Tata Vista D90 Review
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Whats Cool

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

Whats Not So Cool

* Steering lacks feel