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2013 Tata Indica Test Drive Review


2013 Tata Indica Test Drive Review

Tata Indica Review

Car Tested: 2013 Tata Indica eV2 LX

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 5,72,910/-

The Tata Indica receives minor changes yet again but remains very similar to the previous model.

The Tata Indica has no doubt shaped the Indian car market by being a product with many firsts. It was the first Indian car to have AC and power windows as standard, features which were found only on sedans. The Indica has made the common man consider cars as it was the only hatchback in its hay days to feature a diesel engine, thereby making sense in running costs. Now 15-years down the line, Tata Motors continues to sell the same Indica, which has been updated several times. What doesn’t change though is the shape. The Tata Indica has evolved but it’s no Porsche 911 that it won’t look dated. The Indica even with frequent make ups has started to show its age. However the Indian automobile giant continues to sell it by calling it the “new Indica” every time it facelifts it. Does the Tata Indica make sense when you can get more modern vehicles at this price? We take a quick spin to answer that very question.

Motor Quest: The Tata Indica was launched in 1998 and was India’s first indigenously developed passenger car. It is also Tata Motors’ (then Telco) first passenger vehicle.

2013 Tata Indica eV2 Review2013 Tata Indica Review

Exteriors – Tata Motors has made minor tweaks to the styling of the Indica yet again. When it was launched (even in the V2 avatar), the Indica was quite an appealing vehicle. But today, no amount of chrome can hide the vehicle’s age. The Indica looks dated and Tata Motors has done its usual bit of adding a chrome strip at the rear and turn indicators on the rear view mirrors. Sadly this is not enough of an update to the design of the Tata Indica although we like the brownish maroon colour which has been added to the palette.

Interiors – Step inside and you are greeted by the familiar Indica cabin, which keeps evolving over time. While the dashboard design remains similar to the V2, the 2013 Tata Indica gets improvements in quality along with dual tone interiors of ebony black and sahara beige. The seats are now beige in colour with similar coloured inserts making their way on the door pad. The side AC vents, centre console, gear knob and glove box knob are finished in silver metallic colour.

2013 Tata Indica Interior Review2013 Tata Indica Test Drive

The 4-spoke steering wheel gets ebony black finish but sadly the steering wheel is so big, you feel it’s lifted out from Tata’s 407 truck! The rear view mirrors are electrically adjustable and a digital clock has been placed on the centre of the dashboard. The driver side power window gets one touch function but the location of the switches (in the centre console) is ergonomically wrong. The audio system gets Bluetooth connectivity and audio quality is decent. The AC works well to chill the cabin quickly.

2013 Tata Indica User Experience2013 Tata Indica Performance Review

Where the Indica continues to score well is the space. The vehicle boasts of excellent interior room for all passengers and this car can truly seat five in comfort. The use of beige makes the cabin a bit more airy and the large glass area ensures that passengers feel at ease even on long journeys. The seats offer good comfort although the rear bench doesn’t have adjustable headrests. Boot capacity is good and there are quite a few storage spaces inside the car including a new magazine and cup holder in the front doors. There is a storage area below the steering wheel as well.

Performance – Lift the rather heavy hood and you will be greeted by a 1.4-litre diesel engine, which Tata Motors has badged as ‘CR4′. This motor has the intercooler mounted at the top and gets no updates for 2013. The company claims a mileage of 25 km/l and you shouldn’t find it difficult to extract 17-18 km/l in real world conditions. NVH levels are surprisingly good and the motor isn’t much audible at low engine speeds. However when you push it near its 5000 RPM redline, it does get heard. This engine does decently in the city while performing very well on the highways, thanks to the taller gearing.

The Indica eV2 has a clutch to start operation and once on the move, you will realise there is considerable amount of turbolag. Once past 2000 RPM, the Indica starts to pull decently but you do need to downshift frequently to get going. The oil burner doesn’t struggle till 120 km/hr but in-gear acceleration isn’t its strong point. The pre-2013 Indica was known to have a rough gearbox but the company has updated the transmission with this facelift. The Indica now uses a F-shift gearbox which has a cable shift instead of a linkage. This helps in smoother cog swapping and the vibrations have reduced too. However there is still some rubbery feel in the way this lever operates. The clutch is light and overall performance sees a minute improvement due to the improved gearshift.

2013 Tata Indica Road Test

Driving Dynamics – The Tata Indica has never been applauded for its handling and the latest model is no different. What really robs away the feel from the car is the extremely large steering wheel (placed too high) and imprecise feedback from it. There is quite some body roll and the Indica is not a car you would push through the corners as it simply doesn’t convey to you what’s happening at the front wheels. High speed stability is good though and the Indica doesn’t feel unsafe or nervous at triple digit speeds.

Where the Indica does fare very well is the ride quality. The vehicle has been known for absorbing most of the bumps on the road and Tata Motors has now updated the suspension shifting to a dual path front suspension which enhances ride comfort slightly. The Indica gobbles up most of the bumps on the road with authority although low speed ride isn’t as comfortable with a bit of bouncyness being felt by rear seat passengers. The brakes offer decent stopping power but the pedal positioning needs a re-think as their placement is very odd.

Verdict – As can be seen, not much has changed and the Tata Indica continues to soldier on in the same manner as it used to last year. Tata Motors has recovered the development and fixed costs) of the Indica long time back so it makes a lot of financial sense to keep the car going in its current form. Sure the Indica makes a lot of sense for taxi operators with its generous cabin, attractive price and high fuel economy. But if the company wants to lure private buyers, the Indica needs a bigger update, a more substantial one which will help it stand strong in front of more established and better engineered products.

The updates to the Tata Indica will keep it going strong in the taxi segment but aren’t enough to make private buyers consider it.

What’s Cool

* Ride quality
* Interior space
* Mileage

What’s Not So Cool

* Dated design
* Average dynamics

2013 Tata Indica Specifications

* Engine: 1396cc, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16V, CR4
* Power: 70 PS @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 140 Nm @ 1800-3000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Top Speed: 160 km/hr
* 0-100 km/hr: 15.50 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 18 km/l (City), 20 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Dual-float
* Tyres: 165/65/14 Tubeless
* Brakes: Discs (Front), Drums (Rear)
* Safety: Engine Immobiliser

2013 Tata Indica Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 3690 mm X 1665 mm X 1500 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1400/1380 mm
* Wheelbase: 2400 mm
* Ground Clearance: 165 mm
* Boot Volume: 220-liters
* Turning Radius: 4.9-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 37-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1105 kgs (LX)

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  • Amul Luthra

    Very good review faisal nicely detailed and everything.
    Can you review the 2013 Indigo ecs vx model its a request….thank you

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thanks Amul, we will review the 2013 Tata Indigo eCS soon.

      • Amul Luthra

        Thank you faisal for taking interest in the request. I am waiting for that review do please notify me whenever you put Indigo ecs vx review here. Thanks

        • Nitin Shrivastava

          Hi Faisal, I am too waiting to read your review on 2013 Indigo eCS VX CR4 BS4. Thanks.

          • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

            Nitin, yes we are planning to do it soon.

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          Amul, we will take at least a couple of weeks.

          • Amul Luthra

            Not a problem faisal do notify me whenever you put it up ok……

          • Amul luthra

            please review the indigo ecs vx abs soon…….

          • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

            Yes we are doing it soon ;-)

  • sandy

    Though unexpected but welcoming for this review especially for the credentials the car carries out in your first paragraph. Its my favorite car since I’ve spent more time in this car as a cab while taking a long trip away from city limits; it feels secure, comfortable and spacious. The overall exterior design have better dynamic cuts w.r.t Vista and sometimes looks better then some other cars in our market, yet it need some more makeovers to attract personal car buyers, IMO they should adopt Vista quality, though designing and dynamic part needs to be addressed tactfully.

  • Ben

    this is my most liked cab after amby. but the mileage you quoted is very less, a indica easily manages 22-25kmpl. but the ride is little bit bumpy. at 100kmph, the car wobbles very much. even m800 is relaxed and vibe free at that speed. another one main drawback is that, the car doesn’t look good with external accessories like alloys and spoilers.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Ben, mileage figures in Mumbai traffic. Ride quality of 2013 version has improved thanks to new front suspension.

    • SPITFIRE

      @Ben…. How can you compare an Indica to an #Archaic M800 in terms of #RideAndHandling, i think you need to ride both the cars back to back. Either u have driven an Indica used as a #Taxi or have never #Driven one. Your comments are downright #Ridiculous #ROFL

  • anil

    Outlook must change.
    And why they are not making another car with same engine and new name & style

  • SPITFIRE

    Apart from the mechanical upgrade, what TATA shud hv done done is to completely redesign the front and rear headlamps. TATA seemed to hv affixed previous Gen Indigo CS’s front headlamps, they missed it out completely on that. If TATA makes it a little more desirable,it still has potency to sell in big numbers since the updated #CR4 engine is pretty good.

  • SPITFIRE

    And moreover as the saying goes “The More It Changes, the More it Remains The Same”

  • Prady

    R14 tyres & Cable Clutch makes a noticeable difference. This is by far one of the best & detailed reviews amongst Indian Automobile blogs/magazines!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Thanks Prady for the appreciation ;-)

  • gaurav chauhan

    dear faisal
    as i want to buy a ambassador diesel car for personal use so it wiill be better to buy or suggess another car.which will be better for me.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Get a modern car. Stay away from Ambassador!

  • Ankit Negi

    Thanks Faisal for the quick review…Found it quite useful and informative…..So far form your review…I’m determined to get one for myself…Cheers…

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Do let me know Ankit when you get the car.