$2,000 Car Does 56 MPG: The Tata Nano

Want to buy a new car? How does one for under $2,000 and gets 56 miles to the gallon sound? It’s no dream, it’s a reality and it’s called the Tata Nano.

Earlier this week, Tata Motors unveiled at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai, India a petrol-powered four wheel vehicle that will cost 100,000 rupees, which at present time equates to $1,988. While a car at that price sounds within reach for all readers in the western world, the cost of living is much different in India. Still, the Tata Nano represents more than ever a car that’s made for the people.

“The Nano represents the spirit of breaking conventional barriers. From the drawing board to its commercial launch, the concept, development and production of the car has overcome several challenges. It is to the credit of the team at Tata Motors that a car once thought impossible by the world is now a reality,” said Tata Motors chairman Ratan N Tata. “I hope it will provide safe, affordable, four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car. We are delighted in presenting the Tata Nano to India and the world.”

At a time when purchasing fuel efficient cars--hybrids in particular--costs more, the Tata Nano turns such thinking on its side with its 56 mpg rating. Of course, performance isn’t the focus of the vehicle with its 2-cylinder aluminum MPFI 624cc petrol engine mated to a four-speed gear box.

The 2-cylinder engine delivers around 35 hp @ 5,250 RPM and a torque of 35 ft. lbs. @ 3,000 RPM and enables the car to have a top speed of 65 mph and negotiate inclines with a gradeability of 30 percent.

Of course, it’s hard not to immediately notice the similarities between the design and perhaps even the philosophy between the Tata Nano and the Smartcar. Both are compact, minimalist designs with a small engine. The Tata Nano has a curb weight of 1,323 lbs, while the Smartcar is at 1,600 lbs.

The Tata Nano is currently being manufactured at the company's Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand in limited numbers. The new dedicated plant, at Sanand in Gujarat, will be ready in 2010 with an annualized capacity of 350,000 cars. Check out the official website.

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  • Amazing, isn't it. The things that every person that has a basis in reality about cars is that the way to reduce fuel consumption is to reduce the size of the vehicle and the overall weight of it. Imagine though driving one of these small cars in the USA on a road with a 75MPH speed limit where large tractor-trailers hauling massive loads are, which also have a huge wind gust following them everywhere they go. Would you want to have your family in one of these vehicles? Technology will eventually arrive at a point where we can have a safe and fuel efficient vehicle that does not require massive amounts of energy and resources required to manufacture. Today, technology is not at that point. You can pick conventional, lower MPG, safe vehicles that are not out of line for overall invironmental impact, or you can have cheaply built, high MPG vehicles that are at best unsafe for the occupants, or you can have costly environmentally damaging in creation hybrids that get high MPG but overall cause the same environmental damage over a lifetime as a conventional vehicle, while at the same time being slightly less safe and less useful. Your choices, I could care less what you PICK, just so long as my choice of a conventional vehicle is not infringed upon.
  • More like a Fiat 126p than a smart. Thanks, but no thanks. I bet it will fall apart in 1 year.
  • @drut1234 - so what? I spend an upwards of $10,000 a year on a car and dump it? If this thing could last a year, then I'll just buy another one.

    People say the same thing about cheap computers, but people continue to buy and replace...