Knockout Punch!

Tata Motors is on a roll and their latest offering takes a ‘Punch’ at rivals. How do we know? Suffice to say, we got more than just a ringside view.

Oct 09, 2021 RACHNA TYAGI No Comments Like

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What’s not to like about Tata Punch? Built on Tata Motors’ ALFA-ARC (Agile Light Flexible Architecture) combined with its bold design language, thanks to IMPACT 2.0 design, this latest offering from Tata’s stables is all set to punch the lights out of rivals such as Maruti Suzuki Ignis, Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger. Don’t believe us? Wait and watch.

You’ll agree that the Punch is a good-looking micro-SUV. The family resemblance is the first thing you will notice on the Punch’s fascia. (Think Tata Harrier). The flat strip with a piano black finish that houses the Tata logo at its centre, is outlined with chrome and looks really elegant in the way it is flanked by those gorgeous DRLs. There is a small cut-out for the horn, which seems like an after thought, but we don't mind, as long as the horn is audible to the pedestrians and other car drivers. Below it, sit the exquisite projector headlamps that really stand out on the Punch. And further below, the black-coloured bumpers house the well-sized fog lamps that glisten in all their glory.

The sides get black-coloured cladding and the rear door, you’ll notice, gets a door handle that has been integrated beautifully into the C-Pillar, almost making the Punch seem like a two-door micro-SUV.

While we really liked the way the wheel arches have been designed, it is the diamond cut alloys that really steal the show.

At the rear, the Punch does get a few cuts and creases. However, the signature LED taillamps with the arrow design, look spectacular, and truly stand-out.

We also like the way the Punch’s bumpers (Both front and rear) look and feel – robust – ready to take on anything that comes its way. Not to mention, the way Punch’s four doors open at 90 degrees (Like we’ve seen on the Altroz), making ingress and egress in this micro-SUV a breeze.  

Inside, like every Tata vehicle, the Punch, is also very big on space, both in the front, as well as at the rear. It also gets lots of cubby holes to stow away knick-knacks. Besides, it gets a combination of grey and white interiors on the dash and on the door pads, all of which though hard plastic, looks really good. We wondered if the white bits may be a dust magnet but we were told by Tata engineers that it has been tested extensively for all kinds of dust particles in places such as Rajasthan and that it should be the last of our worries, especially because it isn’t high-maintenance at all.

The seats come in a dark grey-coloured fabric and we found them to be comfortable enough throughout the duration of our drive. We also liked the large glass area on the windows which gave the cabin of the Punch a roomy feel. The air-con also cooled the cabin pretty well and we must mention that it was a particularly hot and humid day and despite that the Punch, despite all the large glass area did a great job in keeping us cool throughout our drive. We also liked the fact that this micro-SUV does not come with a sunroof thereby making it an even safer option to consider. The fit and finish inside the Punch is of a very good quality. The only place where we feel things could be improved slightly is on the middle of the steering where the plastic quality can be bettered.

The Punch comes with 366 liters of boot space, which is impressive, to say the least. The Punch also comes with a bunch of Tech, for the buyers of Punch to make the most of Infotainment as well as Connectivity features, many of which can be enabled and disabled through their smart phones. The 7-inch touchscreen is smooth to operate and the 6-speakers deliver a very crisp sound quality.

There is also a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster that reminded us of the Altroz.

The fuel tank capacity is 37 liters but that shouldn’t dissuade you from going on long drives because, it comes with a 3-liter pot which means fuel efficiency isn’t going to be an issue.

The Punch comes with a 3-cylinder, 1.2-liter Revotron Petrol engine (1199cc), that is mated to a 5-Speed Manual Transmission (MT) which churns out 86 PS @ 6000rpm and 113 Nm of torque @ 3300 +- 100 rpm. There is also the option of the 5-Speed AMT gearbox. We drove the MT for the most part and also got our hands on the AMT to check out what it drives like.

The MT is one of the peppiest micro-SUVs around and that is no exaggeration! The MT is what you’ll want to get yourself if you drive a great deal and especially if your work involves lots of driving on really bad roads because with the MT you will easily be able to negotiate broken roads and even climb over small (mind you – ‘small’ hillocks) without the slightest difficulty. The ground clearance of around 190mm (Unladen) serves the Punch well and you can drive without a care in the world on bad surfaces knowing fully well that the underbelly of your Punch is going to be just fine.

If you drive mainly on city roads and do not plan on venturing onto rough roads and dirt tracks, you may want to consider the AMT which also comes with a fantastic Traction mode that we tried, which when stuck, just powers the other wheel (Not the one that is already in a wheelspin), supplying enough power to it to bring you out of any sticky situation. We tried this on a slab of ice covered with mud in a trench and the whole process happened so smoothly that we didn’t even feel the slightest discomfort getting the Punch (AMT) out of the trench. Full points to Tata engineers who have ensured that there isn’t the slightest gruffness in the engine or gearbox during the entire maneuver. The Punch’s water wading abilities are also hugely impressive which means say goodbye to those dreaded times when on seeing water-logged streets you had to abandon your vehicle a few kms away and go home on foot and come back the next day to retrieve whatever was left of it. With the Punch, you should be able to just drive through some of the water-logged areas (We urge you to use your judgement and exercise caution at all times), without worrying too much. Always a good thing while out on our roads. The combination of disc (Front) and drum (Rear) brakes provide enough stopping power during emergency braking and you’re never going to have any anxious moments. The best part about the Punch is the commanding position of the driver’s seat which offers fantastic overall visibility while also providing enough view of the top of the hood, giving you the feeling of driving a full-blown SUV at all times. Whether you’re driving the Punch yourself or are being driven, one thing is for sure, you’re going to experience one of the best rides in the business, thanks to the combination of McPherson struts in the front and the coil springs at the back which give the Punch a very pliant ride quality. Overall, the Punch with its around 1000+ kg kerb weight (Unladen) feels solid and planted and with all the Tech that has been provided inside, there is no doubt that it makes for a great package.

We definitely feel that the Punch is a splendid offering from Tata Motors but what would really make it even better will be its price, for which the car manufacturer will have to undercut competition in order to sell the Punch in great numbers by directly challenging its current rivals.

Having done away with the traditional way of adding suffixes to their car’s and SUV’s variants, the Punch now comes in four different avatars and you can pick and personalize your Punch according to your personality type. You can pick from ‘Pure,’ ‘Adventure,’ ‘Accomplished,’ and ‘Creative.’ There are also seven single and dual-tone colours to choose from such as Orcus White, Daytona Grey, Tropical Mist, Atomic Orange, Meteor Bronze, Tornado Blue, and Calypso Red and you can even pick the colour of the roof – black or white. With segment first features such as ‘Brake Sway Control,’ excellent fit and finish quality, especially as seen on the roofliner of the Punch, Traction mode on the AMT, exciting new colours such as Meteor Bronze and Tropical Mist, the Punch indeed has a lot going for it. After driving it around on the mean streets of Mumbai, one thing is certain – we definitely are placing our bets on it. Why? Let's just say that with this offering from Tata Motors, we sure are pleased as PUNCH!


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