By on June 2, 2012

The Tata Nano is the world’s cheapest gasoline powered car and we already wrote our review on it here. Soon the Nano will take the honors of being the world’s cheapest diesel car.

Tata Motors is working on a diesel version of the Nano, which is being developed with Bosch. The turbocharger on the Nano is one of the smallest ever seen and is being made by Honeywell. The diesel Nano is powered by a 800cc, twin-cylinder diesel engine which is expected to produce a power output of 35 hp and a torque output of 70 Nm. These figures might look anemic, but one should not forget the Nano weighs just 615 kgs (the diesel Nano should weigh around 670 kgs).

But its not the turbocharger or the power which is the most exciting part about the diesel Tata Nano. Company insiders have informed us that Tata Motors is targeting a consumption of 40 kilometers per liter with the diesel Nano. Using a straight line and definitely non-EPA conversion, this would translate to 94 MPG. It would make the diesel Nano even cheaper to run than a 150cc motorcycle. Pricing is estimated to be less than $5,000, which is less than half that of the cheapest diesel car available today.

Recently, Jay Leno got his own Tata Nano and also released a video talking about the car. Interestingly though, Leno finds the Nano’s AC better than the McLaren F1. Check out the video and let us know what you think!

Faisal Ali Khan is the owner/operator of, a website covering the auto industry of India.

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27 Comments on “Tata Nano Diesel To Deliver 94 MPG, Non-EPA...”

  • avatar

    I’m not sure 35 hp is enough for a 670 kg car. The lightest car that I ever drove was heavier, admittedly: about 910 kg. Still, it had a 65 hp engine, and even that was iffy.

    • 0 avatar

      And I’m quite sure it is plenty. I had a ’77 Mercedes 240D. I think the running weight was 1500kg. It was slow indeed, but managed to get me where I was going with all of 67hp.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Put in the “European calibration” mode in your brain (think 750cc Fiat Panda, not BMW M5) and it will suddenly become “right sized”.

      OTOH, that consumption number is AWESOME. If my conversion is right, that’s 2.5 lts/100 kms

    • 0 avatar

      @ Pete: Most probably, not. I remember my Fiat Panda Selecta, certainly a light-weight with about 700-800 kg, but even with 60 hp you felt underpowered when you left the city.

      • 0 avatar

        these aren’t hwy cars

        there are a few modern cars that will do 4lt/100km that are not the Prius C… some current gen superminis will do it and they aren’t diesel

        however they are a few multiples of the Nano’s price

    • 0 avatar

      I miss my old Nissan Micra with 62 hp. A stick shift would help wonders up hills instead of the three-speed air-cooled automatic though. In Europe, they got by with engines smaller than 1.2 L.

    • 0 avatar

      Not enough power for what? This is a car for people whose previous whip was a scooter. The VW Beetle was similarly powered when it was introduced onto a newly-built Autobahn. For an emerging market that’s just now being introduced to mainstream auto ownership, this seems like an excellent car.

      Much of the world has much larger problems than whether their car can beat their neighbours’ to 60.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Company insiders have informed us that Tata Motors is targeting a consumption of 40 kilometers per liter with the diesel Nano”

    And you believed them?

    • 0 avatar

      No reason not to. This is a very achievable figure, considering the petrol Nano does around 25 km/l.

    • 0 avatar

      I think a 1980 Daihatsu Charade diesel managed about 3,5 liters per 100 km with a primitive, mechanically timed engine. 2,5 liters is completely believable with modern tech.

      35 hp is enough for Indian roads with their sluggishly moving traffic.

      • 0 avatar

        Let’s not forget, with a car this slow you really rarely would find yourself having an accident at high speed. And I hear a car crash at low speeds is much much safer.

  • avatar

    At least it will burn a lot slower.

  • avatar

    I saw my first Nano on the streets of Carol Stream not long ago. It looks like a great runner if you’re lucky enough to need a “City” car. Outside of Chicago and some of the burbs there is no use for this or the Smart.

    There is still a great deal of “Rural” in the middle of the U.S.

  • avatar

    I’d rather do a ride along with the cop. Now, that looked like fun.

    All kidding aside, the Nano reminds me of the tiny cars we rented in Hawaii “back in the day” (I thinks they were Datsuns). Not much power, but perfect for toodling around at 35 MPH.

  • avatar

    So if this came stateside we could put hybrid nomenclature to rest?

  • avatar

    Watching the episodes of “Ice Road Truckers” that were done in India, it looked like much of the vehicle time was spend idling or creeping at very low speeds. The diesel should be perfect for that mode.

    The part I question is the very small diameter wheels on the Nano, which are far more prone to damage on the bad roads that are common in India. I suspect they sell a lot of replacement wheels and tires, and maybe suspensions.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    First Leno praised the Volt, now this? Come on Jay, your reputation as a car guy is quickly eroding.

    • 0 avatar

      Jay is a true car guy who appreciates cars who achieve their purpose given the time and environment in which they’re built. Anyone judging the Nano’s merits based on the performance of cars in North America is missing the point. And probably hasn’t gotten out of their own country and its mindset, much.

    • 0 avatar

      Hmmm…other sources have it at *as much as* 70mpg. Regardless of the MPG, I suspect the emissions from that tiny powerplant will be immense.

      • 0 avatar

        India requires diesel vehicles to meet Euro 3 emissions as of 2010, and in Delhi and 13 other cities, they’re required to meet Euro 4.

        So, 9 years ago, that would’ve been completely legal in all 50 states – the 98 New Beetle/99.5 Golf/Jetta through 2003 US-spec TDIs were Euro 3. And, if they go for full Euro 4 compliance… 6 years ago, that would’ve been completely legal in about 45 states IIRC – the 2004-2006 US-spec TDIs were all Euro 4, IIRC.

        Really, a Euro 4-compliant diesel engine is rather clean, except for NOx emissions, and even the EPA admits that NOx isn’t actually a problem. And, except for tuning and EGR, there’s nothing that’s badly sapping efficiency unlike on the modern diesels.

  • avatar

    My family drove from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe, all four of us crammed into one of these - – that was before the nasty civil war. I still remember the mist from Victoria Falls – oh those were the days.

  • avatar

    Leave it to Jay Leno to do a fantastic, honest review of yet another car I’ll never have a chance to buy here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Sincere thanks Jay, I for one greatly admire the level of appreciation you display for all things automotive and mechanical.

  • avatar

    1st gen Smart (450) Diesel, MY 2000: MB OM 660 engine, 3 cyl, turbo, 800 cc, 41 hp. 800 kg+. Not that quick, indeed … developped for Autobahn (ab)use, top speed 84 mp/h. 0-60: 20 sec.

  • avatar

    Is that 94MPG in European or in USA gallons? Is that with a particulate filter and/ire urea tank for emissions?

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