Quality revolution in Tata Motors is what the Tata Indica Vista brought about. It managed to be the one car which actually improved the public perceptions of Tata Motors as a manufacturer. Later on, other cars like the Manza and Aria definitely took the bar up and the stage was all set for Tata Motors competing with the other fabled ones in its class. The Vista or rather the Indica has spawned many generations namely the first Indica, Indica V2, Indicab, Indica eV2 and now the Vista. In a bid to keep the public interest alive in their products, the Indian major has decided to revamp the Vista and put in the Manza’s nose at the front. We have the 2011 Tata Indica Vista with us for a test drive and here is the recount of the same.
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Well obviously, its going to be a major thing to distinguish between the Vista and the Manza siblings, from a distance that is. The triple barreled head lamps have been carried over from the Manza and so has the chrome striping at the front. However, we particularly didn’t take a liking to this new face. The earlier one was much more sober. The fog lamps now have a chrome circle to them while the air splitters seem a bit more on the aggressive end. The bumpers are also an all new thing or so, we are made to believe. Even on the side panels, the car now comes with splashings of chrome. The 14 inch wheels on the top end model are now alloy and the same alloy color that was used for the Manza Elan as also the anniversary edition of the Vista. A black finished stripe on the rear looks much like the one on the upcoming Honda Brio and the tail lamps look a bit smoked out with an old look to them. Other than that, Tata have purposely down played the Indica name in the monikerings and the Vista badge has been given prominence.
The interiors are where the major changes come into picture. The 2011 Tata Indica Vista in India now comes with steering mounted audio controls, still a luxury in its segment. The upholstery now uses Sahara Beige theme and the dashboard has been nicely done in soft touch leather finish. The audio system has been also borrowed from bigger brother Manza and its get a proper USB input, AUX as also Bluetooth. The display for the music system has also got a refreshed color scheme. Moreover, this car now gets electrically controlled outside rear view mirrors. The seating arrangement as always stands very good with its generous dimensions and out here, it’s very hard to outclass Tata Motors for the interior packaging that they have managed to liberate from the Vista. The boot space remains the same as the earlier model and there are no changes here. The car does feel a tad premium than the outgoing variant, however, Tata Motors could have done well enough in ensuring that the major gripe with its products, the fit and finish could have been improved. European rivals as also cars like the new Swift would have the Vista creamed for its fit and finish.
Tata cars always have a reputation to have a nice ride quality and this thing is still maintained in the new Vista. In a bid to further improve the suspension, Tata Motors have got the suspension to be a bit softer. The result is a very good ride quality. However, belying the ride quality thing, on hard braking, the nose does now tend to dive and squat a bit more. We experienced grounding of the nose once when we had to encounter an unmarked speed-braker. Moreover, even with the addition of ABS, the car doesn’t seem as planted as some of its European rivals. The handling is safe and neutral. There are no nasty surprises that the Vista has for its drivers. The steering has also been improved and it now dials some good feedback, though it still can be considered laidback. The improvements lie in the way wherein the Vista can now be very easily maneuvered around in city limits even with the added visual of the nose. This is due to the result of using a much improved rack and pinion valve and pump. As for the brakes, the car now comes with 10 inch boosters which reduce the braking effort taken by the outgoing model. As for the general Noise Voice and Harshness levels (NVH), since we had the multijet engined car with us, it was quite acceptable and at par with the job that Maruti and Fiat have for their cars.
Tata Motors still continues to offer the Vista with a choice of 4 engines wherein 2 are petrol and 2 are diesel. There are no changes in the power figures for any engine. Since we had the multijet diesel with us and since it was the best selling variant of the earlier Vista, we can safely say that the car is very much driveable in city traffic. Fewer amounts of gear changes is what the Vista would warrant from its driver, in the traffic conditions. Just like the Indica eV2, even this car now comes with a clutch to start feature. Speaking of the clutch, taking heed of many of the customer feedbacks, Tata Motors have ensured that the new clutch requires less travel and can be easily modulated. Fuel efficiency is still top notch with the 2011 Tata Indica Vista returning 18 kmpl in traffic conditions with the numbers rising upto 23 kmpl on the highway.
With the Vista, Tata Motors have planned to bring about something which customers or trade pundits would call as the mid-life facelift. Since the Vista was something which the company introduced only a few years back, to be precise, 2008, there wasn’t any major changes to be made. The engines already are BS4 compliant and hence there is no issue on that front as well. People who love Tata products would definitely want to go in for this “Sedan Class” hatchback. Moreover, the starting price of Rs 4.13 lakhs for the base variant is definitely more on the value for money side. The 2011 Tata Indica Vista price in India for the Quadrajet variant that we had with us for the test was Rs 5.02 lakhs, ex-show room, Mumbai. Surprisingly minimal price hike is what Tata Motors is claiming for all those added features and the grown up look.