An emotional acre on the road – Zica review
A car isn’t just a car but attempts to be an emotional bond. A relationship. It tries to be a drivable emotional acre on the road. Every time. Each of them. Some succeed and some do not. This is so much like any of our other relationships where the emotional acre could oscillate between the physical, psychological and the philosophical planes. I’ve heard young girls talk of their boy-friends as if they were some sort of a design victory for the Almighty… and I’ve also heard boys talk of the sublime insights of their conversations with their partner. It is the same with cars.
The Tata Zica is no exception. It was born to be an emotional acre on the road… for as many people as possible. There will always be those who might focus on what it does not have but then they are the ones who will possibly miss the zica moments of sublimity! Let’s take the larger-than usual swept-back headlamps and larger-than usual mesh-type hexagonal grille that gives it a distinct front face… there will be those who might walk to the front and even have the count of hexagons in their minds. After all a relationship is all about knowing every small and large contour on the face of the person you love… right?
We live in an era where strength is as much about the power of your muscles as it is about the way they shape your body. There are many who love Angelina Jolie for the bold lines that make her face so much like a clutter-free no-nonsense fighter… and the Zica has such prominent creases running the length and transforming its look from a rounded well-fed corporate honcho to one who can go rough if he or she wishes to. The strong waistline suggests that adventure is not far whenever you have the Zica by your side. But as I mentioned earlier, there will always be those who will be happier telling the world that their only love is lounging, relaxing, and chilling out.
Now I’m not suggesting that the Zica does not have the Gods of design giving it a chilled out exterior. The 14-inch alloy wheels, the petit aero spoilers at the rear give it the sporty look that tourists to Vegas would instantly love. A rear hatch and large tail lamps complete the exterior of this chilled out adventurer!
When I call the Tata Zica an emotional acre on the road what do I really want to make it do? I’d want the car to make me notice and read all the relevant signs that life props up. I want it to give me the courage to change my thought patterns if that is what will fill my life with smiles. This is precisely what a jovially cosy cabin giving you the option to play with colours is meant to do. As I wrote these lines on the EA or Emotional Acre appeal of the car, Specky, my wife asked, ‘All I want to know is if the AC is powerful enough. The climate inside a car is what accelerates or decelerates emotions of the people inside.’
‘Hmmm… and if I say that the AC is actually intelligent enough to give the flow through the central vents a power thrust before it spills its coolness across,’ I said with a smile, ‘how will you receive this piece of information?’ She wanted more details on this and I told her that this feature ensured that those sitting in the rear seats no longer have to wish their car had vents right above their seats. I guess this is a vital feature because I have watched a lot of my friends sell off their old cars to go for ones where the AC vents are placed all over. This makes them go for large cars… and we know how difficult it is to drive them on city roads where the traffic is getting denser every day. India needs small cars… and Indians need cars with an effective cooling system. The Zica tends to be the right emotional acre that we can yearn for.
The handbrake is off-centred to make more dedicated space in the between-the-front-seats zone. There are 7 bottle holders and 2 cup holders to make sure that not a single emotion runs dry as these bottle holders together have the capacity to hold 5 litres of liquid! The steering wheel is small to add to the sporty profile and has smart controls on it. I loved the sound of the music system installed and was helpfully informed that the door’s speaker grille has about 3500 surfaces for this out-of-the-world acoustic experience.
As I drove the diesel variant Zica, I did not feel even once that I was sitting in a mere convergence of 5203 different parts because it took barely a few seconds for the car and I to match our wavelengths and be one. ‘This is my emotional acre,’ I whispered, as Vinita and Ananya joined me for the long drive in Goa. Vinita or Blogwatiji, as she is known by all in the blogging world, said, ‘We’re inside a car that has already covered 2 million kms in test drives.’
‘Which is the equivalent of 5 round trips to the moon,’ added Ananya from the back seat. ‘I have the fun facts pamphlet open with me,’ she said after a while, ‘and it tells me that this car has been tested for a combined duration of 120,000 hours which comes to 166.7 months or 13.89 years.’
‘Well, the hours we spend inside must also be added to this drive test phase,’ I replied. By this time we had reached a football field with the goal posts ready for a match. The Zica had already scored the first goal on our emotional acre, so we decided to make the start of our relationship immortal with our very special ‘get… set… go…’ pose or the ‘go-goa-goal’ picture!
Our drive was obviously filled with a joyous interaction with this machine… oops! this emotional acre… as it took us all over broad and narrow roads that even went winding up and down the mesmerizing landscape of Goa. The navigation system, for some strange reason, insisted on telling us to ‘turn left and then take a U-turn’ and we laughed every time it did that. We had obviously not managed the smartphone connect properly, so I don’t really blame the chip inside… but hey! look at the bright side. We were laughing every time it asked us to go left and then take a u-turn!
‘It probably wants us to remain in Goa for more time,’ said one of us, I don’t remember if it was Vinita or Ananya. Hope the Tata team is reading this post… call us back for some more Zica moments!
The diesel variant that we were driving, is a 1050cc unit, called Revotorq. The twists and turns, the ups and downs were not an issue with it. No, I did not really keep a watchful eye on the fuel consumption, but other colleagues in other Zicas did mention that it averaged from 15 to 18kpl. I guess it will be prudent to wait for the official figures to form an opinion on this aspect. All that I’d like to add here is that the car doesn’t just look sturdy but it is too as emotional acres need to be strong from inside as well as outside. Therefore, a car where platinum, palladium, and rubindium come together to wrap joy, can a strong sense of security and safety stray far?
The petrol variant is a 1.2-litre unit with 84bhp and 114Nm. This second-generation Revotron unit is all-aluminium to keep the weight down. The automatic transmission variants are not there yet.
The human-car conflict
This post would not be complete if I do not talk about the human-car conflict. ‘What?’ asked Specky, ‘a human-car conflict? I’ve heard of human-animal conflict but this one is so new.’
‘Well,’ I said, ‘Many of us treat our cars badly. We drive them without even knowing their capabilities, their preferred locations and their choice of speed etcetera. If I were that kind of a car, I’d have no reason to love humans.’ Imagine a car with a low ground clearance forced to go over speed breakers that have a height defies logic. That car will have no reason to love its owner. Imagine stuff piled around the hand-brake making it difficult to use it. Imagine a small plastic sheet screwed on the edges of the side AC vents to make sure that the flow of cool air reaches the driver’s face as well. If the Zica has taken care of these aspects, it is a car that cares… it’s a positive emotional acre that any human will be proud to own. The ground clearance is great, the side vents are given a genetic tilt, the hand-brake is off-centred to create space… and these are just a few of the things that I loved.
This car that is positioned somewhere between the Nano and the Bolt is not aimed at the cab segment… which is what gives it that additional allure. If priced right… and I reckon I’d be comfortable with a 3.5 lacs on-road pricing… the car should live up to its name, that is a ZIppy Car.
Petrol variant: 1199cc, 84bhp, 114Nm, 1012kg.
Diesel variant: 1047cc, 69bhp, 140Nm.
Ground Clearance: 170mm.
Fuel tank: 35 litres.
Boot capacity: 242 litres.
This post was also published in The Education Post, dated 21/12/2015:
13 December 2015