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Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018]

45 reviews | Write a review
Discontinued
Last recorded price : 6.07 - 6.28 Lakhs
Tata has discontinued the Indigo eCS [2013-2018] and the car is out of production.

Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] Review

I learned to drive in a pair of Indicas over a decade ago; time stolen while going a few kilometres away in cars my friends ‘borrowed’ from their parents. I remember those days really well – the scrapes we went through, the several moments where we thought we were going to crash, and the stalling. Always, the car stalling at the most inopportune moments and the impatient honking of other motorists making it ever worse. Those Indicas had obvious flaws – I never knew if they were in gear, and the turbodiesel gave my left leg quite a workout.

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Introduction

I learned to drive in a pair of Indicas over a decade ago; time stolen while going a few kilometres away in cars my friends ‘borrowed’ from their parents. I remember those days really well – the scrapes we went through, the several moments where we thought we were going to crash, and the stalling. Always, the car stalling at the most inopportune moments and the impatient honking of other motorists making it ever worse. Those Indicas had obvious flaws – I never knew if they were in gear, and the turbodiesel gave my left leg quite a workout.

Tata has since come a long way, and they claim that the Indigo eCS has been much improved, despite some things like the looks and interiors remaining the same. No wonder, then, that I got into the eCS with a little trepidation. Here’s a little secret, though:  the new version is truly an improvement, and not just cosmetic changes and a feature upgrade.

Looks

It has been a dozen years since the first Indica launched, and the Indigo retains the same basic body shape and front as the Indica. However, there are a few changes that stand out. The paint on our test car was a brown – or was it a deep orange? – that was of great quality. The blacked-out headlamps also give it a lot of character. The chrome accents on the grill give it a premium touch. The three-quarter angle reveals the good-looking alloy wheels, but in profile it looks exactly the same as it always has, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. At the back, the pert boot takes prominence, with its chrome accents. The small lamps are more in proportion to the car than the erstwhile Indigo, but they lack as much character as the latter. From the back the eCS looks the same as it always has, with the few noticeable changes being the chrome strip and the presence of rear parking sensors. 

Since this is just a refresh, the Indigo hasn’t changed the way it looks. The Honda Amaze still remains the most proportionate-looking small sedan one can buy, but the eCS doesn’t have the awkward appearance of the Dzire.

Interior

The Indigo’s interior is its Achilles heel. The plastics aren’t up to the mark and the dashboard design looks its age, which is over a decade old. Things get worse when you actually use the switches – the turn indicator has a horrible ‘click’, the front seats have the wrong amount of lumbar support, and the pedal offset and large steering wheel meant that my driving position was never right. Even those interesting octagonal pods that made up the instrument cluster weren’t enough to change my impression.

But, depress the clutch pedal, and instead of the leg press I remembered from the Indica turbodiesel, I found a light clutch that also clearly told me where it in engaged. I shifted to first, and gone was the vague, rubbery feeling of my first few escapades in the driver’s seat. Instead, there is this impossibly light yet positive gearshift in its place. Even the NVH has improved so much that the vague steering, that wasn’t an issue before, now comes to the fore because you end up doing well over three-digit speeds and not realising it because the engine, wind noise and tyre roar are so well insulated.  Speaking of which, there is a flashing amber light that comes on when the eCS hits 120kmph. This is the sort of thing I never would have found out ordinarily, but the Indigo is really that good to drive. 

The traditional Tata strengths remain in the form of lots of space, and a well-designed rear seat. The world’s most inexpensive sedan also gets a central armrest for the rear occupants! The audio system was another pleasant surprise. A 1-DIN Kenwood head unit feeds four speakers in the VX trim. The head unit has Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and you can even answer calls through it – this is the entire features list that you can expect from a 1-DIN system. The speakers could use an upgrade, but full marks for the head unit, three-band equaliser and all. 

Boot space isn’t as well managed as an Amaze, but the Indigo eCS remains psychologically a bada gaadi thanks to the three-box shape.  There are a few other things that are as anachronistic as they are annoying – the use of bolts to secure the wheels fell out of favour a long time, and if you have to change a wheel on the Indigo eCS, you’re going to spend a considerable amount of time at the side of the road trying to put the wheel back on and getting the bolts in correctly. 

Engine and Gearbox

Tata uses a 1.4-litre CR4 common-rail turbodiesel engine to power the Indigo eCS. The quoted output figures are 70PS and 140Nm, which are par for the course. This doesn’t tell the entire story, though – the ‘new’ engine is quite refined, and when the car is unloaded, turbo lag is, simply put, absent. “Negligible” would be a more accurate term, but the absence of lag in the eCS is on a different level compared to anything else in the segment. The engine itself feels internally lighter when you prod the throttle in neutral – the tacho races to the redline; behaviour that is quite unbecoming of a budget car focused on economy rather than fun. You can potter around in third gear if you so wish, and there isn’t much given up at high revs, should you want to visit the redline. The Indigo does feel underpowered when filled up with occupants, and turbo lag then becomes noticeable, but it never feels intrusive like it does in some of the competition.  The gear shift complements the engine beautifully. It is light, positive, and as Ninad put it, “feels like it sits in a tub of grease”. You’re never going to miss a shift with the new gearbox, and I found myself changing gears for the heck of it – something I rarely do with budget cars. The clutch is light yet progressive, and short of providing an automatic gearbox, I don’t know what Tata could have done to make the Indigo eCS better to drive in the city. 

This is now one of the better engine-gearbox combinations not just in this segment, but also a segment above, in terms of feel and drivability. The lack of power is felt when fully loaded, but we’re willing to forgive it that much for that incredible ARAI fuel efficiency figure of 25kmpl. 

 

Ride and Handling

 

The Indigo eCS retains a McPherson strut setup at the front, and unusually for a small car, a multi-link setup at the rear. This bodes well for handling but at the cost of, well, input cost, load-bearing capabilities and interior space. The eCS seems to have retuned suspension, with it absorbing bumps with a muted thump and yet remaining stable at high speed. The weak link here is the steering – there is so much play in it that it feels almost like a recirculating ball system. All the controls are light, of course, so city driving is a breeze, but highway speeds require your full attention. Tyre have been chosen to favour fuel efficiency over grip, but on the limit the eCS is very progressive. 

For what the Indigo eCS is supposed to be, the ride and handling exceed expectations handsomely. 

Verdict

Tata has always catered to the person who wants great value for his money, but the thought process always was completely left brain. You got massive space, enough fuel efficiency to shame a motorcycle and running costs that were unbelievably low. With the new Indigo eCS, it looks like they’ve taken the ‘value’ thought upmarket and provided features that make you feel good every time you look at the car, or sit in it. Not only that, they’ve paid attention to things that are normally intangible, like gear shift quality or the amount of force you have to use to operate the clutch pedal. This is the first Tata that I’ve enjoyed driving –besides the cars I learned in, of course, but those were for completely different reasons – and if only Tata manages to get more people into the showrooms, I don’t doubt that they’ll have much better sales figures than what they’re managing today. At just over six lakhs ex-showroom, the Indigo eCS suddenly feels like a very lucrative option, brand image notwithstanding. 


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Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] Colours

Indigo eCS [2013-2018] is available/sold in the following colours in India.

  • Spanish Tan
  • Royal Burgundy
  • Jet Silver
  • Porcelain White
* Colours shown are indicative and may vary slightly from actual car colours.

Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] Expert Reviews

2013 Tata Indigo eCS

2013 Tata Indigo eCS

I learned to drive in a pair of Indicas over a decade ago; time stolen while going a few kilometres away in cars my friends ‘borrowed’ from their parents. I remember...

12 Dec 2013 by Charles Pennefather | Read more

Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] User Reviews

Mindblowing

for Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] on 23-Jun-2019 by alok kumar

It was quite heroic moments moment's when I drove this car the interiors was quite awesome with a splendid fuel consumption all I need to say is you should go for it...... You too will...

SURESH KUMAR

for Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] on 06-May-2019 by SURESH KUMAR

Buying experience: I want purchase First car. His look very nice and beautiful. Riding experience: First Time I am seat past 3 years and feel very good. Details about looks,...

Tata Indigo

for Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] on 05-May-2019 by sanjay Kathuria

Servicing and maintenance: Servicing and maintenance is high.Car AC ,Engine and suspension are not able to perform good while car running is around 200km in a day

babycar

for Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] on 20-Mar-2019 by Akhil colourful

i hav used this car more the a 2 years its abest car i loved it look wise is nice and for trafic its very good car for cab use is good with good fuel effiency and good in looking...

Worth for money

for Tata Indigo eCS [2013-2018] on 09-Mar-2019 by Praveen kumar

Buying experience: Very good for buying options. Comfortability was amazing while travelling.

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