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The “world’s most affordable car” has come a long way. It didn’t quite live up to the initial hype, nor has it really graduated many Indian families from two wheels to four – still, since its 2008 birth, there has been no shortage of upgrades and editions.

This is the latest iteration – the Tata GenX Nano. Launched recently in India, it’s perhaps the most sophisticated and well-equipped Nano yet, distancing itself from its budget roots. For the first time, the little tyke gets an ‘Easy Shift’ automated manual transmission (AMT) and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS).

The AMT has five speeds, sports mode (wow!) and a creep feature. For the record, the Tata Zest sedan diesel is also offered with a five-speed AMT, though that one’s called F-Tronic.

Other upgrades enjoyed by the GenX Nano include a bigger 24 litre fuel tank, a tailgate (the original Nano had no opening rear hatch – you had to fold the back seats down to access the boot) and a four-speaker AmphiStream sound system with Bluetooth, CD, USB and AUX.

Also new is the steering wheel and a digital display in the instrument panel. The display shows information such as average and instantaneous consumption, distance to empty and the gear selected.

Most importantly, Tata says safety has been improved – the GenX Nano has “advanced structural stability”, an anti-roll bar and crumple zones to cushion frontal impacts. Also, the doors now have side impact beams.

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Exterior-wise, you’ll see an ‘Infinity motif grille’, smoked headlamps and a rear bumper that apes the front bumper in terms of design. Sangria Red (new), Persian Rose (new), Pearl White, Meteor Silver, Royal Gold, Dazzle Blue and Damson Purple body colours are available.

The water-cooled 0.6 litre two-cylinder petrol engine soldiers on, producing 38 PS at 5,500 rpm and 51 Nm of twist at 4,000 rpm. Claimed fuel economy figures are 23.6 km per litre (manual) and 21.9 km per litre (AMT).

Three manual and two AMT variants are available, priced between 199,000 and 289,000 rupees (RM11k-16k). Accessories include a sunroof (!), leather seat covers, bodykit (!), reverse sensors and even a remote-controlled hatch release.