Finally! I’m going to share details about my first car, the Tata Punch in this blog post. It’s not a review but more of first looks and first drive experience. At the time of writing this, I’ve already clocked 600kms on the odometer so I do understand a few things about the car.
If you’ve been following my blog, I’ve written an extensive guide on how to plan and purchase your first car. It’s a 2 part blog post where I’ve shared everything a first-time car buyer needs to know. From deciding how to fund your car to perform a PDI, booking it and finally taking the delivery. It’s a 6000+ words blog post that I strongly feel every new car buyer should read.
So if you are planning to buy your first car, please read the blog posts. I’m sure it will help you.
Recently I moved to a different part of Hyderabad that is quite far from the city. That meant that I now had to travel almost 120kms to visit any restaurant in Hyderabad. Not only did it take time, but riding on an Activa was way too tiring, plus the rains were a big deterrent. Further, cabs to anywhere in Hyderabad costs close to Rs 1000 on one side, which is way too expensive. That also hampered us as a family to travel around.
That’s when I thought it was time that I need a car.
Sealed At First Glance – Tata Punch
Yes, I got the Tata Punch, Adventure with Rhythm pack to be specific and it’s in Atomic Orange colour which I felt looks chic. I had seen the launch but hadn’t followed the car closely. Like the Nexon, I hated the rear of the car. But I never thought I would purchase a Tata Punch!
During my shortlisting process, I visited the Tata Motors dealership to enquire about the Tiago XZ. I entered the showroom and the Punch instantly caught my attention. The muscular, boxy SUV-type look had me. I walked past the Tiago and took to the wheel of the Punch. I sat on the driver’s seat, closed the door and that was it – my first car was going to be the Tata Punch.
PS: Tiago XZ was discontinued a week later.
The sheer sense of space that the Punch gave me was next to no other car. Plus the high seating position gave a commanding view as the bonnet was visible. Compared to any other car including Tiago, and Wagon R, none of them provided me with this view & the space. Even the rear seats had good enough space, leg room and also roof height were adequate. I went along with my mother who also gave a thumbs up. Being a car with a high ground clearance & with 90 degrees opening doors it was easy for her to get in and out of the car.
Why Tata Punch Adventure Rhythm?
Tata Punch comes in 4 main variants – Pure, Adventure, Accomplished and Creative. Plus you have options to add some packs on top of each variant to get some extra features. So you have a Pure Rhythm Pack, Adventure Rhythm Pack, Accomplished Dazzle and Creative iRA. The range starts from Rs 5.9L & goes up to Rs 9.5L (ex-showroom) and has 22 variants to choose from! More details about Tata Punch
If you’ve read the first part of my how-to plan and buy your first car, I’ve mentioned all the features that were a must for me. And considering that the Tata Punch Adventure Rhythm was the best one. With the Rhythm pack on Adventure, I got a touch infotainment system, a rear parking camera, and 2 tweeters.
Like most of the other cars in the segment, Tata Punch comes with a 1.2L 3-cylinder 1199cc engine. Only Swift and Ignis are the two cars that have a 4-cylinder engine. This is a naturally aspirated engine and doesn’t come with a Turbo option. Further, Punch comes with the exact same engine that you find on Tiago and Altroz. Just that it has been tuned a little.
Having decided on Tata Punch, I requested a test drive. The dealership didn’t have the variant that I wanted. Instead, they brought the top-end Creative automatic variant of the car to my doorstep for a test drive. I took my dad along for the test drive. The AMT variant of the Punch felt laggy. I had to press the pedal a bit because the engine didn’t respond quickly. There was this pretty evident rubber band effect.
I wanted a manual transmission anyways (the real joy of driving is in MT), and the test drive was more to feel the car for myself and my dad. He did switch seats and found them to be comfortable, he gave a thumbs up too. We came back home and I made the booking, I was told that it would take 2 months and I thought that is quite a long time. Maybe I might not need a car then.
Anyways, the booking was done & the clock started ticking. It was just around 4 weeks and I get a call from the dealership that the car is ready. I insisted on a PDI and the car was brought to my home for the same. I did ignore a few minor things and agreed to finalise the car.
A few days later I paid for the car in full cash. I had earlier planned to pay 70% as a downpayment and take the rest as a loan for 3 years. But the bank folks demanded so many documents and paperwork that I initially decided to take an interest-free loan from my dad. But eventually paid off entirely, thanks to my mutual fund investment for this.
Initial Drive Review of Tata Punch
I took the delivery of the car a few weeks ago. Dad & myself applied for leave at work to take the delivery of the car. And why not, it’s my first car and one coming home after a gap of 15 years! We had the ceremony done by the dealership and my parents performed some pooja. Post that I took the car on a drive to Hyderabad Airport, treated my parents with Chole Bhature and Rajma Chawal at Haldirams and drove back home. It felt so good driving my own car for a change!
Initial drive review, the car is great! The handling is super easy, the steering is light & responsive, the low-end torque is perfect to get the car rolling and it felt just perfect for the city traffic. Even at low speeds, I didn’t have to shift down. The car kept moving at ease. Further, the dead pedal provided is a boon, especially when driving on a long stretch of good road like Hyderabad’s ORR.
My first city-based driving experience that too alone was while attending the Punjabi Food Festival at Novotel HICC. After covering the good stretch of ORR, I drove through the traffic snarls at Gachibowli junction through Kondapur and eventually reached Novotel. Not only did I drive that much, but I was also able to park it successfully and get back home! The AC, music system, Bluetooth connectivity, maps and everything else worked perfectly, just what I wanted.
Next week I went on an even longer road trip to Nagarjuna Sagar. About 130kms from where I stay, I felt this would not only test the car but also give me a good experience of driving it. It was a Sunday morning and we drove from Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar and onwards to Ettipotala waterfalls and back. It was a ~300kms journey and the Tata Punch exceeded my expectations.
Having read reviews and watched videos about the car not being up to the mark, I felt I took the right decision to buy Tata Punch as my first car! I’ll write a more detailed review after driving it a little more as I won’t do justice to it now.
Am I satisfied with Tata Punch – YES!
Those who know me, know that I take a great amount of time understanding everything about things that I’m going to purchase. Whether it’s my smartphone or my first car. For the Tata Punch, I spent time reading about the types of engines, NA vs Turbo, RAM air intake for performance improvements, ABS, EBD, BA and everything else. I don’t want to show off but I know a lot more about cars compared to any first-time car buyer.
Buying Tata Punch was the perfect decision for me. It had everything that I needed plus it fit my budget perfectly. There’s no other compact SUV currently on the market with these features priced under 8.5 lakhs. (Under 7.5 Lakhs for Pure with Rhythm pack). Even the new Citroen C3 lacks many of the standard features (but has a better engine than Punch) & doesn’t match up to the Punch.
So if you’re looking to buy a new car and want something that gives you most of the SUV features, without the price of an SUV, the Tata Punch hits the sweet spot. I won’t recommend you buy it without a test drive. Take a test drive feel for yourself and then decide if you want it or not. I’ll write a more detailed review in the future about Tata Punch and hopefully will go on more road trips in the future too!