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Tata Indigo Manza launched

14th Oct 2009 7:00 am

Like the Indica Vista it is based on, the Manza uses a twist beam suspension at the rear (the old Indigo was independently sprung). The damping rates are different from the Vista’s suspension to accommodate for the extra weight of the boot and the better ride comfort levels that the saloon car owner demands.

Motors has just launched the Indigo Manza. It is based on a stretched Indica Vista platform and has nothing to do with the old Indigo. It replaces the Indigo (the CS, the Marina and the XL will be available) and is Tata Motors rival to the Maruti Swift Dzire, the Ford Fiesta
and the Mahindra Renault Logan.

It looks a bit gawky. The biggest challenge when adding a boot to a hatchback is exactly that – it shouldn’t look added on. The long overhang and the square shape of the boot (which resembles that of a massive American saloon) make it look a bit awkward.

Livening up the rear are those huge triangular tail lights and a thick chrome bar that over across the number plate. Up front, the shape is very Indica Vista, except for the twin barrel headlamps and the generous appliqué of chrome on the grille.

Like the Indica Vista it is based on, the Manza uses a twist beam suspension at the rear (the old Indigo was independently sprung). The damping rates are different from the Vista’s suspension to accommodate for the extra weight of the boot and the better ride comfort levels that the saloon car owner demands.

It certainly feels like a proper saloon from the rear seat. Here, the Manza feels huge. Even with the front seats all the way back, a full-size adult can easily fit in there. There’s good headroom, there’s good legroom and the cabin feels so broad that you get a huge sense of space. There’s a new centre armrest and you can see that there’s been a lot of though gone into making this one of the most spacious seats in class. That said, the rear seat backrest is a bit too reclined.

Move up front and you’ll see that space is as good. There’s enough seat travel, the driver’s seat adjusts for height, the steering for rake and there’s even lumbar adjust on the front seats. It’s easy to find a good driving position but there is no place to rest your clutch foot (a problem with the Indica Vista too).

This time around, they really tried getting the interiors of the Manza upto scratch. You can see the improvements in the superb looking audio system, the brilliant dials and the air-con controls. So, it comes as a disappointment that they didn’t go all out with the improvements. Most of the rough edges have disappeared, but the few flimsy bits like the wiper/headlight stalks and the cheap power window switches and the panel gaps in the dashboard really don’t work especially because this a saloon and owners will expect better quality.

You do get a lot of equipment though – there’s the Bluetooth connectivity, USB/AUX-in ports, power mirrors, a CD/MP3 player, remote locking, a trip computer, ABS and two airbags in the top-of-the-line Aura+ version. Even the base Aqua variant comes with an audio system, air-conditioning, power steering, central locking and front power windows.

Like its sibling the Vista, the Manza uses Fiat engines – the 1.3-litre multi-jet and the 1.4-litre FIRE engine from the Linea. We drove the diesel.

The Manza’s engine specs look brilliant on paper -- 90bhp and 20.4kgm at a low 1750rpm seem promising till the first time you stomp on the throttle. That’s when you realize the full effect of the variable geometry turbo in this engine is felt only at a much later 2200rpm. Flat out, it doesn’t feel terribly quick, but there’s adequate power once you’ve worked around the turbo-lag. Keep it in its powerband, shift up before it crosses 4000rpm (there’s not much point forcing it to spin till its 5000rpm redline) and you’ll make adequate progress. Still can maintain cruising speeds easily and because the engine is refined, makes for a good highway car.

At low speeds, the ride is absorbent thanks to the softer suspension settings, but at higher speeds, it doesn’t have that ultimate ride/handling mix that a Fiat Linea has.

It’s a family car, so you shouldn’t expect too much by way of handling. Still, it surprises by having decent front-end grip and though there’s some body roll, there’s nothing overtly wrong with the way it handles.

It’s priced at Rs.4.8-6.7 lakh(ex-showroom, Delhi). At these prices, the Manza is fantastic value for money. It has everything you would want in your saloon – a refined diesel engine, class-leading space on the insides, luxury car equipment levels and good ride.

It is the best car from Tata yet.
 

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