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2013 Tata Indigo Test Drive Review


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Tata Indigo Review

Car Tested: 2013 Tata Indigo eCS VX

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 7,21,210/-

The changes on the Indigo eCS makes it a better overall package but only just.

The Indian junta’s favourite body style is a sedan. Now the Indian government believes that sedans are space consuming vehicles and are a big part of traffic congestion, hence they imposed 15 percent extra excise duty on cars measuring more than 4 metres in length and having engine capacity above 1.5-litres (diesel) / 1.2-litres (petrol). This is where the concept of compact sedans came in. Tata Motors was the first manufacturer to slot in a car in this sweet spot. They launched the Indigo CS in 2008 at the Auto Expo featuring a 1.2-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel engine subjected to lower excise duty. Later in 2010, Tata Motors launched the Indigo eCS with the new CR4 diesel engine and this year it gets updated with mild styling and mechanical tweaks. Today the compact car segment is pretty mature. We examine whether the Indigo eCS has the potential to compete with established rivals or not.

Motor Quest: The Indigo eCS is based on the first generation Indigo which was launched in 2002. 11 years down the line, not much of the design has changed.

2013 Tata Indigo eCS Test Drive 2013 Tata Indigo eCS Test Drive Review

Exteriors – The Tata Indigo eCS looks exactly like the Indica until the C-pillar, post which there is a short boot slapped at the rear that looks disproportionate when viewed from the side angle. The pre-facelift version had a sober face, while the updated Indigo eCS gets aggressive styling elements such as the smoked bezel headlamps and front grille which is sleeker. The fog lamps now get chrome housing, which is integrated onto the dual tone bumper. The side profile shows new turn indicators on the rear view mirrors, a fresh set of multi-spoke alloy wheels and a wide strip of chrome garnish at the rear. The carmaker has tried to give the Indigo eCS a sporty touch but the overall appeal of the exteriors remains more or less the same as before.

Interiors – Stepping inside the cabin of the Indigo eCS will remind you of the Indica again, as the dashboard layout is exactly the same. The difference from the previous version is that the colour scheme has turned into black/beige from brown/beige. The seat fabric is finished in beige that matches with the door pads. The steering wheel has grown bigger, derived from the Sumo Gold. However, the previous version had a better looking steering wheel, which was sleek in design. There is a digital clock placed in the middle of the dashboard and the new octa instrument cluster is a neat touch, which is simple and easy to read. The quality of plastics has been improved slightly but the fit and finish still needs to be worked upon. The power window switches are unconventionally placed in the centre console but thankfully the driver side window gets one touch function.

2013 Tata Indigo eCS Gear Knob 2013 Tata Indigo eCS Leg Space

The audio system comes with 4 speakers + 2 tweeters that sound decent. The system also has CD, Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity options. Special mention goes to the air conditioning of the Indigo eCS that chills the cabin brilliantly. The stowage space inside the cabin is decent enough to keep the cabin neat. The cabin space of the Indigo eCS has always been its USP, as there is ample space to accommodate five passengers easily with good comfort. An arm rest is provided in the second row for added comfort. The seats are well cushioned and give decent support for long drives. On the flipside, the footwell is tight on space and the pedal placement is high without any deadpedal. It is a pain to keep your foot upright in bumper to bumper traffic. The boot space is well carved out and you can easily fit in a couple of suitcases.

2013 Tata Indigo eCS Engine 2013 Tata Indigo eCS Performance

Performance – The Tata Indigo eCS is offered with three engine options – 1.2-litre petrol, 1.4-litre TDI diesel and 1.4-litre CR4 diesel. We got to test the 1.4-litre CR4 common rail diesel engine that produces 70 PS of power and 140 Nm of torque. The Indigo has clutch to start working and once you crank up the engine, the decibel levels feel surprisingly low because of the improved NVH. The turbo lag is evident until 1800 RPM, post which the motor pulls in a serene pace and there is no sudden surge of pull. The engine can be pushed till 5000 RPM, where it feels strained and audible. Otherwise, the engine feels happy being in the mid-range with decent grunt for city runabouts and highway performance.

The Indigo eCS comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, which has significantly improved with cable shift operation that feels easy to use and is precise. It doesn’t feel sluggish anymore and operates smoothly but the reassuring feedback is still missing. The gearbox needs to be worked frequently for the car to get going in a continual manner because the in-gear performance is pretty inflexible. It can be appreciated as a highway runner, as the CR4 engine has good cruising ability. Gathering speed up to 130 km/hr doesn’t consume much time but post that mark, the motor loses steam and feels reluctant to move ahead smoothly. The company claims 25 km/l of fuel efficiency but in real world conditions expect 16-17 km/l. With the addition of a smooth gearbox and light clutch, the carmaker has managed to slightly improve the city drivability of the Indigo eCS.

2013 Tata Indigo Road Test

Driving Dynamics – Tata Motors has tweaked the dampers for better ride quality and that definitely shows in the updated version. The ride is not exactly flat, it bounces a bit at the rear but the potholes and undulations are taken very easily by the suspension. Whatever the speed is, slow or fast, the Indigo just soaks up the harsh roads smoothly. The handling department is on the weaker side, where you feel a bit nervous when taking on corners at high speeds. There is certain amount of body roll and the corners should be taken in a balanced manner to maintain a neat line. However, high speed stability is good.

Talking about the steering feedback, it is indefinite. You don’t feel connected with the big steering wheel that cannot be adjusted according to the height and is placed a bit high. It feels slightly numb at the centre and at parking speeds it is a bit heavy. Gather some pace and it weighs up decently but you have to provide relatively more input for quick action. On the highways, lane changing is brisk and easy. The stopping power in the Indigo eCS is impressive. The car sheds speed without any drama and comes equipped with ABS that works perfectly. However, the brake pedal bite could be better at high speeds; otherwise it is precise at normal speeds.

Verdict – Tata Motors have improved whatever they could have in an existing product. The Indigo eCS now comes with an updated styling, a reworked cabin with additional features and few mechanical tweaks that make it a better overall package than before. It looks a bit fresh and is relatively easier to drive because of the mechanical tweaks. At the end of the day, the Indigo eCS still lacks the punch in terms of styling, equipment and drivability when compared to the much accomplished Maruti Swift DZire and Honda Amaze. The Indigo eCS will continue to have a strong reputation in the taxi segment because of its spacious cabin, smooth ride and frugal diesel engine.

The Indigo eCS has a spacious cabin, good ride quality and is fuel efficient but at the same time it is not mature enough to compete with other sub 4-metre offerings.

What’s Cool

* Interior Room
* Boot Space
* Ride Quality
* Fuel Economy

What’s Not So Cool

* Design
* Handling

2013 Tata Indigo eCS Specifications

* Engine: 1396cc, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16V, CR4
* Power: 70 PS @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 140 Nm @ 1800-3000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Fuel Consumption: 18 km/l (City), 20 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Dual-float
* Tyres: 175/65/14 Tubeless
* Brakes: Discs (Front), Drums (Rear)
* Safety: Engine Immobiliser, ABS

2013 Tata Indigo eCS Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 3988 mm X 1620 mm X 1540 mm
* Wheelbase: 2450 mm
* Ground Clearance: 165 mm
* Boot Volume: 380-liters
* Turning Radius: 5.0-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 42-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1110 kgs

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  • Amul luthra

    I test driven the amaze and i found it nowhere near the quality levels of swift dzire whether its nvh or build quality. Everything feels super filmsy bonnet is extremely lightweight and engine is super noisy feels like i am in a tractor and you said this indigo ecs is not a comparison to this ultra filmsy amaze in the verdict can you please do a comparison between the both and then give the verdict because i found the build quality and nvh levels are far superior of the indigo and it is 2.6 lakh rupees cheaper than the amaze here in delhi….
    thank you for the review i am waiting for it for so long……..

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

      Amul, Amaze and DZire have better overall quality and design than the Indigo.

      • Amul luthra

        yes you are right about dzire it got way better quality levels than both of them but how can you say same about amaze its so light and filmsy the bonnet the doors everything is ultra light and on refinement front its no good at all the nvh levels as you know is way too high for the segment and the price tag is enormously high for the super light build quality..and one more thing can you suggest me a car under 7 lakh delhi on road that offers me space, abs and decent boot space..thank you……

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

          Amul, lightness doesn’t make a car bad. With that analogy, trucks should have best quality.

          Car I would suggest for you is the Vista.

          • Amul luthra

            how is the grand i10 diesel actually i need a car mostly for highway so can you tell me how it performs there

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

            Amul, for highways, you are better off with something more powerful.

          • sivha

            With the same analogy road roller’s build is better than truck.Here the discussion is about the body strength of a sub 4 meter sedan against a sub 4 meter sedan.

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

            Sivha, the DZire is a Euro NCAP 5 star car while the Indigo won’t do more than 3 stars. Does body strength matter or overall safety?

          • Amul Luthra

            exactly my point thank you sivha

  • Amul luthra

    And one more thing you said it got 165/65 r14 tyres but in reality it got 175/65 r14 tyres please edit it
    thank you

  • ramesh

    pictures are excellent… really amazing.. capture

  • sivha

    Indigo e-cs is actually a nice sedan when compared to Dezire or Amaze. It is having more cabin and boot space. Build and the strength of the body is also good. I don’t understand where the fit and finish is lagging.
    As rightly pointed above amaze is noisy and filmy when compared to Indigo. Dezire’s boot space and cabin comfort is next only to Indigo.

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

      Sivha, you are joking, right?

      • sivha

        The comment I had on Amaze was with the test drive. I still say it is the nosiest and lightest felt car in this segment.
        Regarding Dezire and Indigo e-cs I have both at my disposal. At any time indigo is a point ahead of Dezire either your drive it or take the back seat. It is just the perception that Maruti is better. If you drive the Punto you can observe that it is sluggish when compared to Swift. But both are having the same engine and the manufacturer is Fiat. Do you think Maruti can tune the engine better than the one who created the engine ? Or Fiat don’t know how to exert more power from the engine?

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

          Sivha, Maruti Suzuki cars are lighter which help in better performance from the same engine.

    • Hardeep

      Yes, Sivha you are right i am also Indigo Ecs Lx from last 2.5 years. Indigo offers much more value than Dzire & amaze. People dont want to go with indigo coz of Taxi image. Back seat comfort, front cabin space & boot space is greater thn Dzire & amaze. I sold my Dzire after only a 1.5 year because of eating oil. only 2l of oil left in engine after driving it for 5-6k odd kms.

  • William Miller

    Bigger engine is better. I’ve noticed it became a better car. Indians are in the right direction of making a good national vehicle :)

  • Shantanu

    Hey – I agree with many of the points mentioned in favour of Indigo. I have been using a petrol Vista for several years and I recently migrated to Linea MJD. Before buying it, I did carry out a detailed test drive campaign of Amaze, DZire, Indigo & Ethios.

    The recently launched CR4 Indigo rocks in terms of engine, equipment and NVH levels. It beats almost everyone baring may be Ethios in the engine department. The car however does not sell with private car owners because of dated interiors and taxi image. There cant be a better value for money than Indigo.
    If only Indigo could get a major interior refresh, better ergonomics, better pedal positions and telescopic steering…. Asking for too much, but honestly, liked the duo-float suspension and F-Shift gearbox. Simply superb.
    Amaze has a very noisy diesel engine like Polo. Somehow, I feel many car critics / review experts do not talk about several down sides of these foreign cars. They are scared to be laughed at. It is easy to laugh at Tata cars and get away with it.
    Some of the glaring issues with many foreign cars which we don’t seem to hear from many of the car critics or review videos on TV or you tube are
    1. Ethios – I mean it is an insult to an Indian. What kind of interior is Toyota giving and at what cost. They believe Indians will buy shit at any cost because it is a Toyota. No one ‘LAUGHS’ about it
    2. Amaze – Start the diesel car and you will know what a noisy engine it is. The dash as well, while it is a personal opinion, I am sure many would resonate with me, looks very basic. It could have done quite well
    3. Polo / Vento – Noisy engine and cramped up front seats. Very Ordinary interiors but too good a quality. Commands respect for quality.
    4. Chevrolet Sail Sedan – Sit in the rear seat and try stretching your legs. Can you believe you can’t. The fuel tank is right below the front seats and hence you cannot stretch your legs below the front seats. Can some car critic please ‘LAUGH’ at this? The poorly placed window switches … always laughed at for Indica’s and Indigos. Now can some car critic please ‘LAUGH’ at Chevrolet and make a big issue out of it stating poor ergonomics. Never hard of it.

    Don’t take personally. I have been using a Tata car since 2001 and have been a tata customer for years. I am happy I used the cars and I am happy I am using a Linea now.
    My only appeal is that please don’t be biased in your reviews. Give others the same treatment and highlight issues the way you highlight issues for other cars.
    Good Luck
    Shantanu

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

      Shantanu, drive a Honda/Toyota/Suzuki for a few days, you will know what you are missing out on. The Indigo is a good car but it’s simply not in the same league as some of the MNC offerings.

      • Shantanu

        I am driving a Linea :) for 4 months now

  • Shantanu

    Hey – What I am trying to say is – Its not that Indigo beats all the cars. I am only requesting people to talk about down sides about other cars as well, as much as they talk about Tata cars or Tata Indigo. Just because they are manufactured by Suzuki, Toyota, Honda, Fiat, don’t make their life simpler. Those cars also have problems and they also mess up with many obvious things as highlighted above. I hate the reviews when they don’t talk about such issues. When you give credit you must also learn to give discredit to those folks.

    Tata has come a long way building and selling cars and with whatever fan base and customer base they have, I am sure it is in millions, it is evident that people do buy Tata cars and they use them. Tata has the second best service network. Why that does not come anywhere in the reviews?

    I moved out of Tata, only because of Taxi image and I did not mind spending more on a car.

    Cheers

  • Khirod

    Agreed with Santanu, I have both tata Indigo ecs vx and maruti swift, my brother using Hyundai ascent , my father using mahindra Scorpio. I want to give full mark to indigo due to

    1) value for money
    2) all required feature in budget .
    3) specious in all points.
    4 ) engine performance is cool.
    5) absolutely low maintenance.

    Taxi image may say some thing wrong as per our perception. Either the taxi owner is poor one or the person who booked the taxi of indica or indigo is poor one. So do not take it other wise . Tata make these car as per Indian requirements.

    What you all say about Ambassador , the old Indian taxi and most prestigious car . Common on ….

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

      What about quality and ergonomics?

      • Khirod

        just compare the car price, spare parts price and quality of build and steel etc… with other similar cars , you may understand.

  • Uk

    I have driven Indigo ecs CR4 15000km. Everything is excellent but it is emitting smoke very high compared to Dezire or other diesel cars. I complaint many times but no solution found.
    Except this and old design of dash board everything is excellent. Mileage, NVH, Exterior, Driving comfort is better than Dezire or Amaze. Even maintenance cost if almost negligible.
    If someone have solution on smoke emission, please suggest.