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Apr. 13 2010 - 10:45 am | 276 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Tata Motors plans XL-sized Nano

The world's cheapest car, the Tata Nano is dri...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Tata Motors is going to build a bigger, more expensive version of the Nano city-car within the next 18-24 months.  That’s according to recent reports coming from the Indian automotive press, who have also leaked the new version’s internal code name: Dolphin.

Right now, the Nano is a pint-sized four door with a starting price that begins at approximately $2,200. Upper trim levels, like the Nano LX, include features such as air-conditioning, front power windows, and power brakes.   The price for a even fully loaded Nano LX still comes in around $3,500.

At present, the Nano is about 2 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper – a perfect size for negotiating India’s crowded and narrow roadways.  No specifics have been mentioned about the size of the larger Nano, though a stretch of 6-12 inches could give a boost to both interior stretch-out space, as well as technical wiggle room when it comes to engineering the car to meet crash test standards in Europe and the U.S.   Tata Motors has promised to export the Nano to both markets within 2-3 years.

A bigger Nano would inevitably require a beefier engine.  The car’s current 624-cc engine provides 35-horsepower and a top speed of 65 miles per hour.  Expect something closer to 1.0-liter in capacity and a minimum of 70-90 hp for the larger model.  An opening rear hatch should also (finally) make it into production – at present, luggage has to be loaded into the Nano using the rear doors and fold-able backrest for the rear seats.

The cost for the XL-sized Nano is reported to be at least double the price of the current base model.  Tata Motors will be hoping that this is not a stretch too far for the Nano, which is billed as being the low-cost ‘people’s car of India.’


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    About Me

    I'm an automotive journalist based in New York City and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Edmunds.com, Gaywheels.com, CarandDriver.com, Bimmer magazine and many other well-respected publications.

    I recently spent nearly 5 years in the wilds of Paris, France, where I was reporting about the European and Indian automotive world. But no matter where I am, there is always a great car story waiting to be told.

    I've poked my head under the hood of a New Delhi taxicab, worked the pits at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and driven 197-mph on the German autobahn.

    Now that I'm back in the U.S. - along with Matthew, my partner of 10 years - it's thrilling to get reacquainted with N.Y.C. and American car culture.

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