Tata Motors has unveiled the Tata Zest at an event in New Delhi, ahead of the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo. Measuring 3,995 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,570 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,470 mm, the compact sedan tips the scales at 1,106 kg.

Penned by the Indian carmaker’s design studios in Pune, Coventry and Turin, the Zest is motivated either by a new 1.2 litre Revotron four-cylinder turbo petrol (85 PS at 5,000 rpm/140 Nm between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm) or a 1.3 litre Quadrajet diesel (90 PS at 4,000 rpm/200 Nm between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm).

Tata has announced that the diesel variant will get a new F-Tronic Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) with five speeds. This makes it the first car in its class to offer an AMT, as well as the cheapest automatic diesel car in India.

The vehicle sports a new corporate grille with the “Humanity Line” – that’s the line on the bottom of the grille that flows into the glass of the projector headlamps. LED DRLs frame the fog lamps, while the tail lamps also feature LEDs. The wheels are 16-inch alloys.

Inside, you’ll find a new Harman infotainment system incorporating a five-inch touch-screen, Bluetooth, smartphone-enabled navigation, voice recognition, social media and built-in climate controls. There’s speed-sensitive electric power steering, too.

On the safety front, there’s ABS, Cornering Stability and dual airbags. Dual-path independent MacPherson struts and ventilated disc brakes sit up front, while independent three-link MacPherson struts and drum brakes sit out back. Stabilisers are present at both ends.

The Tata Zest utilises an updated version of the X1 platform, which underpins the Vista hatch and its Manza sedan sibling. Its sub-four metre length allows it to qualify for small car excise benefits in India. A hatchback version, called the Tata Bolt, has also been unveiled alongside it.

Direct competitors include the Honda Amaze, Maruti Swift Dzire, as well as the upcoming Ford Figo and Hyundai Xcent.

Live launch photos courtesy of Faisal from MotorBeam India.