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Exclusive: Tata Indigo Manza Test Drive Report

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As promised, here are the first impressions of the much awaited Tata Indigo Manza.

 

Exteriors

 

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At first glance, the front is quite similar to the Indica Vista which isn't really a bad thing. The differences however are in the details. The grille gets the chrome treatment and headlights get new detailing as well. The overall look is a much better looking Vista. In my opinion, the grille is too high and does not have enough length which makes it look awkward when you view it headon.

 

But despite that, the Manza is pleasing to the eye at most angles and more importantly, the boot conversion doesn't look like a complete afterthough like in the Dzire. In profile, the car looks long and it is far more proportionate than the old Indigo or the Dzire.

 

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Coming to the rear, the boot is huge and the boxy lines remind you of an American Cadilac from the old days. The wrap-around tail-lights attempt to break the mass, but there is no hiding the fact that this car has a tail of a Boeing 747.

 

Overall, I'd say this car is not offensive to the eye and even pretty to some.

 

 

Interiors

 

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There are plenty of Vista bits on the inside too. But as with the exteriors, the differences is in the detailing. The new textures and fabrics help to bring a more upmarket feel to the interiors. The instrument cluster is now in its conventional place (in front of the driver) rather than for public viewing in the centre of the dash. The cluster looks brilliant especially at night but some people may find that the dials are a bit too small. But I like them.

 

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You also get a new audio system which thankfully has a better finish than the Vista's (the same system is available in the anniversary Vista as well). The audio system comes with Blue5 technology which allows you to pair your phones through bluetooth much like in the Linea but without voice commands.

 

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Features are plenty in the top-end Aura+. You get electrical mirrors, integrated audio, twin airbags, ABS, keyless entry apart from the usual power windows, power steering, fog lamps etc.

 

The seats as usual are very comfortable and have generous legroom both in the front and rear as well and will not be a problem even on long drives.

 

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The bad bits are that the plastics although improved could still be improved further especially the power window buttons and door latches which feel flimsy and detract from the otherwise good cabin.

 

Performance, Ride & Handling

 

The Manza is powered by the same engine as the Linea which means it makes about 90bhp which is pretty good. Refinement is good at most speeds and the engine is only intrusive when you close in on the redline.

 

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Out on the road, the engine doesn't really feel 90bhp thanks to the taller gearing and turbo lag below 2300rpm. Under that speed, the lag can be irritating, but above 2300rpm, it does pick up the pace and performance is decent. But power tails off at around 4000rpm. For most driver's this will suffice, but if you like driving you might be dissappointed. The strong midrange is helpful out on the highway. But driving in traffic is not the best experience. However, the car can be quick once you learn to work your way around the lag. The gearshift quality is decent but requires some effort to slot in.

 

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The suspension is literally a generation ahead of the old Indigo. The Manza swallows bumps with utmost ease and is really a very comfortable car to be in. The ride quality is certainly the best in its segment. But as a result, the handling does take a hit. The steering is harder than before, but it isn't as confident through corners. The heavy nose just doesn't want to turn in quickly and the pronounced body roll robs the driver of all confidence.

 

The brakes equipped with ABS function well and are a far cry from the dead pedal feel of the old Indigo.

 

 

FE will be updated shortly.

 

Verdict

The Manza offers a good diesel, with good amounts of space and comfort and all this at a very good price. Sure the plastics aren't the best, but I think that is a small price to pay for an otherwise good car. It might not be sporty but as far as practicality goes it wins almost hands down.

 

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Priced at Rs 4.9 - 6.8 lakh (ex showroom Mumbai), it makes great value for money and takes on the likes of the Ikon, Logan, Dzire and Linea headon. And you know what, these cars should be more than bothered. 

 

FRG

 

 
FuelRunGod2009-10-15 07:56:39

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I don't like the Vista and now Manza, just for the big lights and grille, which i think could have been better. But other than that on all other angles, Manza looks good. Looks like Tata is more concentrating on comfort on its new cars. I don't see any notable improvement in dynamics of them. Steering feel and handling are the main thing they should concentrate. Waiting for FE report.

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Thanks for the review FRG! Manza seems to be a good car but the front end styling doesn't suit. With the present front end, hatchback origins are totally evident.

Other than that I have liked the new Interiors, boot seems spacious but what about the steering wheel position? Is it still placed high as in Trucks!

Also, are the overall ergonomics comparable to competition?

 

Personally, I have never liked the concept of hatchbacks developing into sedans. It always seems a half baked attempt & a farstretch. Still this is a good attempt & offcourse gives more profit margins to the company sharing the same bits & pieces.

 

As always, handling shall bug both Tata & Mahindra for some more time! Why don't they take help of some German firm while designing cars!

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Please compare it to the segment leading Dzire across each and every field, highlighting the pros and cons of both of them.

If you were to buy one without seeing the looks and the space which one would you buy?

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The shape is not as bad as made out in the article on the web site. It can be easily offset by giving it bigger wheels. Yes, the boot does stand out. Interior's look great from the photo's; light color's give a pleasant and airy look. What's the power rating for the 1.4 Safire?  The steering wheel is still set a little too high for my liking. Would be a good option for the chauffered lot. Hope the quality is good, if not atleast reliable.

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Well the car is surely the best in its class and a 90bhp diesel with many features at good price will help pulling to customers from upper segment too. And slowly people are trying to trust Tata again. After all the Vista and Manza are no compromising cars in that segment as before people only went for Tata for price and space but its not the same case now.

And yes FRG, how are the overall ergonomics, i hope they are very car like and clutch pedals and steering are good to use unlike before. Truely this is not only the next generation Indigo but a whole new generation TATA motors. Now we can expect something big from their every launch and improvements over previous models like Manza is lot improved than Vista which itself is next generation Indica.

I liked the looks, they are much like a sedan and not just a Hatch with added boot with nothing extra in it. The side profile looks very good to me.

FRG, didnt you tested the top-end Aura+, as i cant see those good looking Linea inspired alloys. Anyways even the wheel caps are looking good, again Linea inspired.

bluesapphire2009-10-15 08:36:03

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Just saw the pics. Front is pretty messy & rear a lot bulbous, not a soothing, easy on the eye sort of design.

 

A lot of styling cues both on the insides & exteriors seem to have been taken from Toyota. This is both good & bad, good because one can't really go wrong with conventional styling & bad because Toyota's designs are not good, their USP is reliability & that is what Tata needs to imbibe from them.

 

Well, this design thought is from an enthusiasts perspective, for the general public, this doesn't apply, they just want a car with a boot. Dzire & previous Indigo are prime examples.

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FRG thanks for the review of the Indigo Manza. The car will surely be different from older Tata cars that were ignored by many buyers.The greatest punch are in the 1.3 MJD/ 90 bhp engine, ABS EBD and the two airbags. Its looks and fit and finish are also quite stunning.

The taillight's lower curves are a bit Camry like.

anjan_c20072009-10-15 13:38:08

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Wow, FRG is back to what he does best, do I see him behind the wheel on the track taking the boot out of line!

 

Tata seems to have another winner on hands. Front looks need some getting used to but what more can one expect from a hatchback conversion!

Safety taking precedence is a very welcome sign.

 

 

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Alright to answer the questions.

 

Comparison to the Dzire.

The Manza is better in my opinion in all respects apart from the plastics. The Manza is more spacious, more comfortable and on par as far as features are concerned.

 

The Dzire might have an edge in fuel economy (not confirmed). The Dzire has a kick which the Manza lacks, but the Manza is not slow. It will hit a top speed of 166kph (true).

 

The Manza rides much better than the Dzire as well. So in my opinion, for a person looking for a practical sedan with all the bells and whistles at a good price, should definately give the Manza a second look.

 

FRG

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