With the Indigo getting rather long in the tooth in the face of more modern competition, Tata Motors has finally launched a replacement for the car. Despite a few facelifts post its 2002 launch, not to mention a garageful of variants over the years, Tata did need a new car desperately if it was to stay competitive in the already overcrowded C segment.
The Indigo Manza is based on the Indica Vista's platform. The sedan retains the Vista family look, however the crisp lines and the chrome inserts on the bumpers and chrome-plating on the waistline adds to the look of the Manza. The more prominent hood strake, three-barrel headlamps and the new trapezium-shaped grille on the bumper add to the stance of the Manza.
The Manza's silhouette is derived from the Vista along with stretched overhang at the rear for more boot space.The side indicators, like the Vista are placed in between the mirrors and the A-Pillar (known as the cheater panel); and the larger greenhouse shows modern styling. The rear end of the Manza is chunky and lacks appeal with the combination of the wedge-shaped tail lamps and chrome strip on the bumper and boot.
One may expect that the Manza will retain the Vista's interior styling and space, not to mention the plastic quality and noise insulation. However, step into a Manza and your view will change. The Manza and Vista both had different design teams and the interiors of both cars are completely different.
The Manza has ergonomically designed dual-tone interiors with ample room. The plastic quality is much better than older Tata vehicles and with no similarity to the Vista. The car sports a white-backlit four-dial instrument cluster, wherein the tachometer needle's backlit changes from white to red at higher revs; the steering wheel has audio controls; an integrated six-speaker 2DIN audio system that offers good sound quality and with features like USB and auxillary inputs, Bluetooth with a Number pad (which we found difficult to pair with our mobile phone) and digital driver information system.
The driver's seat has height adjustment with lumbar support and a tilt-adjustable steering which makes fine-tuning your driving position easy. The car has good front visibility at its front due to slimmer A-pillars, however due to the higher bootlid and thicker C-pillar, visibility at the rear is reduced. The outside rear view mirrors are small and therefore visibility through them has reduced.
The Manza has been engineered well for space and the engineers have utilized every bit of the space like the under-seat storage. Jump to the second row of seats and you will find ample space. The boot of the Manza has a storage volume of 460 litres, which Tata again claims is best in class.
Engine, Transmission and Fuel Efficiency:
The 1.4-litre SAFIRE (petrol) and 1.3-litre Quadrajet (diesel) powerplants are available as engine options for the Manza. The engines have been borrowed from Fiat's powerplant stable and the same engines are used to run the Fiat Linea. For the Manza, Tata has remapped the engine and redesigned the gear ratios.
The 16-valve 1.3-litre DOHC Quadrajet engine churns out 90bhp (5bhp more than the Fiat Linea) and a torque of 200Nm in a range of 1750-3000rpm. Slip in behind the wheel and you won't find much of a difference between the Linea multijet and the Quadrajet. The 1.4-litre double overhead cam SAFIRE produces 90bhp like the Linea's FIRE and similar torque of 116Nm@4750rpm. This Fiat engine has been designed for maximum efficiency.
The Manza's throttle is controlled by Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) on both its cars, which makes the accelerator pedal very light reducing driving fatigue. However, passionate drivers will like the pedal to be a little harder because the ultra-light throttle pedal feels dead and reduces the confidence to dive into a turn, however, the car handles well if once used to the right-most pedal.
The Indigo Manza Quadrajet has a fairly well calculated gear ratios, with the first three lower gears being short and the fourth and the fifth being tall gears. In our tests, the Indigo Manza Quadrajet clocked 6.4 seconds from 30-50kph in the third gear and clocked 50-70kph in 14.0 seconds. For fuel efficiency lovers, the engine cruises at 90kph at about 2100rpm in fifth gear which could help get more out of the car.
The Indigo Manza Quadrajet's powerplant is a highly efficient engine as seen it doing duty on other cars. The Quadrajet returned us an overall effieincy of just below 16kpl.
Tata cars have been known for their handling and stiffer ride. Times are changing; the Manza rides smoothly at low and high speeds. This design revolution took birth with the Vista and has further evolved in the Manza. The car goes through potholes with a muted thud compared to the older Indigo which crashed through potholes.
The steering of the Manza is responsive both around the centre as well as around the corners and weighs up well at higher speeds. The car does have body roll but the roll is well controlled by the semi-independent suspension at the rear.
Tata Motors has aggressively priced the Indigo Manza considering the overall package that it offers. The Indigo Manza is available in a price range of Rs 5.01lakhs to Rs 7.01lakhs (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Considering the price, the main competitors of the Indigo Manza are the Renault Logan and the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire. The Swift sedan has been the market leader thanks to Maruti Suzuki's after sales service; the diesel variant of the DZire has the same Fiat engine block as that of the Indigo Manza. However, the Manza is a size larger on the inside and the outside when compared to the duo. The ABS, airbags, Bluetooth connectivity, steering mounted controls and most importantly the rear seat legroom and the boot space with decent quality plastic makes the Indigo Manza a complete value for its money.