The Manza is powered by an engine we are familiar with — the same 89bhp version of Fiat’s 1.3 Multijet diesel that’s under the Linea’s bonnet. It’s quite a punchy engine delivering adequate performance and we managed to hit a top speed of 168kph in the Manza, probably a record for a Tata car! The engine’s strong mid-range makes highway cruising effortless and overtaking is quite a breeze. The Manza is quicker than the Linea and there’s a gratifying tug when driven in the right gear. It’s a full second faster to 100kph and by the time the car has reached 150, the gap is more like two seconds.
However, this version of the 1.3 Multijet diesel with its big Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) is notorious for its prominent turbo-lag which we’ve experienced in the Linea. The Manza’s tall gearing further accentuates this engine’s lack of initial response. Below 2000rpm, the Manza feels sluggish, and it’s only beyond 2100rpm that the motor wakes up and gets into its stride. So while the shorter-geared Linea takes 11.8 seconds to go from 20-80 in third, the Manza takes 13.7sec. And the Tata is slower in fourth gear as well.
As a result, driving the Manza in traffic can often be painful. You either need to constantly downshift or drive in a gear lower than is ideal. The Fiat gearbox thankfully is nice to use but you need a firm push to slot through the gate. Of course, Fiat’s Multijet is pretty smooth throughout its rev range and Tata engineers have worked hard to achieve a high level of refinement. The engine is never obtrusive and at cruising speeds you can’t tell it’s a diesel.
Using the same engine as the Linea and having a slight weight advantage, we expected the Manza to beat the Fiat’s consumption figures but that wasn’t quite the case. In the city, the Manza returned 11.6kpl which is decent but clearly not the class best. On the highway, a figure of 17.1kpl is again nothing to get excited about. We suspect the tall gearing penalises city fuel efficiency while on the highway, the upright body and truncated boot creating a fair amount of drag. In isolation, the fuel consumption figures are pretty acceptable and with diesels, a kpl up or down usually doesn’t matter.