning at Daspalla Hotel.  A bit of research on the Samsung Galaxy Ace while drinking our South Indian coffee and we were in the showroom for a test drive minutes later.

The Nano is just so damn cute that it puts a smile on my face every time I see it. We chose a very happy colour too (Neon Rush) and with the black bumper she looks like she’s wearing a big smile on her face.

Neon Rush Tata Nano

The Nano’s journey here was not smooth though. We were supposed to get the car on our anniversary but the truck had mechanical trouble and was delayed at Vijaywada, 450kms away. When the truck reached the outskirts of Vizag, neither the driver nor the truck could be located – they’d just disappeared. The guys at the showroom were quite panicked but I guess they eventually found the guy and here she is, a bit late but with no damages.

This is our first new bought car. The Gypsy we inherited. The Gypsy is a unique car, especially as it’s no longer in production for the public – only the police and defence use it.  It’s a tough rugged no frills but highly reliable jeep. She’s got character. When you drive the Gypsy, people, buses and trucks give you a lot of respect on the road. And on Indian roads that’s hard to come by. We never intend to sell the Gypsy, she’s got too much emotion attached to her and you wouldn’t find a car that could take our boat and dog and tons of luggage. But we thought a little sister for the Gypsy would make her and us happy.

They’ve supped up the Nano 2012 version with a few added features like lesser engine noise, a very powerful air-conditioning unit and mirrors on both sides. There are plenty of clever things, like the engine’s in the back and the stepney is in the bonnet, one big windscreen wiper and a scooped out dash board for driver and passenger rather than a sloping one. Once you pay the tax, insurance and registration the basic model that we bought (without power windows, central automatic locking and matching bumpers) came to Rs. 1 lakh 97 thousand. The next cheapest car, the Maruti Alto is a whole 1 lakh more expensive than the Nano and doesn’t look half as nice.

Side view of the Nano

It’s incredibly more spacious than you think. When you’re in the front you feel like you’re in a really large car.  Some people say that it’s just a closed in auto but it’s so much more than that. The only disadvantages are that it has no glove compartment or pocket on the side of the doors and no boot space to speak of. You have to lower the back seat to store stuff. So you wouldn’t pick up people from the airport with too much luggage in that one. It’s got a really tight turning circle and although there’s no power steering, the car is so compact that you don’t feel the lack of it all that much. I also like the ground clearance. WIth the current dismal state of Vizag roads, I feel great joy hearing all those low cars like the Honda City, scraping over the makeshift speed bumps and crunching out of pot holes. The Nano is high, which makes getting in an out really smooth too. You don’t feel like you’re climbing your way out of a bean bag.

After we had booked the car I looked up some user reviews and while the writing is hilarious, it’s the crappy grammar that makes the reviews sound so genuine and heartfelt. Here’s some real Indian English classics:

All in one sentence (note the spellings/grammar) this reviewer has said,

“nano is like my family member and it fulfill all the requirement of my family and also pass all the tests at up to the level I want to share an experience once we went to mundeshwari devi bihar and the way to mundeshwari devi is to difficult and on too much hight with 5 men with too heavy load, that was my wonderful experience. for me nano is the best car for the nuclear family and must prefer by the educated society.  

I’m not sure whether it was the car that was the wonderful experience or the 4 other men that he had the wonderful experience with; perhaps both.

Just one more: it runs on the top speed of 105 and dose not shake at all it dose not make noise like a auto it runs 22kmpl we have went frome solapur to kolhapur , bijapur , badmi , pune , tuljapur , pandharpur, gondhavale . brakes are exellent ac is exellent and many more things of nano are exellent

I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a car right. But to me it’s another “proud to be Indian moment”. As a first car for a couple, it’s perfect. And guess what, the dog fits in too! We were barely half way through our first spin in the car and Abroozi had already fallen asleep in the back seat. That’s a good sign.

The first Labrador in a Nano...


About nonsense girl

Galley slave, qualitative researcher working in development, married my best friend, writing about my life, my family, my dog, TV, Indian culture, astronomy and my garden. www.nonsensegirl.wordpress.com
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9 Responses to A Nano

  1. shaggy says:

    That’s a winning pic.. I’d recommend the “Dog on Board” sticker as required accessory but “Dog Aint Bored!” may be the better label

  2. G.Ganesh says:

    Hi Guys,
    Congrats on the purchase of your first car. What a fantastic choice of both model and colour.
    Although I do not possess ,one I am tempted ; what with all these parking woes in our cities and the soaring petrol prices.I have gone for a ride in my friends Nano and I was impressed with the extremly large leg room and great AC in the summer heat of South India.
    Abroozi looks very comfortable and what an advert for the seat belt law. Humans in India do not seem to believe in them.
    Happy driving. Thanks Ratan Tata.

  3. Rajiv says:

    Happened to land on this blog. Well written! And yes the Nano does make heads turn in those new colors it has got now. I also love the lab in the front seat :). In fact Nano guys have a conteston their page. Why dont you submit this click in that. People will love it,

    • gkorula says:

      Hi Rajiv,
      glad you like the blog, Do keep reading or sign up at the bottom left of the main page to receive post updates. As I’ve said to the Nano Team above, I purged myself of FB quite a while ago but I’m now tempted to get our ABroozi on their page… I’m a real sucker for contests.

  4. Tata Nano Team says:


    We loved your blog on the Tata Nano. Thank you very much for sharing your feelings and experiences in such a heartwarming way. Do join the Nano family on Facebook by visiting http://www.facebook.com/tatananopage We would love for you to share your experiences with fellow Nano owners. Especially the photo of the ‘first labrador in a Nano’ 🙂


    Tata Nano Team

    • gkorula says:

      Hey Nano Team,
      thanks! glad you liked the write up cos I really like your car. I had purged myself of FaceBook a very long time ago, nearly 4 years now… But I did visit your page but sadly cannot “interact” until I sign up to FB… But I would like our Labrador on your page! I’ve found a solution to the lack of a glove compartment (although I do hope you offer one retro fitted at some point beneath the music system) which is to superglue one of those neat Ikea type flat storage boxes on the floor of the car, under the tremendously generously space between dash board and floor of the car.
      As a further sign of our love for the Nano, my husband bought me a T-Shirt, well designed I have to say…

  5. gkorula says:

    It is Very cute and just makes you smile looking at it. It’s like a happy puppy, always ready to be taken out. I looked at a pic of the new VW Beetle and it is actually much much longer and has round bulges around the wheels, only the roof is a perfect upside down U. I wish the Nano had more of a perfect inverted U shape. The lack of a glove compartment, storage facility is a real pain in the lower CX model. But with seat covers, we should have a pocket at the back of the seat cover. The new swift is far more sleek and a far more comfortable ride. Nano is for first car buyers, not experienced car “dealers” like you!!

  6. nandini says:

    Do u think we have some serious competition for the VW beetle/bug here? I might sell my new Swift and get myself a nano- your blog makes for good sales talk ! And I would definitely go for the ‘rush green’ !! The pictures are great…..the dog is smiling too…..

  7. StuPC says:

    That is a pretty cute and cool looking car, actually. 🙂

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