Driven – Tata Vista D90, premium yet affordable!

Posted on: Jan 28, 2013 - 4:17pm IST

Tata Motors launched the Vista back in 2008 and it was a smash hit right away. More than 2.3 lakh Vistas run up and down the Indian streets on a regular basis. It is one of the top three best selling cars in the A+ segment. Unfortunately, the Vista offers very little in terms of desirability and aspirations.

Tata Vista D90

The biggest USP of the Vista was space which was not going to turn any heads with the younger audience. Thus, Tata Motors realized that there is a need for a premium Vista which offers all the features of a premium hatchback, comes loaded with technology and offers a little more kick than the normal Vista. The Vista D90 was commissioned to become the halo car for the Indica/Vista brand.

Tata Vista D90 engineThe biggest change in the D90 is definitely the engine. It is powered by a 1.3L MultiJet QuadraJet engine with a VGT (variable geometry turbocharger) instead of an FGT (fixed geometry turbocharger). The result is an output of 88bhp and 200Nm of torque.

Does that make the Vista feel very sporty to drive? The answer is a bit complicated.

The engine is definitely more responsive now. Even at lower rpms, there is noticeably lesser turbolag. Put your foot down and the torque kicks-in almost immediately. The engine revs all the way to 5,000 rpm without any worries but does not rev beyond the 5K mark.

Tata Vista D90

A 0-100 km/hr sprint can be achieved in 15.5 seconds which is noticeably quicker than the bigger engined i20 and the segment leader Maruti Suzuki Swift. The 76.3 PS/Ton power-to-weight ratio of the D90 is also much better than i20 (75.6) and Swift (69.4).

Tata Vista D90 front

Being a diesel, it offers a fantastic in-gear acceleration. The D90 features optimized gear ratios which improve the real world drivability. Adding to that, a flat torque between 1,750 rpm and 3,000 rpm means you don’t have to change gears frequently. An ARAI certified fuel economy of 21.12 kmpl is just the icing on the cake!

Tata Vista D90 alloysThe grip from the R14 Bridgestone tubeless tyres is very good and the braking is much better than the 75 PS version.

However, because of a slightly spongy suspension and the erratic steering feedback I wouldn’t say that it is for a typical ‘hot hatch’ buyer.

The suspension has been tuned for city usage. It tries to isolate you from the road surface as much as possible. In a city car, this specific quality is the most sought after but not in a sporty hatchback. The Vista D90 could do with a slightly stiffened suspension.

The EPS steering constantly changes its mind and doesn’t quite give you the adequate feedback for aggressive cornering. Slight issues with the gearshifts still persists in the Vista gearbox.

The result is a comfortable cruiser that can do highway duties and city duties without any complaints. But is it a hot hatch? No not really!

Disappointed? Don’t be. Power is not really the major selling point of the Vista D90. The Vista D90 sits in the market as a complete package. Lots of features have been added to the Vista D90.

Tata Vista D90 body kit

First up is the full body kit that you can avail at the dealer. To make the D90 stand apart in the crowd, Tata Motors has designed a body kit complete with a sporty front and rear bumper, a stylish rear spoiler and an infinity contrast roof.

Tata Vista D90 interiorsTata Vista D90 touchscreen navigation

Want more? You need to take a look inside. The Vista D90 comes with an integrated 6.7 inch touch screen navigation borrowed from the elder sister Manza Club Class. The system is intuitive to use and can play audio/video via SD card/AUX/CD/Radio/Bluetooth/USB. Being a resistive touch, it may not be as fluid as your smartphone.

Tata Vista D90 climate controlTata Vista D90 dials

It also comes with automatic climate control with a small solar sensor on the dashboard which adjusts the inside temperature depending on the position of the sun. It has an intelligent instrument cluster which turns red when you rev the engine hard and adjusts the luminosity of the dials if you are driving at the night. It also comes with a fuel computer with a display which provides you with valuable information such as distance-to-empty, average FE, instant FE, temperature and a clock.

Tata Vista D90 interiorsTata Vista D90 rear seats

Some other interesting features such as dual tone interiors, steering mounted controls, one shot power windows, electric ORVMs, central locking, 60-40 rear seat split, 6-way adjustable front seat with lumbar support and follow-me home headlamps increase the value proposition of the Vista D90.

Tata Vista D90 frontTata Vista D90 rear

Safety has been given a special attention in the D90. Apart from the steel reinforcements the hatchback is equipped with dual SRS airbags and ABS with EBD.

Tata Vista D90 leftTata Vista D90 rear

Tata Motors has reworked the insulation of the Vista and fitted it with a special material imported from Germany. The result is a massive improvement in the NVH level. The car really isolates you very well from outside road noises.

When you combine all the features together, you will notice that the D90 is an extremely competitive package when it hits the road. The tones of gadgets that are packed in the D90 will really push the rivals to add more features to their cars if they wish to remain competitive.

Tata Vista D90 left profile

The Tata Vista D90 will be available in two variants – VX and ZX+. The VX is priced at INR 6.03 lakhs and gets ABS and EBD. The ZX+ variant at INR 6.63 lakhs gets airbags and alloy wheels as well (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

It is not a ‘hot hatch’ per say but it is definitely a hot deal!


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16 thoughts on “Driven – Tata Vista D90, premium yet affordable!

  1. Sridhar says:

    Suddenly, this aged car has come back into the contention. All additions are welcomed. I would have expected some raised suspension like what Fiat did with Punto.

  2. sandy says:

    I agree with Srinivas, Ramesh and Dhananjayan advises.

  3. vishal says:

    If they installed a screen on the dash, it would not have been too difficult to hook up a reversing camera onto it. That would be 2 clutter breaking features for the price of 1.

  4. Ramesh says:

    Is the body kit standard fitment in the Z+ version or customer has to pay extra for that?

  5. Such nice interior and touchscreen audio, climate control, etc could have been added in the Safari Storme and the Aria does not have this Touchscreen!!
    In the Vista D90, a rear Armrest could have been added, which would have made it a “luxury hatch”!!

  6. Tires could have been R15!!
    I would prefer the earlier Vista’s sportier grille!!
    The chrome strips does not suit the Vista!!

  7. SRINIVAS says:

    for God’s sake please change the shape, style of the car, the truly Indian car needs an urgent make over, invest in designing, and change the “taxi” look. what is the use of having a good engine it is does not look good.
    please do consider this

    1. Ramesh says:

      Agree with you. TATA has come up with some better designs. And do away with that horrible grill and ‘Christmas light’ tail-lamps.

      TATA had gone into deep slumber for the last 2-3 years. I am happy to see that they are at least now trying some things. All the Best TATA.

    2. Seema says:

      Please hire some professional from abroad and give a decent look to all Tata Passenger Cars/SUVs.
      Remember the saying “love at first sight”.
      Except Tour operators/Taxi drivers, no one admires Tata Cars. They do not have a good appeal when compare to other cars.

      It is high time now, please change the image of the “TAXI”

  8. sidd says:

    the bumpers of the test car are different from the one in the official pictures


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About the Author
Kaustubh Shinde

They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store.Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!