This is the new Indica Vista D90. Powered by the 1.3-litre Fiat Multijet diesel engine that is shared with the likes of Maruti Swift and the new Chevrolet Sail, it makes 90PS (or 89bhp), thanks to the variable geometry turboxharger and different ECU tuning, hence the name.
Apart from the engine, a whole host of other changes have been carried out on this car to improve driving performance, ride and handling. The D90 has a new sound-deadening package to cut down on in-cabin noise when the car is on the move, and Tata has also tweaked the suspension to help the car handle the extra power.
Now, for all the extra power, the D90's 13.9 sec 0-100kph is a lot quicker than an Indica 75PS, but it's still slower than the 75bhp Maruti Swift. This is because it is handicapped with very short gearing and at 1180kg, it is quite heavy as well. Infact, the D90 hits 100kph only in fourth gear, and shifting through four gears eats into the 0-100kph time. Now that the bad news is out of the way, let's look at the good bits. The engine has good part throttle responses and is happy ambling around in town in the higher gears. However, you do feel the full effect of the turbo only at around 2500rpm, so when you do need that quick burst to shoot into gaps, the engine will leave you wanting. And, you will have to use a lot of throttle to let the engine know you want full boost which we imagine won't do much for fuel economy.
Still, once you're up to cruising speeds, the D90 will sit at three-digit speeds quite comfortably and the engine is pretty refined as well. Other plus points include the light-action clutch and gearshift, and the way that it is rather easy to drive.
You will also like the rather hushed cabin. Even at 140kph, the cabin is quiet, and you can actually have a conversation with your passengers without having to raise your voice. The tweaks to the suspension mean bad roads are dealt with comfortably and almost noiselessly. These improvements and the spacious cabin give the impression of being in a bigger car.
Tata says the handling has improved, and this is true to a certain extent – the D90 does feel safe in the way it handles and high-speed stability is excellent – but it would be pushing things a bit to call it a sporty handler.
Tata has also added new equipment to the Vista D90. In addition to the power windows and electric mirrors, the Vista gets a touchscreen audio system that includes voice-guided navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and an input for any possible form of media that you might feel like using (USB, aux-in, SD card and DVD). It’s also got climate control.
The manufacturer has also done a thorough job with the interiors, having upgraded a lot of the plastics, seat materials and even the air-con switches. Of course, close scrutiny will still reveal a few patchy bits – the volume knob on the audio system, for example. And the D90's footwell is still quite cramped with no place to accommodate a dead pedal.
However, the Vista D90 is testament to the fact that Tata has come a long way in improving the interiors of its cars.
The rest of the car remains as is. Good bits like the spaciousness and practicality are intact. The new two-tone dashboard is also nice. The beige lower cabin enhances the feeling of space and the smart (if a bit hard to read) dials lend a touch of sophistication. The boot is quite small
though, a byproduct of Tata maximising passenger space.
At around Rs 6.6 lakh for the ZX+ trim and Rs 6 lakh for the lower-spec VX, the Vista D90 is a whole lakh cheaper than the Fiat Punto 90HP and a lot cheaper than the Hyundai i20 diesel as well. So, while it costs a lot more than what you would normally pay for a Tata hatch, it is much better value than its competition, simply because it’s got a lot more equipment and is a lot more practical.