When I think of writing about a car I would probably think of sports cars like Porsches or Ferraris or luxury cars like Rolls’ or Bentleys or crazy American cars that go fast and crash somewhere near the first corner due to understeering or angry rally cars like Subarus. But I made up my mind to write about something practical and reasonably priced and one such thing is Indica.
The old Indica was nothing more than a practical car which came with a body and four wheels and that’s it and it had a diesel version. The car never was fast enough to make people reach office on time but it always manages to make them feel they are already inside the factory. Honestly it has the same ambience as that of a factory.
The interior was pretty much the same as we would expect, hopeless. Surprisingly it could roll even at speeds as low as pope. Okay, the ride was on par with the competitors and the engine did pull well. But it was never a car that you can take for a fun drive or cruise to faraway places.
But it is now made by fiat and TATA; this may be a bit different. What have they done to the car that was considered catastrophically bad in foreign markets?
The new car desperately tries to look angry from the front with especially the badly swept headlamps, the new honey comb grill, but it is a futile effort. The size is more which makes the already spacious car more spacious than a bus, but the back needs a bit of attention. The car is safer than the older one too. Wait, the head lamps resemble that of i10, O dear! But it is not a lipstick on the old car, it is a new platform.
The improvements like new tyres 175/65 tubeless, 14 inch rims, better fit and finish though small have been nicely done. But what on earth possessed them not to give alloys! We can’t expect a luxurious interior for this kind of money, but it is better than the old model and is now more utilitarian with a decent two tone theme inside.
This time it has better A/C, adjustable seats and steering wheel and other useful gadgets like CD players with USB. Overall build quality has been improved but it does not blow the mind.
Sadly 0-100 acceleration time is now 15 seconds which is about three weeks but it works well inside the city, the car has better grip, corners better despite being a bit heavy and steering feels responsive and driver is more poised. So, sad news for old TATA fans, they have stopped making boats. This gets independent front suspension and TATA’s genius twist beam rear suspension which keeps ride quality in check.
But we are yet to know the story of its ability as a cruising machine and whether it sounds like a church or an industry inside the cabin. Overall it’s a huge leap in almost all the areas and the best news is still untold which lies under that ugly bonnet.
It comes with a 1.3 multi-jet efficient fiat engine. But it only manages 74 horses which is good if the car weighs less than driver. But it churns out a good 190 NM of torque. And with the new cable shift gear box people no longer need a hammer to change the gears. This is far from being a driver’s car but it is not as monumentally bad as the old one.
A drive in one of these is nothing short of a breeze, only inside city obviously. But you cannot overtake anyone, the rear of the car looks like a tortoise and the some panels look like I made them. Despite these the fact is that the deal between the two giants seems to work.
All these good things come with a price which is the price. It will be sold for nearly five lakh rupees. But again they have won in the game of ‘value for money’. Still it is not a threat to Swift. Complains about looks and interiors are forgiven because this still is a cheap car to buy and more importantly cheap to run.
Er, This is important. This is a step forward towards global quality standards taken by TATA. TATA’s were very busy trying to enter the auto-rickshaw segment with their NANO. Still they managed to have come up with this. This is an achievement of the Indian automobile Industry.
Only by making things more refined we can make this world a better place to live in. This car along with the new A-star from Maruti has set the wheels in motion. But we can be more proud of that if it is an ‘all Indian car’. Because we make things by tie-ups all cars are losing character.
You see the swift, some of the fiat cars, GM cars and now Indica all have the same 1.3 diesel engine. Cars may all become same and it will become mind numbingly boring to drive any car in the future. That is the problem.
We Indians have shown the world how good we are in arts, finance and Education. Why can’t we make it for cars? And why not trucks? Why not trains? For now these questions will remain unanswered.
We can wait for more reports on latest Indian cars. But the shape of things to come was never so positive.