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Tata Indica Xeta 1.2 GVS

10th Sep 2009 7:00 am

Priced at Rs 2

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  • Make : Tata
  • Model : Indica

Carmakers save a substantial eight percent by way of excise duty if a petrol engine’s cubic capacity is below 1200cc. And that’s the sole reason why Tata downsized its 1396cc petrol engine to 1193cc. The reduction in displacement was achieved by slashing the stroke substantially from 79mm to 67.5mm. The bore remains identical and the only significant changes to the engine are a modified crankshaft and new connecting rods to accommodate the shorter stroke. The ECU’s mapping has been modified to suit the characteristics of this smaller engine and so has the final drive. The overall gearing is shorter to compensate for any loss of driveability due to the drop in power and torque.

Compared to the 1.4, the smaller engine develops a decent 65bhp which is only 5bhp down on the 1.4-litre. Torque too is down to by approximately 17 percent. By reducing the engine stroke, the 1.2 engine is now ‘oversquare’ which means the bore is now larger than the stroke unlike the ‘undersquare’ 1.4 motor. What this means in simple terms is that the driveability or low-end grunt of short-stroke engines isn’t as good as a long-stroke one. It’s one of the reasons why the power curve of the 1.2 Xeta is more peaky than the 1.4 with max power developed 200rpm higher in the rev range. That’s the theory at least.

The interiors remain the same as on the Xeta 1.4. Light- coloured fabrics brighten up the interiors, and there’s not much by way of improvement in quality. The driving position is still not ideal — the high-set steering wheel places a lot of stress on your shoulders and the high pedals force you to place your feet awkwardly. This is sure to cause discomfort over long hauls. Interior quality hasn’t visibly improved over the Xeta 1.4, but it hasn’t become worse either.

The Xeta 1.2 in GVS trim does lack a few basic features like the left-side rearview mirror and hubcaps, but as a budget family car it makes a strong case for itself.

What could have done with some improvement is the dynamics of the car. The suspension remains unchanged, so there’s not much difference in the ride and handling. The low- speed ride is absorbent enough but the suspension is quite clunky, and at higher speeds, the car gets quite unsettled. The steering is very non-linear and very vague, especially at the straight-ahead position; so, this adds to the floaty feeling this car has when at speed. 
 

Tata Indica Xeta 1.2 GVS
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