Tata Punch test drive: this micro-SUV can knock out any rival in first round

Tata Motors has delivered a solid punch to the face of its rivals with the launch of its micro-SUV Punch. Targeted at the common man, this micro-SUV can knock out any rival in the very first round and is also capable of reducing the gap between a car and an SUV. Call it a car or an SUV, the Punch is set to create waves in the Indian auto market.

Same genes
All Tata SUVs have got their genes from the iconic Land Rover lineage. While Harrier became the first SUV from the Tata stable to share the platform of Tata-owned Land Rover, the Safari came next. The Nexon and now the Punch too have benefited from the Land Rover partnership. But the Punch gets something the Nexon lacks - the agile light flexible advanced architecture or Alpha Arc platform. The platform will aid the conversion of the Punch into a full electric vehicle. It can even take in more batteries than the bigger Nexon, resulting in higher range.

Impact 2.0
The Punch has been developed under the Impact 2.0 design language, along with Tata's premium hatchback Altroz. The platform provides more length, width and ground clearance to the Punch than its main rivals Ignis and KUV 100, apart from offering a higher seating position and more interior space.

The Punch looks like a scale down version of Harrier, Safari and Nexon. It is definitely the best-looking car in the segment.

Design highlights include split head lamps, Tata's signature 'humanity line' on the grille similar to electric vehicles, a bumper with tri-arrow elements, black grille, aggressive cladding on the sides, muscular wheel arches and shoulder line, 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, tail lamp with tri-arrow elements and a floating roof.

Enough space
Enter the car and you would notice the space and storage areas available inside. The Punch gets a classy interior. The seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system is from Harman. The air conditioner, navigation and the music system can be controlled through it. AC vents get body-coloured bezels.

The steering and gear knob are leather wrapped. The seven-inch instrument cluster is semi-digital. The system also has voice command functionality. The seating is the best in the segment and offers the best view to the driver. Seats are big and comfortable and even rear seat passengers get enough leg room.

No diesel
The Punch gets a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine mated to a manual transmission and an AMT variant. The engine generates a maximum power of 86 bhp a peak torque of 113 Nm. It takes 6.5 seconds to reach 60 kmph. Both the manual and the AMT offer good drive-ability.

Two driving modes
The Punch gets two drive modes, namely City and Eco. The steering wheel offers good response. The Punch also gets cruise control, a segment first. It also has the best suspension and ride comfort in the segment. The Punch is available in four trims such as Pure, Adventure, Accomplished, Creative and in seven colours.

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