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Driving Tata Nano: Will Americans Accept Its Limitations?

Indian price of $2,500 would likely more than double here.

by on Aug.11, 2010

The relatively luxurious Tata Nano LX.

The little four-seater proves reasonably adept as we pull away from the Grand Traverse Resort.  It’s not registered for U.S. roads, so we have to stick to the sprawling complex’s service roads, but they’re long and quick enough to give us a sense of what to expect from one of the most well-publicized cars in the world.

The Tata Nano is not only the cheapest car on the road, but also one of the smallest.  At 122 inches, nose-to-tail, it’s barely a foot longer than the Smart fortwo – even with its two back seats.  And, at just 1,500 pounds, it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Franco-German Smart.

That helps the little Nano make do with a miniscule 624-cc (0.6 liter) two-cylinder engine making 35 horsepower.  Whether it can take the fortwo in a drag race is uncertain, though the Nano certainly won’t leave a patch of rubber.  But rated at 56 mpg – with a 4-gallon gas tank giving it a theoretical range of 224 miles – one might forgive its less-than-stellar performance. (more…)