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.
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.
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.