Driven – Tata Vista D90, premium yet affordable!
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!
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.
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.
The 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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!