Tata Goes From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

By Andy Bannister

01.06.2010

Tata Magic IrisWhile the concept behind Tata’s Nano microcar has won plenty of fans around the world, the same seems unlikely to be true of the Indian company’s latest ultra-low priced offering.

This weird little van rejoices in the name Tata Magic Iris, and is one of the stars of the current New Delhi Motor Show.

Despite appearances of being a jokey concept it is in fact a serious vehicle, and one designed to wean India’s road-users off their habit of piling families aboard motor bikes and three-wheeled rickshaws.

Overladen two- and three-wheelers are a common sight on the roads of this rapidly-industrialising country.

Leaving aside its ridiculous name, the Magic Iris’s specifications don’t exactly sound like the most tempting of propositions.

A five-seater, the little Tata is powered – if that’s the right word – by a 611cc water-cooled diesel engine. It delivers 11hp – which admittedly is more than the typical Indian three-wheeler – and has a top speed of just 34mph.

It’s extraordinarily odd looks include a few full-size car components which sit uneasily on the rudimentary body, but it does undoubtedly represent a step forward for those families near the bottom rung of the transportation ladder.

At the same time it also illustrates how far India still has to go as a car-building nation, and the huge disparities which exist in the country.

Tata AriaMeanwhile, Tata – a hugely ambitious outfit which has already swallowed whole British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover – has also previewed its most expensive and luxurious own-brand model yet.

The Aria, although slightly dated in appearance overall, looks a lot more professional than its baby sister and the two products are unlikely to ever share the same showroom space.

It features a 137hp 2.2-litre diesel engine and four-wheel drive as an option. Tata says the Aria is designed to compete with more established products from global manufacturers, and combines the space and prestige of an MPV with the off-road ability of an SUV.

Future exports of the Aria are likely in the near future, although the Magic Iris is a safe bet to stay at home.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Andy Bannister

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9 Comments

  1. It looks like an angry little insect of some sort, but I imagine it’s better than a motorbike.

    The Aria looks okay, not too bad.

  2. Ah, come on. The Magic Iris is cartoonishly hilarious. Where’s your sense of humor? I love it. I think they should come equipped with a cape, so the driver can look like a deranged super hero.

  3. Well, if it’s a cartoon, it’s definitely a Japanese cartoon. That would look right at home in the pages of a Japanese kid’s comic book.

  4. I really want one. But I’ll have mine with a Hayabusa engine!!

  5. Good one, Seano!!!! I’m with you on that one.

  6. Wait a minute, those are available with a Hayabusa engine?

    Can I get a rear spoiler on mine?

  7. I sort of like the Magic Iris, including the name. And it looks to be a vehicle designed to meet an important niche in India. Bad for Bajaj, though.

  8. Hmmm….how about one for each foot?

  9. It’s easy to focus on that crazy-looking little car, but the real future is probably in that crossover-looking vehicle. Tata is going to make their way into the ranks of global automakers with their main brand, and that is the early sign of that push.

    The Indians, like the Chinese, will show up full force soon enough in Europe and the U.S.

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