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Tata Vista D90 Test Drive Review


Tata Vista D90 Review

Tata Vista D90 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Tata Vista D90 Review

Car Tested: 2013 Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX+

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8,24,850/-

With the Vista D90, Tata Motors aims to target an entirely different set of people.

Premium hatchback is quite a miss-leading term in India. Most of these premium hatchbacks boast of a 75 BHP diesel engine, which to be honest is not enough to ignite the roads, let alone burn them. There are quite a few premium hatchbacks on sale in India today, but how many can really make you skip a beat? There is the Hyundai i20 which comes with a 90 BHP diesel engine but the dynamics don’t do justice to the performance on offer. Then there is the Fiat Punto 90HP, which is indeed a real performance machine. Now Tata Motors wants to enter the performance hatchback space with the Indica Vista and the D90 version is their honest attempt at moving the Vista brand into a more sporty segment, thereby targeting younger consumers. We take the new Tata Vista D90 for a spin on Tata Motors’ test track in Pimpri to gauge if the Vista D90 is as thrilling as it sounds.

Exteriors – The Tata Indica Vista is not a sporty looking vehicle, not even in D90 guise. The styling doesn’t evoke a sporty feel to this car and the small 14-inch wheels don’t give any hint of its target market. Tata Motors on its part has given the Vista D90 a contrasting roof, which along with the badging on the rear are the only exterior differences from the regular 75 PS model. The company has made a sporty body kit, comprising of an aggressive front, rear bumper and rear spoiler add-on, which is being offered at the dealer level as an aftermarket fitment. This does make the Tata Vista D90 look slightly sporty but the vehicle deserves bigger wheels and blackened body parts to pull off the sporty intentions. The Tata Vista D90 is offered in five colors. Four colors from before include – red, white, silver and grey, while a new violet color, featured here, has been added.

Interiors – The biggest change to the interiors of the Vista D90 is the Manza inspired dashboard. The one on the Vista D90 has been lifted straight from the Manza Club Class, which means you get the instrument cluster on the driver’s side and not in the center. The tachometer has Tata Motors’ patented technology and glows red when you hit the rev-limiter. There is a driver information system on top of the centre console which displays distance to empty, average mileage, instantaneous fuel efficiency, ambient temperature and time. A new 6.7-inch touch-screen audio system with GPS and AUX, USB compatibility has been added as well. The system can also play audio-video, which automatically stops as soon as the vehicle gets into motion. The touch-screen itself is not so slick to use although these features are definitely a segment first.

Also new on the Tata Vista D90 is climate control system, which has three modes – manual, economy and automatic. The rest of the Vista remains the same as before, which means you get a generous cabin with acres of interior room and a big boot. There is good headroom, legroom and knee room all around and five people can sit in comfort inside the car. Quality levels are good and the Vista feels well put together. There is a drastic improvement in fit and finish since the very first Tata Vista was launched, way back in 2008.

The Indica Vista D90 also gets one touch power window (for the driver) and is loaded with all the features in the ZX variant (including front airbags, steering mounted audio controls, 6-way height adjustable seat with lumbar support, electric rear view mirrors, follow me home headlamps, etc). There are only two variants on offer, VX and ZX, with both getting ABS as standard. The 75 BHP version is now available in only LS and VX trims.

Performance – Tata Motors has given the Vista D90 a more powerful engine. This unit is the same 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel motor from Fiat but now gets a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT). Thus, this very engine is the same one which does duty on the Fiat Linea, Fiat Punto 90HP, Maruti Suzuki SX4, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Tata Indigo Manza. However, Tata Motors have tweaked the engine for the Vista D90, with different gear ratios for optimum performance. Belting out 90 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque, the Vista D90 has an ARAI certified mileage of 21.12 km/l.

So how does the Vista D90 perform on the road? Very well indeed. There is good amount of power from the motor and the Vista D90 pulls strongly to three digit speeds. You need to work the gearbox to really extract power as turbolag is quite evident at low revs. In-gear acceleration is very good and the Vista D90 does gather speed quickly. The company claims the Vista is faster than the Swift and i20 from 40-120 km/hr in fifth gear. The gearbox is decent although the clutch felt too light and did not bite properly. With a power to weight ratio of 76.3 PS per ton, the company claims that the Vista D90 is faster than other cars in the segment, with 60 km/hr coming up in 6.3 seconds and 100 km/hr taking 15.5 seconds.

Driving Dynamics – The Indica Vista has always been known to be a comfortable car, with excellent ride quality. The company has made changes to the D90 to go with its sporty intentions. The Vista D90 gets stiffer springs to improve handling. The Vista D90 does handle better than the regular Vista and is more stable at high speeds too, but the steering is devoid of feel and doesn’t communicate much. The changes haven’t spoiled the splendid ride quality of the Vista and it continues to please by absorbing bad roads in its stride.

NVH levels have been improved on the Vista D90 and the car is now quieter on the inside with wind and engine noise reduced from before. The vehicle’s brakes are very good with ABS and EBD working extremely well to prevent lock-ups. The brake pedal does feel a bit numb though but stopping power is ample considering that the Vista weighs slightly more than its rivals.

Verdict – Tata Motors has gone ahead and improved the Indica Vista in many areas, which improves the value for money quotient even further. The Vista D90 now boasts of better handling, improved braking performance, more features and better performance. The interiors see a vast improvement with the relocation of the instrument cluster, while the good ride quality and generous cabin space are firmly intact. All this makes the Vista D90 a more rounded and desirable package.

The Indica Vista now offers more performance per car, making it a more practical offering than before.

Whats Cool

* Powerful diesel engine
* Class leading space
* Feature loaded
* Driver’s side instrument cluster

Whats Not So Cool

* Steering lacks feel

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  • S Pani

    When we say premium hatchback, we dont necessarily think about performance. Customers think more in terms of quality, space, interior feel, features etc. All this while not being too slow or too uneconomical. That is what differentiates premium hatches like Polo/Punto/Fabia/i20/Jazz etc.

    Sporty hatchbacks are a different thing altogether.

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

      Agreed S Pani, but if we look at premium cars, they all offer good performance. Premium is something over the regular. So even regular hatchbacks like say the Ritz offer similar power levels as the Swift, the latter being considered as a premium offering.

      Sporty hatchbacks are an alien concept in India. It was only the Palio GTX/S10 which came close to being a sporty hatchback.

      • S Pani

        True “Premium is something over the Regular”. Completely agreed.

        Just that “something” that most customers look for is not extra performance from the engine, but rather more features, space, size and the overall feel. Engine power does not feature high up on most customer’s minds. As long as its fuel efficient and has enough power to keep up with the everyone and can cruise the highways at about 100-120, the engine will keep almost all customers happy.

        As for those among us who look for performance in a budget, we have to make do with cars like the Polo 1.6, Punto 90hp or Vista 90/D90 etc.

        Hopefully Fiat brings out a properly powerful Abarth, and its able to sell decent numbers, then may be other manufacturer’s will also obilige us.

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

          S Pani, I think Tata has given the Vista more features. The Vista already has good space and the only drawback in the vehicle was the centrally mounted instrument cluster, average performance and handling. I think the Vista D90 is a step in the right direction. However instead of all that chrome, the Vista D90 would have been better off with blackened out body parts.

      • S Pani

        Well, I doubt this D90 is going to set the sales charts on fire, even though it has the more powerful engine and a better dash. But those problems were not the major reasons why the Vista didnt sell. Many other hatches had similarly underpowered motors, and there are many whose handling is that great either. At least the Vista gave you loads of space and great comfort.

        The problem with the Vista, as with most other Tata’s is that it is a Tata. To add to that its an Indica, which was and still is the darling of the taxi segment.

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

          I don’t think Tata Motors plans to put the sales chart on fire with the D90, the pricing is in Swift territory, but the Vista does offer a whole lot more kit. The main reason why the Vista is not selling as many units as it deserves, is the styling. People don’t get attracted to the Vista so easily as they do to the Swift, i20 or Polo.

          • Nikhil

            I agree with Faisal.

            It does not sell because of its styling and not because its a tata. A lot of people have come out of the cliche that tata is only for taxi segment. Unfortunately there are still a few who have not seen the improvements in their vehicles. Yes, its not upto the mark but its still good. I know a lot of vista manza customers who are extremely satisfied.

            If its styled well with good reliable engine and transmission as now, it “will” set the sales chart on fire. I do not see any problems with the vista as it is now. It has the fiat engine and transmission, is well built, offers a lot of space, lots of features for the price and has less maintenance cost. The only thing bad about it is the styling and its not so sporty handling. But really, the people who buy these cars, are they looking for Polo GTi handling?? No!! All they look for is safe fuel efficient transportation for their wife and kids from point A to B

      • S Pani

        True, though I myself dont think the Vista looks worse than the Swift, but yes I will grant the styling is not exactly a strong point.

        But I still think the major hindrance is not so much the styling as it is the brand image of Tata.

        Anyway, the original point was that plonking a 90hp engine doesnt solve its problems. Because having a 75hp engine wasnt a complaint in the first place.

        • Kedar

          Guys styling is the only concern for Vista and rest of the thing are upmarket in D90.

          Check the price tag and the features, build quality, plastic quality offered in Manza it way better than its rivals.

          I always praise Indica Vista for its VFM quotient and not with D90 TATA has gone further in this VFM factor.

          A sensible person/car buyer will always buy Vista D90 instead of Swift and i20 which are priced like anything.

          • S Pani

            I cant say I have checked out a Vista recently, but I dont think the build quality is upto the mark with rest of the market. It’s probably on par with the Swift at best.

            Most Vista’s age very badly. It may look good new, but check out one with 30k kms on it. Compared to a similar Punto/Polo/i20 the Vista will feel much older and worn out.

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

            S Pani, that is the issue with most Tata cars, they don’t age that well. Also i20, Polo and Micra too have excellent built quality.

  • sunny

    nyc package by tata. but this is not a premium hatch, i mean look at the interiors, i own polo diesel highline, the quality of interiors the bracking power n high speed stability no car come close to it other than punto, the quality of interiors the polo provide i cant think other manufacturer can provide, i was driving with my 4 frends at a speed of 170 and it was total fun, according to me premiumness includes performance also which tata miss in this car. the only prblem with polo is it is congested for tall passenger but for the info i m 6 feet 2 and i comortably fit in this car.

  • Akash

    Fiat’s engine…..

  • Akash

    Wait for the rocket ABARTH PUNTO…. Sabki Watt lagegi…

  • No One

    Will this same central console be available in 75ps version tooo????

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

      Nope, this center console not available on 75 PS version.

      • No One

        Sorry, didnt get you.

        This manza console is for D90 only ? Or this Manza console will make its way into 75ps version too ?? Or the 75ps version will still be sold with central mounted console ??

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

          75 PS version stays the way it has always been, no changes to it. The Manza interiors come to the D90.

          • No One

            Disappointing.. Central console s*cks..

  • shankar

    Tata does try hard but they some how overlook this outdated design, get a new design plz..

  • ajay

    this color does not suit vista much, why not give bright red on sport variant???

  • Mukesh G

    I have heard that the vista d90 0-100 acceleration is slower than the swift. Is it true. If its true whats the use of the added power?
    And increading power gives less mileage.
    TATA ??(SERIOUSLY)??

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

      Mukesh, its because of the 150 kgs extra weight.

  • Mahendra

    Rightly said, Tata cars do not sell due to brand issues. But why do customers have issue with Tata brand?
    Reason: Sub par quality (and I am not only talking about plastic fit and finish, this would have been acceptable had they taken care of overall vehicle quality) which includes total cost of ownership over the period of time (aging problem)
    I am having first hand experience at that.

    I exchanged my 2007 model indica turbo DLX for new Vista D90 vx.
    Reason: Soaring maintenance cost, despite proper maintenance. Last straw in hat bein alternator faliure which resulted in battery burst, thus costing me Rs 13K, which was over and above the last service cost of Rs. 26K.

    I received new car and to my disappointment the stock vehicle had so many issues. Some of them rectified and some still their (issues from day 1) I am writing this on the third week of my ownership.

    I am running from pillar to post to get issues rectified, but now realizing that the Tata motors folk have gone dumb too.

    Following is the content of mail that I have posted a week back to customercare@tatamotors.com (no one has bothered to call me yet) I will let you decide, if you would go for purchase for a tata car again after these kind of issues from day one:
    Complaint Reference No : 1-18736720021

    The delivered car has bunch of issues:
    1. Stock bluetooth microphone not working at delivery time (resolved to internal wiring in music system by replacing with some old wire)
    2. Hand break failure on 3rd day (hardly 60 KM run – resolved)
    3. Steering wheel is hard (as hard as my old INDICA turbo 2007 model) – KHT motors service folks agree to this but making excuses that this is not a problem (the steering of test vehicle is noticeably lighter, I think this is USP of D90 )
    4. Steering wheel vibrates violently at around 110- 120 KM speed (was told that this is expected behavior, however I never faced this on old Indica)
    5. Hard clutch (as hard as my old Indica, which was said to be defective and need to replacement by vehicle evaluator Mr. XXXX) – KHT motors service folks agree to this but making excuses that this is not a problem (then how come same is problem for older indica?) – Again test vehicle that I drove is noticeably lighter clutch
    6. Less than 1 liter diesel in tank at the time of delivery and I was asked to sign on 5 liter diesel (got the folks to fill 5 liters additional diesel ). Immediate topping up confirmed that I was being short changed.
    Some issues that popped up when trying to repair microphone issue
    6. Plastic cover on pillar A (hiding mic wires) has its lock pins broken
    7. Internal fabrics soiled by dirty hands (despite my request to handle it properly and ensure cleanliness)
    8. Wiper-water spray nozzle broken in stock new car (resolved)
    All of the above happened within 2- 3 days of delivery and despite the assurances of this being undergone “Thorough PDI”.
    PS : First service is yet to happen. I am facing tough time handling folks since they try to justify the behavior as expected and on persisting only they try to rectify issue. Some issues are still not attended to (on insistence of Mr. Raghvendra from Tata motors Pune, terming it as expected – then why does test vehicle behave different? Same is coming up from other review forums e.g. light clutch and steering)

  • himanshu ramawat

    mr mahendra, u might be facing such problems coz ur dealer might have done something with the car or may be it was not taken care properly in the yard or showroom whatever. i have always belived that tata cars are good cars. the only problem is with the after sales service. i knw tata have their authorized service centers throughout india but dont knw y i get this feeling that they are not taking proper care of the cars. i think they are not technically sound like the one at maruti suzuki showroom. well i owned a tata indica dle for past 12 years and u would be surprised to know that i never faced any major problem with that car. i exchanged it 2 months before with new indica vista d90 zx+ variant. i was the first n udaipur, rajasthan to own this car. not we got pleanty of them. i think this car is tata’s one of the best car. some might not get agree with me but i seriously believe it is. as far as looks are concerned , it is a very personal thing and may vary person to person. some may find figo, i 10, duster atttactive but i dont. some may hate d90 but i love it. so looks are not the concern. if u overall look this car, its best in the class. tonns of features and space. this car gives you a nice feel. tata has tuned the engine keeping in mind both city’s bumper to bumper traffic and highway rides. some may complaint about turbo lag but low rpm but its good for city traffics. once you pass 2500 rpm then you get a real feeling of what this car actual performance is. its faster then any car in its segment in 3rd, 4th and 5 ft gear. only swift can beat it in 1st and 2nd gear. and its only because its lighter then d90. and because of slightly high weight it feels safer and stable on highways. i have found no issues with this car. its a amazing package. features: inbuilt music system with touch screen navigation, bluetooth, alloy wheels, contrasting roof, follow me home headlamps, 6 way adjustble driver seat, lumber support, memory card reader, aux and usb support, automatic climate control, electronically adjusted orvm, amazingly low NHV levels, rear and front fog lamps, body kit, stearing mounted audio and phone controls, ABS, front air bags etc…..

  • samir khan

    Does d90’s fan belt sounds chi chi chi as it does in most Tata cars after a little age….?

    does it??