The Tata Nano, famous as the world’s cheapest car, hasn’t been as hot-selling as Tata has hoped, although it has been hot enough to catch fire occasionally. Tata seeks to reverse this (sales, not fire risk) by improving the small car for 2012. More power, more economy, more features, but at the same price, is the formula used.

The 600 kg Nano’s 624 cc engine gets slight improvements – it now puts out 38 PS (was 35 PS) and 51 Nm of torque (was 48 Nm). Claimed best case fuel consumption is now 25.4 km/l from 23.6 km/l. The nano has a top speed of 105 km/h and the ability to climb 30% inclines.

There’s also a revised suspension set-up, including an anti-roll bar at the front, a “steering mechanism made even easier” plus a racier sounding exhaust note for “a more assertive road presence.” Booster-assisted brakes, already available in the CX and LX trim, have now been added to the Standard as well. There’s also the addition of bright new colours, including the likes of Neon Rush, Mojito Green and Papaya Orange.

The better news for Indians is that there will be no price increase. The Nano Standard is priced at Rs.1.40 lakhs (RM8,500), the Nano CX Rs.1.70 lakhs (RM10,300) and Rs.1.96 lakhs (RM11,870) for the top spec Nano LX, which includes kit like central locking, front power windows, body coloured bumpers, fog lamps, electronic trip meter and full wheel covers. Downpayment starts from a low Rs.15,000 (RM908) with financing tenure up to 60 months.