Tata seems to be on a mission to improve motoring standards in India, to get people off bikes and trikes and into a four-wheeler. It started with the Nano, which low entry price gave families an alternative to cramming everyone on a bike. Now, the company has launched the Magic Iris at the Auto Expo in Delhi, which should be a decent alternative to the three-wheeled auto rickshaw common in India.

To be launched this year, the Magic Iris “is for public transportation, offering safer and more comfortable mobility for those who depend on three-wheelers”. The tiny body can sit five, including the driver, and occupants will be fully enclosed, unlike in tuk-tuks.

The Magic Iris is powered by a 611cc water cooled diesel engine. With a 10-litre fuel tank, it’s capable of longer distances than a three-wheeler and has a top speed of about 55 km/h. 11 bhp may not be much, but it’s more than what the auto rickshaws offer. Tata also promises lower maintenance costs and a higher load capacity than the popular vehicle it’s trying to replace.

Looks quite cute and cartoonish, don’t you think?